Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dome of the Rock

For our Sunday outing we went to the Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary). We met many of the BYU students there. It seems that almost every Sunday since the semester began, there have been tensions in the Old City on Sundays that have resulted in security limitations on going into the Old City. Today was a cool, sunny exception. Yeah. Since the outbreak of the al-Aqsa intifada in 2000, visitors to the Haram have not been able to go inside the two mosques. Tis a shame because the Dome of the Rock is one of the most spectacular and beautiful structures-inside and out--on the face of earth
The Dome of the Rock was built to commemorate the place of Mohammad's night journey into heaven where he met earlier prophets.

Under the dome is a large limestone rock from which Mohammad ascended. It is also believed to be where the Temples of Solomon and Herod were located. The mount is also the site of Abraham's sacrifice of a ram instead of Isaac.

When a third temple is built in Jerusalem it will most likely be on this mount. I always like to point out to those who think the Dome of the Rock is in the way of such a temple that there is plenty of room on the Temple Mount for a Temple along side the Dome of the Rock.
Since no one knows where exactly the first two temples were located (the Romans did a great job of demolishing the second one) Rabbis have decreed that Jews should not go up on the mount lest they walk over the location of the Holy of Holies and thus profane sacred space.
An inside view of the sealed Golden Gate the leads from the Kidron Valley up on the mount.
We left the mount through the cotton merchant gate and wandered through the narrow streets of the residential area of the Muslim quarter.

A glimpse inside to the well maintained courtyard of a home.
A Jewish man walking in Muslim quarter. We passed several Jewish homes. These homes are marked with Israeli flags.
A Muslim home decorated in honor of a family member's pilgrimage to Mecca. By this point Sarah was fading with a rising temperature and flu like symptoms so we headed back to the center where she spent the rest of the day on the couch sleeping and watching videos I brought back from Jordan. No school for her tomorrow.


  1. Another great post that brought back many memories. We are both glad we were able to go inside the Dome of the Rock on previous trips - it really was and is magnificant. We hope Sarah recovers soon and without complication.

  2. Your posts are better than anything in National Geographic. Can a goy or infidel living in Palestine get Swine Flu? Hope Sarah is recovering.

  3. We started Sarah on antibiotics today for what looks like toncilites. The students are anxious for more opportunities to interact with the locals. I recommended that they volunteer at Will's pre-school where they can play with cute Arab children. The proposal was shot down out of fear (unfounded from my perspective) of swine flu.