Situated in the village of Ma'arat al-Nu'man between Hama and Aleppo, this congregational mosque was built in the first half of the twelfth century. Ma'arat al-Nu'man developed as a major caravan stop on the north-south corridor between Aleppo and Damascus and later became an Arab stronghold on the eastern side of the Orontes valley opposite the western string of Crusader castles. The Great Mosque of Ma'arat al-Nu'man's signified a rapidly growing site of political and geographical importance. All that remains of the mosque today is the square minaret that bears a close resemblance - in form and ornamentation- to the minaret of the Great Mosque of Aleppo. The architect Hassan Ben Mukri al-Sarman, built the mosque in Ma'arat al-Nu'man to rival the Great Mosque in Aleppo. In 1099, however, during the Crusader siege of Ma'arat al-Nu'man a tragic massacre of 20,000 of its residents severely diminished the town's aspirations of further development. Soon after the town began its slow decline into its present status of a small village dependent on its neighboring cities, Hama and Aleppo.
It was reported in June 2016, that air-raids targeting Idlib caused severe structural damage to the mosque, primarily affecting the courtyard and its contents. Several stone arch-ways have reportedly collapsed, and wall surfaces have been marred by shrapnel. Additionally, a modern metal awning, added to provide shade in the courtyard, has been destroyed. While the mosque has suffered damages from bombings in the past, this was the first time that the mosque was directly hit.
Burns, Ross. 1992. Monuments of Syria. London: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd., 146-147.
Rihawi, Abdul Qader. 1979. Arabic Islamic Architecture in Syria. Damascus: Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, 145.
"Syria’s third-oldest mosque damaged by airstrike: ‘A violation of historical sites’." Syria: Direct. Last Modified June 2, 2016.