JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The history of the ground where the Dome of the Rock stands is one of repeated conquest and destruction.
The area was first settled by the Canaanites some 4,000 years ago. Jews believe that a temple was built during the reign of King Solomon around 1000 BC, and then destroyed by the Assyrian King Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC. Construction of a second Jewish temple began in 516 BC and that building stood – with occasional renovations and additions – until the Romans destroyed it in 70 AD.
Control traded back and forth between Christians, Persians, Arabs and others for a thousand years.
Muslims constructed the Dome of the Rock in 691 AD, and Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest shrine in Islam, 14 years later. The Dome of the Rock is built right at the point where the Prophet Mohammad is said to have ascended to heaven. That point also happens to be atop the site of Judaism’s Second Temple, and encompasses the Foundation Stone, a rock holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians.
When the Christian Crusaders wrested Jerusalem from Muslim control in 1099, they turned Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock into a palace and stables for the Knights Templar, according to archaeologists.
Saladin recaptured Jerusalem in 1187 and Muslims have controlled the site ever since, whether the Mamluks, the Ottomans or the Jordanians, who oversee it to this day via a trust known as the Islamic Waqf.
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Reporting by Luke Baker; Edited by Simon Robinson