Archives for posts with tag: Damascus

Courtyard of Khan As'ad Pasha Damascus, Syria. Photo: Quintin Lake

The khan or Caravanserai of As’ad Pasha al-Azem is situated along Suq al-Buzuriyyah in the old city of Damascus. It was built between 1751 and 1752 by the city governor As’ad Pasha al-Azem. It is one the most prominent khans of the old city, and covers an area of 2500 square meters.

The building follows a typical khan layout with two floors giving onto a central courtyard. The Khan is entered from Suq al-Buzuriyyah, through a monumental gateway lavishly decorated with stone carvings and roofed by a muqarnas semi-dome. The entrance leads to a square courtyard with shops on the ground floor, used for commerce and storage. The second floor, accessible by a staircase located to the right of the main entrance was used mainly for loadging, and has eighty rooms arranged along a gallery facing the courtyard.

Looking up to the domes of Khan As'ad, Damascus, Syria. Photo: Quintin Lake

The space of the courtyard is divided into nine equal square modules, where each module is covered with a dome raised on a drum pierced with twenty windows. The domes are supported by pendentives that transfer the load onto four piers and to the courtyard walls. An octagonal marble fountain occupies the center of the courtyard below the central dome. Each of the four courtyard walls has three doorways on the ground floor, flanked by two rectangular windows. The symmetry is maintained on the second floor where each gallery façade has three archways flanked by two smaller ones. The khan is built of alternating courses of basalt and limestone.

Three of the courtyard domes were destroyed in an earthquake seven years after the khan’s completion. The openings were covered with wooden planks until 1990 when the khan was restored and the domes rebuilt. No longer used for commerce at the beginning of the twentieth century, the khan was used for manufacture and storage until it was restored in 1990 winning the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

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All images available as fine art prints or for publication / licensing contact me for pricing and to arrange use. Photographs © Quintin Lake  

Umayyad Mosque, Damascus viewed from Mount Qassiun

Courtyard and The Minaret of the Bride at dusk after prayers, Umayyad Mosque

Ablution fountain in front of the main prayer hall decorated with mosaics said to depict paradise.

Roman arch east of Umayyad Mosque and sheesha cafe, Damascus, Syria

Birds fly by the Minaret of Qaitbayt, Umayyad Mosque, Damascus

The Umayyad Mosque also known as the Great Mosque of Damascus is the first monumental work of architecture in Islamic history; the building served as a central gathering point after Mecca to consolidate the Muslims in their faith and conquest to rule the surrounding territories under the Umayyad Caliphate. It is considered the fourth-holiest place in Islam.

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Photographs © Quintin Lake

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