The Al-Omari Grand Mosque, originally the old church of Saint John the... (Beirut, Lebanon)

The Al-Omari Grand Mosque, originally the old church of Saint John the... (Beirut, Lebanon)


The Al-Omari Grand Mosque, originally the old church of Saint John the Baptist, built in 1150 over the site of Roman imperial baths.
Similar Romanesque style churches with triple apses were built in Tyre and Tartus, using recuperated material such as Roman columns and capitals.
This small and originally Byzantine church was converted into a mosque in 635 and named Al-Omari Mosque in the name of Caliph Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, it soon became known as "Jami’ Al-Kabir" (the Great Mosque). It was renamed the Cathedral of St John under the Crusaders in 1115.
In 1291, the Mamluks captured Beirut and converted the church into a mosque. Its Mamluk-style entrance and minaret were added in 1350. During the French Mandate the façade was redesigned by adding a riwaq, or portico, and integrating the mosque’s main entrance into the new colonnade of Maarad Street.
Badly damaged during the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), the mosque’s refurbishment was completed in 2004 in a way that reveals the building’s origins and history. A second minaret was built on the northwest corner of a new colonnaded courtyard. Beneath it, an ancient cistern with Roman columns and stone vaults has been preserved.
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.📍 Al-Omari Grand Mosque, Old church of Saint John the Baptist, Downtown Beirut, Lebanon 🇱🇧.
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by marwan.g.nassar / Instagram

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