The Umayyad Mosque ( Arabic: الجامع الأموي ), also known as the Great Mosque of Damascus ( Arabic:الجامع الكبير في دمشق ), one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world. Located in one of the most sacred places in the old city of Damascus , it is of great architectural value.
|Arab. جامع بني أمية الكبير الجامعة الأموية|
Panoramic view of Umayyad Mosque
|Type of mosque||Juma mosque|
|Architectural style||Islamic architecture|
|Construction initiator||Al-Walid I ibn Abdul-Malik|
|Building||706 - 715 years|
|Relics and Shrines||Head of John the Baptist , the tomb of Salah ad-Din|
|The number of minarets||3|
|Iftar and Suhur|
|Additional Information||one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world|
The mosque contains a treasury, which is said to contain the head of John the Baptist ( Yahya ), revered by the prophet by both Christians and Muslims. The head may have been found during excavations during the construction of the mosque. The mosque also houses the grave of Salah ad-Din , located in a small garden adjacent to the northern wall of the mosque.
The place where the mosque now stands in the Aramaic era was occupied by the Hadad Temple. The Aramaic presence was witnessed by the discovery of a basalt stele depicting the Sphinx and excavated in the northeast corner of the mosque. Later, in the Roman era, the Temple of Jupiter  was located on this place, then, in Byzantine time, the Christian church , which housed one of the shrines of Christianity - the head of John the Baptist  .
Initially, the Arab conquest of Damascus in 636 did not affect the church, as a structure revered by both Muslim and Christian parishioners. This preserved the church and worship, although Muslims built an adobe brick extension opposite the southern wall of the temple. Under the Umayyad caliph al-Walid I ibn Abdul-Malik , however, the church was bought from Christians before it was destroyed. Between 706 and 715 an existing mosque was built on this site  . According to legend, Al-Walid personally began the destruction of the church, introducing a gold spike. The best artists, architects, stone masters from Athens, Rome, Constantinople, and the countries of the Arab East were invited to build the mosque. In total, more than 12 thousand workers worked on the construction of the mosque  . From that moment, Damascus became the most important point in the Middle East and later became the capital of the Umayyad Caliphate .
The mosque has repeatedly suffered from fires, the last restoration took place in 1893  .
The mosque is a huge complex. It is separated from the noisy city by powerful walls. The courtyard is paved with black and white polished slabs and surrounded by a colonnade. It has a rectangular shape with a length of 125 and a width of 50 meters. Four gates lead into it. A vaulted gallery surrounds the courtyard on three sides, and a prayer hall is on the fourth side. In the middle of the courtyard there is a fountain and an ablution pool  .
To the left of the entrance is an impressive wooden cart on hefty wheels. Some say that this ramming device left by Tamerlane after the assault on Damascus , others consider the wagon a war chariot from the time of Ancient Rome . The front part of the courtyard and the surrounding colonnades are faced with colored marble, decorated with mosaic tiles and covered with gilding  . According to legend, the Caliph invited the masters of Constantinople to work on the mosaic. For a long time, the mosaics of the Umayyad Mosque were hidden under a layer of plaster and only in 1927, through the efforts of restorers, they saw the light again  .
The interior of the mosque has a rich decoration: the walls are covered with inlaid marble, the floor is covered with many carpets - there are more than five thousand. The distance between the columns is 5 meters  . The huge three-arch prayer hall 136 meters long and 37 meters wide is covered with wooden tiles and supported by 40 powerful Corinthian columns. In the center of the hall, four massive columns support a giant dome, distinguished by magnificence, murals and subtleties of mosaic work.  Four mihrabs are located on the south side of the prayer hall. From the high white marble bar, spiritual sermons are broadcast on the radio throughout the country. The hall is lit by heavy European-style crystal chandeliers.
Minarets have been preserved since the time of Ibn Walid and were only partially restored in 1340 and 1488. The southeast minaret bears the name of the prophet Isa ( Jesus ). According to the legend, it was on him that Jesus Christ descended from heaven to earth on the eve of the Last Judgment  . The hands of the Prophet, clothed in white robes, will lie on the wings of two angels, and his hair will appear wet even if they were not touched by water. That’s why, on the ground under the minaret, where the foot of the Redeemer should step, the imam of the mosque launches a new carpet every day. Opposite the minaret of Isa is the oldest minaret called al-Aruk (minaret of the Bride). The al-Garbiy minaret, built in the 15th century, rises above the western entrance to the courtyard of the mosque  .
In the eastern part of the courtyard there is a tomb decorated with magnificent tiled work, in which lies the head of Hussein ibn Ali , the grandson of the prophet Muhammad  .
Grave of the Prophet Yahya (John the Baptist)
Inside the mosque (possibly) is the burial place of the prophet Yahya ( John the Baptist ). When laying the mosque, builders accidentally stumbled upon a burial place, while Syrian Christians claimed that it was the ancient grave of John the Baptist (Yahya). By order of the caliph Ibn Walid, the burial remained in its original place. So it turned out to be in the center of the prayer hall  .
In the prayer hall there is a tomb with the Head of John the Baptist , cut off by order of King Herod . The tomb is made of white marble , decorated with niches of embossed green glass. Through a special opening, you can throw a memorial note inside, a photograph , donate money to the Prophet Yahya (as Muslims call John the Baptist).
The story of the relics of John the Baptist has not been elucidated to the end. According to Archimandrite Alexander Elisov (representative of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia under the Patriarch of Great Antioch and the whole East), we can only talk about a part of the head of the Baptist . There are three more fragments of the head of the saint - one is stored on Athos , the other in French Amiens , the third in Rome , in the church of Pope Sylvester .
- Assalam.ru .
- Nizovsky A.Yu., 2006 .
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- The Great Mosque of the Umayyads in Damascus . Assalam.ru. Date of treatment December 3, 2013.
- Umayyad Mosque in Damascus (705-715) . Islam.ru (April 5, 2009). Date of treatment December 3, 2013.