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AT THE HEART OF JERUSALEM is the Noble Sanctuary, Al-Haram Al-Sharif, enclosing over 35 acres of fountains, gardens, buildings and domes. At its southernmost end is Al-Aqsa Mosque and at its centre the celebrated Dome of the Rock (Masjid As-Sakhra). The entire area is regarded as a mosque and comprises nearly one sixth of the walled city of Jerusalem.
Al-Haram Al-Shareef (The Noble Sanctuary) is a quadrilateral that roughly resembles
a trapezoid. The dimensions of this quadrilateral seem to differ from one source
to another but the lowest values mentioned are about 280 meters along the South,
about 310 meters along the North , about 460 meters along the East, and about
480 meters along the West. This gives it a surface area of about 138 thousand
square meters, which is a little less than 35 acres. The average height above
sea level on the platform is about 730 meters above sea level.
Jerusalem became known as al Quds (The Holy). Many of Prophets Companions travelled to worship at the blessed precincts from which area the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hf) was brought by night and from where he ascended through the seven heavens to his Lord.
In 690s (72AH) the Umayyad Khalifa Abdul Malik Ibn Marwan commissioned the work to built the Dome over the rock. Essentially unchanged for more than fourteen centuries, the Dome of the Rock remains one of the worlds most beautiful enduring architectural treasures.
The gold Dome stretches 20m across the rock, rising to an apex of more than
35m above it. The Quraniv sura Yasin is inscribed across
the top in the dazzling tile work commissioned in the 16th century by Suleiman
the Magnificent. The interior is exquisitely decorated, the two most important
decorative elements are the glass mosaics and the carved marbles.