Great Mosque of Hama
|Great Mosque of Hama
جامع حماة الكبير
The octagonal Mamluk minaret built in 1427
The Great Mosque of Hama (Arabic: جامع حماة الكبير), is a mosque in Hama, Syria. It is located about 400 meters (1,300 ft) west of the citadel. Built in the 8th century CE, it was heavily damaged in a 1982 uprising, but today it has been completely restored.
It was built by the Umayyads in the early eighth century and was modelled on the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus. The Great Mosque used to be a Byzantine church which was adapted for Islamic use. The church itself had been built where a Roman temple once stood. Some of the Byzantine structure still remains, but most of the building was destroyed during the Byzantine re-occupation of northern Syria in 986. The mosque's origin as a Christian basilica can be seen in its three-aisled structure, and that its prayer hall is topped by five domes, in the shape of a cross. The courtyard to the north is enclosed by a vaulted portico and contains an elevated treasury, of the sort associated with those in the patio of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus.
The Great Mosque has two minarets. One is a square-based tower adjacent to the prayer hall and from an inscription on its surface, dates back to 1124, although some argue that its base is of Umayyad origin, while others say it was constructed in 1153. The second minaret is octagonal in shape and was built by the Mamluks in 1427. At the side of the main northern courtyard is a smaller square courtyard containing the tombs of two 13th century Ayyubid kings.
The mosque was almost completely destroyed during the civil disturbances in Hama in 1982, but has since been rebuilt by the Antiquities Department of the Syrian government. Both minarets were destroyed during the disturbances. By 2001, the Great Mosque has been fully restored and its reconstruction is faithful to the original Umayyad design in nearly every detail.
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