Umayyad Mosque, Aleppo

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  • Umayyad Mosque
    by iwys
  • Umayyad Mosque
    by iwys
  • Dec 2006
    Dec 2006
    by MM212
  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo

    Restored to glory

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Apr 27, 2005

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    Blue jawehs

    Closed for many years for restoration, the Omayyed mosque is now open to visitors once again. The relaid black, gold and cream marble of the courtyard spreads out in an intricate maze, the ablutions fountain is scrubbed and clean, the chandeliers sparkle and the dome above the prayer hall shows clear in intricate detail. Even the obligatory robes for women visitors are clean and new - and pale blue with pointy hoods - groups of tourists look like hunch-backed gnomes with their backpacks beneath the gown.

    leyle

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    Al Jamaa al-Kebir (the Great Mosque)

    by Tijavi Written Dec 14, 2007

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    The courtyard with the minaret
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    As the name implies, this is Aleppo's mosque of mosques, built by Caliph Al Walid of Damascus' Umyyad Mosque fame, and Caliph Suleiman (c. AD 700). Historical buffs may be disappointed to know that nothing much of the original structures exist today due to countless destructions and rebuildings in the past. The sole remaining structure that survives today is the free standing minaret, which, with its intricate ornamentation, is a mesmerizing sight especially when lighted at night.

    Entering the mosque won't cost you a single piastre, although donations are welcome. As always, observe proper etiquette when entering such holy Islamic places.

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  • iwys's Profile Photo

    Great Mosque

    by iwys Updated Apr 17, 2007

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    Aleppo's Great Mosque or Al Jamaa al Kebir, has several alternative names, including, confusingly, like its twin mosque in Damascus, the Umayyad Mosque. The Great Mosque was built between 705 and 715 AD, making it just 10 years' younger than the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, which it looks very similar to.

    The mosque is arranged into a rectangle of about 150m x 100m ,with a large courtyard in the middle . There is a gate in each of the four sides allowing access into the mosque through the courtyard, apart from the eastern gate which connects straight to the prayer hall.

    Foreign visitors are charged a small admission fee, but are free to wander anywhere inside the mosque and take photos.

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  • dabuwan's Profile Photo

    Umayyad Mosque

    by dabuwan Written Feb 18, 2003

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    Umayyad Mosque courtyard

    The Umayyad (sometimes written Omayyaddi) Mosque is also called the Great Mosque or, in arabic, "Al-Jami Al-Kabir".
    The confusion about its name apart, it is one of the largest and most famous mosques in the world.
    It has been built at the beginning of the 13th century, by the Umayyad dinasty and it is a very well preserved building.

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    Umayyad Mosque: in the evening

    by dabuwan Updated Feb 18, 2003

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    Eveningmin the Umayyad Mosque

    In the evening the Umayyad Mosque is even more scenic and beautiful.
    Inside, there are wonderful big chandeliers hanging from the ceiling; on the outside courtyard green lights are switched on to point the Mecca direction.
    The atmosphere is absolutely charming.

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    The Great Mosque

    by Sambawalk Updated Feb 12, 2005

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    An exclusive evening visit to the Great Mosque which was under renovation in Nov 2004 was rewarding.

    The freestanding minaret was spared from the ravages of the fires and all subsequent destruction in 1090. It remians as original as before. It stands 47m high, with five stoeroies high. It is not possible for visitors to climb up.

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    Zachariah's Head Shrine

    by iwys Updated Oct 11, 2006

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    The head of Zachariah, King of Israel and father of St. John the Baptist, is kept inside the Great Mosque. It is behind a gold grille. Youy can peer through this and see the head, wrapped in a green cloth, placed on top of an empty gold casket.

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    Omayyad Mosque of Aleppo

    by MM212 Updated Oct 20, 2012

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    Omayyad Mosque of Aleppo, Dec 2006
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    The Great (Omayyad) Mosque of Aleppo was first built in 715 AD, only 10 years after its namesake mosque in Damascus. Much like the Damascus mosque, the site chosen for the construction had been used for worship for centuries, first as a Semitic temple, then a Roman temple which later became the Byzantine Cathedral of Saint Helena's (mother of Constantine the Great). In fact, the mosque was constructed only on the gardens and courtyard of St Helena's, leaving the adjacent Cathedral intact for use by Christians until the 12th century. Over the years, the mosque suffered several tragic destructions caused by earthquakes, fires and invasions. The most damaging one came at the hands of the Mongols when they invaded Syria in the 13th century. Only the stunning 11th century square Minaret survived the invasions to this day, while the rest of the edifice dates from the reconstruction following the Mongol invasion. The mosque has a spacious courtyard and a vaulted prayer hall, which contains the shrine of Zachariah, father of John the Baptist (whose shrine is in the Omayyad Mosque of Damascus). For more photos of this architectural masterpiece, check out my travelogue "The Omayyad Mosque of Aleppo."


    IMPORTANT UPDATE: On 14th October, 2012, a fire caused by the civil war between the government and the Free Syrian Army damaged large sections of the Omayyad Mosque of Aleppo!

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    Shrine of Zachariah

    by MM212 Updated Jul 30, 2007

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    A small chamber inside the Omayyad Mosque is believed to hold the remains of the prophet Zachariah, father of St John the Baptist. It is said that his remains were discovered in Baalbek in the 11th century and then brought to Aleppo. They were first kept inside a mosque in the Citadel before finally moving to the Omayyad Mosque. During busy times, it is hard to get near the chamber to see what is inside (as was the case when I visited), but one could admire the beauty of the portal and the ancient blue, white and green Kashan tiles surrounding it.

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    Courtyard of the Omayyad Mosque

    by MM212 Updated Oct 20, 2012

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    The 10th Century Ablution Dome (Dec 2006)
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    As in most major mosques in the middle east, the courtyard of the Omayyad Mosque serves as a gathering place for the community, particularly families and children, who spend time socialising and resting. The spacious courtyard is covered with beautiful marble flooring arranged in complex geometric designs. It is surrounded by an arcade of pointed, and sometimes carved, arches and contains a domed ablution fountain and an ancient well. The ablution fountain is perhaps the oldest structure in the mosque, surviving from the 10th century reconstruction of the entire edifice by the Hamdanids after it was burnt down by the Byzantine emperor Nicephorus during his invasion of 962 AD. The arches, though, are from the last reconstruction of the mosque by the Mamlukes in the 13th century. It is said that the original 8th century courtyard rivalled that of the Omayyad Mosque in Damascus in splendour and contained equally magnificent mosaics, none of which exists today.


    IMPORTANT UPDATE: On 14th October, 2012, a fire caused by the civil war between the government and the Free Syrian Army damaged large sections of the Omayyad Mosque of Aleppo!

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    Minaret

    by iwys Updated Apr 5, 2007

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    The minaret of Aleppo's Great Mosque has been standing since 1090, when it replaced an even older one that had collapsed. This one has survived two major earthquakes, although, like the Tower of Pisa, it now leans slightly. It stands in the southern corner of the mosque. It is 47 m high, has six sections and 174 steps and it is in superb condition, which really is quite amazing for such a tall structure, nearly a thousand years old.

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    The Minaret of the Omayyad Mosque

    by MM212 Updated Apr 24, 2013

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    The stunning minaret, Dec 2006
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    Since its construction in 1090 AD, the magnificent square minaret has become a defining symbol and a focal point for the city of Aleppo. It was added to the mosque by the Seljuks who renovated the Omayyad Mosque edifice that was left to them by the previous dynasty, the Hamdanids. The intricately carved 45-metre high minaret is a fine example of Seljuk-period architecture and is the sole intact survivor of the mosque from that era. Astonishingly, the minaret was not destroyed in the frequent invasions and pillaging which continued until the final Mongol invasion of 1401. Might the polyfoil arches on the minaret have inspired the Venetians, who had an important presence in Aleppo, to create their own version in gotico fiorito (i.e, Venetian Gothic) architecture? Who knows...

    THE MINARET OF THE GREAT MOSQUE HAS BEEN DESTROYED! (April 2013)
    SAVE ALEPPO'S HERITAGE NOW

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    Umayyad Mosque: praying inside

    by dabuwan Written Feb 18, 2003

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    Praying inside the Umayyad Mosque

    This is a religious place very important not only for the local people, but for all the islamic world.
    There are always devout people praying and men and women are allowed to pray together, at least in some of the spaces.

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    The Great Mosque

    by kentishgirl Written Jan 12, 2007
    Great Mosque


    When in Aleppo you must visit the Great Mosque, sometimes it is called by the same name as the Mosque in Damascus - or as this one is older maybe I should phrase that the other way around!

    As with all mosques, dress appropriatley, take off your shoes and dont visit during prayer times.

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    Umayyad Mosque: the minaret

    by dabuwan Written Feb 18, 2003

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    The minaret of the Umayyad Mosque

    The original minaret of the Umayyad Mosque is very finely decorated and well preserved. It is more than 20 m. high and it is a reference point for the whole old city.

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