The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem

Photo of The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, Jerusalem District
Photograph © Mackey637
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The Dome of the Rock

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Built by Caliph Abd al-Malik in memory of Yazid, the dead son of the Muslim king Mu'awiyah, the Dome of the Rock has stood for centuries as an architectural beacon in a land where historic avarices have reduced most other great structures to rubble. It was constructed half a century after the death of the Prophet Muhammad on the location where the Koran says he made his Miraaj (Night Journey) into the heavens and back to Makkah (Surah 17: Ayah 1). Unfortunately, the Dome of the Rock is not serving its intended purpose. Rather than uniting the three religions that descended from Abraham -- Judaism, Christianity and Islam -- the factions fight over ownership of the land it stands on. From a secular standpoint, the dome is a wonderful piece of art and architecture. It was inspired by the Aya Sofya Cami'i in Istanbul, but stands out more because it it is constructed of wood, instead of stone, so it doesn't need as much support structure. The facade is porcelain, light colored at the top and gradually darkening toward the bottom where it rests on an octagon-shaped marble base. This was originally glass, not porcelain, but the glass does remain in the 16 stained glass windows that allow the light to enter. The dome's gold-covered 25-meter cupola reflects all angles of the Mediterranean sun, casting beams of golden light on those who would look at it. It is said that is one faithfully recalls the tenants of the Islamic faith, then the Dome of the Rock can be appreciated on an entirely different level. It is said to be the root of many major themes in Islamic art and culture. It's geometry, location, dimensions, and even its colors hold the keys to the Islamic faith and impart a deeper spiritual meaning for the truly faithful. The Dome is also symbolic in its geography. It is considered the center of the Earth, and because of that there are exits leading north, south, east, and west. During its construction, it was hoped that the Dome of the Rock would be so glorious that it would divert the streams of pilgrims from going to Mecca. To make this happen, the Caliph spent all of the taxes in Egypt for seven years to have it built. Being a holy location to three religions, it is not surprising that this is not the first temple built on the spot. Solomon built his temple here, which was destroyed by king Nebuchadnezzar. That was followed by Herod's temple which was leveled by the Romans. But the Dome of the Rock has managed to stay, in spite of attacks physical, spiritual, and political.

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  Truly a wonderful islamic structure.

Fazli - Saturday, May 14th, 2005 @ 3:26am