Religious and Historical Importance of Dome of the Rock

Dome of the Rock located in a part of Old Jerusalem is a vital structure to three major monotheistic world religions. With Dome of the Rock’s religious and historical importance in location, it has been a site of past supernatural events and prophesied to be the site of future events. The design of the building itself is also an example of harmonious proportion. Dome of the Rock has had much activity since the beginning of time. Dome of the Rock has many names for its key roles in religious histories. Muslims call it “Kubbat as-Sakhra, Crusaders named it “Templar Domini”, and the Hebrews know it as the “Temple Mount”.

The actual rock, AKA the “Foundation Stone” that the dome surrounds is significant to the Jewish and Christian faiths as it is where the world was created as it earthen form, Abraham offered his son Isaac as a blood sacrifice, Adam the first man, was made by God’s creation and an old site of King Solomon’s temple. The Muslim’s prize the rock for being the site where the Prophet Mohammed would make his nightly ascension to heaven and receive the doctrine of the Koran from the Archangel Gabriel. According to Muslim prophecy the rock is also the place where an angel will sound the trumpet call of the Last Judgment at the end of the world.

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The building is cardinally aligned and rises between the Kidron and Tyropoeon valleys with views of Mount Moriah and the Mount of Olives. The Dome is elevated on two trapezoidal shaped imbricated platforms. The smaller rectangular platform on which the Dome sits on is called the Haram Ash-Sharif or the Noble Sanctuary. The Noble Sanctuary rises from larger irregular shaped rectangular spread that opens to view upon approach. Dome of the Rock as a structure was built in the capacity of a shrine for Islamic pilgrimage.

It was built from 687-691 CE in Jerusalem, Israel near Mount Moriah under the supervision of the Islamic caliph, Abd Al-Malik. Dome of the Rock is an octagonal shaped building with a protruding dome supported by a drum-like element in the center of the octagon. There are three sections of the building, the drum, the vaulted dome and its ambulatories. The eight sides of the outer walls have entrance doors guided by the cardinal directions. Inside the doorways are two concentric ambulatories that enclose the Rock. The Rock is protected and gated off by a circular barrier.

The design of the structure is an example of geometric proportion in symphony. The circular border of the Rock contains the intersecting points of an inner octagon on which eight of its points stand eight of the sixteen supporting columns of the drum and dome. The drum and dome have a diameter of 20. 2m. The dome is made of wood and measures approximately 20. 4 m in height. Separating the inner and outer ambulatories is another arcade of 24 columns that connect at the inner points of a larger octagon in which four of its points make the cardinally oriented four entrance doors.

Each outer wall’s length is same measurement of the dome’s diameter and distance of the height from the bottom of the drum to the top of the dome. There is not a structural element out of place, every door, wall, column and intersecting point is in proportional relation to each other. Being located in an eventful space of supernatural and religious history, the Dome of the Rock is a vital shrine of remembrance to the beginnings of Judaism, Islam and Christianity. The structure of the Dome’s design brings an element of beauty through its relationship of geometric proportion.

The Dome of the Rock will always be a significant building to history through its past events and time will tell if it will also continue to be an important site in the future. Researching this structure was particularly interesting because of its major importance to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. I have always been interested in Judaism and Christianity. Studying about Islamic architecture brings another element of awareness that I was not very much informed about. To imagine the structure by description and see images of its plan brought a sense of perfect design in a land full of religious strife.

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Religious and Historical Importance of Dome of the Rock. (2016, Oct 19). Retrieved from