Khan As'ad Pasha

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Khan As'ad Pasha
خان أسعد باشا
Khan Asaad Basha.JPG
Alternative namesAs'ad Pasha al-Azm Khan
General information
TypeCaravanserai, Museum
Architectural styleOttoman
LocationDamascus, Syria
AddressAl-Buzuriyah Souq
Construction started1751
ClientAs'ad Pasha al-'Azem
Technical details
Floor count2
Floor area2,500 square metres (27,000 sq ft)
Renovating team
Awards and prizesAga Khan Award for Architecture

Khan As'ad Pasha (Arabic: خان أسعد باشا‎) is the largest khan in the Old City of Damascus,[1] covering an area of 2,500 square metres (27,000 sq ft). Situated along Al-Buzuriyah Souq, it was built and named after As'ad Pasha al-Azm, the governor of Damascus, in 1751-52.[2] Khan As'ad Pasha has been described as one of the finest khans of Damascus,[3] and the most "ambitious" work of architecture in the city.[4] Throughout the Ottoman era, it hosted caravans coming from Baghdad, Mosul, Aleppo, Beirut and elsewhere in the Middle East.[5]


Interior view of the khan's arches and inner domes

The building follows a typical Ottoman khan layout with two floors giving onto a central courtyard. Khan As'ad Pasha is entered from Suq al-Buzuriyyah, through a monumental gateway decorated with stone carvings and roofed by a muqarnas semi-dome. The entrance leads to a square-shaped courtyard with old shops on the ground floor. The second floor, accessible by a staircase located to the right of the main entrance, was used mainly for lodging and has eighty rooms arranged along a gallery facing the courtyard.[2]

The space of the central courtyard is divided into nine equal square modules, where each module is covered with a dome raised on a drum pierced with twenty windows. The domes are supported by pendents that transfer the load onto four piers and to the courtyard walls. An octagonal marble fountain occupies the center of the courtyard below the central dome. Each of the four courtyard walls has three doorways on the ground floor, flanked by two rectangular windows. The symmetry is maintained on the second floor where each gallery façade has three archways flanked by two smaller ones. The khan is built of alternating courses of basalt and limestone.[2]

Three of the courtyard domes were destroyed in an earthquake in 1758. The openings were covered with wooden planks until 1990 when the khan was restored and the domes rebuilt. At the beginning of the 20th century, Khan As'ad Pasha was no longer used for commercial purposes. Until its restoration in 1990, it was used for manufacturing and storage. Today, it is designated as a tourist site and hosts the Natural History Museum of Damascus.[2]

The restoration of the Khan won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.[6]

See also[edit]

Modern art exhibit in Khan As'ad Pasha
Khan As'ad Pasha in B&W


  1. ^ Baedeker, 1906, p.307.
  2. ^ a b c d As'ad Pasha Khan Archived 2011-08-13 at the Wayback Machine. Archnet Digital Library.
  3. ^ Hillenbrand, 2004, p.355.
  4. ^ Carter, 2004, p.90.
  5. ^ Thomson, 1886, p.374.
  6. ^ As'ad Pasha Khan Restoration Archnet Digital Library.


  • Baedeker, Karl (1906). Palestine and Syria: Handbook for Travellers. Baedeker.
  • Hillenbrand, Robert (2004). Islamic Architecture: Form, Function, and Meaning. Columbia University Press.
  • Thomson, William McLure (1886). The Land and the Book: Or, Biblical Illustrations Drawn from the Manners and Customs, the Scenes and Scenery, of the Holy Land ... Harper & Brothers.
  • Carter, Terry; Dunston, Lara (2004). Syria & Lebanon. Lonely Planet.

Coordinates: 33°30′33″N 36°18′24″E / 33.50917°N 36.30667°E / 33.50917; 36.30667