Posted by: asianshock | February 25, 2011

Islamic Jerusalem

Islamic Jerusalem begins in 638 CE and goes on until 1099 when the Crusaders take over. The beginning of Islamic Jerusalem marks the end of Byzantine Jerusalem. The Sasanians, descendants of the Persian empire, take Palestine and Jerusalem from 614-628 CE. The Sasanians let the Jews return to Jerusalem after they had been banished by the Roman emperor Hadrian. The Byzantine Emperor Heraclius retakes Jerusalem in 628 CE and again banished Jews from the city.
Muslim Caliph Umar takes Jerusalem in 638 CE, and in an agreement with the Byzantine Christians stated that he would not allow any Jews to settle in the city. The Muslims retained the name Aelia and the Temple Mount was renamed Haram al-Sharif. The legend goes that Muhammed was leading a prayer in Jerusalem when he suddenly had a revelation. God told Muhammed to pray towards Mecca; specifically toward the Kaaba in Mecca. This started the tradition of Muslims always praying toward Mecca.
The Umayyad dynasty lasted from 638-750 CE. There were some major construction projects that occurred during this time period. Caliph Umar built a wooden mosque on the future site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Abd-al Malik built the Dome of the Rock to compete for visitors with Mecca. The Umayyads also built palaces around the southwestern corner of Herod’s retaining wall.
We left off by talking a bit about the architecture and history of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. We weren’t able to finish Islamic Jerusalem, so we are going to finish it next tues, and then start the Crusades with a special guest lecturer.

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