Al-Ahmadiya Mosque is situated in al-Rusafah neighborhood, in East Baghdad. It is locally known as Jami al-Maydan for it is near Maydan Square that was once the city center. The building was started in 1780 by Ahmad Pasha, the Ottoman governor of Baghdad, and was finished after his death by his brother Abdallah Bey in 1796. It relied economically on waqfs or endowments from the nearby bazaar. It is considered one of the best preserved mosques in Baghdad and consequently was recently restored by the General Directorate of Antiquities without alterations to its plan.
The building is part of a walled complex comprising the mosque and a madrasa on two floors on its southern side overlooking a courtyard; it is surrounded by high walls punctured by four doors located on the four sides leading to the streets and market place. It has a summer mihrab with stalactites on the right side of the courtyard.
The mosque has a symmetrical rectangular plan divided into three parts: the musalla or prayer hall, the portico preceding it and the minaret at the side. It is decorated from three sides with kashani tiles. The prayer hall is reached from the courtyard through a portico accessed by three pointed arches. The central one is the widest and thus constitutes the main access to the building. The arch is inscribed in a rectangular frame covered with tile decoration. The portico is thus supported on four massive piers and topped by flat domes on pendentives except the central bay covered with a high dome and seen from the courtyard. On the piers, blind arches are decorated with hazarbaf brickwork motif.
The prayer hall (musalla) lies behind the portico and is accessed by three arches aligned with the outer ones. The space is divided in three parts. The central one is covered with a big dome sitting on a drum punctured by eight windows lighting the space underneath. It is high enough to be seen from the street, built with bricks and juss (gypsum) and covered with intricate floral motifs and a line of Quranic inscription executed in kashani blue tiles. The two side rooms, much smaller is size, are set in the shape of two aisles perpendicular to the qibla wall. They communicate on their longest side with the main prayer hall through three arched openings, and from their shortest side with the outside. These side rooms are covered with three domes; the central one is flat and sits on pendentives. The mihrab is located below the big dome in the central praying hall facing the entrance. It is set in a rectangular tiled frame decorated with floral motifs. The minbar to the right side is in the Ottoman style.
Inscribed to the main building mass, at the right end of the portico, is the minaret covered with kashani tiles. Its octagonal base is only apparent from the western side, the remaining being absorbed by the main volume. It has a circular shaft rising above the building. It is decorated with geometric patterns and toped by a circular ribbed dome.
Strika V., Khalil J. 1987. The Islamic Architecture of Baghdad. Napoli: Instituto Universitario Orientale, 55-56.
Uluçam, Abdüsselam. 1989. Irak'taki Türk Mimari Eserleri. Ankara: Kültür Bakanligi, 72-74.