|Can you tell what is unusual about this picture? Read to the end of the post and find out!|
It has always seemed a little strange to me that the most iconic image from Jerusalem is not a Jewish site. When you see pictures or postcards, it is very often the Dome of the Rock - possibly framed behind the Western Wall - but even still, it is that golden dome that stands out. It also seemed a little strange to me that I have never visited the mosque, since it is such a famous landmark in the city. I was glad that we would be going, but not exactly sure what to expect.
For anyone worrying about the safety of this, we found a long line of tourists waiting at the gate to enter the area, which is generally reassuring. Furthermore, we were going with a guide.
|You can kind of see a muslim prayer group in the back right corner of this photo.|
Caroline and I had seen many Muslim buildings, forts and mosques in India, so we thought we had some idea what to expect. There were a lot of commonalities. The architectural style had many of the same features, like the shapes of the windows, the octagonal buildings and the Arabic writing surrounding the entryways. We also saw the same sorts of Muslim prayer groups sitting in circles around the plaza area.
|A dramatic approach to the mosque.|
|All of this is painted ceramic tile. It's very impressive, but I imagine it won't last as long as the inlaid stone at the Taj Mahal (since the paint on the tile will eventually fade)|
|There is a miniature building right next to the Dome of the Rock. I can't remember now, but I think this was built first, as a sort of smaller model or something?|
And since you've read this far, I'll reveal what is unusual about the picture at the top: notice that none of us has our arms around the others? It is forbidden for men and women to touch in this area. The guards actually came and told us after we tried to take a picture with arms around each other.