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Jerusalem - The Center of the World

Legends of Jerusalem

Based on the Book Legends of Jerusalem by Zev Vilnay

Jerusalem at the Center of the World: Jerusalem, holy to Judaism, Christianity and Islam was believed to be the heart of the universe and foundation of the world.

This Bünting Clover Leaf Map was published in Germany in 1581. NOTE: lower left corner: Terra Nova (i.e. America) was discovered 90 years before.


This belief is based on the words of the Prophet Ezekiel 38:12: …And a people gathered from the nations…living at the center of the world”.

The Midrash (Bereshit Rabba 63:14) reads: Rabbi Shmuel the younger compared the form of the world with Jerusalem at its center, to the eye: “This world is like the human eye for the white is the ocean…the pupil (at its center) is Jerusalem…

Genesis 28:10-12: Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. He came upon a certain place and stopped there for the night for the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. He had a dream…

According to the Midrash (Bereshit Rabba 69:6/Rashi), this place is Jerusalem where the Temple was built and the stone (i.e. Jacob’s pillow): is the Foundation Stone that is inside today’s Dome of the Rock. Another Midrash states that Jonah saw the Stone while in the belly of the whale.

The Foundation Stone (es-Sakhra):







The Dome of the Rock (Kubbat es-Sakhra):

Inscribed on the porcelain tiles are two inscriptions: The Rock of the Temple (from the Garden of Eden and Gate of Paradise (Babe j-Jinah):

A Moslem legend relates that on Resurrection Day, the Kaaba Stone in Mecca will join es-Sakhra in Jerusalem and bring world peace.

Another legend relates that all water sources of the world are concealed beneath es-Sakhra. In Hebrew the Foundation Stone is called אבן השתיה.

A 3rd legend: the rising at the corner of es-Sakhra is the imprint of Muhammed’s heel (Kadam en-Nabi). In this turret, is a silver box dating to 1609 which contains 3 hairs which are said to be hairs from Muhammed’s beard.

The Well of the Souls:

A large round marble slab rests upon the entrance to a cave sealed and hidden in the depths of the Dome of the Rock. This cave is called the Well of the Souls (Bir al-Aruah) where the souls of the dead gather to worship.

Rabbi David ben-Zimra (The Radbaz,16th Century) wrote that anyone who entered this cave immediately perished. Thus the cave has been sealed. Jewish legend also holds that inside this sealed cave may be found many of the treasures of the Temple.

The Well of the Leaf:

Once a sheikh dropped his bucket into the well and climbed inside to retrieve it. After wading around, he saw an opening and came to the gate of Eden. Trembling, he entered and plucked a leaf from a tree. Although others waded in the well, they were unable to find the same opening to Eden.

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