Monday, May 18, 2009

Dome of the Rock Part 1

We had the most amazing experience Sunday morning. Through a good friend of ours here who has a lot of connections, we actually got to go INSIDE the Dome of the Rock! For a non-Muslim, this is a very special and rare opportunity. And it was amazing. Something I will never forget.

We only had one problem. Even though I thought ahead enough to charge my camera battery through the previous night, once we got to the Old City I realized I was missing my photo card!!! I'm not sure I have EVER been that mad at myself. But luckily friends of ours were there and promised to share their pictures. Then part-way through the tour, another friend (our "connection" to get in) realized we weren't using our camera so he let us borrow his.

So, hopefully sometime in the near future, I will be able to share those photos.

In the meantime, I thought I'd post some pictures I took back in October when we went to the Dome of the Rock for the first time. I'm not sure why I never posted them, but I'll share them now. Just to give a little background, the Dome of the Rock was built 1400 years ago. The dome is built over a most sacred rock that holds a lot of religious significance to Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Muslims believe that this is where Muhammad ascended to heaven. Jews and Christians believe that it is the spot of the Holy of Holies during the Temple Period. It is also tradition that this is the spot where Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac.

We actually saw and touched this rock, and words cannot describe how excited I was. From the moment we found out we were coming to Israel, one of the main things on my list of things to do was to find a way to get inside the Dome of the Rock. So I was thrilled to actually be able to do it.

Here are our pictures from October....

The dome was originally made of pure gold. But it was later replaced by copper and aluminum but covered in gold leaf.

Joni standing in front of one of the many entrances.

Porcelain tiles cover another dome called Dome of the Chain that is built next to the Dome of the Rock. It is uncertain why this structure was built. You will see it's proximity to the Dome of the Rock in a video below.
Joni standing in the Dome of the Chain. It is all so beautiful. Lots of marble and intricate porcelain.

Muslim woman standing in front of one of the doors. Look at all that gorgeous marble!

The exterior is made of beautiful porcelain tiles and marble. The Arabic inscription near the top are quotes from the Qur'an.

This is a washing place called al-Kas where Muslim worshipers wash themselves before entering the nearby Al-Aqsa Mosque (which we also got to go inside on Sunday!). It was first built in 709, and then in the 20th century they added the taps and stone seats.

Here are a couple of videos that show the layout of the buildings and the surrounding archways.....

(you can see the Dome of the Chain very clearly over to the right of the Dome of the Rock)

The Dome of the Rock is such a special place for so many reasons. You can see it from so many places throughout the city, and it is a constant reminder of the significance of this Holy place.


Devon said...

Holy freak, you got to go inside?!?! Awesome! I can't wait to see the pics!!

Megan G said...

That all sounds so awesome. I can't wait to see more pics too.

Chad and Kristine said...

wow that sounds awesome. I have to say I love reading your blog. It takes me to another world in a sense. You and your family are so blessed to have this experience.

Jared and Tara said...

i can't wait to see those pics! although i'd settle for more posts. :)