Dome of the Divine Presence

By the Editors of the Madain Project

Dome of the Divine presence (Kubat al–Sechina) is a 14th century CE mosque, also known as the Jameh Sittin, built over the remains of a first century CE synagogue.

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The synagogue of the Dome of the Divine presence is located south of the Tel Shilo site on a knoll, from which one can view all of the Shilo valley, the road to Jerusalem, and the mountain chain of Ba'al Hatzor. The outer walls slope inward and reach a height of two meters, giving the building an appearance similar to the Tent of Assembly. Around the entrance are embellishments unique to Jewish buildings, such as olive branches and urns.

Brief History

circa 500-600 CE

Jewish Pilgrimage
The pilgrims who visited this site, over the centuries surmised that this was the site of the Mishkan, and that the sloped walls resembld the Tent of Meeting. Some researchers believe it is the site of Eli the High priest. Its northern wall is sloped leading some to surmise that it was modeled after the Tabernacle but the prevailing current opinion is that the wall was improved upon at a later stage, perhaps extra support was added.

Muslim Tradition
During the 19th century, the local area residents called this site the Jameh as-Sittin (Mosque of the sixty). A mehrab can still be seen in the Qibla wall. The structure most probably was a synagogue and was improved during the Roman period (100-333 CE) and then taken over for use as a mosque.


circa 500-600 CE

The entrance to the structure is between the walls to the main hall and on the left (east) an entrance into one of the side rooms. It is a small structure from Byzantine period (4th-5th centuries CE), facing south, apparently used as a sunagogue. A few hundred years later sloping external walls were added, and the building was converted for use as a mosque known in the 14th century as Qubat al-Sakina (Dome of the Divine Presence), drawing on its original name.

circa 500-600 CE

Main Hall of Kubat al–Sechina
View looking south at the main hall of the Kubat al–Sechina. The niche in the far wall (south) faces toward Jerusalem and thus this structure may have originally been a synagogue. The current niche is probably a Mihrab indicating the direction (qibla) towards Mecca. Note the two windows on the far wall—possibly the structure had a nave and two aisles.

circa 500-600 CE

Above the entrance was a stone lintel (inspect), adorned with a relief of altars, a pitcher and flowers. The decorations on the lintel over the doorway, between two wreaths of flowers, was carved a vessel shaped like a Roman amphora, so closely resembling the "pot of manna," as found on coins and in the ruins of the synagogue at Capernaum, that it doubtless formed part of the original building.


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