Jerusalem, November 2005: As a holy city for Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Jerusalem has always been of great symbolic importance. Among its 220 historic monuments, the Dome of the Rock stands out: built in the 7th century, it is decorated with beautiful geometric and floral motifs. The Dome of the Rock is located on a rocky outcrop known as Mount Moriah, where according to Jewish belief, Abraham offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice. The inscriptions inside the building glorify Islam as the final true revelation and culmination of the faiths of Judaism and Christianity. According to later Islamic tradition, the Rock (al-Sakhra) in the midst of the building was the spot from which Mohammed ascended to heaven after his miraculous night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem on the winged steed al-Buraq.
During the Crusades, the Dome of the Rock was commandeered by the Knight’s Templar, who later patterned their churches after it’s design. Many medieval people believed it to actually be the famous Temple of King Solomon. Although sometimes referred to as the Mosque of Omar, the Dome of the Rock is in fact not a mosque at all. Today, it is at the very core of a bitter dispute between Palestinians and Israelis.