To the west of Al Aqsa mosque, within the same compound, you will find the oldest museum in Jerusalem, the Islamic museum established in 1923. The museum is housed in two historic buildings - one Ayyubid, and the other Crusader. The museum houses many Islamic artefacts and historical objects, and exhibits a variety of items ranging from tiny flasks for kohl eye make-up to giant architectural elements from mosques. The smaller objects are displayed in the first building (the Ayyubid construction) and include porcelain cups from the Far and Near East, inscribed brass mosque seals, glassware and incense burners, among other things. There are also exquisite thirteenth century gilded and enameled mosque lamps from the Hebron area, a large jewel-encrusted Hand of Fatima, and a collection of decorated guns, swords, an daggers from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The manuscript section has some rare medieval and Ottoman copies of the Koran, including an eighth century version ascribed to the prophet's great grandson.
The exhibits in the second building are much larger and include the burnt remains of the great cedar wood, ivory and mother-of-pearl minbar given to the Al Aqsa mosque by Salaheddin in 1187. You will also find exceptionally rich religious vestments of silk and gold, fragments of Al Aqsa's seventeenth century prayer rug and decorative cypress wood panels from the original eighth century mosque. From the Dome of the Rock itself, there is the magnificent Crusader wrought-iron screen that surrounded the Holy Rock from the twelfth to the twentieth century, and remains of mosaic and ceramic walls. Displayed also is the cannon that was fired to mark the start of the fast during Ramadan.