The Blessed Al Aqsaa mosque
The Blessed El Aqsaa mosque is built south of the glorified Dome Rock and has an area of about 4400 square meters. It was built by the caliph Abdel Malek Ben Marouane in 693 A.D. It was completed by Al Walid Ben Abdel Malek in 705 A.D. on the site of the mosque of Omar Ben Al Khattab PUH, which was in the eastern part. The mosque is 70 meters long and 55 meters wide. It stands on 53 marble columns and 49 square-shaped pillars.
When the crusaders occupied Al Qods they built a church on part of its grounds. They made of the other part lodging quarters for their horsemen and a storage for their provisions. But Salah Din repaired the mosque, renovated the mihrab and covered the dome with mosaic tiles. He also brought the minbar, which is made of wood and inlayed with ivory and ebony from Aleppo. He put it in the mosque as a symbol of victory.
Al Aqsaa mosque highlights the beauty of islamic decoration which is represented by the inside wooden dome, which is covered by beautifully gold-coloured three-dimensional and proportional herbal designs. The windows are surrounded by a design of inclined lines drawn on plaster. The glass is tinted in different colours, which prevents the direct entry of sun rays. This gives the mosque elegance and beauty, and inspires reverence and spirituality.
The restoration of the mosque started immediately after it was burnt by the Israelis on 21/8/1969, and the traces of the fire were removed. Now, the inside dome is being restored, as well as the Quranic writings, and the Isra’a Surat which is spelled out in colored mosaics. It begins from the top of the mihrab and extends in the eastern direction for 24 meters. All the necessary decorative plans have been prepared to make a new minbar in replacement of the burnt minbar.