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View looking northeast across the top of the Foundation Stone. The line of carvings left (west) of the center of the image are the foundations of steps that were carved out during the Crusader Era (ca. 1099-1187). At that time, the "Dome of the Rock" was used as a church and the steps ascended to the high altar that was constructed on the top of the rock. Ritmeyer, "The Quest," suggests that much of the quarrying of the rock took place during this period.
The base of the circular Dome is visible in the upper portion of the image. It is supported by four large piers (2 are visible) with three columns between each of them. The piers are covered with marble slabs. A wooden fence surrounds, partially visible in the lower portion of the image, surrounds and protects the rock.
The stone has many events associated with it in Jewish, Muslim, and Christian traditions: The binding of Isaac, the place of the Holy of Holies in the Solomonic and Herodian Temples; maybe a Roman Temple, the place from which Mohamed made his night journey to the "Distant Place," a Church Altar, etc.
The Dome of the Rock was completed about A.D. 691 by the Moslem Umayyad Dynasty which was headquartered in Damascus. The Dome structure was intended to portray the glories of Islam and to divert pilgrim traffic to Jerusalem - from Mecca and Medina
The photo is courtesy of David Padfield (www.Padfield.com) while the commentary is that of Carl Rasmussen.