Omayyad Mosque, Damascus

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  • Dome of the Clock
    Dome of the Clock
    by mikey_e
  • The mosque's courtyard
    The mosque's courtyard
    by mikey_e
  • The midrab
    The midrab
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  • stevemt's Profile Photo

    One of the most famous Mosque's in Islam

    by stevemt Updated Jan 25, 2014

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    The main gate
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    The Ummayad Mosque, also known as the Grand Mosque of Damascus (Arabic: جامع بني أمية الكبير, transl. Ğām' Banī 'Umayyah al-Kabīr), is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world. Located in one of the holiest sites in the old city of Damascus, it is of great architectural importance.

    After the Arab conquest of Damascus, the mosque was built on the Christian basilica dedicated to John the Baptist since the time of the Roman emperor Constantine I. The mosque holds a shrine which still today contains the head of John the Baptist (Yahya), honored as a prophet by both Christians and Muslims alike. There are also many important landmarks within the mosque for the Shī‘ah, among them is the place where the head of Husayn (the grandson of Muhammad) was kept on display by Yazīd I. There is also the tomb of Saladin, which stands in a small garden adjoining the north wall of the mosque.

    In 2001 Pope John Paul II visited the mosque, primarily to visit the relics of John the Baptist. It was the first time a pope paid a visit to a mosque.

    There are crowds waiting outside the main gate of a morning for it to open as I witnessed.

    It truely is an impressive placeand visitors are probably very lucky to be able to get in to see it.

    Cost is 50SYP payable at the room for changing clothes, about 20 meters down from the main gate.

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  • mikey_e's Profile Photo

    Minaret of the Bride

    by mikey_e Written Nov 25, 2012
    Minaret of the Bride
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    The Minaret of the Bride is square and thus contrasts with the Ottoman-style minarets common in the city and with the octagonal Egyptian-style Western Minaret. It was the first one built, although its exact date of construction and the originator of its design are still unknown. It is believed to have been constructed in the 9th or 10th century. It takes its name from the daughter of the iron-merchant who provided the lead for the roof and whose gave his daughter to be wed to the city's ruler. It has a variety of alteration in its style as the tower ascends, from rough blocks to dressed ones, and this goes up to the smaller spire with its lead roof.

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  • mikey_e's Profile Photo

    Qaitbay Minaret

    by mikey_e Written Nov 25, 2012
    Qaitbay or Western Minaret
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    This particular minaret is not the most treasured of the minarets of the mosque, but it is the first one visible when you arrive from the Hamidiya Souq. It was erected at the end of the 15th century, under Mamluk rule, after Timur sacked the city and destroyed one of the Mosque's minarets. Its thick body and octagonal shape contrast with the square shapes of the Minaret of the Bride and the Minaret of Jesus. It is very much reliant on Egyptian principles of design for its characteristics, and thus adds to various layers of influence that have produced the eclectic nature of the mosque's synthesis.

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    Dome of the Clock

    by mikey_e Written Nov 25, 2012
    Dome of the Clock

    The Dome of the Clock is not quite as famous as its sister Dome, that of the Treasury, although it was built a couple of decades before the latter. It is a very simple affair that stands on its columns and is a slate grey construction, not nearly as ornate as the Dome of the Treasury. Nevertheless, it adds to the eclectic nature of design and decoration in the Umayyad Complex.

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    Dome of the Treasury

    by mikey_e Written Nov 25, 2012

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    Qubbat al-Khazna
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    The Umayyad Mosque can feel a bit like a hodge-podge of styles and eras, and part of that impression is the product of the two Domes that are found in its courtyard: the Dome of the Clock and the Dome of the Treasury (Qubbat as-Sa3at wa Qubbat al-Khuzna). The Dome of the Treasury was built at the end of the eighth century on the order of the Governor of Damascus, and was intended to house the Mosque's endowment and most treasured items, including many manuscripts in the various liturgical languages of the Middle East. These items have largely remained out of view, but what is on view is exquisite. The outside of the dome is covered in the same mosaic that once covered the entire mosque, and which makes it look like a large, colourful stone tapestry. It sits atop eight Roman columns, which makes it seem more like a water tower than a reliquiry.

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  • mikey_e's Profile Photo

    Building on one another

    by mikey_e Written Nov 15, 2012

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    View of the courtyard of the Umayyad mosque
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    The Umayyad Mosque is without doubt, an awe-inspiring architectural wonder. One aspect of Damascus’ long history as an urban centre that is highlighted by the mosque is that sites in the old city have been repurposed several times since their initial founding. The mosque was first built as a temple for an Aramaean god prior to the arrival of the Romans in the first century CE. It then was associated with Jupiter and was continually expanded by the Romans until it was converted into the Cathedral of St. John in the 390s. It acquired further fame in the seventh century, when it was dedicated to St. John the Baptist and was rumoured to contain the head of the saint. Most of the structure was destroyed in the 7th century when the Umayyad dynasty came to power and had the current mosque erected. When the Umayyads fell and were replaced by the Abbasids, these latter rulers added the Domes in the courtyard and a massive clock, as well as the northern minaret. As successive dynasties and empires – Seljuk, Mameluk, Mongol, Ottoman, French – took control of the city of Damascus, they invested in the upkeep of the mosque and, especially under the Mameluks and Seljuks – its expansion and embellishment, not least because of the damage brought upon it by successive wars and fighting. Today the mosque can only be described as an eclectic example of Muslim architecture, having been built and rebuilt by so many rulers from across the Mediterranean and the Muslim world. It is truly massive, and its size – and the size of its art work – is sure to humble any visitor, regardless of his or her religion.

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  • kharmencita's Profile Photo

    Damascus Mosque´s two Faces of Religion

    by kharmencita Written Jul 20, 2012

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    Saladin��s Mausoleum in the Mosque Garden
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    ***A Mosque with its faces of religion.

    In the early times this building was used as a Temple of Jupiter during the Roman Empire. After the fourth century turned into a church. The western side of the older Temple was an extension made to make a Cathedral of St, John the Baptist.
    During the Islamic revolution, a leader Umayyad caliph Mu'awiya Ibn Abi Sufyan, ruled Damascus, the church was occupied by both Christians and Muslims. The Muslims prayed on the eastern side of the old Temple and the Christian on the western side where the Cathedral was erected. Because of lack of space and to have an own architectural representation for the new Islamic religion in this City the Muslims negotiated with the Christian leaders to occupy the complete Temple with a promise that other Christian churches around Damascus are protected and safe in all means. Presently being turned into a Mosque, there is still a part within the inner premises of the mosque a sacred place which contain the head of St. John the Baptist which was supposedly found during the excavations for the building of the mosque. This shrine of St John is respected and worshipped not only by Christian believers but also by Muslims and honored him as a Prophet.
    Even Pope John Paul II came to visit for the first time a Mosque to honor the relics of St. John the Baptist.
    In a small garden on the northern side of the Mosque is the mausoleum of Sultan Saladin, a Kurdish Muslim honored by Richard the Lionheart because of his struggle against the crusaders gained his great reputation as chivalrous knight and no doubt to be the greatest and most powerful leader in the Islamic world.

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  • kharmencita's Profile Photo

    Umayyad Mosque of Damascus City

    by kharmencita Updated Jul 20, 2012

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    Dome of Damascus Treasury
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    Don´t leave Damascus without paying attention to this biggest Mosque because it is really worth a visit. Umayyad Mosque, also known as the Grand Mosque of Damascus, is one of the largest great Islamic architectural structure ever made after Mecca that is also considered as one of the oldest mosque in the World.

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  • June.b's Profile Photo

    Domes at the courtyard, Umayyad Mosques

    by June.b Written Dec 1, 2010

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    Just in the middle of the courtyard - actually a bit on the side, one of the things that will immediately catch your attention is that tank-looking thing with shiny elborately designed gold and green mosaic and elevated from the ground by 8 columns. That is called the Dome of the Treasury.

    The other dome opposite it at the far end of the courtyard, similarly with 8 columns that looks like an umbrella is the Dome of the Clocks.

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    The mosaic at the courtyard of Umayyad Mosque

    by June.b Written Dec 1, 2010

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    A larger expanse of mosaic also remains on the western arcade wall. Stretching some 37m in length, and executed in shades of green and lime on a background of gold, the mosaic depicts fairytale-like towers, domes and forests. This is the largely greenish design on the facade of the largest portion of the building. I was actually thinking that it must have been originally a christian building maybe because of the architectural design - but what do I know.

    Damascenes believe that the mosaic design is the Barada Valley and the paradise, the prophet Mohammed saw in Damascus.

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  • June.b's Profile Photo

    Umayyad Mosque courtyard

    by June.b Updated Dec 1, 2010

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    The four sides of the rectangular courtyard seems to have its own interesting highlights.

    Two-storey arched arcade can be found on the 3 sides of the courtyard. The fourth side is the front of the prayer hall, dominated by a central section covered with enchanting, shimmering, golden mosaics.

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  • June.b's Profile Photo

    The grand courtyard of Umayyad Mosque (1)

    by June.b Written Nov 30, 2010

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    ...and then there's the stunning courtyard!

    While looking at the historical mosque from inside the man prayer hall, I said, whre's the large shiny open air marbled plaza I saw on pictures? I followed the people getting out of a gate, and there it was -- I'm silently hearing children choir singing "Allelujah" , NO! it's just my mind. The shiny flooring that reflects the images of people stepping on it is so neat, you have to walk on you socks -- he, after all it's a not an easy task for the staff cleaning th huge courtyard.

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    Umayyad Mosque (Interiors)

    by June.b Written Nov 24, 2010

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    I walk along the Hamediyeh Souq and ended up in the grand entrance of the Umayyad Mosque where there are lots of activities going on - people selling stuff and food. The entrance fronting the end of the souq is closed so I went on the right side and it's open. So that's where people are entering the mosque. I think most of the entrances of the grand mosque are closed during the weekdays, so you'd better check the side entrances. I went there on my last day at the city and that was Friday and all the entrances are open.

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    Umayyad Mosque (Inside the mosque)

    by June.b Updated Nov 24, 2010

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    One of the oldest mosques in the world, the Umayyad mosque is located within the walls of the old city of Damascus. It is considered also the the 4th holiest place in Islam.

    A visit to Damascus cannot be complete without seeing this monumental structure.

    Even the Pope John Paul II have visited this mosque - first time for a pope to visit a mosque - to pay visit to the shrine of Str. John the Baptist which is located right inside the mosque where it is said that the head of the saint is kept inside the shrine.

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  • uglyscot's Profile Photo

    visit the Omayyed mosque

    by uglyscot Updated May 31, 2010

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    muwadda [ablution fountain] and minaret
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    The Omayyed mosque ,build by Khalifa Al Walid, is reached by walking through the Humaidiya market, across the courtyard and then through a gate into the courtyard of the Mosque.
    I had been outside on a previous visit but hadn't been into the courtyard. First you have to remove your shoes, and if not decently dressed you are given a cloak to cover your body. I always have a headscarf round my neck so had no problem.
    Inside you see the two ablution fountains, and notice the arcades with green and gold mosaic .The facade too is of green and gold.
    The brass doors at the entrance to the courtyard are impressive.
    Inside the mosque buildings are some Shiite shrines, but we didn't go in. Nor did we have time to enter the mosque itself, though my husband had been previously.
    It was worth going to see.

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