Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dome of the Rock

The Dome of the Rock, the first major Islamic building ever built, amazes followers of Islam and other alike through the same elements. Located in Jerusalem on a site that is sacred to both Jews and Christians, the Dome of the Rock was built between the years 687-692, at the place that Muslims believe Muhammad journeyed into heaven. Designed with an octagonal base supporting a towering dome in the middle, the Dome of the Rock is both visually striking and arresting from the exterior as well as the interior. The dome itself shines golden in the sunlight and the exterior walls are covered with sixteenth century tiles. Originally covered with mosaic, it had to be replaced and better preserved. However, the interior of the Dome still boasts the original mosaic work that is intricate beyond compare. The rock that composes the middle of the rotunda stands almost relic-like because of its importance and the elevation of their prophet Muhammad is only expounded upon as one’s eye is drawn upward to the sweeping mosaics, brightly painted Romanesque arches, and stain glass windows. It is interesting that this place is one sacred to the three main monotheistic religions and that the structure around it utilizes the same principle of grandeur to inspire to devotion and reverence in its visitors. 

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