Slightly resembling the Dome of the Rock on its eastern side is a small structure known as the ‘Dome of the Chain’. The dome owes its name to the tradition according to which King Solomon would test witnesses by having them hold the chain. Those who would bare false witness would be struck by lightning through the chain while those who spoke truthfully would leave unharmed. According to Muslim tradition, on Judgment Day, the chain will be hung from the center of the dome and will once again be used to judge the righteous from the sinners.
It is still unclear, however, what was the dome’s practical function and there are many speculations. For instance, some believe it was built to mark the ‘Naval of the World’ as many believe Haram al-Sharif to be the geographical and spiritual center of the world, while others claim that it was merely a treasury.
The unusual shape of the open structure includes a 13 meter diameter dome sitting upon 11 external and 6 internal pillars. The original Umayyad structure had 10 sides and its construction is attributed to Caliph Abd al-Malik who also built the Dome of the Rock.