Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock (Arabic: قبة الصخرة Qubbat al-Sakhrah, Hebrew: כיפת הסלע Kippat 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.
|Dome of the Rock|
|Administration||Ministry of Awqaf (Jordan)|
|Architectural style||Umayyad, Abbasid, Ottoman|
|Date established||built 688–692, expanded 820s, restored 1020s, 1545–1566, 1721/2, 1817, 1874/5, 1959–1962, 1993.|
Its architecture and mosaics were patterned after nearby Byzantine churches and palaces, 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.
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. 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.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has been called "Jerusalem's most recognizable landmark," along with two nearby Old City structures, the Western Wall, and the "Resurrection Rotunda" in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
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 (4 piers and 12 columns).
Surrounding this circle is an octagonal arcade of 24 piers and columns. 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. 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.
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).
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. Al-Isra, the Surah 17 which tells the story of the Isra or Night Journey, is inscribed above this.
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.
Jerusalem was ruled by the Christian Byzantine Empire throughout the 4th to 6th centuries. During this time, Christian pilgrimage to Jerusalem began to develop. 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.
Original Umayyad construction
The initial octagonal structure and its round wooden dome had basically the same shape as is does today.
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.
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. 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.
An alternative interpretation claims that the inscription indicates the year when construction started.
Some scholars have suggested that the dome was added to an existing building, built either by Muawiyah I (r. 661–680), or indeed a Byzantine building dating to before the Muslim conquest, built under Heraclius (r. 610–641).
Its architecture and mosaics were patterned after nearby Byzantine churches and palaces. 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.
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." 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. The dome collapsed in an earthquake in 1015 and was rebuilt in 1022–23. The mosaics on the drum were repaired in 1027–28.
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. 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, and a wooden screen was placed around the rock below. 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.
Ottoman Empire (1517–1917)
- St. Laurent, Beatrice (1998). "The Dome of the Rock and the politics of restoration". Bridgewater Review. 17 (2): 14–20.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dome of the Rock.|
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- Dome of the Rock Sacred sites
- The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem Masterpieces of Islamic Architecture
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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.
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