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Ummayid Masjid, Damascus

2011 May 1

There are protests going on all over Syria right now. As we all watch and pray for peace, I wanted to share some pictures from our recent trip to show you all how beautiful the country is. Today, the Ummayid Masjid in Damascus.

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The golden Ummayid Mosque after nightfall

The Ummayid Masjid is in Damascus and stands at the end of the famous covered market, Souk Hamadiyya. It was built in the mid-600s, adding on to a previous Church dedicated to John the Baptist (Prophet Yahya, peace be upon him), which added onto a Roman temple, which added onto a temple to an pre-Islamic Arabian deity. This creates a depth of history and layers of architecture – most visibly Roman, Byzantine, and Ummayid.

What happened to John the Baptist? Don’t worry, he’s still there. Prophet Yahya’s head, which was the focus of the Byzantine church, now rests within the main prayer hall in its own special room. This Masjid is also religiously significant because it is thought that Prophet Isa (Jesus, peace be upon him) will return to Earth in Damascus, and that he will arrive at this mosque. The Ummayid masjid is also where the family of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), was imprisoned after the Battle of Karbala. On top of all that, it’s still an active mosque where worshippers can pray all day.

Below are pictures of the courtyard of the Ummayid masjid. If you enter from Souk Hamadiyya, the musallah is on your right, and this huge marble courtyard and its surrounding columns spread out in front of you. I don’t have any pictures of the inside of the musallah because, well, I was praying. But just take my word for it that it’s beautiful.

Ummayid Masjid
Pictures are in Lightbox – click the first on the left to start the slideshow.

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The front facade glowing after nightfall

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Minaret, moon, and star

As you leave the Ummayid masjid, leaving through the far entrance away from Souk Hamaddiya, you come upon another amazing historical site – the shrine of Salah ud-Din (also known as Saladin).

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A different style of marble columns line the edge of the courtyard as you leave to go to Salah ud-Din’s tomb

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The architecture changes dramatically as you leave the Ummayid Masjid and head towards the tomb of Salah ud-Din


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The dome of Salah ud-Din’s tomb

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