Architect, conservationist and director of Old City of Jerusalem Revitalisation Programme, Shadia Touqan graduated with a Baccalaureate degree in
Architecture in 1969 from Cairo University. She obtained a Masters in Urban Design
from Manchester University in 1981, and
attained a PhD in Urban Development and Planning from Development Planning Unit/ Bartlett School of Architecture
from the University of London in 1995. She worked as an architect on a number
of projects in the UK, Jordan, UAE, other Arab countries and is an expert on
urban development of Palestinian towns.
Shadia is the Chief Technical Advisor for USESCO in Yemen,
Director of the Old City of Jerusalem Revitalization plan since November 1997,
and is an expert on cultural heritage preservation and revitalization of
historic cities with a number of international
organizations such as the World Bank and UNESCO. She has not only published a
number of papers and articles on the subject of preservation of cultural heritage. She won the prestigious Aga Khan
Award for Architecture for her work in Jerusalem in 2004.
Built in the twelfth century as Church of St. Agnes, the Mawlawiyya was transformed into a mosque in the late Ayyubid (1187-1250) or early Ottoman period. In 1586, a large room was added on top of the prayer hall as a sufi retreat. Since 1980, new housing units were added to the complex by a number of families.
The mosque was in a dilapidated state with remains of inappropriate restoration attempts and extensive dampness in the walls and vaulted ceiling. The original stone pillars were covered with cement plaster. The lower floor of the mosque was buried and sealed for many years from the street and the main building, and filled with debris.
The restoration work involved removing the cement plaster in the prayer hall, treating the dampness, replacing the existing electric system. New lime plaster and lime wash were used, the timber windows were restored, and a new timber door was installed. The lower floor Hall was reopened, cleared and ventilated, the vaults were lime plastered and lime washed, and new marble tiled floor was added on original earth compacted floor. The work also included restoration of facades, the minaret, the courtyard and the mausoleum at the far end of the courtyard. The work was completed in 1999 and today the mosque is used by the surrounding community, and the lower hall is used for the training program by the Technical Office and will continue to be used for educational and cultural activities by Al-Awqaf al-Islamiyya.