The Yalbogha Mosque was built in 1264 by Mamluk princes outside the walled city of Damascus in an area known as Bahsa or Taht al-qalaa, meaning "below the citadel," on Al-Marja Square behind Victoria Hotel. It was restored in 1401 and 1443 by Yalbogha the governor of Damascus and named after him. The Mamluk mosque was taken down in 1975 and replaced by a bigger structure bearing the same name. The new mosque remains unfinished due to uneven settlement of the structure.
The original mosque was composed of a rectangular prayer hall opening onto a courtyard to its north. The courtyard was entered from three muqarnas portals from the east, north and west, and had madrasa rooms on all three sides. The minaret was attached to the northern wall of the courtyard and there was an ablution fountain at its center and an arched kiosk to the side.
From the courtyard, the prayer hall was accessed through twelve archways topped with twenty four windows. The qibla wall was decorated with kufic inscriptions incised into gypsum bands. The mihrab niche, modeled on the mihrab of the Umayyad Mosque, was built with white marble and crowned by a dome. The wooden minbar, located on the west side of the mihrab, was adorned with elaborate geometric and floral patterns.
The eastern courtyard portal is the only element that has been preserved from the Mamluk mosque; it is now on view in the garden of the National Museum. Built with alternating courses of basalt and limestone, the portal is composed of a recessed doorway crowned by an inscriptive lintel and a beam of black and white stones below the muqarnas semi-dome. The ensemble is topped by a shell motif.
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