Aleppo – al-Sultaniyeh Mosque
حلب – جامع السلطانية

Construction of al-Sultaniyeh Mosque (جامع السلطانية) began under al-Zahar Ghazi Bin Salah al-Din al-Ayoubi (الظاهر غازي بن صلاح الدين الايوبي), the Ayyubid ruler of Aleppo (حلب) and Mosul (Iraq) from 1186 until 1216. Born in 1172, al-Zahar Ghazi (الظاهر غازي) was the third son of Salah al-Din Yousef Bin Ayoub (صلاح الدين يوسف بن أيوب‎). He was given control of this northern area of the Ayyubid empire at the young age of fifteen. His two older brothers divided rule over the southern parts of their father’s empire.

al-Zahar Ghazi (الظاهر غازي) passed away in 1216, before al-Sultaniyeh Mosque (جامع السلطانية) had been completed. His son, al-Aziz Bin al-Zahar Ghazi (العزيز بن الظاهر غازي), was only three years old at the time. Shahab al-Din Tagharal Beik (شهاب الدين طغرل بيك), the guardian of al-Aziz (العزيز), oversaw the completion of the mosque in 1223-1224. The building includes the mausoleum of al-Zahar Ghazi (الظاهر غازي) and his family.

The otherwise modest entryway, on the northern side of the building, features beautiful stone-carved Arabic inscriptions and is overlooked by a particularly short octagonal minaret. This entrance leads into a pleasantly spacious open courtyard with several palm trees. The prayer hall, to the south of the courtyard, is also fairly modest in scale. It is covered by a single dome. The mihrab is particularly noteworthy and features impressive stonework. The mausoleum of al-Zahar Ghazi (الظاهر غازي) and his family is located in a small room on the eastern side of the prayer hall. Several rooms around the central courtyard serve as a religious school known as al-Madrasa al-Zahariyeh (المدرسه الظاهريه).

Regrettably, the prayer hall and tomb were completely destroyed by an explosion on December 7th, 2014. The destruction appears consistent with tunnel bombs used by the opposition militia Islamic Front. These tunnels bombs have destroyed several other historic buildings in the area.

 

Getting There: al-Sultaniyeh Mosque (جامع السلطانية) is easily located, only a short walk south of the entrance to the Aleppo Citadel (قلعة حلب).

Coordinates: 36°11’50.00″N / 37°09’43.00″E

Transliteration Variants: al-Sultaniye Mosque, al-Sultaniyah Mosque, al-Sultaniya Mosque

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