Importance of The Dome of the Rock
The dome of the Rock of Jerusalem is referred to as the MOSQUE OF OMAR also known as Qubbat as-Sakhrah. It is one of the most recognisable landmarks of Jerusalem’s.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The site’s significance stems in part from religious traditions regarding the rock, known as the Foundation Stone, at its heart, which bears great significance for Jews and Muslims.
The structure is considered holy and spiritual for both Muslims and jews because The Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam, is traditionally believed to have ascended into heaven from the site. A certain passage in the Koran links the Prophet Muhammad with Jerusalem. According to Jews, Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice in the same place. It is the first monumental building in Islamic history with great aesthetic and architectural importance.The shrine is located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Invasion and Change of Town’s Name
To Christians, it is where the young Jesus impressed the sages at the Jewish Temple, where he spent the last days of his ministry, and where the Last Supper took place. Originally The name of this town was Urusalim, a word which means ‘Foundation of Shalem’ or ‘Foundation of God’. About 1000 BC, Urusalim was captured by David, founder of the joint kingdom of Israel and Judah, and became the Jewish kingdom’s capital. David renamed his city Jerusalem, meaning ‘City of Peace’ in Hebrew.
Construction of The Dome of the Rock
construction started in 687 AD
construction completed in 691 AD
Building was opened in 691 AD
Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik ordered this structure to be made.
The cost of construction was reportedly seven times the yearly tax income of Egypt.
Tthe diameter of the dome of the shrine is 20.20 m (66.3 ft) which is mounted on an elevated drum consisting of a circle of 16 piers and columns. The height of the dome of the shrine is 20.48 m (67.2 ft).
the diameter of the dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is 20.90 m (68.6 ft). The height of the dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is 21.05 m (69.1 ft).
The structure is basically octagonal. Surrounding this dome is an octagonal arcade of 24 piers and columns. An octagonal wall was added in 813–833 AD under Abbasid caliph Al-Ma’mun.
The octagonal plan of the structure may also have been influenced by the Byzantine Church of the Seat of Mary (also known as Kathisma in Greek and al-Qadismu in Arabic) built between 451 and 458 on the road between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
The whole structure has beautiful calligraphy with wonderful use of geometric shapes which give a unique look to the structure.
The Rock can be seen from all over Jerusalem.
Dome of the shrine is a wooden dome and it was originally covered in pure gold. The real gold was removed over the centuries and the dome is now made of anodised aluminium.
Its supporting structure is made up of lead.
Damaged in Natural Disasters
The building was severely damaged by earthquakes in 808 and again in 846.
The original dome collapsed in an earthquake in 1016 and was rebuilt in 1021 by Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah.
Further restoration work is recorded for 1027.
The Dome is maintained by the Ministry of Awqaf in Amman, Jordan. Visitors are subject to strict security screening.
The Dome of the Rock is open for daily visits between 08:30 to 15:00. As of now, only Muslims are allowed to visit the shrine.
In 2006, the Temple Mount was reopened to non-Muslim visitors during the hours of 7:30–11:30 am and 1:30–2:30 pm during summer and 7:30–10:30 am and 1:30–2:30 pm during winter (now the hours are 7:30-10:00 and 12:30-13:30 during winter). Non-Muslims are prohibited from entering after 2:30 pm and may not enter on Fridays, Saturdays, or Muslim holidays.