Riwaq is a Palestinian organization for the preservation of architectural heritage. It was conceived by architect Suad Amiry and opened its doors in 1991. RIWAQ has recognized the challenging complexities of preserving Palestinian collective memory through projects that document and restore architectural heritage sites across the West Bank and Gaza. Harnessing the energy and skills of students, architects, archaeologists, and historians, RIWAQ embarked on the Registry of Historic Buildings, a thirteen year project (1994-2007) resulting in the publication of three volumes that include detailed histories, maps, and photos of approximately 420 villages in sixteen districts across the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza. Other projects have not been as vast in size, but boast a similarly vision with equally lasting impacts. Through its work, RIWAQ has succeeded in responding to the vital question of what it takes to rehabilitate an entire town, not only physically, but socially, culturally, and economically.
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.