Click Photo for Larger Version
Please read before you download
Images and/or text from holylandphotos.org are NOT TO BE USED ON OTHER WEB SITES, NOR COMMERCIALLY, without special permission. To request permission contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
View looking south inside the al-Aqsa Mosque at the southern wall of the structure. In the center of the image is the semi-circular Mihrab that points the attention of the worshipers towards Mecca. To the right of that is the Minbar, the "pulpit" from which "sermons" are given.
In 1187, when Salah edh-Dhin restored the building he donated a beautifully carved Minbar. This minbar was destroyed by a fire set by an unbalanced Australian in 1969 and was replaced by the current structure. The wood carvings on this minbar are also very beautiful!
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.
Caliph Walid (A.D. 709–715) built the first mosque. The mosque is built over a large number of subterranean arches, not on bedrock, and thus has been destroyed (earthquakes; the most recent in 1927) and rebuilt 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—when it was returned to its original function as a mosque.
The photo is courtesy of David Padfield (www.Padfield.com). The commentary by Carl Rasmussen