The mosque was built in 1590 by Sinan Pasha, who governed Damascus under the Ottomans between 1589 and 1593. It stands on the site of an older mosque called Jami al-Basal along Suq Sinaniye, to the southwest of the walled city. The donor, Sinan Pasha, also served as the governor of Cairo and as the grand vizier to the sultan, and is known for his role in the Ottoman conquest of Yemen.
The mosque is built with alternating course of black and white stone. It consists of a prayer hall covered with a big dome and preceded by a courtyard, accessed through a tall muqarnas portal on the western wall, once flanked by a bathhouse, a bake house and shops. The courtyard is also entered from Suq al-Sakkaniyya to the north. The arched entrance of the western portal is topped by a glazed tile panel composed of floral motifs above the marble inscriptive panel in Arabic anchored by square mosaics panels on either side. The circular, green-enameled brick minaret rises above the southern pier of the portal, carried on a circular stone base of black and white stone. Its single balcony is supported by three rows of muqarnas and is protected by a carved stone balustrade below wooden eaves. The minaret ends at a pointed conical crown.
The courtyard is roughly rectangular and has an octagonal ablution basin at its center. Its floor is paved with colored stones arranged in a geometric layout. A two-bay iwan occupies the northwest corner of the courtyard that has two arched windows facing the street. The north wall of the courtyard has an archway leading to Suq al-Sukkariyya and a tall inscriptive panel flanking a water fountain to its right. The fountain is in the form of an arched niche decorated with carved marble panels and glazed tiles and was renovated in 1893, according to an inscription above its arch. A wooden overhang shades the west and south sides of the courtyard, carried on carved stone brackets. The east and north walls of the courtyard are topped with a crenellated parapet.
The prayer hall is at the southern side of the courtyard accessed through a portico elevated by two steps and covered by seven small domes supported on marble columns; the columns of the central bay have spiral molding. The arched entryway is flanked by marble mosaic panels. The two windows of the portico façade and the two side entrances are topped by arches whose tympana display locally produced tiles. The mihrab niche to the right of the entrance is covered with a semi-dome that is supported on marble colonettes. The entire portico façade is built with alternating strips of yellow, white and gray stones.
The prayer hall is composed of a square central space covered by a dome on pendentives and flanked by two-storey triple arcade to the east and west. The pendentives are entirely covered with geometric patterns carved in plaster, and have star-shaped medallions bearing the names of God, the Prophet and the early Caliphs. The drum is perforated with twelve windows separated by blind windows filled with octagonal tiles.
The mihrab is situated on the southern wall facing the entrance. Its niche is covered with stone mosaics and its semi-dome displays an intricate zigzag layering of black and white stones. Above its frame of tile and stone bands is a Quranic inscription on tiles. The ensemble is topped by two arched windows and a rosette made of stained glass. The minbar, to the left of the mihrab, is made of marble carved finely with floral motifs and inscriptions and roofed by a conical done.
The east and west walls are decorated with colored stone geometric patterns and have three windows on each floor, corresponding to the three arches. The north wall has a maqsura (platform restricted for high officials) built to the west of the doorway; its muqarnas balcony has two arched windows identical to the ones above the mihrab.
Burns, Ross. Monuments of Syria, a Historical Guide, 97. London: I.B. Tauris &Co, 1992.
Goodwin, Godfrey. A History of Ottoman Architecture, 300,313. London: Thames and Hudson, 1971.
Maussion de Favières, Jacques Ghislain. Damas Baghdad, Capitales et Terres des Califes, 82. Beyrouth: Dar al-Mashreq, 1971.
Maussion de Favieres, Jacques Ghislain. Damascus, Baghdad: Capitals and lands of the Caliphs. Beirut: Dar al-Mashreq ; New York : Near East Books, Co., 1972.
Sauvaget, Jean. Les Monuments Historiques de Damas, 84-86. Beyrouth: Imprimerie Catholique, 1932.
Ecochard, Michel. La Restauration des monuments islamiques en Syrie. s.n. ca. 1943.
An illustrated survey of restoration work done on Islamic monuments in Syria between 1935 and 1942. The document includes a chronological narrative and summary (pp. 5-7) and a list of monuments restored or in the process of being restored while Henri Seyrig was Director of the Antiquities Service (p. 8). The remainder of the document is divided into sections illustrated with drawing and photos by Michel Ecochard, on the following topics: - minarets, pp. 9-12 - cupolas, pp. 13-16 - interiors, pp. 17-20 - scaffoldings pp. 21-24 - selected monuments pp. 25-28