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Dome of the Rock Platform

The Dome of the Rock Platform, or the upper platform of Haram al-Sharif is a trapezoid raised area built around the peak of the Temple Mount, carrying the Dome of the Rock at the center of the Haram al-Sharif complex.

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Overview

The peak, over which the platform is built, just breaches the floor level of the upper platform within the Dome of the Rock, in the shape of a large limestone outcrop, which is part of the bedrock. The entire platform measures some 630 square meters. The upper platform is located more or less in the center of the Haram al-Sharif compound and is the highest section. A bit shifted to the west, it is some four meters higher than the lower platform which surrounds it on all four sides.

circa

The west faces the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and therefore the direction from which most people enter the Haram al-Sharif. The lower platform, surrounds the upper platform, extending on all sides. According to some accounts a large ancient water cistern is also located in the south-eastern corner.

Notable Structures

circa

Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock (قبة الصخرة) is the most important structure over the raised plateau at Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount). The dome of the Rock shrine, with the large golden dome and an octagon structure, was built by the Umayyad Khalif Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan in 691 (year 72 according to Muslim calendar), and named it after Omar. It is one of the most beautiful and enduring shrines in the World, and remained almost untouched throughout the years.

circa 700 CE

Arches
The Arched gates, also called “scales,” (البائكة) comprise a number of stone or marble columns that are linked together using arches. A number of arched gates surround the Dome of the Rock’s plateau on al-Aqsa compound, each one of them connected to a staircase. Eight sets of stairs allow access to the upper platfom of Masjid al-Aqsa Compound, through these arcades. In addition to facilitating worshipers’ accessibility to the 4-meter high plateau, the gates were built to serve a decorative function.

circa 700 CE

Dome of the Chain
The Dome of the Chain (قبة السلسلة) is a smaller domed building on the upper platform, slightly to the east of the Dome of the Rock, traditionally the location where a chain once rose to heaven. It is one of the several other domes inside Haram al-Sharif complex. Other domes on the upper platform include, Dome of al-Khalili, Dome of Yusuf, Dome of the Prophet, Dome of the Spirits, Dome of Mi'raj, al-Nahawiyya Dome, and Dome of Khidr.

circa 700 CE

Khilwāt
A number of retreat chambers (الخلوات) were built around the platform for notable Muslims over the years, which were used for worshipping, reading Qur’an, and getting closer to Allah the Almighty in solitude. There are some 15 such retreats built and concentrated north and west of the Dome of the Rock. These solitude chambers were built for the use by notable people such as Islambek, Qetas, Beak and Abdulhai al-Dajani.

circa 700 CE

Pulpit of Burhan al-Din
The elaborate structure of Minbar Burhan al-Din (منبر برهان الدين), known also as the Summer Pulpit, stands immediately adjacent to the southern colonnade of the Dome of the Rock terrace. It was built in multiple stages, and in addition, a mihrab, covered with marble plates, was built immediately to the east of the Summer Pulpit.

circa 700 CE

Water Wells
Some five ancient and modern wells (آبار) are situated on the upper platform of Haram al-Sharif. Although today the Haram al-Sharif gets its water from the city's water supply, in the past the large consumption of water in the al-Aqsa compound required a continuous and sufficient water supply, and this is the reason for the many wells, which functioned as water reserves. These wells not only provided water for the drinking fountains (Sabils), but for the purification (Wudu) purposes as well.

circa 700 CE

Well of Souls at Temple Mount

Well of Souls
The Well of Souls (بئر الأرواح) is a cave, beneath the surface of of the Dome of the Rock platform, originally accessible only by a narrow hole in the rock itself; the Crusaders hacked open an entrance to the cave from the south, by which it can now be entered. The name "Well of Souls" derives from an Islamic tradition that at this place the spirits of the dead can be heard awaiting Judgment Day. It is also known as the Cave of the Spirits (مغارة الأرواح).

circa 700 CE

Dome of the Prophet
The Dome of the Prophet (قبة النبي‎, Qubbat an-Nabi), also known as the Dome of the Messenger and the Dome of Muhammed is a free-standing dome-structure, located north-west of the Dome of the Rock. Several Muslim writers, most notably al-Suyuti and al-Vâsıtî claimed that the site of the dome is where prophet Muhammad led the former prophets and angels in prayer on the night of Isra and Mir'aj before ascending to Heaven.

circa 700 CE

Dome of the Spirits
The Dome of the Spirits (قبة الارواح) or Dome of the Tablets (قبة الألواح) is a small dome resting on a hexagonal base. Its other name, Dome of Tablets, comes from the Tablets of Stone, kept in the Ark of the Covenant. The Dome of the Spirits is located north-west of the Dome of the Rock (Kubbat al-Sakhra) and opposite of the Bab al-Rahmah (Eastern Gate) in al-Aqsa enclave. It is located close to the Dome of al-Khidr.

circa 700 CE

Dome of the Ascension
The Dome of Ascension is a small structure with an octagonal shape above and surrounding it, carried by thirty columns of marble. The dome is covered with marble slabs between the marble columns that keep it standing and there is an entrance door on the north side of the structure. There is a mihrab in the southern part of the dome. It is not known when and by whom it was made.

circa 700 CE

Foundation Stone
The Foundation Stone, over which the Dome of the Rock is built, is probably the most significant feature of the Temple Mount (Haram as-Sharif) complex. This outcrop of limestone is sacred to both, Jews and Muslims. According to Jewish tradition, the stone is the “navel of the Earth”—the place where creation began, and the site where Abraham was poised to sacrifice Isaac. For Muslims, the stone marks the place where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to the Divine Presence on his Night Journey.

See Also

References

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