Al Haydar Khaneh mosque is situated in Baghdad's eastern neighborhood, al Rusafah, on Rashid Street. According to an inscription over the main entrance, it was built in 1826 by Dawud, the Pasha of Baghdad. First restored in 1893, additional works were carried out on the minaret and the main façade in 1920. Although small in scale, the building is considered one of the finest examples of Ottoman constructions in Baghdad from the last century, appreciated for its harmonious proportions.
The main building of the mosque, built from brick, opens onto a courtyard framed on three sides with walls. The qibla wall is part of the fourth side and faces onto the street. The street wall is built of modular blind pointed arches decorated with hazarbaf motif and toped from the outside with a calligraphy band in kashi blue and gold tiles. At its western end, an iwan gate breaks the rhythm, forming the main access to the mosque. The main building, within the courtyard, has a symmetrical rectangular plan divided into there parts: the musalla or prayer hall, the portico preceding it and the minaret at the side. It is decorated from three sides with kashi blue tiles. The prayer hall is reached from the courtyard through a portico located north and accessed by three pointed arches. The central one is an iwan gate with a pointed semi-dome decorated with muquarnas; it is the widest and thus constitutes the main access to the building. The arch is inscribed in a rectangular frame covered with tile decoration and surmounted with an inscription band. A lower pointed arch within the large iwan gate is toped by the founder's inscription. The portico is thus supported on four massive piers and toped by five domes, three of which are larger and aligned with the access points. 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 on squinches. It sits on a drum punctured by eight windows lighting the space underneath. It is high enough to be seen from the street, covered with intricate floral motifs and inscriptions executed in kashi blue tiles. From the inside, below the windows runs a band of calligraphy. 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 portico. These side rooms are covered with three domes; the central one high on a drum is equal in size to the three above the portico. The mihrab is located below the big dome in the central praying hall facing the entrance. It has a pointed niche with a muquarnas semi-dome. It is set in a rectangular tiled frame decorated with floral motifs and toped with an inscription band. The minbar to the right side displays elegant curvilinear decoration and is covered by a pointed dome supported on four small columns. The inside walls are entirely covered with white plaster; the muquarnas on arched openings are emphasized with black paint defining their edges.
From each side of the building, three minor doors constitute entrance points to the prayer hall. A fourth module accesses the portico. They are surmounted by windows and set within elongated narrow arches spanning the height of the building.
Inscribed to the main building mass, at the right end of the portico is the minaret covered with kashi 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 spiral bands of kufic calligraphy toped by three horizontal bands of inscriptions. The balcony supported by three rows of tiled muquarnas lies below a ribbed dome.
Strika V., Khalil J. 1987. The Islamic Architecture of Baghdad. Napoli: Instituto Universitario Orientale, 59-60.
Uluçam, Abdüsselam. 1989. Irak'taki Türk Mimari Eserleri. Ankara: Kültür Bakanligi, 75-78.