Great Mosque of Nablus

Great Mosque of Nablus (Arabic: جامع نابلس الكبير‎ Jami' Nablus al-Kebir) is the oldest and largest mosque in the Palestinian city of Nablus. It was originally built as a Christian church. The mosque is located at the intersection of the main streets of Nablus' Old City on its eastern edge. It has a long, narrow, rectangular floor plan and a silver dome.

History

Local legend in Nablus claims that mosque site was where Joseph's brothers presented Jacob the blood-stained coat of Joseph to convince him his favorite son was dead. This tradition is more associated with the nearby al-Khadra Mosque, however.

The site of the Great Mosque was originally a basilica built during the reign of Philip the Arab in 244-249 CE. The Byzantines later constructed a cathedral on the basilica's ruins and this cathedral is shown in the mosaic Map of Madaba in 600 CE. It was likely damaged or destroyed by the Samaritans during their raids in 484 and 529, but Emperor Justinian I had the cathedral restored.

The cathedral was transformed into the Great Mosque of Nablus in the early Islamic Arab rule in Palestine, in the 10th century.Arab geographer al-Muqaddasi writes that the Great Mosque was in the “midst” of Nablus, and “is very finely paved”. The Crusaders converted the mosque into a church, but made only few alterations including the construction of an apse. In 1187, the Ayyubids under Saladin reconsecrated the building as a mosque. The Knights Templar of the Crusaders burnt it in a raid in 1242.

Arab chronicler Al-Dimashqi in 1300 mentions the Great Mosque as “a fine mosque, in which is prayer is said, and the Qur'an recited day and night, men being appointed thereto”. In 1335, Western traveler James of Verona recorded that the mosque had been “a church of the Christians but now is a mosque of the Saracens”. Twenty years later, Ibn Batuta visited it and said in the middle of the mosque was a “tank of sweet water”.

In 1641, the Great Mosque's minaret was rebuilt, but the mosque compound had remained virtually untouched throughout most of its existence until a severe earthquake struck Palestine, especially Nablus in 1927, destroying its dome and minaret. In 1935, it was repaired.

Bibliography

Coordinates: 32°13′4.82″N 35°16′9.64″E / 32.2180056°N 35.2693444°E / 32.2180056; 35.2693444