Inside Masjid Al Aqsa – Jerusalem, Palestine

Inside Masjid Al Aqsa – Jerusalem, Palestine

The rectangular Masjid Al-Aqsa and its precincts are 144,000 square metres (1,550,000 sq ft), although the masjid itself is about 35,000 square metres (380,000 sq ft) and could hold up to 5,000 worshippers. It is 272 feet (83 m) long, 184 feet (56 m) wide. It has seven aisles of hypostyle naves with several additional small halls to the west and east of the southern section of the building. There are 121 stained glass windows in the masjid from the Abbasid and Fatimid eras. About a fourth of them were restored in 1924.

The masjid’s interior is supported by 45 columns, 33 of which are white marble and 12 of stone. The column rows of the central aisles are heavy and stunted. The remaining four rows are better proportioned. The capitals of the columns are of four different kinds: those in the central aisle are heavy and primitively designed, while those under the dome are of the Corinthian order, and made from Italian white marble. The capitals in the eastern aisle are of a heavy basket-shaped design and those east and west of the dome are also basket-shaped, but smaller and better proportioned. The columns and piers are connected by an architectural rave, which consists of beams of roughly squared timber enclosed in a wooden casing.

A great portion of the masjid is covered with whitewash, but the drum of the dome and the walls immediately beneath it are decorated with mosaics and marble. Some paintings by an Italian artist were introduced when repairs were undertaken at the masjid after an earthquake ravaged the masjid in 1927. The ceiling of the masjid was painted with funding by King Farouk of Egypt.

The minbar of the masjid was built by a craftsman named Akhtarini from Aleppo on the orders of the Zengid sultan Nur Ad-Din. It was intended to be a gift for the masjid when Nur ad-Din would capture Jerusalem from the Crusaders and took six years to build (1168–74). Nur Ad-Din died and the Crusaders still controlled Jerusalem, but in 1187, Saladin captured the city and the minbar was installed. The structure was made of ivory and carefully crafted wood. Arabic calligraphy, geometrical and floral designs were inscribed in the woodwork. After its destruction by Rohan in 1969, it was replaced by a much simpler minbar. In January 2007, Adnan Al-Husayni—head of the Islamic waqf in charge of Al-Aqsa—stated that a new minbar would be installed; it was installed in February 2007. The design of the new minbar was drawn by Jamil Badran based on an exact replica of the Saladin Minbar and was finished by Badran within a period of five years. The minbar itself was built in Jordan over a period of four years and the craftsmen used “ancient woodworking methods, joining the pieces with pegs instead of nails, but employed computer images to design the minbar.”

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Source: Wikipedia | Photo: A Virtual Walking Tour

 

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