My husband just came home from his Holy Land Trip and told me they didn’t get the chance to visit The Dome on the Rock because the tour company opted to take it out of the itinerary since the wait is now around 2 hours long (and they were 5 buses in total, so imagine the logistical nightmare!)
This reminded me about about my experience when I visited 6 years ago.
The Dome of the Rock is Israel’s most recognizable spot; its majestic golden top can easily be seen miles away. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a mosque, but is in fact, a Muslim shrine. Muslims believe that this is the spot where their prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven. But that’s not the only reason why this place is so special, especially to a Christian like me! The Temple Mount (location of The Dome on the Rock) holds a special significance as well to Christians and Jews.
This site is also believed to be where:
- Abraham offered Isaac as stated in Genesis 22. Note that Muslims also believe that this event occurred, but that instead of Isaac, it was Ishmael that was offered.
- The First Temple built by Solomon and the Ark of the Covenant stood before it was destroyed.
- The Second Temple stood (after it replaced the temple that Solomon built after it was destroyed.) This is the very temple that Jesus frequented during His time on earth.
- The Third Temple will be rebuilt in the future, fulfilling Biblical prophecies.
As a Christian, being there made me wish so much that I could turn back time and experience how it must’ve felt like to be inside the Second Temple of Jerusalem back when it was still standing. Imagine, this was where Jesus Himself walked and taught. It’s sad that we can no longer see it in all its glory back then, but in a weird way, it’s also comforting because things happened exactly as Jesus had said they would.
“As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!” And Jesus replied: “Do you see all these great buildings? Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” (Mark 13:1-2)
Entrance to the shrine is reserved only for Muslims so we weren’t able to go in; we just walked around outside and took photos (as can obviously be seen above) Also they require people to follow a strict dress code; no shorts and sleeveless, which is why I have a scarf to cover my arms (only, they’re not covered in the photos …oops!)
But just because we couldn’t go inside doesn’t mean we couldn’t see what’s inside; that’s what the internet is for! Yehey. So here’s a shot that (is not mine, and) shows how the inside looks like.
Interesting? I thought so too! (Click the photo to be redirected to the photo’s original source)
And just something that might interest you; a little trivia: one of the guides said that “the devil’s face” can be seen in this marble formation, at the walls of the structure itself, and that it’s been getting more prominent as years pass. What do you think? Could it be a sign of something or is it just a classic case of Pareidolia? As for me, I’m half-ashamed, half-amused to admit that my first reaction was: “Hey, that looks like Darth Maul!”
There are a lot of different opinions about this formation and it’s available if you look it up on Google. Personally though, I don’t wanna link you to any particular sites because I don’t want to be associated with any of their opinions. I just wanted to share about it here because I thought it was an interesting tidbit!
I know some Christians who are uncomfortable about visiting temples, mosques and shrines but regardless on your point of view on that, in my humble opinion, I believe that it’s a good experience to visit this spot simply because it holds so much history about our faith.
But is the Dome on the Rock a must-visit place? If you’re the kind of person who has to have a picture with major landmarks (ahem, guilty haha!) then it’s definitely a must-visit. Otherwise, like I said, you won’t really be able to go in or do anything much, unless you’re a Muslim, so don’t feel bad if the tour group doesn’t put this on the itinerary!