For out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. [Isaiah 2:3]
On a crude altar in Jerusalem, Abraham, Patriarch of three great monotheistic religions, undertook to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, in accordance with God’s command. When an angel of the Lord interceded, Abraham substituted a burnt offering, a ram, for his son [Genesis 22:13]. This Biblical event, a fundamental part of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions, was the first of many to be associated with Jerusalem (see object 1). The site of Abraham’s near-sacrifice of Isaac was Mount Moriah, later chosen by King David for his altar and by King Solomon for his Temple. The platform on which Solomon built his Temple encompassed Mount Moriah and has come to be called the Temple Mount. This structure was enlarged when the Second Temple was rebuilt by Herod (37 BC), abandoned after the destruction of the Second Temple (AD 70), and restored when the Dome of the Rock was built (AD 691). For Jews, the significance of Jerusalem is evident in the books of Prophets and Psalms. Jerusalem is named more than 750 times in the Bible, and Zion is mentioned 180 times. Zion, the pre-Israelite fortress of Jebusite Jerusalem [2 Samuel 5:7; 1 Chronicles 11:5] has become synonymous with Jerusalem and the Jewish nation as a whole. The holiest Jewish site is the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, formerly called the Wailing Wall. For Christians, Jerusalem is the scene of key events in the life of Jesus, especially the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Via Dolorosa, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre are among the holiest sites in Christendom. For Muslims, Jerusalem is the site of the Prophet Muhammad’s ascension to heaven from the rock es-Sakhra, after a miraculous night journey from Mecca on his legendary horse el-Burek. The hoof print of el-Burek is said to be visible on the rock, now enclosed within the Dome of the Rock. This magnificent mosque and the nearby Mosque of el-Aqsa are the principal remaining shrines on the Temple Mount, known in Arabic as el-Haram esh-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary). This is the third most important holy site in Islam, after the Kaaba in Mecca and the Prophet’s tomb in Medina.
This colorful print depicts the traditional view of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, with Jesus weeping over the city. It was produced by an American Syro-Maronite church belonging to a Roman Catholic sect based in Lebanon, and was apparently designed as a souvenir for pilgrims. Christian, Islamic, and Jewish holy sites are shown.
CHAPEL OF OUR LADY OF THE CEDARS OF MOUNT LEBANON
BIRD'S EYE VIEW OF HOLY JERUSALEM
West Roxbury, Mass., ca. 1900
Colored Lithograph, 43.7 x 67.4 cm
This imaginary view of King Solomon's Temple appeared in the "Polyglot Bible," the text of which was in four languages: Hebrew, Greek, Syriac, and Latin. Based on vague Biblical descriptions [1 Kings 6,7; 2 Chron. 3,4; Ezekiel 41], the structure is portrayed as rectangular in shape with a series of courtyards and an innermost Temple proper. Overall, the depiction is more grandiose than the Bible suggests. The artist follows the custom of his time, portraying the architecture in a familiar Italian Renaissance style.
BENEDICTUS ARIAS MONTANUS (BENITO ARIAS MONTANO)
MONTIS DOMINI TOTIVSQ. SACRI TEMPLI EXEMPLUM . . .
From: Biblia Sacra, Hebraice, Chaldaice, Graece, & Latine . . .
Engraving, 37.3 x 47.4 cm
This is a large scale plan of el-Haram esh-Sharif, Arabic for Noble Sanctuary or Noble Enclosure, known in English as the Temple Mount. Place names are given in English and Arabic. Ground plans of the two principal Islamic shrines are depicted, the octagonal Dome of the Rock at left center and the rectangular El-Masjid el-Aqsa at the bottom left. The map's decorative border design is taken from sixteenth-century tiles in the Dome of the Rock.
El Haram Esh Sharif
Survey of Palestine, 1944
Reduced photocopy (original 98.4 x 68.6 cm.)
Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress
Judaism's holiest shrine, commonly thought to be a remnant of King Solomon's Temple, is actually part of a later Temple Mount. The surviving wall was built in the first century BC by Herod the Great when he enlarged the Temple Mount, burying the original structures in the process. Nevertheless, the Western Wall retains its holy status because of its symbolic connection with Judaism's original House of the Lord and its sanctification by centuries of fervent prayer.
The Western ("Wailing") Wall, ca. 1875
Collodion print, 22.2 x 26.3 cm
According to Christian tradition, Emperor Constantine built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on the site where his mother, Empress Helena, discovered the true cross and the tomb of Jesus in AD 326. Over the centuries the structure has been partly destroyed and rebuilt on several occasions. The present church plan is largely the result of extensive reconstruction by the Crusaders in 1149. However, the base of the original Constantinian rotunda and part of the entrance are still preserved.
C. AND G. ZANGAK [BROTHERS]
Greek, fl. 1870s
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, ca.1875
Collodion print, 22.3 x 28.3 cm
The Dome of the Rock, also known as the Mosque of Omar and in Arabic as Qubbat es-Sakhra, was built by caliph Abd el-Malik near the end of the seventh century AD Because of its traditional association with the Prophet Muhammad's ascent to heaven, it has been, through most of its existence, one of Islam's holiest shrines. In the twelfth century, however, it was converted into a Christian church by the Crusaders, who renamed it Templum Domini and placed a golden cross over its dome. After Saladin recaptured Jerusalem in 1187, he rededicated the Dome of the Rock as a mosque. The structure has undergone many repairs and decorative additions through the centuries, but its basic design has remained substantially unchanged and it stands as one of the greatest achievements of Islamic architecture.
The Dome of the Rock, ca. 1875
Collodion print, 18.5 x 26.3 cm
The Mount of Olives is a natural observation point that has for centuries been favored by artists and pilgrims, and more recently by tourists and photographers. In this modern color photograph the appearance of the Temple Mount and the old walled city is not much different from that seen on old drawings and paintings (see object 18). The horizon, however, is altered considerably by tall buildings of the modern city.
Published by Palphot Ltd., late twentieth century
Color photograph, 27.0 x 98.0 cm