Well of Souls

The Well of Souls (بئر الأرواح‎ Bir al-Arwah) sometimes translated Pit of Souls, Cave of Spirits, or Well of Spirits is a partly natural, partly man-made cave located inside the Foundation Stone under the Dome of the Rock shrine in Jerusalem. Also known in Christianity and Judaism by the time of the Crusades as the Holy of Holies.

circa 100 BCE

Well of Souls at Temple Mount

Panoramic view of the Well of Souls, entrance and the Mehrabs of the cavern. The name "Well of Souls" derives from a medieval Islamic legend that at this place the spirits of the dead can be heard awaiting Judgment Day. The name has also been applied to a depression in the floor of this cave and a hypothetical chamber that may exist beneath it. The cave chamber is roughly square, about 6 meters on a side, and ranges from ≈1.5 to 2.5 m (4 ft 11 in to 8 ft 2 in) high.

circa 100 BCE

Well of Souls at Temple Mount

Prayer niche dedicated to Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim) in the northern corner of the chamber. The ceiling of the cave appears natural, while the floor has been long ago paved with marble and carpeted over.

circa 100 BCE

Well of Souls at Temple Mount

Prayer niche dedicated to Prophet Khidr () to the north-west corner of the chamber. Both Jewish and Muslim traditions relate to what may lie beneath the Foundation Stone, the earliest of them found in the Talmud in the former and understood to date to the 12th and 13th centuries in the latter.

circa 100 BCE

David's Mehrab in the Well of Souls at Temple Mount

The mehrab dedicated to King David (Dawud), is located in the southern corner of the chamber. It is a trefoil arch supported by miniature marble twisted-rope columns.

circa 100 BCE

Solomon's Mehrab in the Well of Souls at Temple Mount

The mehrab dedicated to King Solomon (prophet Suleiman). According to Goldhill this is one of the oldest mehrabs in the world, dating back at least to the 9th century or possibly 7th century CE to the time of ibn Marwan. It is a shallower, but ornately decorated, prayer niche dedicated to Solomon.

circa 100 BCE

Well of Souls Entrance at Temple Mount

Entrance to the Well of Souls is at the southeast angle of the Foundation Stone, beside the southeast pier of the Dome of the Rock shrine. Here a set of 16 new marble steps descend through a cut passage thought to date to Crusader times.

circa 100 BCE

Well of Souls Entrance at Temple Mount

The floor of the cave during a recent (April 2015) carpet changing.

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