Tekkiye Mosque

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Tekkiye Mosque
التكية السليمانية
Takiyya as-Süleimaniyya Mosque 01.jpg
Basic information
Location Syria Damascus, Syria
Geographic coordinates 33°30′45″N 36°17′29″E / 33.51250°N 36.29139°E / 33.51250; 36.29139Coordinates: 33°30′45″N 36°17′29″E / 33.51250°N 36.29139°E / 33.51250; 36.29139
Affiliation Islam
Region Levant
Status Active
Architectural description
Architect(s) Mimar Sinan
Architectural type Mosque Complex
Architectural style Ottoman architecture
Completed 1544-1558/59 The mosque
1566-67 Al-Salimiyah Madrasa
Minaret(s) 2
Materials Stone, marble, mosaic

The Tekkiye Mosque (Arabic: التكية السليمانية‎, Turkish: Tekkiye Camii) is a mosque complex in Damascus, Syria, located on the banks of the Barada River.[1] The complex is composed of a large mosque on the southwest side of a courtyard, flanked by a single line of arcaded cells, and a soup kitchen across the courtyard to the northwest, flanked by hospice buildings.[2]


It was built on the orders of Suleiman the Magnificent and designed by the architect Mimar Sinan between 1554 and 1560.[2] A separate madrasa (Al-Salimiyah Madrasa) was added to the southeast of the Tekiyya complex by Selim II and is linked to the Tekiyya complex with a souk. Hospices were built around the mosque to accompany dervishes, known for their religious chants and whirling dances.[3] It has been described as "The finest example in Damascus of Ottoman architecture".[2][3]


The mosque is formed by a wide portico and a sixteen meter square prayer hall that is covered with a large Ottoman dome. The portico is composed of three domed cells wrapped with a sloping lead roof carried on twelve columns. Its marble and granite columns carry diamond-cut and muqarnas capitals. The portal niche, centered on the portico façade, is topped with an elaborate muqarnas crown and framed with a band of geometric motifs.


Inside, the dome displays a ring of apertures along the elongated base and is covered with lead on the outside. Four arches that extend from the thick walls support the dome. The transition zone from dome to wall is formed by using circular stone triangulations without any muqarnas. The mihrab is located below a series if muqarnas formations and is defined by marble mosaics, while the minbar is made of white marble. There are plaster windows with colored pieces of glass on each of the four walls that open up towards the gardens. The exterior walls of the mosque are built of alternating rows of black and white stones. Colored marble facings were also used on the portico façade.[1]


Two tall cylindrical minarets rise atop the east and north corners of the mosque's portico wall. They are made of white stone and crowned with conical roofs. Both minarets have one balcony supported by stone muqarnas for the muezzin to sound the call to prayer.[1]

The complex[edit]

The minarets of Tekkiye Mosque
Tekkiye mosque in 1870

At either side of the mosque are rows of six arcaded cells, equipped with fireplaces and covered with domes taller than the domes of the mosque portico. Located across the courtyard, the soup-kitchen also consists of a line of six equal-size cells, enlarged into a room at the center with two vaulted bays projection northeast. It faces the courtyard with a portico of twelve small domed bays. Placed lengthwise at either side of the soup kitchen are identical hospice buildings, composed of fourteen domed cells arranged in two rows. The hospice and the soup kitchen share a private courtyard behind the soup kitchen that is accessed with two gates from the main takiyya courtyard.[1]

Outside, the buildings in the courtyard were originally built to house the Dervishes, a spiritual sect of Muslims who are famed for their trance-induced whirling dance. It was later used as a Khan to house pilgrims who were making their way to the holy city of Mecca.[2]

On the eastern side of the mosque is a Quranic school called the Selimiye Madrasa, built in the 16th century. The prayer room of the school is still used to teach the Quran. The buildings surrounding the school currently house all types of craftsmen, working in glass, copper, silver and textiles.[2]

A military museum in the complex exhibits ancient weaponry and combat tools, many of which were used in the Crusades.[2]

The entire complex was restored in the 1968 by the Directorate General of Antiquities.[1]

The last Ottoman Sultan Mehmed VI is buried in the graveyard beside the mosque.[4]



  • Dumper, Michael; Stanley, Bruce E.; Abu-Lughod, Janet L. (2007), Cities of the Middle East and North Africa: A Historical Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO, ISBN 9781576079195