Dome of the Rock

The Dome of the Rock (Arabic: قبة الصخرةQubbat al-Sakhrah, Hebrew: כיפת הסלעKippat ha-Sela) is an Islamic shrine located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. It was initially completed in 691-92 CE at the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik during the Second Fitna on the site of the Second Jewish Temple, destroyed during the Roman Siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE. The original dome collapsed in 1015 and was rebuilt in 1022–23. The Dome of the Rock is in its core one of the oldest extant works of Islamic architecture.[2]

Dome of the Rock
Qubbat As-Sakhrah
قبّة الصخرة
Israel-2013(2)-Jerusalem-Temple Mount-Dome of the Rock (SE exposure).jpg
Religion
AffiliationIslam
Location
LocationJerusalem
Dome of the Rock is located in Jerusalem
Dome of the Rock
Location within the Old City of Jerusalem
AdministrationMinistry of Awqaf (Jordan)
Geographic coordinates31°46′41″N 35°14′07″E / 31.7780°N 35.2354°E / 31.7780; 35.2354Coordinates: 31°46′41″N 35°14′07″E / 31.7780°N 35.2354°E / 31.7780; 35.2354
Architecture
Architectural typeShrine
Architectural styleUmayyad, Abbasid, Ottoman
Date establishedbuilt 688–692,[1] expanded 820s, restored 1020s, 1545–1566, 1721/2, 1817, 1874/5, 1959–1962, 1993.
Specifications
Dome(s)1
Minaret(s)0

Its architecture and mosaics were patterned after nearby Byzantine churches and palaces,[3] although its outside appearance has been significantly changed in the Ottoman period and again in the modern period, notably with the addition of the gold-plated roof, in 1959–61 and again in 1993. The octagonal plan of the structure may 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.[3]

The Foundation Stone the temple was built over bears great significance in Judaism as the place where God created the world and the first human, Adam.[4] It is also believed to be the site where Abraham attempted to sacrifice his son, and as the place where God's divine presence is manifested more than in any other place, towards which Jews turn during prayer. The site's great significance for Muslims derives from traditions connecting it to the creation of the world and the belief that the Prophet Muhammad's Night Journey to heaven started from the rock at the center of the structure.[5][6]

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has been called "Jerusalem's most recognizable landmark,"[7] along with two nearby Old City structures, the Western Wall, and the "Resurrection Rotunda" in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.[8]

Contents

Description

Basic structure

 
Cross section of the Dome (print from 1887, after the first detailed drawings of the Dome, made by Frederick Catherwood in 1833).[9]

The structure is basically octagonal. It is capped at its centre by a dome, approximately 20 m (66 ft) in diameter, mounted on an elevated circular drum standing on 16 supports[10] (4 piers and 12 columns).

Surrounding this circle is an octagonal arcade of 24 piers and columns.[11] The octagonal arcade and the inner circular drum create an inner ambulatorium that encircles the holy rock.

The outer walls are also octagonal. They each measure approximately 18 m (60 ft) wide and 11 m (36 ft) high.[10] The outer and inner octagon create a second, outer ambulatorium surrounding the inner one.

Both the circular drum and the exterior walls contain many windows.[10]

Interior decoration

The interior of the dome is lavishly decorated with mosaic, faience and marble, much of which was added several centuries after its completion. It also contains Qur'anic inscriptions.

The dedicatory inscription in Kufic script placed around the dome contains the date believed to be the year the Dome was first completed, AH 72 (691/2 CE), while the name of the corresponding caliph and builder of the Dome, al-Malik, was deleted and replaced by the name of Abbasid caliph Al-Ma'mun (r. 813-833) during whose reign renovations took place. (For more see the "History" paragraph).

Exterior decoration

Surah Ya Sin (the "Heart of the Quran") is inscribed across the top of the tile work and was commissioned in the 16th century by Suleiman the Magnificent[12]. Al-Isra, the Surah 17 which tells the story of the Isra or Night Journey, is inscribed above this.

History

Pre-Islamic background

 
Reconstruction of Herod's Temple as seen from the east (Holyland Model of Jerusalem, 1966)

The Dome of the Rock is situated in the center of the Temple Mount, the site of the Temple of Solomon and the Jewish Second Temple, which had been greatly expanded under Herod the Great in the 1st century BCE. Herod's Temple was destroyed in 70 CE by the Romans, and after the Bar Kokhba revolt in 135, a Roman temple to Jupiter Capitolinus was built at the site.[13]

Jerusalem was ruled by the Christian Byzantine Empire throughout the 4th to 6th centuries. During this time, Christian pilgrimage to Jerusalem began to develop.[14] The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built under Constantine in the 320s, but the Temple Mount was left undeveloped after a failed project of restoration of the Jewish Temple under Julian the Apostate.[15]

Original Umayyad construction

The initial octagonal structure and its round wooden dome had basically the same shape as is does today.[10]

The Dome of the Rock is now mostly assumed to have been built by the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik and his son and successor Al-Walid I. According to Sibt ibn al-Jawzi, construction started in 687. Construction cost was reportedly seven times the yearly tax income of Egypt.[16]

A dedicatory inscription in Kufic script is preserved inside the dome. The date is recorded as AH 72 (691/2 CE), the year historians believe the construction of the original Dome was completed.[17] In this inscription, the name of al-Malik was deleted and replaced by the name of Abbasid caliph Al-Ma'mun. This alteration of the original inscription was first noted by Melchior de Vogüé in 1864.[18]

An alternative interpretation claims that the inscription indicates the year when construction started.[19]

Some scholars have suggested that the dome was added to an existing building, built either by Muawiyah I (r. 661–680),[20] or indeed a Byzantine building dating to before the Muslim conquest, built under Heraclius (r. 610–641).[21]

Its architecture and mosaics were patterned after nearby Byzantine churches and palaces.[3] The two engineers in charge of the project were Raja ibn Haywah, a Muslim theologian from Beit She'an and Yazid Ibn Salam, a non-Arab who was Muslim and a native of Jerusalem.[3][22]

Shelomo Dov Goitein of the Hebrew University has argued that the Dome of the Rock was intended to compete with the many fine buildings of worship of other religions: "The very form of a rotunda, given to the Qubbat as-Sakhra, although it was foreign to Islam, was destined to rival the many Christian domes."[23] K.A.C. Creswell in his book The Origin of the Plan of the Dome of the Rock notes that those who built the shrine used the measurements of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The diameter of the dome of the shrine is 20.20 m (66.3 ft) and its height 20.48 m (67.2 ft), while the diameter of the dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is 20.90 m (68.6 ft) and its height 21.05 m (69.1 ft).

Abbasids and Fatimids

The building was severely damaged by earthquakes in 808 and again in 846.[24] The dome collapsed in an earthquake in 1015 and was rebuilt in 1022–23. The mosaics on the drum were repaired in 1027–28.[25]

Crusaders

 
Depiction of the Templum Domini on the reverse side of the seal of the Knights Templar

For centuries Christian pilgrims were able to come and experience the Temple Mount, but escalating violence against pilgrims to Jerusalem (Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, who ordered the destruction of the Holy Sepulchre, was an example) resulted in the Crusades.[26] The Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099 and the Dome of the Rock was given to the Augustinians, who turned it into a church, while the nearby Al-Aqsa Mosque first became a royal palace gor a while, and then for much of the 12th century the headquarters of the Knights Templar. The Templars, active from c. 1119, identified the Dome of the Rock as the site of the Temple of Solomon. The Templum Domini, as they called the Dome of the Rock, featured on the official seals of the Order's Grand Masters (such as Everard des Barres and Renaud de Vichiers), and soon became the architectural model for round Templar churches across Europe.

Ayyubids and Mamluks

Jerusalem was recaptured by Saladin on 2 October 1187, and the Dome of the Rock was reconsecrated as a Muslim shrine. The cross on top of the dome was replaced by a crescent,[citation needed] and a wooden screen was placed around the rock below.[citation needed] Saladin's nephew al-Malik al-Mu'azzam Isa carried out other restorations within the building, and added the porch to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.[citation needed]

The Dome of the Rock was the focus of extensive royal patronage by the sultans during the Mamluk period, which lasted from 1250 until 1510.[citation needed][dubious ]

Ottoman Empire (1517–1917)

During the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent (1520–1566) the exterior of the Dome of the Rock was covered with tiles. This work took seven years.[citation needed]

  • St. Laurent, Beatrice (1998). "The Dome of the Rock and the politics of restoration". Bridgewater Review. 17 (2): 14–20.

External links

  1. ^ Gil, Moshe (1997). A History of Palestine, 634–1099. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-59984-9.
  2. ^ Slavik, Diane (2001). Cities through Time: Daily Life in Ancient and Modern Jerusalem. Geneva, Illinois: Runestone Press. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-8225-3218-7.
  3. ^ a b c d Avner, Rina (2010). "The Dome of the Rock in light of the development of concentric martyria in Jerusalem" (PDF). Muqarnas. Volume 27: An Annual on the Visual Cultures of the Islamic World. Leiden: Brill. pp. 31–50 [43–44]. ISBN 978-900418511-1. JSTOR 25769691.
  4. ^ Carol Delaney, Abraham on Trial: The Social Legacy of Biblical Myth, Princeton University Press 2000 p.120.
  5. ^ M. Anwarul Islam and Zaid F. Al-hamad (2007). "The Dome of the Rock: Origin of its octagonal plan". Palestine Exploration Quarterly. 139 (2): 109–128.
  6. ^ Nasser Rabbat (1989). "The meaning of the Umayyad Dome of the Rock". Muqarnas. 6: 12–21.
  7. ^ Goldberg, Jeffrey (29 January 2001). "Arafat's Gift". The New Yorker. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  8. ^ "UNESCO World Heritage".
  9. ^ "Drawings of Islamic Buildings: Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem". Victoria and Albert Museum. Archived from the original on 9 March 2009. Until 1833 the Dome of the Rock had not been measured or drawn; according to Victor von Hagen, 'no architect had ever sketched its architecture, no antiquarian had traced its interior design...' On 13 November in that year, however, Frederick Catherwood dressed up as an Egyptian officer and accompanied by an Egyptian servant 'of great courage and assurance', entered the buildings of the mosque with his drawing materials... 'During six weeks, I continued to investigate every part of the mosque and its precincts.' Thus, Catherwood made the first complete survey of the Dome of the Rock, and paved the way for many other artists in subsequent years, such as William Harvey, Ernest Richmond and Carl Friedrich Heinrich Werner.
  10. ^ a b c d "Dome of the Rock". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  11. ^ The Dome of the Rock. Glass Steel and Stone.[dead link]
  12. ^ Palestine: Masjid al-Aqsa:The Dome of the Rock, at IslamicLandmarks.com, accessed 18 February 2019
  13. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Aelia Capitolina". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 256. Lester L. Grabbe (2010). An Introduction to Second Temple Judaism: History and Religion of the Jews in the Time of Nehemiah, the Maccabees, Hillel, and Jesus. A&C Black. p. 29.
  14. ^ Davidson, Linda Kay and David Martin Gitlitz Pilgrimage: From the Ganges to Graceland : an Encyclopedia Volume 1, ABC-CLIO, Inc, Santa Barbara, CA 2002, p. 274.
  15. ^ "Julian thought to rebuild at an extravagant expense the proud Temple once at Jerusalem, and committed this task to Alypius of Antioch. Alypius set vigorously to work, and was seconded by the governor of the province, when fearful balls of fire, breaking out near the foundations, continued their attacks, till the workmen, after repeated scorchings, could approach no more: and he gave up the attempt." Ammianus Marcellinus, Res Gestae, 23.1.2–3.
  16. ^ Jacob Lassner: Muslims on the sanctity of Jerusalem: preliminary thoughts on the search for a conceptual framework. In: Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam. Band 31 (2006), p. 176.
  17. ^ Necipoğlu 2008, p. 22.
  18. ^ Vogüé 1864, p. 85.
  19. ^ Sheila Blair, "What Is The Date Of The Dome Of The Rock?" in J. Raby & J. Johns (ed.), "Bayt Al-Maqdis: `Abd al-Malik's Jerusalem", 1992, Part 1, Oxford University Press: Oxford (UK), pp. 59-87. Via Did `Abd al-Malik Build Dome Of The Rock To Divert The Hajj From Makkah? at "Islamic Awareness", posted 18 February 2001, accessed 18 February 2019
  20. ^ Oleg Grabar: The Meaning of the Dome of the Rock.
  21. ^ Busse, Heribert (1991). "Zur Geschichte und Deutung der frühislamischen Ḥarambauten in Jerusalem". Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins (in German). 107: 144–154. JSTOR 27931418.
  22. ^ Richard Ettinghausen; Oleg Grabar; Marilyn Jenkins (2001). Islamic Art and Architecture 650–1250. Yale University Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-300-08869-4.
  23. ^ Goitein, Shelomo Dov (1950). "The historical background of the erection of the Dome of the Rock". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 70 (2): 104–108. JSTOR 595539.
  24. ^ Amiran, D.H.K.; Arieh, E.; Turcotte, T. (1994). "Earthquakes in Israel and adjacent areas: macroseismic observations since 100 B.C.E.". Israel Exploration Journal. 44 (3/4): 260–305 [267]. JSTOR 27926357.
  25. ^ Necipoğlu 2008, p. 31.
  26. ^ Stark, Rodney. God's Battalions; a Case for the Crusades. Harper Collins, NY, 2009, pp. 84–85.