Bayt As’ad Pasha al-Azm was built in 1740 alongside the Orontes River in the Bashura Quarter by As’ad Pasha al-Azm, then governor of the province, as a family home before his transfer to Damascus, where Qasr al-Azm was subsequently built.
The original house featured a ground floor open-air courtyard, a guest wing to the west, and servants’ quarters, storerooms and stables to the east. A long passageway leads to the family tomb in the southeast corner of the structure.
The family’s residence above was dominated by a large, domed qa’a (salon) with a fountain, decorated walls, glass inlaid windows, arches and muqarnas. A small extension on the west site with mashrabiya windows overlooks the ground floor courtyard. In front of the qa’a is a balcony with an open-air arcade featuring ablaq brickwork, and an upper courtyard.
In 1780 a wing was added to the north of the palace containing the selamlik, or men’s quarters, and a hammam that was open to the public.
The palace contains over 70 rooms. An extensive site survey conducted by the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut between 2005 and 2007 documented “numerous modifications” and “countless minor changes” in the palace between 1740 and 1918 when it served as the Al-Azm family residence. Once the family ceased to occupy the premises, it briefly served as school. In 1956 Bayt As’ad Pasha al-Azm was converted to a museum housing archeological finds from the region.
The structure was damaged in the bombardment to suppress the 1982 uprisings in Hama, but it has since been restored.
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