Omayyad Mosques

Two Omayyad Mosques: Same Name, Different Fate

    By Mor Lourent

Omayyad Mosques
Courtyard of the Umayyad-Mosque in Damascus, Syria.Credit: Caravel Magazine

 In Syria which was always called the land of prophets, you can find two Omayyad Mosques in two different cities, Damascus and Aleppo the two capitals through various historical changes in the area.

 The naming was not the only resemblance between these mosques; perhaps more is hidden in the place where the mosques were built.

The Omayyad Mosque in Damascus is one of the seven wonders of Islam in the world; the mosque stands on the site of Aramaic temple to Haddad 1200 BC then was a 1st-century Hellenic temple to Jupiter and of a later church of St. John the Baptist. The shrine supposedly enclosing a relic the head of St. John the Baptist is still inside the mosque.

On the other hand and if we search the remains of St. Zacharias father of John we find it in the Omayyad Mosque in Aleppo! So history is full of surprises and that was the other link between the two mosques.

Father and son in two great mosques in a country that has experienced a long war lately, so what happened to those great holy places? 

When the minaret of Aleppo’s Omayyad which was built in 1090 was destroyed during fighting in the Syrian conflict in April 2013, two girls from Damascus went immediately to the mosque of Damascus to take some photos fearing any destroy at a future stage of the Syrian war.

Umayyad-Mosque i
Umayyad-Mosque in Damascus, Syria.Credit: Caravel Magazine

The camera was banned in Damascus for security reasons, so they used their mobiles to take every single detail in the mosque, I think now they are glad they didn’t need it further where there was no destruction in Damascus, as happened in Aleppo, so large parts of the mosque in Aleppo went into ruins.  

The only photos that were important as the two girls say now were what they captured secretly of some soldiers playing football with children in front of the great mosque which Ibn Battuta (1304 – 1368) the Muslim scholar called some day: there is nothing comparable!