Damascus – al-Madrasa al-Jaqmaqiyeh
دمشق – المدرسة الجقمقية

al-Madrasa al-Jaqmaqiyeh (المدرسة الجقمقية) is a beautiful Mamluk-era religious school that now houses the Museum of Arabic Calligraphy (متحف الخط العربي). The building was constructed between 1419 and 1421 under the rule of Seif al-Din Jaqmaq al-Arghunshawi (سيف الدين جقمق الأرغونشاوي), then governor of Damascus (دمشق). He would later become the eleventh Mamluk Sultan of Cairo (Egypt), where he ruled from 1438 until 1453. He relinquished the position in favor of his son in 1953 and died later that year.

al-Madrasa al-Jaqmaqiyeh (المدرسة الجقمقية) was partially constructed from the remains of an earlier school and orphanage that was destroyed by Timur’s 1401 attack on Damascus (دمشق). It was most recently restored in 1941 following aerial bombardment by the French. The building has a rectangular plan measuring twenty meters by seventeen and a half meters. The outer walls feature alternating horizontal bands of black and white stone and a single band of stone-carved Arabic inscriptions. There are fine examples of muqarnas over a window on the eastern façade and above the main entrance portal on the northern side of the building.

The interior of the building features an enclosed courtyard with a central fountain. An elevated prayer hall with mihrab is located south of the courtyard, and a mausoleum in the northeast corner of the building houses the tombs of Seif al-Din Jaqmaq al-Arghunshawi (سيف الدين جقمق الأرغونشاوي) and his mother. Displayed throughout the building is a collection of historic Arabic inscriptions, including stone carvings and manuscripts. There is a modest entrance fee to the Museum of Arabic Calligraphy (متحف الخط العربي), which is closed on Tuesdays and holidays.

 

Getting There: al-Madrasa al-Jaqmaqiyeh (المدرسة الجقمقية) is located in the old city of Damascus (دمشق), less than fifty meters north of the northern gate of the Umayyad Mosque (الجامع الاموي).

Coordinates: 33°30’44.50″N / 36°18’23.50″E

Transliteration Variants: al-Madrasa al-Jaqmaqiye, al-Madrasa al-Jaqmaqiyah, al-Madrasa al-Jaqmaqiya, al-Madrasa al-Jaqmaqiyya

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