Dome of the RockApprox. Time: 1 hours
Activity Level: Easy to Moderate

Erroneously also known as the ``Mosque of Omar'' (which once stood nearby and was completely destroyed), the Dome of the Rock is built around the Sacred Rock upon which Abraham was about to sacrifice his son and from which Mohammed ascended on his horse Buraq to Paradise. Both the First and Second Temples stood here. The splendour of the mosque is dazzling and after the gingerbread-cluttered churches the relatively stark simplicity of the intricate mosaics under the golden dome cannot but create a strong impression. Built in 691 by Abd el-Malik as a counter-attraction to Mecca, the octagonal structure has four entrances: the Western Gate (the entrance), Paradise Gate, Judgement Gate and Mecca Gate. The ceiling is inlaid with gold, red and black chips verses from the Koran are inscribed on the golden frieze at the base decorations picture fruits or are abstract - no human or animal likenesses the columns were taken from Byzantine churches - no two are alike and some are marked with crosses. The windows were added in Saladin's time. It is said that David, Solomon, Jesus and Abraham were in the habit of praying at the Well of Souls downstairs and that the dead gather here twice a week to pray. Tradition and several maps have it that this is the very centre of the earth.