The Takiyya al-Mawlawiyya, known
today as Jami’ al-Mulkhana, is residence complex for a religious order located to the east of Bab al-Faraj, outside what once were the walls
surrounding the old city of Aleppo. The complex derives its name from the Mawlawi (Mevlevi) order of Sufism who trace their spiritual
lineage to famous mystic and poet Jalal al-Din Rumi. Its foundation dates to
the middle of the sixteenth/tenth century AH, but much of it is a later addition.
The complex comprises a
cemetery, residential quarters, service areas, and a large sama‘-khana
(a prayer hall and oratory for Sufi ritual concert, known as sama‘).
These buildings are arranged around two large courtyards. The main entrance to the complex
is on its north side. Two gates lead from the street onto the first courtyard,
which occupies the eastern half of the complex. The westernmost gate is
surmounted by a minaret with an octagonal shaft and an arcaded balcony at the
summit covered by a dome.
The first courtyard is wider
than it is deep. Directly opposite the entrance on its southern side is the
large sama‘-khana, constructed in the nineteenth/thirteenth century AH. This building is a domed
square that rises two stories. On the interior, four large pillars spanned by
arches on which the dome rests divide the space into a central domed bay, four
rectangular side bays, and four square corner bays. A mihrab with a muqarnas
hood marks the qibla on the structure’s southern interior wall. Adjoining the
sama‘-khana to the east is an open cemetery, forming the remainder of the
southern façade of the courtyard. Occupying the eastern side of
the first court is a complex of buildings, including a prayer hall and space for women.
A covered portico on the west side
of the first courtyard provides access to the second courtyard that occupies
the western side of the complex, which includes a kitchen and residential quarters.