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Panoramic Views > North > Tripoli

Tripoli: The Taynal Mosque

Tripoli, the capital of the North and second largest town in Lebanon, is 85 kilometers, about 53 miles, from Beirut. In it there are several ancient remains and some very beautiful mosques, some bazaars or souks, and some khans dating from the middle ages. Tripoli is also a major port for Lebanon. In 1551 it was devastated by an earthquake followed by a tsunami. Since 635 A.D. and the Islamic Conquest several mosques have been built, places of worship and prayer.

A few minutesí walk from the Citadel at the southern entrance of the city there is one of the most beautiful mosques in Lebanon. The mosque of Emir Seif ed-Dine Taynal el-Hajele was constructed in the year 1336 in the middle of Tripoli among extensive orange groves, not far from the Abu Ali river, although at present it is surrounded by tall buildings and roads. This mosque was constructed on top of the remains of a church put up by the Carmelite Fathers at the time of the Crusades, while the Crusaders themselves had built the church on the traces of a Roman temple dedicated to Zeus, locally called Baal. In this mosque there is the vault of Seif ed-Dine Taynal close to the inner hall of prayer and a marble patio surrounded by four chambers that were used by the councils of the four schools of magistrates of Tripoli during the time of the Mamelukes, the Shafiyyeh, the Hanafiyyeh , the Malikiyyeh and the Hanbaliyyeh.

There are two halls for prayer, the first of which is crowned by a large dome held up on Byzantine-Corinthian capitals on four granite columns brought from Egypt of the Pharaohs. The floor is paved with marble in geometric forms, while separating the two halls there is a door embellished with bas-reliefs, whose decoration is considered as the finest work of the time of the Mamelukes.

In the second hall is the Mihrab and the wooden trunk both executed by the master craftsman Mohammad as-Safadi. The minaret is of a kind unique in all the Arab and Islamic world, with its two stone staircases, one leading to the exterior of the mosque and the other to the interior without their ever crossing each other. Outside there are large areas arranged to receive colonies and seminars, hundreds of scholars and sheiks coming together from every country of the region. When I was visiting the place, there was a numerous group come from Jordan. Spacious parking lots surround the mosque. In warm weather one finds several individuals by the entrance from the road selling orange juice, while nearby there are fountains with flowing water where the conscientious sheiks may wash their faces and their feet. To try to be up to date is not always easy.

Palm trees and other trees offer welcome shade. The Taynal Mosque is well worth a visit and will leave one with nostalgic memories.

Joseph Matar
Translation from the French: Kenneth Mortimer

- Taynal Mosque: >> View Movie << (2010-09-01)
- Taynal Mosque - Interior: >> View Movie << (2015-04-15)
- Taynal Mosque - Interior: >> View Movie << (2015-04-15)


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