Panoramic view of the walled holy city of Jerusalem


A mountainous walled city with a 5,000-year history, Jerusalem is sacred to the three great monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam - which means it is sacred to more than a third of the world's population. For Jews, Jerusalem is the site of the Temple, now in ruins except for the Western Wall; for Christians, the site of Christ's crucifixion, burial and resurrection; for Muslims, the site of the Prophet Muhammad's night journey to Heaven. Jerusalem is thus a major site of pilgrimage for all three religions as well as, unfortunately, a place of religio-political tension over this important piece of land.


Map of Old City Jerusalem


Jerusalem is the city into which Jesus rode on the back of a young donkey while crowds went before Him placing their cloaks and palm branches upon the road shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!' Hosanna in the highest!" Jerusalem was the center of Jewish religious worship, the Temple being there.





Tempat Islam yang paling terkenal di Yerusalem adalah Dome of the Rock (Qubbat as-Sakhrah), yang mengesankan untuk dilihat dari berbagai arah di Yerusalem. It is the crowning glory of the Haram es-Sharif ("Noble Sanctuary"), or Temple Mount.

The holy land of Abrahamic religion. The Dome of the Rock from the Tower of David, with the Mount of Olives and Russian Church of St. Mary Magdalene in the background

Dome of the Rock itu bukan masjid, tetapi sebuah tempat yang dianggap suci bagi umat Islam seperti ka'abah di Mekkah yang dibangun di atas batu yang dianggap suci. Batu tersebut dipercaya sebagai tempat dimana nabi Muhammad naik ke Surga pada malam hari. Dome of the Rock adalah monumen tertua bagi umat Islam yang masih tetap berdiri hingga kini dan memang tampak indah sekali. Waktu dulu sebagai mihrab (arah sembahyang bagi umat Islam) di seantero dunia).

Eastern view of the Dome of the Rock and its platform, from the Mount of Olives. In the background are the blue domes of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the holiest Christian site in Jerusalem

The sacred rock over which the Dome of the Rock is built was considered holy before the arrival of Islam. Jews believed, and still believe, the rock to be the very place where Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac (an event which Muslims place in Mecca). In addition, the Dome of the Rock (or the adjacent Dome of the Chain) is believed by many to stand directly over the site of the Holy of Holies of both Solomon's Temple and Herod's Temple.
The Dome of the Rock was built by the Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik from 688 to 691 AD. It was not intended to be a mosque, but a shrine for pilgrims. According to tradition, the Dome of the Rock was built to commemorate Muhammad's ascension into heaven after his night journey to Jerusalem, Qur'an 17. But there seems to have been more to it than this, since the Dome of the Ascension was later built nearby.

The south side of the Dome of the Rock viewed through one of eight qanatirs that arch over the entrances to the Dome of the Rock platform. Closer view of one of the qanatirs (arcades) on the Dome of the Rock platform. Most of the columns of the qanatirs are reused from earlier buildings, including Christian churches.

Actually, according to the Oxford Archaeological Guide to the Holy Land, "Abd al-Malik's purpose was more complex and subtle." He wished to erect a beautiful Muslim building that could compete with the majestic churches of Christendom and would be a symbolic statement to both Jews and Christians of the superiority of the new faith of Islam. "His building spoke to Jews by its location, to Christians by its interior decoration."
In the 10th century, the Jerusalem visitor Mukaddasi wrote of the magnificent structure:
At dawn, when the light of the sun first strikes the dome and the drum catches the rays, then is this edifice a marvellous sight to behold, and one such than in all of Islam I have not seen the equal; neither have I heard tell of anything built in pagan times that could rival in grace this Dome of the Rock.

View of one of the two qanatirs (arcades) on the north side of the Dome of the Rock platform. Most of the columns of the qanatirs are reused from earlier buildings, including Christian churches


By the 11th century, several legends had developed concerning the Dome of the Rock and its sacred stone, including the following:
They say that on the night of his Ascension into Heaven the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, prayed first at the Dome of the Rock, laying his hand upon the Rock. As he went out, the Rock, to do him honor, rose up, but he laid his hand on it to keep it in its place and firmly fixed it there. But by reason of this rising up, it is even to this present day partly detached from the ground beneath.

Dome of the Rock or Omar Mosque in 1910, the dome before plating with gold.

The Dome of the Rock from the east platform. The lower half of the outer octagon is made of white veined marble, while the top half is covered with geometrical designs made of colored tiles. Originally, the top half featured vegetation-themed mosaics, but these did not stand up well to Jerusalem winters. Suleiman the Magnificent replaced them with Turkish tiles in 1545. Just visible on the right side of the photo is the small, 16th-century Dome of the Spirits.


In the Middle Ages, Christians and Muslims both believed the dome to be the biblical Temple of Solomon. The Knights Templar made their headquarters there during the Crusades and later patterned their churches after its design.
The exterior mosaics that once adorned the Dome of the Rock suffered from exposure to Jerusalem winters. They were repaired in the Mamluk period, and then completely replaced with tiles by Sulieman the Magnificent in 1545. At the same time, he created the parapet wall with its intricate inscription by filling up the thirteen small arches that originally topped each facade. The windows of the Dome of the Rock date from this period as well. The tiling was completely replaced in the last major restoration in 1956-62.

Nestled up close to the Dome of the Rock on the eastern side is this smaller structure, the Dome of the Chain. The Dome of the Chain is located on the approximate center of the Temple Mount and probably functioned as a treasury. According to some scholars, it stands over the site of the sacrificial altar of the Jewish Temple.

The extraordinary visual impact of the Dome of the Rock is in part due to the mathematical rhythm of its proportions. All the critical dimensions are related to the center circle that surrounds the sacred stone. For example, each outer wall is 67 feet long, which is exactly the dome's diameter and exactly its height from the base of the drum.

The same principles were used in Byzantine churches of Italy, Syria, and Palestine, but none compare to the integration of plan and elevation seen in the Dome of the Rock.
The great golden dome that crowns the Dome of the Rock was originally made of gold, but was replaced with copper and then aluminum. The aluminum is now covered with gold leaf, a donation from the late King Hussein of Jordan.
The dome is topped by a full moon decoration which evokes the familiar crescent moon symbol of Islam. It is aligned so that if you could look through it, you would be looking straight towards Mecca.
The beautiful multicolored Turkish tiles that adorn the shrine's exterior are faithful copies of the Persian tiles that Suleiman the Magnificent added in 1545 to replace the damaged originals. The lower half of the exterior is white marble.
The Arabic inscription around the octagonal part of the Dome of the Rock are verses from the Qur'an. The inscription dates from the renovation under Suleiman. The tiled area just below the golden dome is the drum. Its glazed tiles were made in Turkey, and its Arabic inscription tells of the Night Journey of Muhammad as described in the Qur'an, surah 17.
Inside the shrine, an arched wall called the octagonal arcade or inner octagon follows the exterior shape. An open space between this and the central circle forms the inner ambulatory around the Rock, carpeted in lush red. The area between the inner octagon and outer octogan (exterior wall) forms a smaller, outer ambulatory, carpeted in green. The two ambulatories recall the ritual circular movement of pilgrims around the Ka'ba in Mecca.


This photo shows the interior of the Dome of the Rock outside the center circle. We are standing in the outer ambulatory, the part carpeted in green. The columns are part of the inner octagon, which separates the outer ambulatory from the wider inner ambulatory (carpeted in red). Like those of the center circle (seen on the right and in the next photo), these columns are recycled from earlier buildings.

The cupola, the interior of the great golden dome, features elaborate floral decorations in red and gold, as well as various inscriptions. The main inscription in the cupola commemorates Saladin, who sponsored extenstive restoration work on the building.

The interior of the Dome of the Rock lives up to the beauty of its exterior, and even surpasses it. This photo shows the center circle, which surrounds the sacred rock. The circle consists of 4 large pillars and 12 slender marble columns, which were recycled from previous structures. Above is the drum and then the cupola, the inside of the golden dome that can be seen from all over the city. The carved ceilings outside of the circle first appeared in the 14th century; the Mamluk star is a dominant motif. The arches that can be seen behind the columns form the inner octagon, of which we get a closer view in the next photo

The mosaics of the interior feature both realistic and stylized representations of vegetation and related themes (Muslim law forbids the representation of living beings in art). The mosaics evoke an exotic garden, perhaps the gardens of Paradise. Rich jewelry is also depicted in abundance, including breastplates, necklaces, and a Persian crown with features gathered at the base. The caliph Omar had conquered Persia in 637, and the mosaics symbolize the Persian crowns he sent to hang in Mecca.


From just outside the center circle, we can look up into the beautifully decorated cupola that shelters the sacred rock. The cupola features elaborate floral designs as well as various inscriptions.

The founding inscription is a monumental 240-meter long line of Kufic script running along the top of both sides of the octagonal arcade inside the Dome of the Rock. On the outer side of the arcade, the inscription quotes Quranic verses glorifying God.
On the eastern side, an inscription gives credit for the building's construction to the Abbasid caliph al-Mamun in the year 72 AH (691 AD). However, al-Mamun reigned from 813-33 AD, so the inscription clearly represents an Abbasid effort to claim credit for the achievement of the previous dynasty.

And here's a view not seen even by most visitors to the Dome of the Rock, a close look of the beautifully decorated cupola and drum. The Arabic inscriptions commemorate Saladin, who sponsored extensive restoration work on the building.

Much of the inscription on the inner side of the octagonal arcade exhorts Christians to depart from error of the Trinity and recognize the truth of Islam:
O People of the Book! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning God save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a Messenger of God, and His Word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in God and His messengers, and say not 'Three' - Cease! (it is) better for you! - God is only One God. Far be it removed from His transcendent majesty that He should have a son. ... Whose disbelieveth the revelations of God (will find that) lo! God is swift at reckoning!


View across the sacred rock that is the focus and namesake of the Dome of the Rock. Jews believe that it was on this rock that Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac, and this stone may have once stood in Solomon's Temple. Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad took flight on his winged horse from this rock on his Night Journey to heaven, leaving imprints behind. Muslim tradition also has it that it an angel will appear here with a trumpet call to announce the Last Judgement at end of the world

The columns supporting the inner octagon and the center circle are of different sizes; they were recycled from previous structures. The crosses on some show them to have been taken from churches. The carved ceilings on either side of the inner octagon were not part of the original design; they first appeared in the 14th century and have been restored since then. The Mamluk star is the dominant motif.

View across the sacred rock, with sunlight streaming in the open doors

The small, flat mihrab (niche showing the direction of Mecca) belongs to the original building, and is the oldest mihrab preserved in the Islamic world. The wooden screen around the sacred rock was donated by the Ayyubid sultan al-Aziz in 1198. The Crusaders protected the rock from relic-snatching pilgrims by erecting a wrought-iron screen between the columns of the circle; it remained in place until 1960 and is now on display in the Islamic Museum.


Looking down from the drum, this is the sacred rock that is the focus and namesake of the Dome of the Rock. Jews believe that it was on this rock that Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac, and this stone may have once stood in Solomon's Temple. Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad took flight on his winged horse from this rock on his Night Journey to heaven, leaving imprints behind. Muslim tradition also has it that it an angel will appear here with a trumpet call to announce the Last Judgement at end of the world.

The sacred rock that is the central focus of the shrine is a large, ancient rock that may have once stood in the center of Solomon's Temple. For Jews, it is the rock on which Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac. For Muslims, it is the rock from which Muhammad's winged horse leapt into the sky, accompanied by the Archangel Gabriel, on the "Night Journey" into heaven, Qur'an 17. The rock is said to bear the horse's imprint. Muslim tradition holds that an angel will come to the rock to sound the trumpet call of the Last Judgement at the end of the world.

The reliquary next to the rock dates from the Ottoman period and contains a hair of Muhammad's beard.
The cavity beneath the rock, accessible by a staircase near the south entrance, is known as Bir el-Arwah, the "Well of Souls." It is said that here the voices of the dead mingle with the falling waters of the lower rivers of paradise as they drop into eternity.
Another legend says that the dead meet here twice a month to pray. In earlier days, those who prayed here after having walked around the rock were given a certificate entitling them admission to paradise; it was to be buried with them.

Mount Moriah

Masjid Cadas (Batu Karang) dianggap oleh banyak ahli sebagai salah satu bangunan terindah di bumi. Kubahnya berlapiskan emas. Arsitekturnya meniru basilika-basilika Kristen masa Bizantium. Dalamnya masjid terhias dengan mosaik-mosaik tembok, kaca-kaca warna dan permadani-permadani Persia yang indah. Di dalam masjid ini ada cadas yang dianggap suci. Panjangnya 13 meter, lebar 10 meter, dan tingginya hampir 1,5 meter. Menurut tradisi Islam, nabi Muhammad datang ke tempat ini dari Mecca dengan mengendarai bouraq untuk sembahyang di depan cadas itu sebelum berangkat ke Surga (mi'raj). Ketika ia mulai naik, cadas itu pun terangkat di bawah telapak kakinya, tetapi dihentikan oleh malaikat Gabriel. Bekas tangan malaikat itu terukir pada cadas suci ini. Menurut kepercayaan lain, pada akhir zaman, dari cadas ini akan terdengar bunyi terompet tanda dimulainya Penghakiman Terakhir. Allah akan bertahta di atas cadas ini sebagai hakim. Di bawah cadas terdapat sebuah goa yang konon dipakai dulu oleh Arauna sebagai gudang peralatan. Salah satu sudut cadas ini menyerupai lidah. Konon bagian cadas itu pernah bersuara kepada Omar sambil menyalaminya. Di dalam goa diperlihatkan tempat-tempat dimana pernah berdoa Abraham, Daud, Salomo, Elia, dan Muhammad.

Names: Dome of the Rock
Type of site: Muslim shrine
Dates: Built 688-91 AD
Location: Haram es-Sharif (Temple Mount), Old City, Jerusalem
Hours: 8:30am to 3pm. Closed during midday prayers. The Temple Mount is not open to visitors on Friday or Muslim holidays, or during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Cost: Admission NIS 38 ($8.40) for Al-Aqsa Mosque, Dome of the Rock, and Islamic Museum. The combined admission ticket can be purchased from a stone kiosk between Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock.


Penting untuk mengunjungi the Temple Mount yang di dalamnya ada the Dome of the Rock, maka harus berhati-hati dalam menentukan group tour terutama dari Indonesia yang kebanyakan tidak mengagendakan untuk mengunjungi the Temple Mount apalagi the Dome of the Rock yang notabene adalah Bait Suci tempat Yesus sering ke situ. The Dome of the Rock sungguh sangat penting bagi kita umat Kristen, Yahudi, dan Islam. Kebanyakan tour group bule menganggap sangat penting tempat paling krusial dan bersejarah tersebut. Dari situ kita dapat melihat panorama kota Jerusalem yang sangat indah dari berbagai arah. Harap perhatikan jam berkunjung yang sudah ditentukan karna tempat ini sangat diminati peziarah seantero dunia.




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