Yesterday during our free time we headed out to the Dome of the Rock! The Dome of the Rock is one of the holiest sites in Islam, was built in the late 7th century, and marks the top of Mount Moriah, where the muslims believe Abraham went to sacrifice Ishmael (not Isaac like we believe). I was so excited to see this, since the Dome really is the iconic building of Jerusalem and I have seen pictures of it in textbooks for as long as I can remember. I wasn't allowed to go inside the mosque, since I am obviously not Muslim, but they did let us go inside to the grounds. The grounds were huge and the building was so pretty! The mosaic work on it really is amazing and I loved getting to see this famous building up close.
After the Dome we went to Dormition Abbey, which is probably my favorite church I have visited here in Jerusalem so far. According to tradition, this church marks the spot that the virgin Mary ascended into heaven. The chapel and crypt were really pretty and peaceful and we spent some time reading scriptures about Mary. One of my favorite things was that above the sepulcher of Mary were mosaics of the six women from the Old Testament. This was done so that the shrine would be honoring all righteous women, not only the Virgin Mary, which I loved because not many sites here acknowledge women and the enormous influence they have had. Yay for being a girl! :)