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Mansouri great mosque

Famous Mosques in Tripoli :
WB00827_.GIF (132 bytes) Aattar
WB00827_.GIF (132 bytes) Abou Bakr al-Siddik
WB00827_.GIF (132 bytes) Arghoun Shah
WB00827_.GIF (132 bytes) Bertasi
WB00827_.GIF (132 bytes) Kabir al-Aali
WB00827_.GIF (132 bytes) Mahmoud Beik the Sanjak
WB00827_.GIF (132 bytes) Mansouri Great Mosque 
WB00827_.GIF (132 bytes) Muallak Mosque
WB00827_.GIF (132 bytes) Omar Ibn El-Khattab Mosque
WB00827_.GIF (132 bytes) Ouwaysiyah Mosque
WB00827_.GIF (132 bytes) Shoum Mosque
WB00827_.GIF (132 bytes) Sidi Abdel Wahed
WB00827_.GIF (132 bytes) Tahham
WB00827_.GIF (132 bytes) Tinal Mosque
WB00827_.GIF (132 bytes) Tawbah Mosque

The Grand Mosque and its Madrasahs

After the destruction of the port city of Tripoli in 1289 by the army of Qala’un, the Sultan decided to build a new city inland at the foot of "Pilgrim’s Mountain" where a Crusader bourg had developed over the years, around the castle of Saint-GilIes. Qala’un gave orders that amosque be erected on the emplacement there of the gutted Crusader church, once Saint Mary’s of the Tower.This church apparently had been founded in the early twelfth century but was severely damaged in a severe quake on June 29, 1170, just a few years before the union of the County of Tripoli with the House of Antioch. In rebuilding the fallen church Bohemund IV, prince of Antioch and fifth count of Tripoli, probably took into his service Italian architects who gave the structure its "Lombard" tower. Although this quarter was set ablaze by orders of Qala’un the tower did not collapse and was turned into a minaret and incorporated in the Grand Mosque. After the death of Qala’un in 1294 his son, Malik al-Ashraf Salah ed-Din Khalil, provided the main (north) Crusader portal of the mosque with a vaulted porch and took steps to strengthen the foundations against destruction by future earthquakes. The portal is a striking example of architecture of theCrusader period . It is Romanesque in style with a slightly pointed and deep arch having three archivolts, two of which are decorated with zigzags and resting on pilasters of the thick wall. The other is decorated with two bands of plain molding and rests on slender columns with sculptured leaf design capitals. The three line inscription on the lintel commemorates the restoration work done on the mosque by Qala’un’s son, Khalil in 1294 (A.H. 693). The first line reads: "In the name of Allah... the construction of this blessed mosque has been ordered by our most powerful Sultan, Master of princes of the Arabs and Persians, conqueror of frontiers, destroyer of the infidel". Then follows the name and titles of the sultan and the name of the nd’ib or governor of Tripoli at the time, Izzedin Aibek. The courtyard surrounded by arcades was added to the mosque in 1315 (A.H.715) by Qala’un’s younger son, Malik an-Nasir who succeeded his brother Khalil." The pulpit was built in the mosque by Emir Qaratay, Mamluk nd’ib of Tripoli in the year 1326 (A.H.726). A marble plaque placed above a mihráb in the mosque commemorates the decoration of this prayer niche by another governor of Tripoli, Emir Azdemir on July 2, 1478 (A.H.883)). The mosque has undergone little changes since this time and, except for its Crusader elements, can be considered as a Mamluk period building. Top

Its "Lombard" tower has three stories of arched windows on each side. The top story s north and south windows are triple, as are those of the story below. The east and west sides have only double windows at these levels. Below, all four sides have a pair of windows of reduced size . The single columns between the pairs of windows and the double columns of the triple windows have Romanesque capitals except those on the upper story of the tower.

To the east there is another portal which is of the Crusader period. It has a deep round arch with two bands of decorations, the outer one presents an elaborate design, the inner a simple rope pattern. The Arabic inscription on the lintel rests on Crusader corbel It is a decree by Emir Djanim, nd’ib of Tripoli, abolishing the practice of giving gifts to officials in the office of the hdjib a -ho ujdb or Grand Chamberlain. It appears that gifts of spices, perfumes, sugar and vinegar were given, according to an old custom, to those in charge of disputed claims in the office of the Grand Chamberlain and to other officials in the province who administered the domains and other property holdings of the Sultan. The decree abolishes this custom. It also protects the inhabitants of Tripoli from forced sales of soap, oil and potassium carbonate, as well as from any other future exactions which may be forthcoming from these offices. The decree, dated July 8,1502 (A.H.908) ends with "Praise be to Allah. An examination of the contents of this decree shows that the principal commercial activity of Tripoli at this period was centered on the manufacture of silk, soap and the production of potassium carbonate.   Top

And, finally, an inscription of the Marnluk Sultan Shaikh fitted into the wall above the lintel of the southeast entry of the Grand Mosque shows the Sultan’s pre-occupation with current abuses:

PRAISE BE TO ALLAH... It HAS BEEN COMMANDED BY SULTAN ALMALIK AL-MUAYYAD ABU-L-NASER SHAIKH, MAY ALLAH HONOR HIM AND GIVE HIM AUTHORITY TO ABOLISH INJUSTICES WHICH ARE TO THE PREJUDICE OF THE INHABITANTS OF TRIPOLI, THAT IS, WE HOARDING

OF PROVISIONS SUCH AS WHEAT, MEAT AND BREAD AND THEIR FORCED

SALE AT EXCESSIVE PRICES AND OTHER ABUSES OF THIS SORT, SO THAT

SUCH PRACTICES ARE NOT RENEWED AND ARE FORBIDDEN UNDER THIS

FLOURISHLNC REIGN. MAY ALLAH PRRSERVE THE SULTAN AND MARE

HIS REIGN LONG OVER THE MUSLIMS . PRAISE BE TO ALLAH

JUNE 6,1414 (A.H. 817).

Top

This is just one of the many inscriptions found in the mosques and madrasahs of Tripoli which not only dates the buildings but also casts light on the daily life and problems in the city in the days of the Mamluks. Set in the walls of mosques and madrasahs the decrees of the sultans and Mamluk governors of Tripoli list abuses which existed at the time and attempts made to correct them. All taxes not provided for in the Koran or hadith were regarded as injustices. The decrees curbed the activities of dishonest officials and, in a final attempt to see that justice is done, the wording of the decree puts the reform under the protection of the Prophet.Top

In the vicinity of the Grand Mosque of Tripoli, or actually attached to it, are six Mamluk ,madrasahs, Islamic schools founded for the explanation and interpretation of the Roran and the presentation of the hadtth or sayings of the Prophet. Adjacent to the madrasahs are the tombs of their benefactors. The most elaborate is the al-Qartawiya, built by Emir Qaratay, Mamluk governor of Tripoli from 1316 to 1326 and again from 1332 to 1333. Itis located outside the east portal of the mosque and has been built, it is believed, on the emplacement of the baptistry of Saint Mary’s of the Tower. Slender columns with leafed capitals decorate its north portal and mihrab (prayer niche) in the interior and may have originally come from the Crusader construction.    Top

Historical References

Photo Gallery

Click on the image to go to the Photo Album

WB00882_.GIF (263 bytes) Lombard
WB00882_.GIF (263 bytes) Vicinity
WB00882_.GIF (263 bytes) Inscripitions
WB00882_.GIF (263 bytes) Portal

Click to Enlarge - Photo taken by: Eng.Lamia KHAYAT

Click to Enlarge - Photo taken by: Eng.Lamia KHAYAT

 

Photos By
Eng.Lamia KHAYAT
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