Jerusalem Ascension 001

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  • Title:  Jerusalem Ascension 001
  • Description:  The Chapel of the Ascension is a shrine located on the Mount of Olives, in the At-Tur district of Jerusalem. Part of a larger complex consisting first of a Christian church and monastery, then an Islamic mosque, it is located on a site the faithful traditionally believe to be the earthly spot where Jesus ascended into Heaven forty days after his resurrection. It houses a slab of stone believed to contain one of his footprints. The Status Quo, a 250-year old understanding between religious communities, applies to the site.

    After the fall of Jerusalem in 1187 the ruined church and monastery were abandoned by the Christians, who resettled in Acre. During this time Salah ad-Din established the Mount of Olives as a waqf entrusted to two sheikhs, al-Salih Wali al-Din and Abu Hasan al-Hakari. This donation was registered in a document dated 20 October 1188. The chapel was converted to a mosque, and a mihrab installed in it. Because the vast majority of pilgrims to the site were Christian, as a gesture of compromise and goodwill Salah ad-Din ordered the construction, two years later, of a second mosque nearby for Muslim worship while Christians continued to visit the main chapel. Also around this time the complex was fortified with towers, walls, and guarded by watchman. The shrine and surrounding structures saw periods of non-use and disrepair over the next 300 years. By the 15th century the destroyed eastern section of the octagonal outer wall was separated from the rest by a dividing wall and was occupied by peasant houses and animal stables.Though still under the authority of the Islamic Waqf of Jerusalem, the edicule-turned-mosque is currently opened to visitors of all faiths, for a nominal fee.
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  • Keywords:  Ascension, Jerusalem
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