THE GREAT Al-NURI MOSQUE
It is considered one of the greatest and oldest mosques in Homs. There are several disagreements regarding the origin of its building. Some believe that the location is used to be the sun temple (Elagabalus) which was then turned into a church as Christianity spread in Homs. In the 7th century, during the Muslim conquest, the church was partly turned into a mosque and it was rebuilt in accordance with the Umayyad architectural style during the Umayyad reign. The mosque was damaged during the earthquake which hit The Levant in 1169 AD. During the 12th century, Nur ad-Din rebuild the mosque, later it was named The Great Mosque of al-Nuri.
One of the characteristics of the mosque is the square minaret and the octagon collar over it. The minaret can be seen from very far, and due to its height, most of the mosques in the area used to check the raising flags over the minaret during the day and the light on top during the nightas an indication to call for prayer. Many Muslim travellers who visited the mosque, described it as a very nice work of the Islamic architecture and one of the biggest and greatest mosques in The Levant.
At the mosque, the first public schools in the modern times were established. The preacher, Shafi'i philologist Jamal Al Deen al-Jamali used the mosque as a platform to push the public against the French Mandate. His speeches were so powerful that influenced Fawzi Al-Kawoukjian, officer in the French army, to join and lead the revolution against the French.
Despite the damage to its minaret, al-Nuri Mosque is considered one of the few remaining archeological buildings in Homs that has survived the destructive war in Syria.
Text: Reem Lababidi
Lens Young Homsi group
Dr. Abdulrazzak Taiyara