Dome of the Rock
Date ca. 690 and later
Located at Jerusalem
This structure mimics the rotunda of the nearby Church of the Holy Sepulchre and is one of the oldest Islamic structure to survive until modern times. Built upon Mt. Moriah, upon which Ibraham supposedly was to sacrifice his son Ismail, and from where Gabriel took Mohammed to witness Heaven and Hell; as one of the highest points in the city, it proclaimed Islam as the forefront religion of Jerusalem when constructed. That its structure so closely resembles contemporaneous Byzantine works is no surprise, as many of its craftsmen would have been Christian.
Classical forms are built of beautiful marble and other precious materials. Repetitive geometric forms, intricate floral and vegetal patterns and beautifully written Islamic script are the motifs of the structure’s interior decoration. What’s missing from Christian and Byzantine influence is the depiction of any holy figures—Muslims focusing much more intently on the Word itself.