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Jerusalem Unplugged

The Dome of the Rock: with Beatrice St. Laurent

Season 4, Ep. 71

The opening of Season 4, the final season, is dedicated to one of the most iconic buildings of Jerusalem: the Dome of the Rock. While the Dome has become a sort of brand defining the image of Jerusalem, there is a lot of confusion about its history and purpose. Built by the Umayyads in the late 7th century, scholars developed different ideas about the Dome and our guest, Beatrice St. Laurent, makes some order and gives us a good sense about the chronology and history of the building and how its significance changed throughout time. Today the Dome and the Haram al-Sharif at large have become a key feature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the target of Israeli-Jewish right wing organizations who seek to regain the area in order to build a new Temple; however after the destruction of the Temple in 70AD by the Romans, the site had become a quarry and while it was known to many that the area was sacred, it did not serve any particular purpose until the arrival of the Arab armies in the 7the Century.

Beatrice, in her work and in this episode, has challenged many of the common views and histories of the Dome of the Rock, an excellent way to think about one's next visit to Jerusalem.

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