Jerusalem is one of the most important historical cities in the world. Every major Western religion views Jerusalem as a holy city, giving it an intense spirituality of unlike any other place on earth.
The Temple Mount, which is the most important site in Jerusalem for Muslims, sits high above the city and occupies a large space, which was once the home of Herod’s Temple.
There are three key sites on the Temple Mount:
Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock was built in 691 CE over the former site of the two Jewish Temples, which were built, in turn, over the rock on which Abraham had planned to kill his son Isaac at God’s command. Despite its definitively Islamic orientation, the structure is based almost entirely upon Christian (more specifically, Byzantine) architectural and decorative precedent, with its prominent dome and elaborate, internal mosaics. This structure is intended as a shrine, not a mosque (there is no direction indicated for prayer and no room for the faithful to pray), and was chiefly intended to be a symbolic place of pilgrimage.
The El-Aqsa Mosque was originally built in 709-715, but was entirely rebuilt in 1033 after fire and earthquakes destroyed the original structure. The current structure conforms to a basilical plan, consisting of 7 aisles lined by columns. These aisles lead to a central dome made of silver-colored lead sheets that rises over the mihrab.
These stables have nothing to do with King Solomon and are actually an underground support structure erected by Herod. The “stables”, which are located on the south-east corner, may have been used during the Crusader period to house horses, hence the name.
Written and contributed by approachguides