Mosques in Tripoli :
madrasah of Tripoli which also serves as a mosque today is the al-Burtasiya which
met with severe damage in 1955 when flood waters of the Abou Au River invaded the building
and rose to its second story. However repairs undertaken by Lebanons Department of
Antiquities have made this imposing monument of the early Maanluks one of old
Tripolis major attractions . Its mots ornate feature is its dark stone
portal, the overhanging half-dome ceiling of which is decorated with the usual
stalactites, beneath which is a band of Arabic inscriptions. The lintel of the door is
incised with intricate panels of geometric designs. In the interior of the building the
central cupola is supported by arches. The walls are decorated with alveolate carvings,
above which, is a row of arched decorations pierced by pairs of arched windows and light
apertures all around the inside of the dome .
A marble fountain stands in the
prayer hall while to the south, the beautiful mihrab can be seen decorated with
stone and glass mosaics overlaid with gold leaf. The designs of the mosaic are floral and
geometric with green-blue branches standing out against a golden background.
The madrasah has a square
minaret, on the east side of which are a pair of windows with arches in black and white
stone reminiscent of Moorish architecture. The small decorative column separating
the windows has a badly worn capital which may be of Crusader origin. Of Crusader
inspiration are the corbelled windows on all four sides. The upper story overhanging
balcony of the minaret in decorated with a mass of stalactites.
The inscription tell us that the madrassah
was built by Isa, son of Omar al -Bertasi and although there is no foundation date it
appears, by the style of the inscription, to belong to the Hahn Mamluk period.It was
destined, according to the wishes of the founder, for the use of theologians of the
Shafiite school for the explanation and interpretation of the Koran and the presentation
of the hadith. It was also destined for ceremonies and for Friday prayers. The
founder stipulates that it is strictly forbidden to give sums of money or lodgings to
those not employed in the madrasah. This clause was included presumably to
discourage begging and other mis-uses of the lintel.