Islamic Architecture
Fountian in the Umayyad Mosque, Damascus

Does anyone know the date of this fountain? Also, what was the loggia above the fountain used for? Was it a maktab?

Many thanks.
Faisal Ali
Fountian in the Umayyad Mosque, Damascus
hii faisal,
i don't know the date of this fountain, but all what i know that creswell said that this fountain seems comparatively modern, so it's date not from the foundation of the mosque, and pertaining it's function creswell hasn't said anything except describing it as an ablution fountain, that means that it's function is to be a place for ablution.
Waleed Akef
Fountian in the Umayyad Mosque, Damascus
Hi faisal, Was fortunate enough to visit this holy place in the year 2000,enroute to Jordan,Eygpt etc. Though i did not the find the style of Architecture portrayed in the whole complex as Islamic,but more as a blend of early Christian or European with vaults in bays between the columns within the mosque the long colonnades, balconies, fountains etc in and around the forecourt. dont think this fountain with the loggia above could be added or built later because of the same style. Thouh wouldnt know exactly what the looggia was used for.

--Moayyed Fatehi
Moayyed Fatehi
Fountian in the Umayyad Mosque, Damascus
Very interesting, thank you. I have been investigating the assumption, made by many, that the fountain-school combination (i.e. sabil-kuttab) is unique to Cairo. I understand that this is an ablution fountain, but the loggia above is very curious, and I wonder if it was used, at some point, as a maktab. In the photograph, one can clearly see a balustrade on the second story. Do let me know if any of you have addition insights, or know of examples of sabil-kuttabs outside of Cairo.
Faisal Ali
Fountian in the Umayyad Mosque, Damascus
This is truly an uninformed reponse, but an interested one:

If you have visited the mosque, you know that there are actually two structures in the courtyard, one a vertical, almost cylindrical structure; I always took this structure (the more recent one, to judge from an old photograph in Hillenbrand (Fig. 35) to be a reminiscence or a "hearkening unto" the qa'abbah in Mecca. In the many times I visited, I never saw anyone entering it, although, as I recall, it was draped for one of the 'eids.

The other structure (more central) is the fountain you inquire about. The Spanish-style arches (~Cordoba) are quite striking. Ablutions (washing only) were sometimes performed at a fountain within the mosque itself (Hillenbrand 1994, 55). Interestingly, a structure rather more like the cylindrical one at Damascus, from Hama, is referred to as "a small treasury" (Ibid 55), yet not too dissimilar in form from the colonnaded fountain pictured on the same page (Fig 2.15).

The school function is most interesting. I should have thought adjacent structures would have served as maktab�? That is, a structure that would more properly be a madrassa, separate from the masjid/mosque (although mosque/madrassa are attested in the 13th century at Ta'izz (Hillenbrand 1994, 91).

Hope these comments are provocative
Rick Hauser


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