Studium Theologicum Salesianum
Salesian Pontifical University : Faculty of Theology - Jerusalem Campus



15 February 2017 STS-Jerusalem
DANG Minh Duc


On 15th of February 2017, continuing the “Focus on Islam Lectures,” the students and faculty of the STS assembled for a lecture given by Dr. Yusuf Said Natsheh, entitled “Islamic Architecture in Jerusalem.” Dr. Natsheh, born and raised in Jerusalem, received his PhD from the University of London, specializing in Ottoman Architecture. He is now the director of Tourism and Archaeology at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and oversees the architectural and artistic heritage of the al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem. In addition, he is the supervisor of the Arab League Institute to restore, maintain and document Jerusalem’s architecture; he is also a lecturer at the Al-Quds University. Our speaker has published several books and many articles, including a recent published book, Discovering Jerusalem’s Secrets: Walking Trails through the Old City and Beyond (2016).

Dr. Natsheh shared with us the historical account of the architecture in Jerusalem and its significance for Muslims. He commented that most of us come to Jerusalem with our own preconceived ideas and narratives of the city, but for him, “Jerusalem is truly a unique city with its own spirit. A spirit that is filled with people and places.” He continued to say that for Muslims, Jerusalem is the birthplace of the faith, it is not merely a city with bricks and stones, but it has its own history. This history is reflected by buildings, walls, gates, and water fountains. The two main architecture feats are the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the magnificent Dome of the Rock. It is believed that this is the place to where the Prophet Muhammad made his journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, which was mentioned in Surah 17 “Surat al-Isra” (The Night Journey). For this reason, it is considered to be the third most holy site for Muslims. Moreover, he gave detailed explanation about some of the architectural remains of the Arab dynasties around the Temple Mount and city of Jerusalem (e.g. Damascus Gate and Lion’s Gate).

After his lecture, Dr. Natsheh took up two questions from the STS students: first, regarding the Al-Aqsa Mosque as an open space for prayer; and second, the reasons why the “Golden Gate” is sealed. Finally, Vladimir Plasek gave a words of thanks to Dr. Natsheh for his interesting discourse.






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