THE DOME OF THE ROCK

James E. Lancaster, Ph.D.
1998

These views of the Dome of the Rock are from the site of the ancient Antonia, built by Herod the Great and named for his friend, Marc Antony. The Antonia stood at the northwest corner of Temple Mount.

The Dome of the Rock was completed in 691 AD, just 53 years after the Muslims took control of Jerusalem in 638. Many believe its location to be the same as that of the first and second Jewish temples.

THEN
NOW

In the 1952 photo (above, left) there are only a few trees surrounding the raised platform on which the Dome of the Rock was built, and the buildings along the north wall of the platform are clearly visible. At the bottom of the photo, just to the right of center, are paving stones that are believed to date back to Herod's time. Between the paving stones and the raised platform is a slight depression running diagonally across Temple Mount. This is believed to mark the location of a moat that was just north of the original temple platform.

For additional information on Herod's Temple Mount, I suggest you visit archaeologist and author Leen Ritmeyer's web site. Dr. Ritmeyer has published several articles on Temple Mount in the Biblical Archaeology Review and has other material available through his web site. He has written the following about the moat mentioned in the paragraph above:

"Strabo, the Greek geographer and historian, describes this moat or "fosse" and gives its measurements as 60 feet (18.30 m.) deep and 250 feet (76.20 m.) broad.

"The same fosse, ..., is recorded by Josephus as having been filled in by Pompey's soldiers in 63 B.C., thereby enabling them to storm the defensive towers built at the north-western corner of the square Temple Mount." See "The Temple and the Ark of the Covenent"

By 1995 (photo above, right) the trees had almost completely obscured the raised platform, the buildings along the north wall of the platform, and the fosse. The paving stones had been covered over with new landscaping. The dark lead covering of the dome had earlier been replaced by a gold appearing anodized aluminum covering, but in 1993-94 the aluminum was replaced by a gold covering, compliments of King Hussein of Jordan. Also, between 1952 and 1995 the tile exterior had been thoroughly cleaned and repaired.

View larger versions of the 1952 and 1995 photos in a separate window:

The 1952 photo was taken by Dr. Marshall Welles. The 1995 photo is by the author. Photos may be reproduced only with the consent of the author.