Last update:
4 November 2009
16 Thu AlQe'da 1430

The Mansouri Great Mosque

Tripoli > History > Monuments > Mosques > The Mansouri Great Mosque

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Brief Notes
The Motto of Sultan Mansour Qalawoon

  • Location: The Nouri district
  • Surface area: ~3,000 m2
  • Commissioned by: Sultan Ashraf Khalil Bin Qalawoon
  • Historical Period: Mameluke
  • Architect: Salem Ben Nasser din Sahyouni
  • Architect of porticoes: Ahmed Ben Hassan Baalbaki (715 H/1315 CE)
  • Porticoes commissioned by: Sultan AlNasser Mohammed Ben Qalawoon
  • Architect of pulpit: Baktawan Ben Abdullah AlShihabi (726 H/1326 CE)
  • Pulpit commissioned by: Prince Shehabeddeen Qaratay
  • Proprietor: Islamic Awqaf Directorate of Tripoli

History

In 693 H/1294 CE, the Mansouri Great Mosque was built in AlNouri District by the order of the Mameluke Sultan AlAshraf Khalil Bin Qalawoon to the architect Salem Sahyouni Ben Nassereddeen Aajami. The Sultan also commissioned the construction of a small defensive tower next to the western gate of the mosque to protect it. The porticoes of the mosque where built by Ahmed Ben Hassan Baalbaki. The final surface area of the mosque became almost 3000 meters square. Both, Aajami and Baalbaki were affected by the Shamieh School of based characterized by a huge, but simple, architecture.

In 715 H/1315 CE, the lobbies of the Mansouri Great Mosque yard were built by the order of Sultan Nasser Mohammed Ben Qalawoon. In 726 H/ CE 1326, the wooden pulpit (Minbar) of the Mansouri Great Mosque, was made by the order of Prince Qartay. Click here to listen to an Arabic real audio recording about the Athar AlShareef of Prophet Mohammad (S.A.A.W.S.) present in the Mansouri Great Mosque.


Superstructure

Prayer Area: Small dome over mihrab area; simple cross vaults over remaining areas.

Riwaqs (north, east, and west sides of court): Simple cross-vaulting.


Architectural Features and Decorative Details

Exterior

Portal: Rectangular door set in a portal of successive arches of alternating plain and zigzag carved stone moldings, resting on two slender colonettes of white marble and four narrow wall segments; preceded by an Arab cross-vaulted entryway; quaterfoil rosettes in relief decorate inner side of arched entryway behind main entrance.

Minaret: Four floors topped by a balcony; octagonal shaft with balcony and conical dome added in recent years; first floor has no openings; second floor has two arched windows with central column on each of its four sides; third and fourth have floors have three arched windows on the south and north and two on the east and west.

Interior

Its large courtyard is surrounded by porticos and a domed and vaulted prayer hall.

Mihrab: One located at center of Qiblah wall with a rosette set above it; Another smaller mihrab to the left of the main one.

Minbar: Wooden chair entirely covered with geometric carving

Additional Architectural Characteristics

The Mansouri Great Mosque is considered as the largest mosque of Tripoli and Lebanon as well. It is considered as the basic axis of the Mameluke Tripoli plan of architecture. The main gate of the Mansouri great mosque, is decorated in a Kouti fashion holding on the inside an arc of decorations of stars and successive flowers which are present also in the round piece over the Mihrab of the mosque. Around the mosques, there are markets where valuable articles like: gold, silver, jewels, perfumes, spices, incenses, books, rose and flower waters, chaplets, paper threads, ropes and many other things that don't harm the sense of smell and sight and don't cause noise that disrupts the prayers. That's why the jewelry market was built near the northern main gate of the mosque. At the same time, and at the eastern side of the mosque, the perfumers market, to which two other gates of the mosque can be opened, was built. The fourth gate, however, opens to the west, where the nice smell of orange and lemon flowers of nearby orchards fills the place. Not far away from the mosque, stands the Nouri bath.


Signs and Inscriptions

The many foundation plaques and decrees inscribed in the great Mosque and its surrounding madrassas not only inform us about the building but reveal details of the daily life of the Mameluke period.

There are two external inscriptions; the first is set on the lintel of the main entrance to the mosque.  The second is set in the eastern wall of the arcade around the courtyard.  One other inscription is on a secondary mihrab to the left of the axial mihrab on the qiblah side of the buiding.  The minbar has a fourth inscription.


Neigbourhood of the Mosque

Just before the end of the 7th H century/ CE 13th century, the Shafii judge of Tripoli, Ahmed Ben Abi Backer Ben Mansour Ben Attieh Eskandari, also called as Shamseddeen, built a school next to the main gate of the Mansouri great mosque, and built on it a dwelling for him. Building of the school and the house was along with the construction of Mansouri great mosque. The historian Shamseddeen Zahabi, stayed at the house during his journey to Tripoli for learning (after 697 H/ CE 1289). When the judge died, he was buried in it (707 H/ CE 1307). The school is still known as the Shamsieh school, referring to him.

In 716 H/ CE 1316, Prince Katlobeck Mansouri, the brother in law of Asandamor Kourji, died, and his wife Hossen built a school over his grave near the Mansouri great mosque. This school is known till now as Khairieh Hossen school. In the sculptured statements on the school's gate, many constructions inside and outside Tripoli are mentioned. Of these are: a soap workshop (Masbanah), an oil-mill on top of which a dwelling block exists, Dawoodieh grinder, Sandamoorieh grinder (at Kfer Kahel village), Asandamor market inside Tripoli, an abbey in Asnon land, an olive store-house, a hall, a house near the school, the Jadidah grinder at Aardat, an olive field in Btirram, a house and a store in the Crusaders Kisaria inside Tripoli.

Photo Album

The Mansouri Great Mosque
Inside the Mansouri Great Mosque
The ablution fountain of the Mansouri Great Mosque
The northern facade of the Mansouri Great Mosque.
The Mihrab and the Pulpit of the Mansouri Great Mosque.
Pulpit painting
Oil painting showing Mekka on the portal of the Pulpit at the Mansouri Great Mosque (Ottoman Period).
Holy Hair
The Athar alShareef of Prophet Mohammed (S.A.A.W.S.): A hair of the beard of Prophet Mohammed (S.A.A.W.S.) gifted to Tripoli by Sultan AbdulHamid the 2nd in 1309 H.
Gate
The Northern Gate of the Mansouri Great Mosque.
Inscriptions
An inscritpion on the walls of the porticoes at the Mansouri Great Mosque.
A military building present at the Western gate of the Mansouri Great Mosque
The crowd after a Friday prayer at the Mansouri Great Mosque
The ablution fountain of the Mansouri Great Mosque

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