Jerusalem / 1970’s – 1980’s / Dome of Rock – Architectural Symbol

Relating the art to the architecture, this narrative correlates to the paintings as described in Argument 1. The monument of Palestinian nostalgia, the Dome of Rock that sits in the Haram-Ash Sharif is the architectural symbol that relates back to the claiming of land through religion. What makes this monument of such importance is the fact that it comprises of a mixture of national, ethnic and religious associations (from Adam to Jesus, Abraham and Prophet Muhammad) and this value is expressed in its architectural presence (Oleg Grabar, Jerusalem, 2005)

“There is a close tie between heritage and habitat, the felt fusion of identity with the locale” David Lowenthal (Historian)

This narrative looks at how a monument (The Dome of Rock), through paintings, is used to convey the idea of reclamation of land by relating back to religion and regionalism in Jerusalem.

Bashir al Sinwar’s oil painting as shown on the image depicts a ‘horse dressed in Palestinian traditional kuffiyeh, standing confidently and calmly on a hill, looking out over Jerusalem… The Dome of Rock is the only clearly demarcated building… the structure’s perspectival closeness to the viewer further emphasises its importance… the Dome of Rock as the key component’. This shows the claiming of Palestine’s triumph of the past with the P.L.O watching over and protecting the fate of Jerusalem’s identity. Here the discourse is oriented towards the past for the future.

Bashir Al Sinwar
Bashir Al Sinwar

Referring back to Mansour’s ‘Camel of hardship’, the Dome of Rock here is also made as the most significant feature. This relates back to the city of Jerusalem being the symbol of Palestine (Regionalism) with the Dome of Rock as a monument being the symbol of Jerusalem and thereby making it the ‘ultimate symbol of the Palestinian nation.’ (The Open Veins of Jerusalem, second edition Munir Akash, Fouad Moughrabi, 1998)

Suleiman Mansour, Camel of Hardship 1974
Suleiman Mansour, Camel of Hardship 1974

Land Day 1989, by Ghazi Inieem, ‘conveys the message of the Dome of Rock as a monument of Palestinian history. In the foreground, an Arab man in turban ploughs the field with a horse which speaks of Palestine’s agricultural civilisation (before the 19th century)… this would serve as a remembrance of a Palestinian past to the Palestinian community and a presentation to those who deny it.’ Included in this is the Dome of Rock with the rest of the image being ‘arbitrary’ and this conveys the idea that it was the Palestinian who worked the land upon which Jerusalem is built. This is emphasised with the title which commemorates the 1976 protest.

Land Day 1989, Ghazi Inieem
Land Day 1989, Ghazi Inieem

These thereby indicate that the Dome of Rock being of such importance compels Jerusalem to retain this region and develop around it.

Dawoud Zalatimo, 1979  Dome of Rock
Dawoud Zalatimo, 1979
Dome of Rock


– GRABAR, Oleg, The shape of the Holy : early Islam

– GRABAR, Oleg, Jerusalem, (2005)

– AKASH Munir and MOUGHRABI Fouad, The Open Veins of Jerusalem, 2005
ROGERS, Sarah, The Dome of Rock as National Icon

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