Jerusalem's Dome of the rock - the Shrine.

Oct 16, 2019

The Islamic altar located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem is Dome of the rock. It was completed in 691 CE by the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik. The original one collapsed in 1015 and was again renovated in 1022-23. The Dome of the Rock is the oldest of Islamic architecture. The architecture in the shrine is inspired by the Roman art found in the nearby Byzantine churches and palaces. Both outside and inside, the decoration is so magnificent and the workmanship so surpassing as to defy description. The shrine was altered a few times since it came into existence once in the Ottoman period and the second time in 1959-61 and finally once in 1993. Along with two nearby Old City structures," the Western Wall, and the "Resurrection Rotunda, the Dome of the rock is now in UNESCO World Heritage Site and since then it is known as “Jerusalem's most recognizable landmark’.

A glorious mystery on the architecture of the dome:

Each exterior wall is 67 feet long; which exactly are the diameter and the height of the drum from the base. There is a large rock situated in the center of the dome, which is believed to be the holiest place by both Christians and Muslims as per their records in the Bible and Quran. The outer wall repeats this octagon, each of the eight sides being about 18 meters wide and 8 meters high. Both the dome and the exterior walls contain many windows. Two ambulatories confine the rock with an octagonal exterior wall.

The portico in the center is composed of four piers and twelve columns supporting a rounded drum that transitions into the two-layered dome more than 20 meters in diameter. The entire dome is decorated by the mosaics, which became very popular in Late Antiquity and adorn many Byzantine churches. Extensive decoration from a variety of periods, including mosaics, painted wood, marble, multi-colored tiles, carpets, and carved stone, covers most of the exterior and interior of the building. There is no such thing that human figures or any such figure are banned in the making in the holy places, but it seems it usually is avoided in religious buildings. The building is believed to be a burial place of Roman emperors. The form and dome portray it being a reference to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The reliquary next to the rock dates from the Ottoman period and contains a hair of Muhammad's beard. Its wooden gilt dome, which is approximately 20 meters in diameter, rises to a height of some 30 meters above the surrounding stone-paved platform.

According to the Oxford Archaeological Guide to the Holy Land, "Abd al-Malik's purpose was more complex and subtle." He wished to erect a beautiful Muslim building that could compete with the majestic churches of Christendom and would be a symbolic statement to both Jews and Christians of the superiority of the new faith of Islam. "His building spoke to Jews by its location, to Christians by its interior decoration."