The Dome of the Chain is located directly to the east of the Dome of the Rock. A visitor leaving the Dome of the Rock from the eastern gate will directly see the Dome of the Chain; otherwise, a walk around the structure of the Dome of the Rock will be necessary to access it.
The Dome of the Chain is one of the monumental buildings. According to several historical sources, it was founded by Caliph ‘Abed lal- Malik iibn Marwan and its construction was most likely completed in 691 - 692 AD (72 H). The structure has a curious history. It is not clear why it was called the Dome of the Chain or what the purpose of its construction was. The name was linked to an old story that was attributed once to Prophet David and another time to Prophet Solomon. As for the reason for its construction, there were two opinions. The first argued that it was a money house, while the second believed that it was a prototype for the Dome of the Rock. Both arguments are lacking. If it were a money house, it would have required security around the clock, and if it were a prototype, then there are major differences between the two domes. Moreover, the Dome of the Chain is an open dome, while the Dome of the Rock is a closed-wall dome. Regardless, the Dome of the Chain has coincided with the Dome of the Rock and it is also considered one of the oldest Islamic buildings that are still standing to this day. Naturally, the Dome of the Chain underwent renovations over the Islamic periods. Sultan al-Zahir Baibars had renovated its niche, while the dome was renovated in 1561 AD (969 H) by Suleiman l-Qanuni (Suleiman the Magnificent), who ordered the adornment of the interior and exterior spandrels of the arches , as well as the niche, with colored tiles.
Plan of the Dome of the Chain
The Dome of the Chain has a polygon plan made up of eleven sides supported by marble columns with square and circular bases, and marble capitales displaying various flower motifs. The columns support semi-circular arches, finishing at the top with straight walls that form thepolygon building . The exterior polygon contain an interior polygon in its center, made up of six marble columns, alternating the color of red and green. The columns display capitales with various vegtal motifs and are topped with six semi-circular archea, covered in tiles of geometric and flower forms. The dome drum, is hexagonal in shape in exterior and circular in interior, sits on top of these arches, and on top of this drum set a semi-spherical dome that is covered with lead sheets. A stone concave mihrab is found in the southern side of the Dome of the Chain, it is constructed of stone and has a semicircular arch. The arch is supported by twomarble columns, with flower motifs capitales. The interior of the mihrab is covered by long slabs of red, black and grey marble.