Daily Dose: Dome of the Rock

Add to TwitterThe Dome of the Rock at Temple Mount in Jerusalem is the oldest existing Islamic building in the world. Its elaborate mosaic-patterned walls topped by the brilliant golden orb make it one of the most beautiful as well. Though the site holds religious meaning for Jews as well as Muslims, it currently serves as an Islamic shrine to the Foundation Stone.

Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem; Image ©Thomas Guignard

For Muslims, the Foundation Stone is the place where Muhammad ascended to heaven with the angel Gabriel; it’s one of the holiest sites in Islam. Jews pray in the direction of the Dome of the Rock because they believe the stone to be where Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac. Only Islamic prayer is allowed on the Temple Mount, so Jews wanting to pay homage often go to the Western Wall, a nearby location.

Dome of the Rock mosaic; Image ©Jeremy Price

The vibrant shrine can also capture the interest of non-religious onlookers. It is mathematically proportioned for aesthetic appeal: 67 feet is the measurement for the dome’s diameter, its height from the base of the drum and the length of each outer wall. Mosaic, faience (tin-glazing) and marble adorn the Dome of the Rock’s façade. The interior is highly decorated, too but only Muslim women are allowed inside.

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