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 Gate of Baghdad is the one surviving gate in al-Raqqa's massive wall that measures 8.5m thick. The gate is located on the southeastern corner of the wall. The other gate, Gate of Raha, is believed to have been on the opposite corner though no trace of it remains today. The Gate of Baghdad is considered one of the most important architectural artifices of the Abbasids. The massive gate measures 11.3m x 3.19m and connects to a bridge that spanned over the 16m moat that once surrounded al-Raqqa's city wall. The gate is built entirely out of baked brick. A Persian horseshoe arch is located above the main opening, which also signifies the mixing of cultures embodied in the architecture of al-Raqqa. There are two ornamental mihrabs on both sides of the gate with a band of smaller mihrabs across the tower façade. This style was a popular technique used in the Umayyad palaces.
Rihawi, Abdul Qader. Arabic Islamic Architecture: Its Characteristics and Traces in Syria, 89-90. Damascus: Publications of the Ministry of Culture and National Leadership, 1979.