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The Dome of the Rock

Listed under in Jerusalem, Israel.

  • Photo of The Dome of the Rock
  • Photo of The Dome of the Rock
  • Photo of The Dome of the Rock
  • Photo of The Dome of the Rock
  • Photo of The Dome of the Rock
Photo of The Dome of the Rock
Photo by flickr user Or Hiltch
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Built by Caliph Abd al-Malik in 691, the Dome of the Rock is a mashhad (shrine for pilgirms) built in Jerusalem. Most notable for the golden dome atop the building, it houses a the Foundation Stone, supposedly mentioned in the Koran. When Muhammad rides a winged steed with the Archangel Gabriel, this Stone is where a ladder of golden light materialized, upon which Muhammad climbed into heaven to receive instructions Allah.

During the Crusades, the Dome of the Rock was captured along with Jerusalem and converted into a christian shrine. This lasted for as long as the Crusader Kingdom - when the Jerusalem fell, the Dome was restored to its former condition. The building is now the oldest Islamic building in the world.

Visitors are expected to show proper respect, so shouting, yelling and other disturbances are probably not a good idea. Underneath the Rock is a small cave-like area, known as Bir el-Arweh, or the Well of Souls. According to ancient tradition, one can hear the voices of the dead or the waters of the rivers of paradise. Spend plenty of time gazing at the Stone, but tear your eyes if you can to the extensive and lavish decorations along the walls.

A visit to the Dome can easily combined with trips to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Wailing Wall, giving you a chance to see three major destinations of three different religions, all in one day.

Written by  Robert Evans.

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