The octagonal shape of the Dome of the Rock was based on the architectural style of martyria, which were structures built to commemorate holy sites. The double-ambulatory plan allowed pilgrims to read the decorative inscriptions that run along the top of the inner and outer faces of the octagonal arcade (see detail in photo) and suggests that the Dome of the Rock was meant to be a ceremonial shrine honoring not only the holy rock that lay at its center, but also Islam in its full glory.