This praying area, which is underground and on the south-east side of the al-Aqsa compound is the Marwan-e-Masjid and has recently been restored. When the Crusaders had control of the mosque they used to use this area as stables for their horses and it became known as Solomon’s stables.
- Although known traditionally as ‘Solomon’s stables’, the original building is unlikely to date as far back as Prophet Sulaiman (upon him be peace) and can more plausibly be attributed to Herod the Great who substantially extended the Temple Mount platform during his reign.
- Holes can be seen on the base of many of the columns which were made by the Crusaders to thread rope to tie their horses. It is estimated that 400 horses were kept here at one time.
- Islamic tradition credits a caliph named Marwan I with transforming this area of the vaults into a series of usable rooms, rather than just going down to the bedrock directly, and regards the location as having originally been intended as a mosque (which is thus known as the Marwani mosque). In 1996, the Palestinian Waqf converted the area (which had from crusader times been mostly empty) into a modern mosque, capable of housing 7,000 people.