Nicephorium (classical name), Rakka, Ar Raqqah, Ar-Raqqah, Rafiqa (Variant)
Al-Raqqa (Alternate transliteration)
Al-Raqqah (Alternate transliteration)
Raqqa (Alternate transliteration)
Raqqah is one of the rare remaining urban settlements of the Abbasid dynasty in Syria. It was founded by Abu Ja'far al-Mansur in 771 on the left bank of the Euphrates, near the Old Raqqah. The plan of the city bears a slight resemblance to Baghdad, but is in the shape of a horseshoe with a straight spine on the western side. Raqqah is famous for its palaces built by Harun al-Rashid and al-Mu'tasim and other Abbasid caliphs. These palaces have long since been erased, with only scattered fragments of plaster ornaments, painted wooden pieces, and glass tiles. These artifacts currently occupy the Raqqah Hall in the National Museum in Damascus. The two major surviving monuments of the city are the Baghdad Gate and the Great Mosque of Raqqah.
Rihawi, Abdul Qader. Arabic Islamic Architecture: Its Characteristics and Traces in Syria. Damascus: Publications of the Ministry of Culture and National Leadership, 1979.
The Great Mosque is located in the northern section of the city's heart. Its plan is rectangle (108m x 92m) with 1.7m thick mud brick walls fortified with semi-circular towers at the corners. All that remains today are the baked brick minaret and prayer hall (haram) façade with eleven arches that were added by Nur al-Din al-Zanki during the 1165 renovation of the mosque.
The remaining traces of the haram columns indicate that the space was divided into three riwaqs parallel to the qibla. These riwaqs were covered with pitched roofs similar to the Umayyad mosque in Damascus. The architecture of the mosque is a blend of both Syrian and Mesopotamian styles that influenced this site with its central location between Damascus and Baghdad.
Rihawi, Abdul Qader. 1979. Arabic Islamic Architecture: Its Characteristics and Traces in Syria. Damascus: Publications of the Ministry of Culture and National Leadership. 90-91.