The Dome of the Rock Essays

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The Dome of the Rock

Essentially unchanged for more than thirteen centuries, the Dome of the Rock remains one of the world’s most beautiful and enduring architectural treasures. Adorned with its magnificent gold dome and elaborate quranic inscriptions, the structure intimately represents the world’s second largest religion in a city historically associated with the three Semitic faiths. Representation, however, is not the only effect of this site. Despite its intended purpose, the Dome of the Rock inherently stands as the focal center of a millennium-old religious controversy. Located on what is essentially the world’s holiest site (obviously a speculative assertion) and inscribed with proclamations of Islamic religious superiority,
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Although an Islamic site, Greek architects were employed to erect the eight-story octagonal structure – its arches on piers and columns, grilled windows, and intricate system of proportions, therefore, seem to derive directly from Byzantine church architecture. The Dome’s rotunda serves as “a grandiose imitation of the one found on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – deliberately of the same style, but far more extravagant.” Similarly, we find that the muddled floor-plan of the Church is also outdone by the scrupulously ordered design of the Dome’s base. Later Christian architects and artists would adopt the Dome’s design and attempt to imitate the aesthetically pleasing structure. Upon its completion, Christian and Jews entered the holy city and witnessed this impressive Islamic structure before anything else became visible in the city’s landscape. Protruding from its octagonal base, the great dome, originally embossed in brass gilt, marked the city from a distance as a site now dominated by those dedicated to the “One True Faith.”

Although sharing and incorporating preexisting Christian (and to some extent, Jewish) architecture, the Dome of the Rock improved upon previous structures. The result, it would seem, was that the Dome resembled many of the Christian buildings already built within the city. Yet, because of its Temple Mount location and Islamic structural improvements, the Dome dominated its rival

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