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Important Holy Places in Jerusalem II

Jerusalem is a holy city that means a great deal to many different religious groups , attracting millions of visitors and tourists each year. In this article, you will learn more about the important sites, such as the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The Dome of the Rock

Located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the Dome of the Rock is a shrine that is significant to different religious groups. At the center of the site, there is a rock called the Foundation Stone that

The site was originally completed in 691 CE, but has since undergone a variety of upgrades and additions over the years. The gold color of the dome can be seen afar, ever since it was constructed on the site of the Second Jewish Temple, which was destroyed during the Roman Siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE. The city surrendered during the Muslim conquest of Syria in 637 CE. The exterior and interior of the dome is an impressive sight. The shape of the dome is the same as a Byzantine martyrium , a structure meant for the storage and worship of saintly relics.

When Suleiman the Magnificent was ruler, the exterior of the Dome of the Rock was covered with Iznik tiles that took seven years to complete. To this day, tiles remain from the days of Suleiman, but many have been dislodged by heavy rain. There has since been work to replace the tiles that have been lost over the years. Restoration efforts in 1965 also replaced the lead exterior of the Dome with a covering of durable aluminum and bronze alloy made in Italy. The interior of the dome is elaborately decorated with mosaic and marble , many features that have been added several centuries after it was first completed. Qur’anic inscriptions are also found inside the dome.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Located within the walled Old City of Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a respected site because it is where Jesus was crucified. Some believe that it is also the place where Jesus was buried. Since at least around the 4th century, the church has been a popular pilgrimage destination for Christians who also come to visit the site thought by some as where the resurrection of Jesus took place. This is why Eastern Christians call this site the Church of the Resurrection. Today, you will find the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem. The building also has ties to a handful of other Christian churches.

Al-Aqsa Mosque

People who believe in the Sunni Islamic faith see the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem as the third holiest site. It is here that you will find a mosque with a silver dome. Muslims believe that Muhammad was transported from the Sacred Mosque in Mecca to al-Aqsa during the Night Journey , the name given to the physical and spiritual journey centered on religion.