Dome of the Rock
The magnificent Dome of the Rock stands out prominently on the temple mount as one of the most beautiful sites in the Old City, and, like the city itself, has been passed from hand to hand throughout various conquests in the city’s history.
The structure was built in the 7th century at the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik, but was converted into a church after the crusaders conquest. Muslim control of the site was restored in the 12th century when Salah A-din captured the land of Israel. However, it was only in the Ottoman regime that the Dome of the Rock structure was renovated and decorated with colorful porcelain tiles from Armenia. The dome is covered with thin sheets of pure gold worth millions of dollars, a gift of Hussein King of Jordan.
The dome is built in an octagonal shape with each edge 20 meters long. Outside stand several arches above which is an impressive sun dial. There are four entrances and inner space features round pillars, arches and beams decorated with mosaics of greenery and verses from the Koran.
The dome itself is not a mosque, and its main purpose is to protect and adorn the foundation stone at its center which has paramount religious significance.