Dome of the Rock, Israel

By Kayl Murdough


The Dome of the Rock is located in the city of Jerusalem in Israel. It is on the center of the Temple Mount, on a raised platform. The raised platform area is very large.

The Dome of the Rock

This edifice is very impressive and can be seen from all over Jerusalem. The Dome of the Rock is the oldest Islamic monument that stands today. It was created using mathematical proportions. The critical dimensions are related to the center circle that surrounds the sacred stone. The dome is topped by a full moon decoration. In addition, there is an Arabic inscription around the octagonal part of the dome. There are elaborate floral decorations as well.

History of the Dome of the Rock

The Dome of the Rock was built by the Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik from 688 to 691 A.D. It was built as a shrine not as a mosque. We do not know the real reasons why they built this shrine. The Oxford Archaeological Guide to the Holy Land states that Abd al-Malik's purpose was "to create a monument to compete with other majestic churches of Christendom and would be a symbolic statement to both Jews and Christians of the superiority of the new faith of Islam."

The name "Dome" comes from its gold top and "Rock" comes from the sacred stone it was built over. The dome has survived through many historical ages. The Christians and Muslims believed the shrine to be the biblical Temple of Solomon during the middle ages. Over time the dome has gone through many restorations and still survives as a symbol for both Muslims and Jews.


The Dome of the Rock was originally created to celebrate the new Islamic religion. So the Muslims hold this place sacred. Even before the dome was built, the Jews believed the site was sacred. Jews still believe this place is sacred today.

Why Sacred?

Muslims and Jews hold this place sacred in different ways. Muslims believe this place is sacred as the place where Muhammad ascended into heaven, or Mecca, after his journey to Jerusalem. The Jewish people believe that the rock that this shrine was built upon was the rock where Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac.
The picture above shows the interior of the dome with the sacred rock. It is amazing that this one location is so sacred to two different religions.