Great Mosque of Aleppo


Great Mosque of Aleppo

The Great Mosque of Aleppo ("Jami al-Kabir bi Halab") or the Ummayad Mosque of Aleppo ("Masjid al-Umayya bi Halab") is the largest and oldest mosque in the city of Aleppo in northern Syria. It is located in its Old City.

History

The site of the Great Mosque once was the former Agora from the Hellenistic period, which later became the garden for the Cathedral of Saint Helena, during the Christian era rule of Syria. [http://www.syriagate.com/Syria/about/cities/Aleppo/great_mosque.htm The Great Mosque (The Umayyad Mosque)] Syria Gate.]

The construction of the mosque was commenced by the Ummayad caliph al-Walid I in 715 and was finished by his successor Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik in 717. The mosque mostly rebuilt by the Zengid sultan Nur al-Din in 1169 after a great fire that had destroyed the earlier Ummayad structure; Later, the Mamluks made further alterations. The detached 45-meter high minaret of the Great Mosque was restored by the Seljuks in 1090. Carved Kufic inscriptions decorate the entire minaret along with alternate with bands of stylized ornaments in patterns and "muqarnas". In 1260, the entire mosque was razed by the Mongols. [http://archnet.org/library/sites/one-site.jsp?site_id=7501 Great Mosque of Aleppo] Archnet Digital Library.]

The courtyard and minaret of the mosque were renovated in 2003.

Architecture

The Great Mosque is built around a vast courtyard that connects to different areas of the mosque, positioned behind the colonnaded arcade. The courtyard is well-known for its black and white stone pavement that forms complex geometric patterns. The courtyard holds the two ablutions fountains.

The main prayer hall of the mosque holds the primary elements of the mosque: the shrine of Zachariah, a 15th century "minbar", and an elaborately carved "mihrab". This large prayer hall originally had a basic straight rooftop with a central dome, but was replaced by the Mamluks with an intricate cross-vaulted system with arches and a small dome over the arcades.

References


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