January 31, 2013. (Romereports.com)
The Dome of the Rock juts out of the Jerusalem skyline. The complex, known by many names, including Mount Temple
, is among the most important sites for three of the major world religions.
Because of its importance to Muslims, Jews and Christians, access can be limited. But a virtual walking tour offers access to virtually anyone with a computer and an internet connection.
“You are now looking at the Dome of the Rock from its northwest side.”
This website offers a guided, spoken tour in English of Haram Al-Sharif, as the complex is called in Arabic.
The tour is broken down by 26 sections, guiding visitors through several points of the religious complex, and offering them multidimensional access. This includes several areas inside the Dome of the Rock structure, and the Rock itself, from which the name derives from. All sections offer 360 degree views, and users can zoom in or out, and appreciate even the smallest details.
“If you pan to your left, you’ll come to the wooden doors with their simple, brass decorations and plaques. In the center and on the edges you can see the Arabic words 'Muhammad' and 'Allah'”
In all, the spoken virtual tour lasts approximately 20-25 minutes. But with nearly unlimited access, from the comfort of home, the user is in control.
The website for the virtual tour was developed by Saudi Aramco World, a bimonthly magazine for a Saudi oil company, whose aim is to promote cross cultural understanding between the Arab and Muslim cultures and the West.