Mosque Name: Dome of the Chain

Country: Israel

City: Jerusalem

Year of construction (AH): 71 AH

Year of construction (AD): 690 AD

GPS: 31.77785N 35.235808E

Original Qibla: Petra

Rebuilt facing Mecca: Never


Most everyone knows about the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Hundreds of academic papers have been written about it, but few people take notice of a very similar structure right beside the Dome of the Rock. It is known as the Dome of the Chain, and it has a Mihrab niche, and directs the faithful to pray directly towards Petra.

Traditionally, it is claimed to be one of the oldest structures on the Temple Mount. It was built by the Umayyads, but later became a Christian chapel under the Crusaders, and was restored as an Islamic prayer house by the Ayyubids and has been renovated by the Mamluks, Ottomans.

Some architectural elements used as part of the structure date to pre-Islamic times, but it is widely accepted by both Arab and Western scholars that the Dome of the Chain was originally built in 691 by the Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik. The Umayyad design of the building has largely remained unaltered by later restorations.

There is a tradition that this dome is built on the spot where King Solomon suspended a chain, and only honest and upright people could grasp it. Thus it was used by rulers to decide cases.

Photo Credit: Andrew Shiva, 2013

Photo Credit: Andrew Shiva, 2013

Photo Credit: Shane Hawke

Photo Credit: Shane Hawke

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