Ummayad mosque complex,Damascus 11/1983

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F. Zaman on November 3, 2010

The Ummayad Mosque, also known as the Grand Mosque of Damascus , located in the old city of Damascus, is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world. After the Arab conquest of Damascus, the mosque was built on the Christian basilica dedicated to John the Baptist since the time of the Roman emperor Constantine I. The mosque holds a shrine which still today contains the head of John the Baptist (Yahya), honored as a prophet by both Christians and Muslims alike. In 2001 Pope John Paul II visited the mosque, primarily to visit the relics of John the Baptist. It was the first time a pope paid a visit to a mosque.

The spot where the mosque now stands was a temple of Hadad in the Aramaean era. The site was later a temple of Jupiter in the Roman era, then a Christian church dedicated to John the Baptist in the Byzantine era. Initially, the Muslim conquest of Damascus in 634 did not affect the church, as the building came to be shared by Muslim and Christian worshippers. Under the Umayyad caliph Al-Walid I, however, the church was converted to a mosque. Between 706 and 715 the current mosque was built in its place.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on September 29, 2008
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by F. Zaman
    • Camera: NORITSU KOKI QSS-32_33

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