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View to the south towards the entrance to the mosque. The el-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam - after Mecca and Medina. Its name means "the distant place," and it is believed that Mohammed made a "night journey" to this place.
The six visible arches define the location of six of the seven interior aisles.
Caliph Walid (A.D. 709–715) built the first mosque. It has been destroyed, rebuilt, and refurbished many times. During the Crusader Period (A.D. 1099-1187) it served briefly as the palace for the Crusader kings of Jerusalem, but then became the headquarters of the Knights Templar until the Crusaders were expelled from Jerusalem.
During the month of Ramadan, the mosque and the open spaces in front of it are crowded with hundreds of thousands of Moslem worshipers for Friday prayers.
Some believe that it is built over the spot where Solomon built his palace, but this is not certain.
For a closer view of the entrance click here.
Image courtesy of www.Padfield.com. Commentary by Carl Rasmussen.