Richard Nowitz

The Temple Mount—a nearly rectangular platform 1600 feet long on its eastern (right) side and 920 feet wide on its southern (bottom) side—was built by the Jewish king Herod the Great (37–4 B.C.). Its main structures, the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, were built by the Umayyad caliphate, centered in Damascus, in the late seventh and early eighth centuries A.D. The Crusaders associated many sites on the Temple Mount (called the Haram al-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary, by Muslims) with biblical and sacred events; besides associating the Dome of the Rock with the biblical Temple, for example, they identified the southeast corner of the Temple Mount (bottom right) as the “pinnacle” from which Jesus’ eldest brother, the martyr James the Just, was thrown.