May 15, 2017

Dome of the Rock and Shrine of the Báb | Israel

These two postcards are from my own collection. The first one shows the Dome of the Rock in Jerousalem and the second one shows Shrine of the Báb in Haifa as seen from Mountain Carmel. 

The Dome of the Rock (Arabic: قبة الصخرة‎‎ Qubbat al-Sakhrah, Hebrew: כיפת הסלע‎‎ Kippat ha-Sela) is an Islamic shrine located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. It was initially completed in 691 CE at the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik during the Second Fitna, built on the site of the Roman temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, which had in turn been built on the site of Herod's Temple, destroyed during the Roman Siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE. The original dome collapsed in 1015 and was rebuilt in 1022–23. The Dome of the Rock is in its core one of the oldest extant works of Islamic architecture.

Its architecture and mosaics were patterned after nearby Byzantine churches and palaces, although its outside appearance has been significantly changed in the Ottoman period and again in the modern period, notably with the addition of the gold-plated roof, in 1959–61 and again in 1993. The octagonal plan of the structure may also have been influenced by the Byzantine Church of the Seat of Mary (also known as Kathisma in Greek and al-Qadismu in Arabic) built between 451 and 458 on the road between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

The site's great significance for Muslims derives from traditions connecting it to the creation of the world and to the belief that the Prophet Muhammad's Night Journey to heaven started from the rock at the center of the structure. The rock also bears great significance for Jews as the site of Abraham's attempted sacrifice of his son. It has been called "Jerusalem's most recognizable landmark," and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with two nearby Temple Mount structures, the Western Wall, and the "Resurrection Rotunda" in the nearby Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The Bahá'í World Centre is the name given to the spiritual and administrative centre of the Bahá'í Faith. The World Centre consists of the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh near Acre, Israel, the Shrine of the Báb [pictured on the postcard above] and its gardens on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel, and various other buildings in the area including the Arc buildings.

Much of the international governance and coordination of the Bahá'í Faith occurs at the Bahá'í World Centre. These include decisions that affect the religion on a global level, and the study and translation of the Bahá'í holy writings. The Universal House of Justice, representing the supreme governing body of the Bahá'í Faith, resides in Haifa. The Bahá'í World Centre is also the current destination for Bahá'í pilgrimage.

The Bahá'í World Centre has its historical origins in the area that was once Ottoman Syria. This dates back to the 1850s and 1860s when the Shah of Iran and the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, ‘Abdu’l-‘Aziz, successively exiled Bahá'u'lláh from Iran to the fortress of Acre for lifetime incarceration. Many of the locations at the Bahá'í World Centre, including the terraces and the Shrine of the Báb which constitute the north slope of Mount Carmel, were inscribed on the World Heritage List in July 2008.

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