Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. The temple later became a center for the worshipers of Jupiter and was celebrated for its magnitude and beauty. Famous for its spiral minaret/middle of the desert so built walls for protection. Located in the heart of the Ancient City of Damascus, The Umayyad Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque of Damascus, is one of the oldest and holiest Islamic monuments in the world. A transept with a central octagonal dome, originally wooden, cuts across the aisles at their midpoint. Damascus, the oldest continuously inhabited capital in the world, has been the center for many civilizations throughout its rich and fascinating history. The Umayyad Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque of Damascus (جامع بني أمية الكبير), located in the old city of Damascus, is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world. Each tessera was individually placed by Byzantine workers. In the case of the Mosque of Córdoba, it faces south. The layout remains largely unchanged and some of the decoration has been preserved. The Great Mosque of Damascus was built by the caliph al-Walid I around 706–715. The Great Mosque was built within the area of a Roman temenos from the first century. It was built as a response to the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. the prayer niche was given prominence by setting it in the transept and the building of the dome in front of it. Location: SAMARRA. Damascus is one of the oldest colonized cities in the world and the mosques that are located on the land in that city are considered especially sacred. When completed, the Umayyad Mosque was a marvelous wonder. The Great Mosque is amongst the oldest sites of continuous prayer since the beginnings of Islam and the fourth holiest mosque in the world. Date of Monument: Hegira 87–96 / AD 706–715. The Umayyad Mosque (or Masjid), also known as the Grand Mosque of Damascus is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world. Slabs of stone on the bottom. By Dr. Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis. The marble grilles that cover the windows in the south wall are the earliest example of geometric interlace in Islamic architecture. The Church of St. John the Baptist quickly became a pilgrimage destination for Byzantine Christians because it was believed that the head of St. John the Baptist was buried in it. It is considered by some Muslims to be the fourth-holiest place in Islam. There have been religious buildings on the site for thousands of years, and the earliest known relics come from an Aramaean temple dating to about 3000 bce. The mosaics of the Great Mosque of Damascus are, together with those of the Dome of the Rock of Jerusalem, the best preserved examples of this form of art under the Umayyads, but are only a remnant of the entire original decoration, most of which was destroyed by … It…, The Umayyad Mosque of Damascus is a rectangle 515 by 330 feet (157 by 100 metres) whose outer limits and three gates are parts of a Roman temple (a fourth Roman gate on the, …al-Walīd (died 715) built the Great Mosque at Damascus and Al-Aqṣā Mosque at Jerusalem with two tiers of arcades in order to heighten the ceiling. The compact built-up area around the mosque comprises the old city, which stretches to the north and southwest but is limited on the east and west… It is also the only mosque in the world to be visited by a pope when Pope John Paul II came to Damascus in 2001 and visited the relics of St. John the Baptist in the mosque. Umayyad Mosque. The construction took 10 years to be completed and cost tens of thousands of dinars. Description: The Umayyad Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque of Damascus (Arabic transliteration: Ğām' Banī 'Umayya al-Kabīr) or formerly the Basilica of Saint John the Baptist (Greek transliteration: Vasilikí tou Agíou Ioánni tou Vaptistí), located within the circuit walls of the old city of Damascus, is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world. During the 7th century and following the Islamic conquest of Damascus, the church was shared between Christian and Muslim worshippers, since a praying room was built for Muslims south of the church. Significant Building During Umayyad PeriodGreat mosque of damascus- Syria Dome of the rock- Great Mosque Cordoba-Spain JerusalemAl-aqsa mosque-Jerusalem Al-Hambra palace- Spain 5. The growing population of Muslims also required a large congregational mosque (a congregational mosque is a mosque where the community of believers, originally only men, would come to worship and hear a sermon on Fridays — it was typically the most im… The celebrated Great Mosque of Damascus was built in the early eighth century by the Umayyad caliph al-Wal?d b. Your email address will not be published. University Park, PA., 1988 Damascus, 701-715. Located in the heart of the Ancient City of Damascus, The Umayyad Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque of Damascus, is one of the oldest and holiest Islamic monuments in the world. It will always have a great religious, historical and architectural significance. The city has many sacred historical sites left by the ancient cultures that inhabited Damascus, which made the city a UNESCO world heritage site in 1979. The Arameans were the first to build a temple in that location for their god Hadad, the god of storm and lightning. . Features. The Christians of the city protested because of the change, then as a compensation, Al-Walid gave them back all the confiscated churches in the city. The early Syro-Egyptian mosque is a heavily columned structure with a prayer niche (. The Great Mosque of Damascus. The area where the Umayyad Mosque is situated has been a sacred site tor thousands of years. It is believed that the mosaic in the Umayyad Mosque was the largest in the world. Archaeological excavations have uncovered the oldest architectural remains, belonging to the Aramaic period, and which were … The Damascus Umayyad Mosque was one of the first monumental structures of Islamic architecture built. Corrections? the muslim builders of the early mosques may at first seem to have learnt and borrowed everything from rome and persia but at a closer look reveals a quality entirely new and unique to islamic architecture: the mosques are spaces without hierarchy. The history of the mosque dates back to 1200 BC when Damascus was the capital of the Aramaic Kingdom during the Iron Age. The liwan, or hall of worship, running the length of the south side of the mosque, is divided into three long aisles by rows of columns and arches. During the rule of the Roman Emperor Theodosius I who was a Christian, it was forbidden to conduct pagan ceremonies in the Temple of Jupiter. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. This book provides a detailed study of this Mosque. The video was produced by Iconem. “Amwy” literally translated means “the little slave-girl.” . Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). “The Great Mosque of Aleppo rivalled that of Damascus in its decoration, painting, and mosaic” [6] As noted earlier, much of the mosque plan dates from Nur al-Din’s complete reconstruction in 1158 when it was arranged into a rectangle of about 150m x 100m with a large courtyard in its middle . Year: ca.847-61/232-46 AH. Your email address will not be published. The mosaics within the Great Mosque of Damascus, a congregational mosque for which the patron was caliph Al-Walid, depict a cityscape abundant in trees and vegetation. Description: The Umayyad Mosque was built on the site of the Roman Temple of Jupiter, converted into the Church of St John the Baptist in AD 379. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Great Mosque of Damascus, interior view of the courtyard. The Umayyad Mosque, Damascus, Syria, Early 8th century Click for full size image [+] The Great Umayyad Mosque of Damascus was built by the Umayyad caliph al-Walid I in 706-715 CE on the site of the Byzantine Church of John the Baptist. When Damascus became the capital of the Umayyad dynasty, the early 8th century caliph al-Walid envisioned a beautiful mosque at the heart of his new capital city, one that would rival any of the great religious buildings of the Christian world. The mosque is an important destination for Christians and Muslims from around the world. Some Syrio-Roman fragments remain in the structure, as does a shrine supposedly enclosing a relic honoured by Muslims as well as some Christians as the head of St. John the Baptist. Location: In the Old City of Damascus, Damascus, Syria. This website shows the importance and impact it has made on Islam while also providing an in-depth glance at the architecture of the historic building. "Observations on the Iconography of the Mosaics in the Great Mosque of Damascus." Arts of the Islamic World: the Early Period. The city centres on the Ḥaram Mosque, also called the Great Mosque, in which are situated the Kaaba and the sacred well of Zamzam. Posted by syriaboss | May 7, 2018 | History, Interesting, Travel | 0 |. The poets of the Umayyad era combined their talents to construct the Umayyad caliphate as a sacral kingship of cosmic proportions. Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem may have been the basis for the design. Tuesday Nov. 5. This could be due to the terrain along the river Guadalquivir, to the influence of the Great Mosque of Damascus, Syria; or the location of the Roman Cardo of Córdoba. The great mosque of Damascus was like the Dome on the rock how? It was Al-Walid, the sixth Umayyad Caliph, who gave the order in 706 AD to demolish the church and construct a mosque in its place.He brought thousands of Moroccan, Greek, Indian, Coptic, Persian and Byzantine craftsmen to build the great monument. Omissions? Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. It included a praying hall, a vast courtyard and hundreds of rooms for visiting pilgrimages. A renowned patron of great architectural projects 3, Al-Walid decided to erect a separate mosque for the Muslims to accommodate their growing numbers. Great Mosque of Damascus. Although it could not be restored to its original splendour, the mosque is still an impressive architectural monument. Extra Info: at the time of construction it was the world's largest mosque. Updates? Unfortunately, only parts of that great mosaic still stands today due to four disastrous fires. Mud bricks used in the desert. During the construction, a box was found in an old chapel containing a head that was believed to have belonged to St. John the Baptist, Prophet Yahya in Islam. One of the main features of the mosques is the placement of the mihrab, the sanctuary qibla pointing in the direction of Mecca. The Dome of the Rock (Qubbat al-Sakhra) Practice: Dome of the Rock. The Umayyad Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque of Damascus (Arabic: جامع بني أمية الكبير ‎, Romanization Ğām' Banī 'Umayya al-Kabīr) or formerly the Basilica of Saint John the Baptist (Greek: Βασιλική του Αγίου Ιωάννη του Βαπτιστή, transliteration Basilike tou Agíou Ioánne tou Baptiste), located in the old city of Damascus, is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world. Patron(s): Al-Walid ibn 'Abd al-Malik (r. AH 86–9 / AD 705–15). The walls of the mosque were once covered with more than an acre of mosaics depicting a fanciful landscape thought to be the Quʾrānic paradise, but only fragments survive. The Umayyad Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque of Damascus (Arabic transliteration: Ğām' Banī 'Umayya al-Kabīr) or formerly the Basilica of Saint John the Baptist (Greek transliteration: Vasilikí tou Agíou Ioánni tou Vaptistí), located within the circuit walls of the old city of Damascus, is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world. Required fields are marked *. Mosaics in the Great Mosque of Damascus. After long negotiations with the Christian community of Damascus, Al-Walid bought the derelict site and the construction began. Gilded mosaic, colored marbles, tinted glass and gold adorned the courtyard. The Great Mosque of Damascus. Thanks to the contributions of the wealthy citizens of Damascus, it became the largest Romanian temple in Syria. Interior of the Great Mosque of Damascus (Umayyad Mosque) in Syria. The mosque was destroyed by Timur in 1401, rebuilt by the Arabs, and damaged by fire in 1893. The site of the Umayyad mosque today has been a … The mosque occupies a huge quadrangle 515 by 330 feet (157 by 100 metres) and contains a large open courtyard surrounded by an arcade of arches supported by slender columns. The site of the Umayyad mosque today has been a place of worship for more than three millennia. Learn more about the Great Mosque in this article. A '54 second video of the Ummayad Mosque (Great Mosque of Damascus), Damascus, using drone footage and digital modeling technology to show the courtyard of the Mosque from various perspectives. The Umayyad Mosque is one of the largest, oldest and holiest mosques in the world. In 64 AD, the Romans seized Damascus and erected a massive temple for Jupiter over the Temple of Hadad. The Moorish ruler of Al Andalus, Abd ar-Rahman I, purchased the Christian half in order to build a great mosque which would rival the great mosques of Damascus and Baghdad. Google Classroom Facebook Twitter. 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