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Forthcoming events

Jerusalem’s First Mosque & the Entrance to Bayt al-Maqdis in the 7th century

Beatrice St. Laurent, Bridgewater State University will give this year's Iain Browning Memorial Lecture


4pm, 7th May  2015, BP Lecture Theatre, Clore Education Centre, British Museum. To book, contact the British Museum Box Office:  020 7323 8181 or

Poster May 7th 2015.pdf


In Association with the British Museum Department of Middle East

Supported by the Wellcome Trust and Maney Publishing


PEF-P2129 The South Eastern end of the Haram Enclosure

PEF-P-2129: The South-Eastern end of the Haram Enclosure, photographed by James Graham, 1853-9. PEF Collections



The architectural projects of Mu’awiya the first Umayyad caliph of Jerusalem between 638 when he became governor of Jerusalem until his death as caliph (660-680). Muslims arrived in Jerusalem in 637/638 and Mu’awiya was appointed governor of Greater Syria and he constructed Jerusalem’s 1st mosque (639-660) for his investiture as caliph in 660. Sometime between 640 and 680 he also planned and began construction of the Dome of the Rock (completed later by 692 by ‘Abd al-Malik). This might point to his intentions of establishing Jerusalem as his administrative center and capital.
This is groundbreaking research challenging most previous scholarship on the topic and also the Dome’s legacy as the oldest surviving Islamic monument. Further, this research alters the traditional view of how the Muslim conquest is viewed from a period of violent conquest to one of a benevolent and peaceful transition from Byzantine Christian rule to Muslim control, a time when Jews were allowed to move back to Jerusalem, and also when all were allowed access to the former Temple Mount and new Muslim sanctuary.

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