Garo Nalbandian

Crowned by the crescent of Islam and framed in one of the graceful archways of its eight approaches, Jerusalem’s gleaming Dome of the Rock is little changed today from its appearance 1300 years ago when it was built to enhance Jerusalem’s religious importance.

Octagonally shaped and decorated in glazed blue tiles above a marble base, the building is one of the loveliest of the Orient. Built by Byzantine craftsmen, it incorporates in its interior, capitals and pedestals from even older Jerusalem buildings, including Byzantine churches. Most recently restored in 1958, the mosque’s gold-appearing dome is really made of an aluminum-bronze alloy and weighs 165 tons less than the original.