Entrance to Cave

Entrance to Cave

View looking north at the Entrance to the "Well of the Souls" (aka "The Cave") that is located under the pointed archway in the center of the image.  The woman in blue, with a khaki vest, is a "Guard of al-Aqsa Mosque."  Sixteen stairs lead down into the cave.  Behind the glass in the center, the Foundation Stone is visible.

On the left (west) side of the image, the 5-6 foot wooden screen that protects the rock is visible.  On the far left is a tall "cabinet" with a pointed dome—only the top of it is visible.  Inside of it Muslims believe is some hair from the prophet Muhammad and a stone that contains his footprint.

The cave chamber itself is about 20 feet square, and the height of the ceiling varies between 5 to 8 feet.  There is a shaft about 1.5 ft. in diameter that penetrates the 5 ft. 7 in. thickness of the rock above.  The prayer "niches" in the chamber that are dedicated to Dawud (David), Suleiman (Solomon), Ibrahim (Abraham), and Khidr-Elijah.

For additional information on the cave, see conveniently — Well of Souls. (2023, November 8) in Wikipedia.

The Foundation 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.