Architect, conservationist and director of Old City of Jerusalem Revitalisation Programme, Shadia Touqan graduated with a Baccalaureate degree in
Architecture in 1969 from Cairo University. She obtained a Masters in Urban Design
from Manchester University in 1981, and
attained a PhD in Urban Development and Planning from Development Planning Unit/ Bartlett School of Architecture
from the University of London in 1995. She worked as an architect on a number
of projects in the UK, Jordan, UAE, other Arab countries and is an expert on
urban development of Palestinian towns.
Shadia is the Chief Technical Advisor for USESCO in Yemen,
Director of the Old City of Jerusalem Revitalization plan since November 1997,
and is an expert on cultural heritage preservation and revitalization of
historic cities with a number of international
organizations such as the World Bank and UNESCO. She has not only published a
number of papers and articles on the subject of preservation of cultural heritage. She won the prestigious Aga Khan
Award for Architecture for her work in Jerusalem in 2004.
The Madrasa of al-Manjakiyya, built by Sayf al-Din Manjak during the 14th century, rests on the west portico of al-Haram al-Sharif overlooking the gorgeous view of the Dome of the Rock, and its surrounding structures. The founder, Manjak, started as a mamluk (slave) of Sultan al-Nasir, he later advanced in military and political ranks to amir (army commander), a vizier, governor of several cities and in between spent some of his time in the prison of Alexandria after being caught conspiring against the Sultan (the fault for which his brother was executed). The Manjakiyya displays a handsome façade toward the Haram where two double arched windows with voussoirs of black and yellowish stone announce a domed loggia behind. The main entrance used to be through the muqarnas portal in the street Tariq Bab al-Nazir and another entrance, no longer in existence, used to connect the madrasa to the platform of the Haram by means of spiral stone stairway. The interior arrangement at the present is a result of many alternations and does not give an ordered impression. The original organization was apparently of a conventional Mamluk madrasa arrangement with dwelling units around an open courtyard, and presumably also contained a residential unit for the founder himself for the period of his temporary stay in Jerusalem.
Burgoyne, Michael Hamilton. 1987. Mamluk Jerusalem: An Architectural Study. Jerusalem: British School of Archeology in Jerusalem, 384-398.
Burgoyne, Michael H. 1976. A Chronological Index to the Muslim Monuments of Jerusalem. In The Architecture of Islamic Jerusalem. Jerusalem: The British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem.
The conservation by the Old City Jerusalem Revitalisation Programme transformed the Madarasa al-Manjakiyya into the offices for the Jerusalem Department of Islamic Awqaf. All new insertions to the old structure are of a reversible nature.