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Israel 

Mosques
 
At the heart of Jerusalem is the Noble Sanctuary, Al-Haram al-Sharif, enclosing over 35 acres of fountains, gardens, buildings and domes. At its southernmost end is Al-Aqsa Mosque and at its centre the celebrated Dome of the Rock. The entire area is regarded as a mosque and comprises nearly one sixth of the walled city of Jerusalem.
The Noble Sanctuary is one of the three most important sites in Islam, and a showcase for Islamic architecture and design from Umayyad to Ottoman times that continues as an important religious and educational centre for Muslims to the present day.
 
 
The Dome of the Rock
Jerusalem became known as Al-Quds, The Holy. Many of the Prophet's Companions travelled to worship at the blessed spot to which Muhammad was brought by night and from which he ascended through the heavens to his Lord. According to the authenticated tradition of the Prophet, travel for the sake of worship is undertaken to only three mosques; the Sacred Mosque in Makkah, the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah, and the Furthest Mosque in Jerusalem.

In 685 the Umayyad Khalif, Abdul Malik ibn Marwan, commenced work on the Dome of the Rock. Essentially unchanged for more than thirteen centuries, the Dome of the Rock remains one of the world's most beautiful and enduring architectural treasures.
 
The gold dome stretches 20 metres across the Noble Rock, rising to an apex more than 35 meters above it. The Qur'anic verse 'Ya Sin' is inscribed across the top in the dazzling tile work commissioned in the 16th century by Suleiman the Magnificent.
 
Al-Aqsa Mosque
After completion of the Dome of the Rock, construction began at the site of the original timber mosque built in the time of 'Umar. A vast congregational mosque rose up, accommodating more than five thousand worshippers. Originally commissioned by 'Abdul Malik ibn Marwan, it was apparently completed by his son Al-Walid in 705AD.

The building became known as Masjid al-Aqsa, Al-Aqsa Mosque, although in reality the whole area of the Noble Sanctuary is considered Al-Aqsa Mosque, the entire precincts inviolable according to Islamic law. Every Friday prayer, the Al-Aqsa Mosque building overflows, with thousands of worshippers who must make their prayers outside in the courtyards of the vast open expanse of the Noble Sanctuary.
 
While the Dome of the Rock was constructed as a mosque to commemorate the Prophet's Night Journey, the building known as Al-Aqsa Mosque became a centre of worship and learning, attracting great teachers from all over the world.

It has been modified several times to protect it from earthquakes, which sometimes occur in the area, and to adapt to the changing needs of the local population. The form of the present structure has remained essentially the same since it was reconstructed by the Khalif Al-Dhahir in 1033 AD. It is said that he did not alter it from the previous architecture except to narrow it on each side.
 
 
Solomon's Stables
Solomon's Stables is the common name of an area located directly underneath the south eastern corner of the Temple Mount. Today, the stables' remains are located 12½ meters below the Temple Mount Courtyard, and consist of twelve rows of pillars and arches.
The area has had the name Solomon's Stables since Crusader times, during which they were used by the crusaders as stables; the Temple Mount above is traditionally the location of the Temple of Solomon. However, they are unlikely to date as far back as Solomon, and are more plausibly due to Herod the Great, who substantially extended the Temple Mount platform by building the vaults at this corner, and elsewhere, to support it.
 
Islamic tradition credits a caliph named el-Marwani with transforming this area of the vaults into a series of usable rooms, rather than just going down to the bedrock directly, and regards the location as having originally been intended as a mosque (which is thus known as the el-Marwani mosque). In 1996, the waqf converted the area (which had from crusader times been mostly empty) into a modern mosque, capable of housing 7,000 people.
 
Salman Al-Parsi Mosque
The mosque is located near the side road in the village of A-tor, east of the Dome of Ascension Mosque. It was constructed during the Ottoman regime. The mosque was named after a renowned figure in Muslim history who took part in the first wars of Islam. He was said, by Muslim tradition, to have lived 250 years and to have possessed supernatural capabilities.
 
Chanakah Mosque
This perimeter includes a number of buildings including a towered mosque which was constructed in the year of 1417, also including inner halls and large rooms. ''Chanakah'' is a residential apartment and place of prayer for the Darwishim. A structure from the crusader period of the twelfth century, it was apparently the residence of the patriarch. In 1189, after the Muslims captured the city, Tsalah-a-din, the vanquisher, reformed the structure into a Darwishim residence and named the place after himself. In order that it would have continued contributions for maintenance purposes, Tsalah-a-din dedicated several finances to it from different sources: from the fields in the valley and from the water pool known as the grower water.
In the west wing of the group of structures, in the direction leading to Christians street, there is an older gateway which previously led to the Church of the Tomb. South of the gate, in the Chanakah perimeter, is the main hall in which the Darwishim would congregate. 
 
*Info courtesy of Jerusalem Municipality.


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