In Hebrew, it is known as Kipat Hasela, in Arabic, Qubbat As-Sakhrah, and in English, The Dome of the Rock.
It is one of the few structures in the world that commands the respect of Muslims, Christians, and Jews. And in 1979, Saudi Arabia released an unusual stamp to honor one of the world’s most intriguing buildings.
The Dome of the Rock is on Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. It stands on the site of the Second Jewish Temple, which was destroyed during the Roman siege of the city in 70 AD.
It was constructed by the Muslims between 689 and 691 AD. When the Crusades began, the Knights of the Templar seized the dome and it became a Christian Church. Almost a century later, Jerusalem was recaptured by Muslims who tore down the cross and reconsecrated the building as a shrine.
During the 400 years of the Ottoman Empire, ending in 1917, the Dome Of The Rock was covered with tiles. Mosaics and marble were added inside.
The rock that the dome covers is known as the Foundation Stone. Jewish tradition considers the stone the spiritual crossroads of Heaven and Earth. Muslims believe the stone is where Muhammad ascended into Heaven.
Shortly after the British took control of Palestine during World War I, a major restoration project was launched. There has been extensive work on the Dome over the past century, including a project in the 1990s that sheathed the dome in 80 kilograms of gold. The gold was acquired thanks to a donation from Jordan’s King Hussein, who sold one of his homes in London to fund the project.
Today, the Dome is maintained by the Kingdom of Jordan. Israel manages security.
When Saudi Arabia released this stamp in 1979 to pay tribute to the Jerusalem landmark, it experienced a crisis with one of its own shrines.
The Grand Mosque in Mecca was seized by a group of insurgents armed with automatic weapons calling for the overthrow of the house of Saud.
The crisis dragged on for two weeks before the Saudi government regained control of the mosque.
At the time of the seizure, the mosque was undergoing renovations. The construction company managing the project: The Saudi Binladen Group.
If you would like to add this stamp to your collection, click here to see it on eBay.