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Mansouri Great Mosque

  • religious site

Tripoli, Tripoli district

Situated at the base of the citadel, the core fortified area of a city, the Mansouri Great Mosque, located in the north in Tripoli, was erected between 1294 and 1315 on the ruins of St. Mary of the Tower Church, which was built by the Crusaders during the 12th century. It has the significant distinction of being the first major Mamluk construction in Tripoli, and while not having the most elaborate facade in a city so rich with ancient architecture, the Great Mosque is an impressively imposing structure. The ample stone courtyard, which features a covered ablution fountain which is used for ritual washing before entering prayer, leads to the domed and vaulted prayer hall. A common misconception is that the mosque was converted from the church that preceded it and while the northern door and the bell tower, which is now the minaret, are probably from the church, the building is still distinctly an Islamic one. There are informational plaques inside about the mosque and about life during the Mamluk period. The interior dome is a marvel of intricate gold-leaf geometry supported by the classic black-and-white arches perched atop slender pillars.