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Visit the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem with a Private Tour Guide

 

THE DOME OF THE ROCK JERUSALEM

 

 Visit the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem with a Private Tour Guide

 

As visitors explore the city of Jerusalem, a natural curiosity arises—the desire to witness the "business card" of this historic capital, the renowned Temple Mount, graced by the iconic Dome of the Rock. This golden marvel serves as a spiritual beacon, revered by adherents of the three major monotheistic religions globally, nestled within the heart of Jerusalem's ancient quarters. While the Temple Mount complex graciously welcomes all, the sacred enclave beneath the golden dome is a sanctuary exclusively accessible to devout Muslims. Delve into the profound narratives and architectural grandeur of this revered site by engaging a knowledgeable private tour guide in Jerusalem. Please read this unique article where religious and cultural motifs blend to reveal the fascinating background and meaning contained in this ageless work of art.

 

 

 DOME OF THE ROCK HISTORY

 

the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem with a Private Tour Guide

 

 

At the heart of Old Jerusalem lies one of the most recognizable religious monuments in the world – the glorious Golden Dome of the Rock. This iconic shrine is on the Temple Mount complex above the Western Wall, known as the Upper Platform.

Rising from the ancient plateau of Mount Moriah, the Dome’s brilliant metallic cap stretches 20 meters across its octagonal base, protecting a sacred rock revered by Muslims as the place where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. Surrounding the base, the Dome’s interior features ornate mihrabs, marble columns, rich mosaics, and exquisite Islamic inscriptions. 

The Temple Mount’s Upper Platform measures about 23 dunams (5.7 acres) – roughly 16% of the full 144 dunam complex. Constructed under the Umayyad Caliph Abd al Malik in 691 CE, the Dome’s creation signified the emergence of Islam as a dominant force in the region.

Eight broad stairways originally ascended to the Upper Platform, which increased to ten over time. These staircases culminate in elegant arched passageways providing access to Islam’s third holiest site. The Dome's breathtaking golden Dome, decorative exterior, and sacred internal rock make together the perfect architectural masterpiece. It has towered above Jerusalem for over 13 centuries as the most enduring Muslim monument in the Middle East, attracting millions of Muslim pilgrims through the ages.

 

DOME OF THE ROCK IMPORTANCE TO THE JEWS

 the place where abraham sacrefice issac

 

According to Jewish tradition, the foundation stone is situated under the Dome of the Rock and holds profound religious significance. Many scholars believe this stone is the location where Abraham, the first Jew, was commanded to sacrifice his son Isaac (though an angel intervened at the last moment) and the location where the second Jewish Temple was built by King David's son, King Solomon. In the Book of Genesis, Abraham bound Isaac atop a designated rock altar on Mount Moriah before preparing to perform the sacrifice (Genesis 22:1-19)

In addition, Jewish texts record that this rock was the precise site of the Holy Temple's inner sanctuary - known as the Holy of Holies or Kodesh Hakodashim in Hebrew. As chronicled in the Talmud, the Holy of Holies contained the sacred Ark of the Covenant and Tablets of the Law, and was entered just once annually by the High Priest on Yom Kippur (Babylonian Talmud Yoma 54b). The Talmud indicates this location corresponds to today's Dome of the Rock, which now stands where the Holy of Holies once housed the very presence of God in Judaism.

This rock carries immense meaning as the alleged place chosen by God where Abraham affirmed his dedication through the near-sacrifice of his beloved son Isaac, and where God's earthly presence resided in the Temple's inner sanctum. The rock remains a focal point for Jewish heritage, identity, and prayers for collective redemption.

 

DOME OF THE ROCK'S MUSLIM IMPORTANCE

 

the most important masque in jerusalem for muslims

 

Facing the Al Aqsa mosque, the sacred noble rock housed under the ornate dome is profoundly significant based on traditions tied to revered prophets, architecture, and anticipated end times and events.

This rock on the Haram al-Sharif marks where the Islamic prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven during his miraculous Night Journey to meet Allah as described in the Noble Quran. Islamic tradition also indicates the biblical patriarch and prophet Abraham (Ibrahim in Arabic) bound his firstborn son Ishmael (Ismail) as sacrifice atop this holy site, rather than Isaac as maintained in Judaism and Christian accounts. 

The Arabic inscription adorning the Great Mosque's Islamic architecture references chapter 17, verse 1 of Islam’s holy book which recounts Muhammad’s divine ascension, cementing the Dome as among Jerusalem’s most sacred destinations for Muslim pilgrimage equal to Mecca, Medina, and the Great Mosque of al-Aqsa. 

  

Additionally, some Islamic teachings suggest that on Judgement Day, the holy Kaaba structure in Mecca will join with the Foundation Stone under the Dome of the Rock, forming one structure where the trial of human souls shall transpire as Allah determines whether they deserve heaven or hell.

Through such profound prophets' legacies rooted beneath the glorious Islamic art of the Dome of the Rock in East Jerusalem and the pivotal eschatology surrounding it, these traditions markedly shape the enduring sanctity of the Noble Rock in Islamic faith and practice.

As ruler of Jordan from 1952 to 1999 which administered East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount area, King Hussein devoted himself intimately to restoring and safeguarding the iconic Dome of the Rock shrine situated on the Temple Mount - seeing its protection tied directly to his family's prestige as Hashemite descendants of the Prophet Muhammad. Through overseeing considerable renovations from retiling floors to re-gilding the dome, and working internationally to affirm Jordan's custodianship of Jerusalem's Muslim sites after 1967, Hussein spent nearly half a century intensely focused on preserving Islam's luminous jewel anchoring Al-Aqsa Mosque.

 

WHY IS THE DOME OF THE ROCK IMPORTANT TO CHRISTIANITY?

 

guided tour in jerusalem to the dome of the rock

 

The Dome of the Rock is important for Christians as well, even though it is an Islamic holy place. When visiting Jerusalem, appreciating the interwoven religious history of this sacred place offers insight into the city’s rich heritage. 

For Christians, the Temple Mount site where the Dome now stands is profoundly important as the location of biblical temples and the area where Jesus walked. According to the Gospels, Jesus visited the Second Temple's Court of the Gentiles and drove out the money changers and merchants there. 

Additionally, the Foundation Stone underneath the Dome is thought by some Christians to mark the place where Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac in obedience to God’s command, foreshadowing God’s sacrifice of his son Jesus. The stone carries a linkage to teachings that shaped Christian tradition.

By visiting the Dome of the Rock, Christians can sense the deep roots of their faith in this place and view the beautiful architecture later erected around enduring sacred locations. While an Islamic mosque now, understanding the intertwined religious history there makes an informed visit for Christian tourists more meaningful. The site’s rich layered heritage pre-dating the Dome leaves all with much to consider.

During the 12th-century Crusader period, the Dome of the Rock was repurposed as the Christian “Templum Domini” (Temple of the Lord). The Crusaders placed a cross atop the building and erected a barrier around the sacred rock to stop religious souvenir collecting. In 1187, Muslim leader Saladin reestablished the site as an Islamic shrine. Over subsequent years, minor additions were made, but the Dome itself remained structurally unchanged. 

A 10th-century account by Persian explorer al-Muqaddasi illuminates the original details of the Dome and Temple Mount plaza still recognizable today. He described the octagonal base supporting the enduring golden dome, flanked by stairways ascending the Upper Platform. Inside, columns of beautiful marble circled the rock and upheld interior vaults embellished with mosaics. From its base to peak, al-Muqaddasi estimated the Dome’s height at about 50 meters. The dome comprised three layers - interior decorative panels, iron beams, and outer wooden boards. At sunrise, no other building in Islam compared to the Dome's splendor. 

Remarkably across over ten centuries, accounts like al-Miqaddasi’s reveal the Dome of the Rock’s design has remained largely unaltered from initial Umayyad Caliph construction, though control and religious veneration shifted between Islamic and Christian rulers during the Crusades. Modern visitors continue to admire its enduring majesty, much as the earliest Muslim pilgrims did.

 

 

 

 

 DOME OF THE ROCK BEAUTY AND ARCHITECTURE

 

the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem on a guided Tour

 

The famous Dome of the Rock has undergone various restorations yet retains its original Umayyad design from the 7th century. The Ottoman Sultan Suleiman stunningly replaced its faded mosaics with Persian tiles in the 16th century. Its wooden dome collapsed during an 11th-century earthquake but was reconstructed to match the initial dome. The lead coating shielding the dome was restored by Jordan in the 1960s, and replaced by a gleaming gold cover in the 1990s.

Inside, intricate mosaics still adorn the drum walls, alongside modern stained glass windows added as recently as the 19th century to radiate light. The traditional rock rests under a colonnaded dome carried by marble, granite, and porous stone columns, some originating from the 7th-century structure. Glass bricks forming intricate mosaics interlay with marble and stone carved with ornate Arabic scripts and Islamic patterns. 

The underground cave beneath the rock, accessed by a mihrab-lined stairway, also retains heritage for over a millennium. Muslim traditions date it to Muhammad’s ascent while Crusaders attributed it to Zechariah’s prophesy of John the Baptist. This below-ground cave has withstood the ages, even as the dome above underwent inevitable upgrades over 10 centuries under shifting Muslim and Christian rule, to remain a splendid centerpiece of Jerusalem’s sacred landscape.

 

 

 DOME OF THE ROCK VISITOR GUIDELINES

 

gudelines to visit the dome of the rock

 

THERE ARE A FEW SIMPLE RULES AND INSTRUCTIONS YOU NEED TO FOLLOW

 

  • Arrive at the Temple Mount early and check the opening hours since the queues can be very long during the high season.
  • Don't take any religious items, Jewish and Christian artifacts are not permitted to the temple mount.
  • Plan your shopping after the visit to the temple mount
  • Take a passport, without the documents you won't be able to enter.
  • Dress modestly, cover your shoulders and knees, men have to wear long pants, women can wear pants or very long skirts.
  • Take photos only in places where you are allowed and respect the modesty of the place.
  • Prayers are not allowed to anyone except Muslims.
  • When visiting it is forbidden to practice Christian or Jewish prayer.

 

 VISIT THE DOME OF THE ROCK IN JERUSALEM

 

how to visit the temple mount and the dome of the rock

 

Book your visit to the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock, this is a memorable experience that you don't want to miss in Jerusalem. Check out my private Jerusalem tour and explore this noble sanctuary.

 

 

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SLAVA BAZARSKY
PHONE: +972 53 4779797