Nebi Samwil is the highest and most prominent landmark located 5 mi. [8 km.] northwest of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Although not on the route of typical tours, serious tours may indeed stop there, for the view from there is terrific in all directions. In the past we have been able to ascend to the roof of the mosque to view the country side, but even without this, the views from the foot of the mosque are still very good.
Where else can you get a view of the Central Benjamin Plateau (which is one of the busiest areas in the Historical Books of the Old Testament)? Besides viewing Gibeon and Ramallah to the north, Gibeah to the east, the modern city of Jerusalem is spread out in all its glory to the south. To the southeast the three towers on the Mount of Olives are clearly visible in the distance. But students invariably ask, can we see the Temple Mount from here?
We have peered through binoculars in all kinds of weather trying to find the Gold Dome of the “Dome of the Rock” that now stands where the First and Second Temples stood. On very very rare occasions someone has said, oh, there it is! But it has never been that clear!#$@!
Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download
Well, sorting though some of my photos taken from Nebi Samwil I thought I would see if the Golden Dome of the Rock appeared in any of them. Voilà! It does! Note that Nebi Samwil is at 2906 ft. above sea level while the Dome of the Rock is at 2437 ft. And that the City of David (= the Old Ancient Core) is to the south of the Dome and decreases in elevation as one goes south.
Here is a full image of the above photo — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download
More on the Biblical significance of Nebi Samwil in a future post (next Wednesday?).
The Times of Israel has reported that during the installation of new carpets in the Dome of the Rock that ancient floors have been revealed. Many Jews and Christians believe that the Dome of the Rock stands over the spot where the “Holy of Holies” of the Solomonic and Second Temples. This is where the Ark of the Covenant was placed. Muslims believe that the Rock is the spot from which Mohammed ascended to “heaven.”
In the Well of Souls, a cave UNDER the foundation stone of the Dome of the Rock, an ancient tile floor has been revealed. — Photo from The Times of Israel
The Dome of the Rock has not been open to the non-Muslim general public for years. BELOW the famous rock is a small cavern that is called the “Well of the Souls”—see photo above—where it is said that the dead meet twice a week to pray (and see 2:20 in the video below and pause it). Notice the very beautiful tiled floor that was revealed during the updating of the carpet there (date??).
For a four minute YouTube video of the carpet laying process—with views of the interior of the Dome of the Rock and other underground passageways (at the 1:20 spot), see below. At 3:25 notice the mikrab that directs the faithful towards Mecca as well as the personal prayer places on the rug that is being laid.
Dome of the Rock. To the left of it is the Dome of the Chain and in the foreground is the “head” of a cistern (underground chamber that collects rain water). Courtesy of http://www.HolyLandPhotos.org
For additional images of the Dome and the area Click Here.