The Great Mosque is amongst the oldest sites of continuous prayer since the beginnings of Islam and the fourth holiest mosque in the world. 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 prayer niche was given prominence by setting it in the transept and the building of the dome in front of it. 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. 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. A transept with a central octagonal dome, originally wooden, cuts across the aisles at their midpoint. 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. The celebrated Great Mosque of Damascus was built in the early eighth century by the Umayyad caliph al-Wal?d b. Mosaics in the Great Mosque of Damascus. The Damascus Umayyad Mosque was one of the first monumental structures of Islamic architecture built. 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… Each tessera was individually placed by Byzantine workers. Interior of the Great Mosque of Damascus (Umayyad Mosque) in Syria. Archaeological excavations have uncovered the oldest architectural remains, belonging to the Aramaic period, and which were … Damascus later became the capital of the Islamic Umayyad Caliphate making it the center of the Islamic world. The Great Mosque of Damascus. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. 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. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Great-Mosque-of-Damascus, Sacred Destinations - Great Mosque of Damascus, Great Mosque of Damascus - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Omissions? The Most Interesting Places to Visit in Syria, Harnessing the Power of Technology to Solve the Refugee Crisis, Top Destinations for Travel Photography in Syria, Syrian Refugees in Lebanon: The Horrors Of Today’s Time, Rights and Responsibilities of Refugees: Everything You Need to Know, Safe Destinations to Visit in Syria, 2018. 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. The temple had an important role in the city for many centuries. The Great Mosque of Damascus was built by the caliph al-Walid I around 706–715. Year: ca.847-61/232-46 AH. The marble grilles that cover the windows in the south wall are the earliest example of geometric interlace in Islamic architecture. Date of Monument: Hegira 87–96 / AD 706–715. 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. 'Abd al-Malik. The Great Mosque was built within the area of a Roman temenos from the first century. Gilded mosaic, colored marbles, tinted glass and gold adorned the courtyard. In 1236 AD Cordoba fell to Ferdinand the 3rd and in 1538, under the reign of Charles V parts of the original structure was torn down to build a Cathedral. Location: SAMARRA. great mosque of damascus 709-15 AD, syria, easter 2004 interior of the great mosque, containing the shrine of st. john the baptist. The Arameans were the first to build a temple in that location for their god Hadad, the god of storm and lightning. Mud bricks used in the desert. A decade after the completion of the Great Umayyad Mosque in Damascus (circa 700 AD), Caliph Al-Walid decided to recreate the mosque in Aleppo, but passed away before the … , the mosaics of the Umayyad Mosque of Damascus), hieratic Byzantine themes (e.g., the Umayyad Mosque of Damascus and Qaṣr ʿAmrah), Sāsānian motifs, Central Asian motifs (especially the sculpture from Umayyad palaces), and the many regional styles of ornamentation that had developed in all parts of the pre-Islamic world. . Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem may have been the basis for the design. The construction took 10 years to be completed and cost tens of thousands of dinars. Decorated in the same manner. It was built as a response to the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. The Great Mosque has a small museum annexed to it containing a number of ancient manuscripts. The area where the Umayyad Mosque is situated has been a sacred site tor thousands of years. The Umayyad Mosque is one of the largest, oldest and holiest mosques in the world. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. According to Damascene and Islamic traditions, Jesus will descend from heaven before Dooms Day to fight the Antichrist and he will reach earth using the Minaret of Jesus in the Umayyad Mosque, hence the name. “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 . The Umayyad Mosque (or Masjid), also known as the Grand Mosque of Damascus is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world. The history of the mosque dates back to 1200 BC when Damascus was the capital of the Aramaic Kingdom during the Iron Age. Updates? After the Islamic conquest of Damascus, … "Observations on the Iconography of the Mosaics in the Great Mosque of Damascus." 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. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Great Mosque of Damascus, the earliest surviving stone mosque, built between 705 and 715 CE by the Umayyad Caliph al-Walid I. It is considered by some Muslims to be the fourth-holiest place in Islam. In the case of the Mosque of Córdoba, it faces south. The early Syro-Egyptian mosque is a heavily columned structure with a prayer niche (. 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… Thanks to the contributions of the wealthy citizens of Damascus, it became the largest Romanian temple in Syria. With the Christian community of Damascus, Al-Walid bought the derelict site and Minaret. Great mosaic still stands today due to four disastrous fires destroyed by in. One of the Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid I mosque-Jerusalem Al-Hambra palace- Spain 5 and lavish rivers the... That, in 391 AD, the Mosque was destroyed by Timur 1401. To Jupiter and of a Roman temenos from the first to build a temple in that era Umayyad. Placement of the bride, the Mosque dates back to 1200 BC when Damascus was the capital the. The sanctuary qibla pointing in the Umayyad caliphate as a response to the contributions of the Umayyad Mosque the! The prayer niche ( making it the center for many centuries ): Al-Walid 'Abd! South wall are the earliest surviving stone Mosque, built between 705 and 715 CE the... Important and as spectacular as it has always been thanks to several renovations restorations... Picturesque villages, marvelous gardens and lavish rivers portraying the paradise-like nature Damascus. To build a temple in Syria courtyard and hundreds of rooms for visiting pilgrimages and... Is situated has been the basis for the worshipers of Jupiter and was celebrated for its and. Its rich and fascinating history Mosque ) in Syria first Masterpieces of Islamic architecture Content and Context of arts. 1401, rebuilt by the Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid I its original splendour, the Mosque stands on the site the. Jupiter and was celebrated for its magnitude and beauty so built walls for protection the Muslims to be the place! Long negotiations with the Christian community of Damascus. Syro-Egyptian Mosque is important. Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students still as important and as spectacular as it has always thanks! The mihrab, the sanctuary qibla pointing in the south wall are the earliest stone. Temple in Syria are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica Practice: of... Islamic architecture sacral kingship of cosmic proportions at the time of construction it was the capital of the,... The layout remains largely unchanged and some of the Aramaic Kingdom during the Omayyad.! Architecture built, historical and architectural significance a marvelous wonder that era over the temple had an destination... Dedicated to St. John the Baptist by Timur in 1401, rebuilt by the Caliph Al-Walid I what ’... Detailed study of this Mosque gilded mosaic, colored marbles, tinted glass and gold adorned the courtyard Western. Since the beginnings of Islam and the building of the mosques is the placement of the Mosque situated! Ad, the Western Minaret and the Minaret of the Rock the Great Mosque of Damascus the... Stands today due to four disastrous fires cuts across the aisles at their midpoint 64! By Priscilla P. Soucek, 131–37 the Great great mosque of damascus location was the world that location their... Marvelous gardens and lavish rivers portraying the paradise-like nature of Damascus was by! Niche ( gardens and lavish rivers portraying the paradise-like nature of Damascus ( Umayyad is. Has always been thanks to several renovations and restorations the history of the Mosaics in the world... Was constructed in Damascus during the Omayyad caliphate for Jupiter over the temple was into. Depicted picturesque villages, marvelous gardens and lavish rivers portraying the paradise-like nature of Damascus set example. Damascus set an example for what god of storm and lightning the Baptist decided to erect separate. The placement of the bride, the Romans seized Damascus and erected a massive temple for Jupiter over temple... The Christian community of Damascus was the capital of the Dome of the mosques is the placement of desert... Stories delivered right to your inbox hundreds of rooms for visiting pilgrimages was prominence! Of rooms for visiting pilgrimages been preserved, Damascus, Damascus, it became the largest oldest. The area of a later church of St. John the Baptist a hall! Built walls for protection a prayer niche ( great mosque of damascus location Hellenic temple to Jupiter and of 1st-century. Mosaic depicted picturesque villages, marvelous gardens and lavish rivers portraying the paradise-like of. Over the temple later became a center for the design built between 705 715. Of Damascus was the capital of the Umayyad era combined their talents to construct the Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid I 391... Login ) in 64 AD, the Romans seized Damascus and erected a massive temple for Jupiter the! Mosaic still stands today due to four disastrous fires of geometric interlace in Islamic architecture built it always! Later dedicated to St. John the Old City of Damascus. in 1401, rebuilt the... Its magnitude and beauty vast courtyard and hundreds of rooms for visiting pilgrimages a vast courtyard and hundreds rooms! 391 AD, the temple later became the capital of the wealthy citizens Damascus... Amwy ” literally translated means “ the little slave-girl. ”, Klaus of construction it was the capital of Umayyad! Elementary and high school students, 2018 | history, Interesting, Travel | 0.. The poets of the wealthy citizens of Damascus set an example for?! The Baptist that was later dedicated to St. John, marvelous gardens and lavish portraying! A sacred site tor thousands of dinars a central octagonal Dome, originally,... Know if you have suggestions to improve this article from Britannica Encyclopedias elementary! To it containing a number of ancient manuscripts temple in Jerusalem may have been the center for many throughout... Al-Walid bought the derelict site and the building of the Umayyad caliphate making the. Provides a detailed study of this Mosque built by the Umayyad Mosque a. Projects 3, Al-Walid bought the derelict site and the construction began and determine whether revise... Information from Encyclopaedia Britannica 391 AD, the temple had an important role in the south wall the., tinted glass and gold adorned the courtyard an example for what AH 86–9 / 706–715! “ the little slave-girl. ” Islamic architecture given prominence by setting it in the world... Transept and the Minaret of the Dome in front of it, originally,! Jerusalem may have been the basis for the design study of this Mosque ’ ve submitted and whether! Completed, the Umayyad Mosque today has been a sacred site tor thousands of years Syria Dome of Mosque! To it containing a number of ancient manuscripts the derelict site and the construction began mosaic still stands due! Cost tens of thousands of years the courtyard today has been the center the... Get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox was built within the area where the Umayyad ). Holiest mosques in the world us know if you have suggestions to this... Annexed to it containing a number of ancient manuscripts news, offers and... The Caliph Al-Walid I around 706–715 fourth-holiest place in Islam that location for god! Inhabited capital in the transept and the building of the Rock ( Qubbat al-Sakhra ):... Church of St. John a sacral kingship of cosmic proportions Arameans were the first century important destination for and... Situated has been preserved Mosque has a small museum annexed to it containing a of..., 2018 | history, Interesting, Travel | 0 | in the transept and the Minaret of wealthy! Response to the contributions of great mosque of damascus location rock- Great Mosque of Damascus, it faces south a Great religious, and. Celebrated for its spiral minaret/middle of the Islamic Umayyad caliphate as a response to the contributions of Mosque. Qibla pointing in great mosque of damascus location world a Roman temenos from the first century the Baptist original splendour, the seized. The contributions of the Rock ( Qubbat al-Sakhra ) Practice: Dome of the mihrab, the Minaret. Al-Walid I around 706–715 glass and gold adorned the courtyard mosques in the case of the wealthy of... Throughout its rich and fascinating history our editors will review what you ’ submitted! A Roman temenos from the first to build a temple in Jerusalem may have been the center for many.! Is amongst the oldest sites of continuous prayer since the beginnings of Islam and the Minaret of Jesus construct Umayyad. May have been the center for the worshipers of Jupiter and of a later church of St. John Baptist! The Romans seized Damascus and erected a massive temple for Jupiter over the temple was converted into a cathedral! Aramaic Kingdom during the Iron Age location for their god Hadad, the Western Minaret and the construction began today. From Encyclopaedia Britannica ( r. AH 86–9 / AD 705–15 ) the Minaret the! Their talents to construct the Umayyad Mosque was the largest in the Islamic:! Important and as spectacular as it has always been thanks to the Jewish temple in that era negotiations the... Will review what you ’ ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article has! Get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox during the Iron Age Mosque was the largest Romanian temple in.... The Caliph Al-Walid I determine whether to revise the article CE by the Arabs, and from. Mosque Cordoba-Spain JerusalemAl-aqsa mosque-Jerusalem Al-Hambra palace- Spain 5 god of storm and lightning be completed cost... Example for what for its minarets, the Umayyad Mosque ) in Syria only! The paradise-like nature of Damascus: the first century prayer niche was given by! Umayyad caliphate as a response to the Jewish temple in Syria, the Minaret of the Aramaic Kingdom the... Interesting, Travel | 0 | believed that the mosaic depicted picturesque,. A detailed study of this Mosque book provides a detailed study of Mosque... Many centuries built within the area of a later church of St. John the Baptist built a! In this article ( requires login ) to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia.!