The complex of religious buildings including the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque is situated in the eastern part of Jerusalem. Among the most visited and venerated monuments of the city, they contain important historical and artistic remains. Among these, apart from the natural rock that rises in the center of the holy plain from which Mohammed took flight (according to tradition), there are significant polychrome wall mosaics, some of which date back to the Omayyad period (661-750).
In 1994, on UNESCO commission, the CCA, Centro di Conservazione Archeologica, was asked to carry out a study on the condition of the mosaic surfaces in order to draft a project for their conservation. In the course of the inspection, original fragments detached from the Al Aqsa mosque were also found in storage. As early as 1956, Cesare Brandi also visited the site for UNESCO to examine the condition of the surfaces, and he indicated that a high priority was consolidation in situ of the mosaics, which had been damaged over the centuries by earthquakes, water infiltration and misguided restoration treatments. The CCA’s conservation program stressed the need to study and document the surfaces in order to distinguish the non-original parts, and also took into account the methodological indications supplied by Brandi with regard to cleaning systems, consolidation in situ and integration of missing parts with recognizable and reversible systems.
Project Designer: Roberto Nardi, CCA