Al Aqsa Mosque
Just to the south of the Dome of the Rock is the Al Aqsa mosque. It was built in 709 A.D. to commemorate the site where Muhammad is believed to have left his horse before ascending to the top of the mount and being caught up to the 7th heaven. The mosque has been heavily damaged over the centuries by earthquakes that didn't affect the Dome of the Rock just a short distance away.
Jordan's King Abdullah was assasinated at the door of this mosque on July 20, 1951. His son, the late King Hussein, survived the attack only because of the medals and decorations he wore on his chest.
The fountain in front of the mosque is for ablutions, the ritual washing of feet, face and hands required of Muslims before prayer. It is connected to cisterns below with that have a ten million gallon capacity!
Before entering any mosque, visitors must remove their shoes, and in most cases leave their cameras. Everyone is required to wear clothing that covers nearly all parts of their bodies. No shorts or bare shoulders. At this site, cloth coverings were provided to anyone who did not come prepared. Men wearing shorts were required to wrap the cloths around them like skirts.
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