The al-Aqsa Mosque, originally built in 711 A.D., has not changed significantly in size or plan since the 12th century. The client for the current restoration is a semi-governmental body established by Jordanian law. In 1969, at the time its work commenced, the precinct of the mosque and the Dome of the Rock, known as the Haram al-Sharif area, as well as the great monuments themselves were in a sorry state of disrepair. Most noticeably, the dome of the mosque had been reconstructed in concrete and covered with anodised aluminium instead of the original ribbed lead sheeting. The programme of extensive conservation began with the damaged dome and its paintings. The ribbed aluminium outer covering was replaced with lead to match the original. The 14th-century painted decorations of the dome interior, thought to be irreparably lost, were brought to light and completely reconstructed using the trateggio technique, a method that uses fine vertical lines to distinguish reconstructed areas from original ones. The rest of the mosque is also being restored as is the entire Haram area. A systematic and scientific spirit pervades the entire effort.
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