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Dome of the Rock

Sacred Buildings: 7th Century Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, Israel

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With its golden dome, the Dome of the Rock at al-Aqsa Mosque is one of the oldest surviving examples of Islamic architecture.
Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, Israel

Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, Israel

Photo: ArtToday.com
Built between 685 and 691 by the Umayyad builder Caliph Abd al-Malik, the Dome of the Rock is an ancient holy site set on a legendary rock in Jerusalem. Outside, the building is octagonal, with a door and 7 windows on each side. Inside, the domed structure is circular.

The Dome of the Rock is made of marble and richly decorated with tile, mosaics, gilded wood, and painted stucco. The builders and artisans came from many different regions and incorporated their individual techniques and styles into the final design. The dome is made of gold and stretches 20 meters in diameter.

The Dome of the Rock gets its name from the massive rock (al-Sakhra) located at its center, upon which, according to Islamic history, the prophet Muhammad stood before he ascended to heaven. This rock is equally important in the Judaic tradition, which considers it the symbolic foundation upon which the world was built and the place of the Binding of Isaac.

The Dome of the Rock is not a mosque, but is often given that name because the holy site is located in the atrium at Masjid al-Aqsa (al-Aqsa mosque).

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