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Dome of the Rock in center of Temple Mount

The Dome of the Rock (Qubbat As-Sakhrah) is a famous Islamic shrine in Jerusalem. It was built between 687 and 691 by the 9th Caliph, Abd al-Malik. It is sometimes called the Mosque of Umar (though it is not a mosque), as 2nd Caliph Umar prayed at the site after the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem.

Located in what Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary — which Jews call the Temple Mount — it remains one of the best known landmarks of Jerusalem. The rock in the center of the dome is believed by Muslims to be the spot from which Muhammad was brought by night and from which he ascended through the heavens to God accompanied by the angel Gabriel, he was consulted by Moses and given the obligatory Islamic prayers before returning to earth. It is a holy place to Muslims. The Jews believe this place to be the location where Abraham almost sacrificed his son Isaac at the command of God, where Jacob saw the ladder to heaven, and where the innermost chamber of the Jewish Temple stood. Other, extra-Biblical Jewish traditions say it is the spot where the first stone was laid in the building of the world.

The Dome of the Rock was built for Abd al-Malik by Byzantine craftsmen from Constantinople sent to the Caliph by the Byzantine Emperor. It is in the shape of a Byzantine martyrium, a structure intended for the housing and veneration of saintly relics and is an excellent example of middle Byzantine art.

Essentially unchanged for more than thirteen centuries, the octagonally-shaped Dome of the Rock remains one of the world's most beautiful and enduring architectural treasures. The gold covered dome stretches 20 metres across the Noble Rock, rising to an apex more than 35 metres above it. The Qur'anic verse 'Ya Sin' is inscribed across the top in the dazzling tile work commissioned in the 16th century by Suleiman the Magnificent. The sura al-Isra'a (The Night Journey), is inscribed above YaSin. In 1993, the golden dome covering was replaced, courtesy of King Hussein of Jordan, due to rust and wear.

During the Crusades, the Knights Templar, who thought the Dome of the Rock to be a remnant of the Temple of Jerusalem, made their headquarters in the Al-Aqsa Mosque adjacent to the Dome. As such, it appeared in some of the seals of the order's Grand Masters (like Evrard de Barres and Regnaud de Vichier), and was a model for Templar churches across Europe.

The Prophet Mosque in Medina; the mosque has the Shrine of Muhammad in the middle, also known as Gumbad-e-Khizra or Dome of the Prophet

The Temple Mount and Eretz Yisrael Faithful Movement wish to relocate the Dome to Mecca and replace it with a Third Temple. Since the Dome is on sacred ground to the Muslims this is not an option. The majority of Israelis also do not share the movement's wishes.

Gallery /   / Mosque Stamps / Dome of Rock, Jerusalem, Israel

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