Al-Aqsa Mosque

Al-Aqsa Mosque, located in the Old City of Jerusalem, is the third holiest site in Islam. The mosque was built on top of the Temple Mount, known as the Al Aqsa Compound or Haram esh-Sharif in Islam. Muslims believe that Muhammad was transported from the Sacred Mosque in Mecca to al-Aqsa during the Night Journey. Islamic tradition holds that Muhammad led prayers towards this site until the 17th month after his migration from Mecca to Medina, when Allāh directed him to turn towards the Kaaba in Mecca; the covered mosque building was a small prayer house erected by Umar, the second caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate, but was rebuilt and expanded by the Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik and finished by his son al-Walid in 705 CE. The mosque was destroyed by an earthquake in 746 and rebuilt by the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur in 754, it was rebuilt again in 780. Another earthquake destroyed most of al-Aqsa in 1033, but two years the Fatimid caliph Ali az-Zahir built another mosque whose outline is preserved in the current structure.

The mosaics on the arch at the qibla end of the nave go back to his time. During the periodic renovations undertaken, the various ruling dynasties of the Islamic Caliphate constructed additions to the mosque and its precincts, such as its dome, its minbar and the interior structure; when the Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099, they used the mosque as a palace and the Dome of the Rock as a church, but its function as a mosque was restored after its recapture by Saladin in 1187. More renovations and additions were undertaken in the centuries by the Ayyubids, Ottomans, the Supreme Muslim Council, Jordan. Today, the Old City is under Israeli control, but the mosque remains under the administration of the Jordanian/Palestinian-led Islamic Waqf; the mosque is located in close proximity to historical sites significant in Judaism and Christianity, most notably the site of the Second Temple, the holiest site in Judaism. As a result, the area is sensitive, has been a flashpoint in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

Al-Masjid al-Aqsa translates from Arabic into English as "the farthest mosque". The name refers to a chapter of the Quran called Al-Isrā’, "The Night Journey"), in which it is said that Muhammad travelled from Mecca to "the farthest mosque", up to Heaven on a heavenly creature called al-Burāq ash-Sharīf. Although in its narrowest sense, the Al-Aqsa indicates the silver-domed mosque on the southern side of the Temple Mount plaza, the term "Al-Aqsa" has been used to refer to the entire area, including the mosque, along with the Dome of the Rock, the Gates of the Temple Mount, the four minarets. Al-Masjid al-Aqsa referred not only to the mosque, but to the entire sacred sanctuary, while Al-Jâmi‘ al-Aqṣá referred to the specific site of the mosque. During the period of Ottoman rule the wider compound began to be referred to as al-Ḥaram ash-Sharīf, Al-Aqsa Mosque is referred to as Al-Qibli Mosque on account of a particular building within it, the Al-Qibli Chapel; the mosque is located on the Temple Mount, referred to by Muslims today as the "Haram al-Sharif", an enclosure expanded by King Herod the Great beginning in 20 BCE.

In Islamic tradition, the original sanctuary is believed to date to the time of Abraham. The mosque resides on an artificial platform, supported by arches constructed by Herod's engineers to overcome the difficult topographic conditions resulting from the southward expansion of the enclosure into the Tyropoeon and Kidron valleys. At the time of the Second Temple, the present site of the mosque was occupied by the Royal Stoa, a basilica running the southern wall of the enclosure; the Royal Stoa was destroyed along with the Temple during the sacking of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE. It was once thought that Emperor Justinian's "Nea Ekklesia of the Theotokos", or the New Church of the God-Bearer, dedicated to the God-bearing Virgin Mary, consecrated in 543 and known as the Nea Church, was situated where al-Aqsa Mosque was constructed. However, remains identified as those of the Nea Church were uncovered in the south part of the Jewish Quarter in 1973. Analysis of the wooden beams and panels removed from the mosque during renovations in the 1930s shows they are made from Cedar of Lebanon and cypress.

Radiocarbon dating gave a large range of ages, some as old as 9th-century BCE, showing that some of the wood had been used in older buildings. However, reexamination of the same beams in the 2010s gave dates in the Byzantine period. During his excavations in the 1930s, Robert Hamilton uncovered portions of a multicolor mosaic floor with geometric patterns, but didn't publish them; the date of the mosaic is disputed: Zachi Dvira considers that they are from the pre-Islamic Byzantine period, while Baruch and Sandhaus favor a much Umayyad origin on account of their similarity to a known Umayyad mosaic. The current construction of the al-Aqsa Mosque is dated to the early Umayyad period of rule in Palestine. Architectural historian K. A. C. Creswell, referring to a testimony by Arculf, a Gallic monk, during his pilgrimage to Palestine in 679–82, notes the possibility that the second caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate, Umar ibn al-Khattab, erected a primitive quadrangular building for a capacity of 3,000 worshipers somewhere on the Haram ash-Sharif.

However, Arculf visited Palestine during the reign of Mu'awiyah I, and


The domra is a long-necked Russian folk string instrument of the lute family with a round body and three or four metal strings. In 1896, a student of Vasily Vasilievich Andreyev found a broken instrument in a stable in rural Russia, it was thought that this instrument may have been an example of a domra, although no illustrations or examples of the traditional domra were known to exist in Russian chronicles. A three-stringed version of this instrument was redesigned in 1896, introduced into the orchestra of Russian folk instruments; the three-stringed domra uses a tuning in 4ths. A four-stringed version was developed employing a violin tuning by Moscow instrument maker, Liubimov, in 1905. In recent times, scholars have come to the conclusion that the term "domra" described a percussive instrument popular in Russia, that the discovered instrument was either a variant of the balalaika or a mandolin. Today, it is the three-stringed domra, used exclusively in Russia, it is played with a plectrum, is used to play the lead melody in Russian balalaika ensembles.

The basic domra is tuned as follows: Three strings: EAD tuning Four strings: GDAE tuning Instruments are made in various sizes including piccolo, alto, tenor and contrabass. Piccolo: b1 e2 a2 Prima: e1 a1 d2 Soprano: b e1 a1 Alto: e a d1 Tenor: B e a Bass: E A d Contrabass: 1E 1A D Contrabass: 1A D G Tamara Volskaya is considered to be one of the leading contemporary performers on the domra, she is a Merited Artist of Russia, a Laureate of the USSR competition, a Professor at the Mussorgsky Ural State Conservatory in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Balalaika The Andreyev State Russian Orchestra


Bike is the bicycle sharing system of the city of Turin. Planned between 2008 and 2009, it became operational in the summer of 2010; the service is operational 24 hours a day every day of the year. It is based on the Bicincittà system: every station is formed from 8 to 20 terminals; each terminal consists in a small metallic column with an RFID reader interface on top. This includes two LEDs: a green one for normal operation ad a red one to indicate malfunction or errors while reading users' cards. A complementary piezo speaker acts with the LEDs to indicate the correct or incorrect reading of the user's code; the user approaches his personal card to the terminal, which in normal conditions mechanically releases the bike. From that moment the bike released. All the terminals are connected together to create a network which allows the user and service administration to locate the stations where the bike has been withdrawn; the service is completed by a web platform, from which the user can check his credit, renew the subscription and keep track of all the trips made and the number of bikes used.

An operator service through a free telephone number is available 24 hours a day. The system is linked with the BiciInComune services, operational in the near cities of Alpignano, Rivoli, Collegno and Venaria Reale all operated with the Bicincittà technology too. In this way, you can catch a bike in the center of Turin and put down in every station of that cities; the bikes adopted by the ToBike services are low-profile women's model citybikes. The livery is inspired by the official colors of the city with yellow main frame and blue large stickers for the ToBike logo. Equipment includes a 7-speed chain transmission and rear lights powered by a dynamo installed on the front wheel hub, a metallic basket on the handlebar and a bell. On the left side of the junction between the handlebar and frame is the cylindrical locking joint that contains the identifying RFID chip and allows locking it to the terminal; the wheels are made of aluminum alloy on. The annual cost of the service is of €25, with a preventive €5 addition in order to create a credit on the user's account.

In case the user exceeds from the 30' canonic time for a single use of a bike, the service will apply fines and automatically scale sums from that credit. A €5 global insurance against damages to third parties is offered optionally; the offer includes daily and weekly subscriptions. ToBike system consists of a growing number of bikes and 176 stations among operational, under construction ones and planned ones. Joining the 28 stations of Alpignano, Rivoli, Collegno and Venaria Reale the number of stations reaches 204. Anyway, nowadays in Turin only 100 station are operational. List of bicycle-sharing systems Official website