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La fabrique de la ville

Building an Ottoman City

Contributions of Šamsī Aḥmad Pasha and Lālā Muṣṭafā Pasha to the Urban Landscape of 16th century Damascus1
Construire une ville ottomane : les contributions de Aḥmad Šamsī Pasha et Lālā Muṣṭafā Pasha au paysage urbain damascène au xive siècle
إنشاء مدينة عثمانية: مساهمات أحمد شمسي باشا ولالا مصطفى باشا في المشهد العمراني الدمشقي في القرن السادس عشر
Marianne Boqvist
p. 191-207

Résumés

L’architecture ottomane à Damas est communément symbolisée par des complexes tels que la Takiyyat al-Sulaymāniyya fondée par Sulaymān al-Qānūnī en 962-66/1554-60. Mais les empreintes architecturales laissées à cette époque par les Ottomans dans la ville ne peuvent se résumer à ce type de mosquée du vendredi. Dans cet article, nous proposons une étude de deux bâtiments ottomans damascènes trop souvent négligés : le maktab/masǧid fondé par Aḥmad Šamsī Pasha dans son waqf pour le mausolée de Bilāl al-Ḥabašī et le Ḫān et le Masǧid al-Bāšā, le plus grand caravansérail de la ville, fondé par Lālā Muṣṭafā Pasha à la même époque que la Takiyyat al- Sulaymāniyya. Ces bâtiments dont la structure, unique à Damas, peut être retrouvée ailleurs dans l’Empire, furent détruits au début du siècle dernier, ce qui explique la rareté de leur analyse. Ils sont pourtant importants pour comprendre l’intégration de l’architecture ottomane à Damas.

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Index géographique :

Syrie, Damas
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Texte intégral

  • 1 I would like to thank the Syrian Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the Syrian Department of Antiquit (...)
  • 2 On the waqf, see Bakhit 1982, p. 116 and el-Zawareh 1992, p. 153-154.

1A few decades after the Ottoman conquest, Damascus experienced a thorough urban and architectural change, primarily introduced through the construction of the Takiyya al-Sulaymāniyya by sultan Sulaymān al-Qānūnī in 962-66/1554-60.2 This building complex served as a model for some of the Ottoman foundations that were built in its aftermath, such as the complex of Darwīš Pasha or that of Sinān Pasha that have come to be considered as representative examples of the local Ottoman architecture.

  • 3 According to Weber 2006, p. 641 the northern wall was probably destroyed at the time when the Sūq a (...)
  • 4 Most of the historical buildings just north of the city wall were destroyed in 1936 during a proces (...)

2There are however two other significant examples of Ottoman architecture that due to their destruction and/or reconstruction in the early 20th century often have been neglected or only briefly mentioned in urban and architectural studies of Ottoman Damascus; the makān of Šamsī Aḥmad Pasha (963 /1554),3 and the Ḫān al-Bāšā of Lālā Muṣṭafā Pasha (971-976/1563-1568).4

3The aim of this paper is to develop some preliminary thoughts on the possible shape and structure of these buildings, as well as on their significance for the development of a local Ottoman architecture, drawing on a comparative study of historical sources and architecturally affiliated buildings.

The «Makān» of Šamsī Aḥmad Pasha

  • 5 al-Burīnī, Tarāǧim, I, p. 188-89 ; Laoust 1942, p. 185. He was also one of the rare high officials (...)
  • 6 Sack 1989 Nr.42.6 ; Talas 1943, p. 191-192 (944/1537) Watzinger & Wulzinger 1924, D.4.2, p. 69; el- (...)
  • 7 Waqfiyya of Aḥmad Šamsī Pasha, Supp. Ar. 1119; Arna’ut 1995 p. 19-32. See also al-Ansarī, Nuẓha, II (...)
  • 8 Sauvaire 1894-1896, p. 389.

4Šamsī Aḥmad Pasha was appointed governor by Sulaymān al-Qanūnī, and held the governorship of Damascus for approximately five years (962-68/1554-60), which was a remarkably long period at this time.5 In 962/1554, the same year that the building of the Takiyya al-Sulaymāniyya was initiated, he founded a waqf for the benefit of the mausoleum of Bilāl al-Ḥabašī, the Prophet’s muezzin, that was located in the cemetery of Bāb al-Ṣaġīr, just to the south of the city wall.6 Apart from a few income generating structures in the city the endowment also included a structure for the education of young Muslim boys, housing for students in ḥanafī jurisprudence and communal prayer for the Prophet, Bilāl al-Ḥabašī, the founder and his family etc.7 It was located just to the south of the Citadel, on the former site of the Madrasa al-Isfahāniyya,8 but it also occupied a part of the site where the Mamluk governors’ palace, Dār al-Saʿāda, had been located until the Ottoman conquest.

  • 9 Ar. 1119 fol. 2b.
  • 10 Ar. 1119, fol. 3a.

5The endowment deed announces the complex as “a place”, referring to the buildings and the land it stood on (ǧamīʿ al-makān, arḍan wa ʿimāratan).9 It locates it inside Bāb al-Naṣr, close to the Madrasa al-Qiǧmāsiyya and to the house of Arslan Bak.10 To the west (read north), was the moat of the citadel. According to the description, the complex was built around a big open courtyard, which had a slightly elevated part used for prayer (muṣallā). It also had a great square pool (baḥra) in its centre. Water was channelled to it from the Qanawāt canal, the amount regulated through the water dispenser (ṭāliʿ) located at the sabīl to the east of the main gate of the complex. At the eastern and western corners of the northern enclosure were square buildings crowned by a dome (qubba) and supported by four arches on pillars. Both these buildings had windows with iron grilles that opened towards the citadel to the north and towards the courtyard to the south. Wooden cupboards (ḫarastān) were integrated in the eastern and the western interior walls. The difference between the two qubba-s was that the eastern one served as a masǧid and had a miḥrāb in its qibla wall. It also had a painted wooden structure installed in the prayer room (abrāǧ). This qubba was connected to the courtyard through a door located in its western wall. The qubba in the western corner was connected with the courtyard through a door in the southern wall that also had a small fountain (fisqiyya). This building served as a maktab, a primary school. A door in its western wall gave access to one of the three water closets (murtafaqa) included in the complex as well as to the exterior of the complex.

  • 11 According to Weber 2006, p. 641, these domes were visible in the north east and north west corners (...)
  • 12 Ar. 1119, fol. 8-9.

6In between the two qubba-s, possibly inside the northern enclosure that included the main entrance to the complex, was a row of five rooms. On the opposite side of the courtyard, along the southern wall were ten more rooms. Each of these fifteen rooms that were lodgings for the teachers and students of the complex, had a dome, a door and small wooden windows towards the courtyard and the exterior.11 The house of the imām, on the south-eastern side of the complex, was composed of a small open courtyard and two rooms (baytayn). It also contained a kitchen where food was cooked for the people working in the complex as well as for the students, a toilet and other necessary commodities.12

7Through a door on the other side of the courtyard were several rooms for storage of wood (li-l-ḥaṭab) and other provisions (bayt kilār).

8There were two possible entrances to the complex, one in the western wall, made of white masonry and probably intended for the students and staff of the complex. The main gate, located in the northern wall, was probably more monumental and for official use. It was built of polychrome masonry (ablaq) and had windows with iron grilles.

  • 13 The other two were built by Darwīš Pasha about a decade later and Sinān Pasha about forty years lat (...)

9The maktab, or elementary school was the first one in Damascus built by an Ottoman official and was one of three built in Damascus during this period.13 It was only intended for ten pupils, which could be considered as a fairly small number. It is not known how the selection of pupils for the school was made, but most of them were probably from Damascus and not residents of the complex. This hypothesis is confirmed by the entrance into the maktab directly from the exterior.

10The residents of the complex were students of ḥanafī fiqh and their number is not known.

  • 14 It had been preceeded by the Takiyya al-Salīmiyya in the northern suburb of Ṣāliḥiyya, in 913/1518 (...)
  • 15 Ar. 1119, fol. 9-10, 13.

11There was also a building referred to as a takiyya in this complex. It was not the first to be built in Damascus, but as a contrast to the two sultans’ takiyya-s of Damascus,14 this one had a very limited budget and was only supposed to feed the people working and/or living in the complex. A very small part of the food was intended for the distribution to poor people and, as has already been noted by A. Meier, it is doubtful whether there was ever any food left over for distribution.15 It was thus not an institution for the greater public and not for the people of Damascus, apart from the pupils of the maktab and staff of the complex. As a comparison, sultan Sulaymān’s takiyya served about 500-6oo people per day, both travellers and poor Damascenes.

  • 16 On the stipulations concerning different dishes on Fridays and Ramaḍān and for special guests, see (...)
  • 17 Singer 2011, has made a classification of what type of food was served in Ottoman public kitchens a (...)

12In addition, the food was quite simple if compared to what was served at the sultans’ takiyya-s.16 In this case the list of provisions was confined to meat, rice, bread and onion. It included no spices, fruit, vegetables or sweets that would indicate that special or more luxurious dishes were ever cooked.17 There was however a difference in the amount of food distributed to people with different status in the complex. For instance, the šayḫ was given twice as much meat and bread as a student or a workman. This could however have been adapted to the amount of individuals each person had to feed with his portion, or to the time he or she worked in the complex. These questions remain for the moment without answer.

13Several new elements were introduced to Damascene architecture by this building. First, the habit of covering square spaces with a hemispheric dome is an Ottoman practice. The maktab and the masǧid were square domed buildings where the dome was supported by pillars. Similar examples of this type of maktab in Damascus are for instance the maktab of Sinān Pasha, located outside of Bāb al-Ǧābiya or that of Darwīš Pasha, located above an arcade attaching his Friday mosque to the mausoleum (fig. 1-2), that both probably are similar structures. Similar mosque structures, but on a greater scale are the Friday mosques of the period.

14The practice of piercing windows in the external walls was also new in the Damascene architecture where windows traditionally only were directed towards the inner courtyard or private garden of a building.

15 Several links with the local building tradition can also be found. One is the employment of the square fountain in the centre of the courtyard, a feature that was also used in the Takiyya al-Sulaymāniyya and that provides a useful point of comparison between the two building complexes. Other local influences are apparent in the local building material, where polychrome masonry (ablaq) is said to be used both internally and externally. It was in most cases used to emphasize important architectural elements such as the pillars supporting the domes of the masǧid and the maktab, the window and door frames, as well as the façade of the main entrance. Polychrome effects were also mentioned for the miḥrāb. Painting was yet another way of decoration, mentioned particularly for the interiors of the masǧid and maktab and always on wooden details. We do not know in this case if the painting was monochrome (and in that case which colour is used) or if it featured patterns and/or pictures as for instance the interior of the mosques of Sinān Pasha and that of Sinān Agha, as well as that of the Takiyya al-Sulaymāniyya that were built in the same period.

The Ḫān al-Bāšā

  • 18 On his rivalry with Sinān Pasha, see Fleischer 1986, p. 48, 49-52, 85, 89, 135, see also Bayerle 19 (...)
  • 19 For further information on Lālā Muṣṭafa see Sureyya, IV, p. 1202-03; Fleischer 1986, p. 39-40, note (...)

16Lālā Muṣṭafā Pasha, is perhaps most commonly known for the conquest of Cyprus in 977-79/1570-71.18 He was however appointed to the governorship of Damascus in 971/1563 and just as Šamsī Aḥmad Pasha he held this position for the period of five years (971-76/1563-1568) and founded a great waqf there.19

  • 20 The waqfiyya-s of Lālā Muṣṭafā Pasha and Fāṭima ātūn has been edited by Ḫalīl Mardam Bek. Suppleme (...)
  • 21 The annual costs of this endowment was calculated to around 100000 dirhams, The complex in Qunayṭra (...)
  • 22 The measurements of the ḫān are given in ḏiraʿ and could at least hypothetically be redrawn.

17The endowment was founded for the establishment of an imperial imaret in Qunayṭra, intended for pilgrims, traders and other travellers on the roads between Syria and Egypt as well as for other buildings such as the Ḫān al-Bāšā.20 It included approximately 270 properties and was one of the richest endowments of the province.21 The largest building in Lālā Muṣṭafa Pasha’s endowment in Damascus was the Ḫān al-Bāšā, located to the north of the city wall, outside Bāb al-Faraǧ and close to ʿAyn ʿAlī. 22

18The ḫān was composed of four blocks around a courtyard connected by an arched and domed gallery (riwāq) on two floors. The main entrance to the ḫān was located in the southern wall, but it also had doors in the eastern and western walls connecting it to two markets (Suq al-Ṣarrafīn and Sūq al-Ǧadīd) and one to the north.

19The ground-floor had fifty-five spaces for storage (maḫāzin) disposed in the northern, western and southern sides and two large, vaulted storage spaces (bā’ika kabīra) on the eastern and northern sides. In the north-western corner was a spring/well (ṣuffa al-birka). The upper floor had 115 storage rooms (maḫāzin). All these so-called storage rooms (maḫāzin) were domed spaces that had their own entrance and a fireplace (ūǧāq) with a chimney. Windows opened up towards the gallery and towards the exterior of the ḫān. The rooms above the entrance on the southern side were bigger than the others and composed of two domed spaces.

  • 23 Watzinger & Wulzinger 1924, D.2.2, Abb.6, p. 52-55, Taf. 32, They also mention an inscription dated (...)

20The courtyard was paved with black stones and in its centre was a great circular pool of stone. Water was led to it from a neighbouring ḫān that also was included in the endowment. In the center of the courtyard was a masǧid, positioned above two vaulted storage rooms flanked by five stone pillars on each side (eastern and western). They stood in a water basin (birka) that provided water for ablution and for drinking. The mosque was reached by a staircase of stone that led to the interior of the arched gallery (riwāq) along the northern façade of the masǧid. This façade was built of marble and coloured stone and the door was made of wood. Inside the mosque, the ceiling was made of painted wooden beams and twigs (ḫašab wa dufūf). A support (kabāš) of painted wood was buttressed by four marble pillars and there was a mihrab and wooden cupboards (ḫarastān) in the walls. The masǧid also had eight windows framed with marble slabs, two in each wall.23

21The basic elements of this description are confirmed by the account of Jean Palerne, a traveller who visited the city only ten years after the completion of the ḫān. He says:

  • 24 Palerne 1581-1583, p. 210.

“Au milieu de la ville y a aussi un fort beau khan, ou Caravansérail, lequel contient quatre grands corps de logis séparés par petites chambrettes, couverts de plomb en cube, en nombre de deux cents, avec de belles galeries soustenues de pilliers de pierre, pour aller au tour à couvert, accomodé de ses éscuries et au milieu de la cour une très belle fontaine pour la commodité des survenans, eauë de laquelle vient à tomber dans un grand bassin de quinze ou vingt pazs de circuit, dans lequel y a une petite mosquée peincte en vert, sur cinq piliers.”24

  • 25 Heyd 1960, p. 156, discusses in 984/1576 the material held in the governmental stocks and which is (...)

22Palerne’s description confirms the spatial organisation with domed arcades on two floors that were described in the endowment deed. However, his description also raises a few questions. One difference between this account and the waqfiyya is that it mentions lead covered domes. Lead was a building material that was highly controlled by the Ottoman state.25 In Damascus it was only used in the Friday mosque of the Takiyya al-Sulaymāniyya (and then sent from the building site of the Sulaymāniyya complex in Istanbul) and the mosque of Sinān Pasha. Even though Lālā Muṣṭafā was responsible for the imperial building material in the province at this time it seems unlikely that lead would have been used in a ḫān, in particular since the madrasa of the Takiyya al-Sulaymāniyya that was built at the same time did not have a lead covered domes.

23Secondly, the account says that the mosque was covered with green paint. It is unlikely that the external walls of this building would have been painted only a few years after its construction, especially since it was decorated both with coloured masonry (ablaq) and with marble. It is certain that the mosque was not painted when it was studied by Watzinger and Wultzinger in 1917, but there are of course 350 years in between these two descriptions (fig. 3). The reason for this remark thus remains a mystery.

  • 26 The ḫan had one hundred seventy storage rooms, a mosque, a bakery and rooms for shelter, Bakhit 198 (...)

24The third question relates to the fact that Palerne situated the building inside of the city. This could be an indication that the Ottomans had been successful in their ambition to eliminate the consciousness of the city wall, at least as it was seen by this traveller.26 This is however an issue that needs further investigation, particularly in the case of Damascus where so many city quarters were established outside of the walls long before the Ottoman conquest.

  • 27 DCR64/56/102, 13 Raǧab 1140/23 February 1728 records an inspection before restoration of the easter (...)

25In addition, the description of Palerne mentions the presence of stables in the building. A document from 1140/1728 confirms the presence of stables next to the ribāṭ (where people were sheltered) as well smaller ones close to the well in the western part of the building.27

  • 28 Abdelnour 1979, p. 75-77.

26The size of this building was also important to Jean Palerne and he noted, just as the Ottoman traveller Evliya Çelebi did 100 years after him that it contained 200 rooms. Evliya, who travelled in the second half of the 17th century considered the Ḫān al-Bāšā to be the biggest one he had ever seen, even in comparison with those in Istanbul.28 Ottoman caravanserais were generally much bigger than the Syrian ones and the size of this building clearly affiliates it to the Ottoman building tradition.

  • 29 Mš38/13/14, Ḏū al-ḥiǧǧa 1174/July 1761, the ulemas complained that the militaries that had previous (...)
  • 30 Marino 1997, p. 91, 93, 95, 104-106.

27Considering the use of space, the 170 rooms in this ḫān were provided both with windows and with the characteristic combined fireplaces and air circulation systems (ūǧāq). This means that they were probably intended for accommodation rather than for storage or maybe for both. A court document from 1174/1761 that records a decision of restoration of some parts of the building and confirms that the building was used to house pilgrims, militaries and their animals at that time.29 It was possibly a more comfortable alternative to camping on the Marǧ al-Aḫḍar, next to the Takiyya al-Sulaymāniyya.30

  • 31 Sauvaget 1937, p. 101, 104, plan, p. 99, fig. 1.

28Moreover, the combined fireplaces and air circulation systems (ūǧāq) were an Ottoman novelty in Damascene architecture. They were used in the Takiyya al-Sulaymāniyya as well as in other governmental constructions elsewhere in the province such as for instance in Sinān Pasha’s imperial imaret in Saʿsaʿ (fig. 4) as well as in domestic architecture from the 16th century on.31 They were important elements of Ottoman architecture introduced to Damascus, common in the central Ottoman lands, in Anatolia and the Balkans. The Ḫān al-Bāšā also had windows in the exterior walls which was introduced in Damascus in the Ottoman period.

  • 32 The complex in Maʿarrat al-Nuʿmān built in 973/1566-67 by Murad Çelebi has a masǧid shaped as a dom (...)
  • 33 Sauvaget 1937, p. 104, 108, fig. 3, 4; p. 110-111, fig. 15, 17-19; p. 111-112, 117, fig. 16 and 24.
  • 34 See Yavuz 1997, fig. 17.

29The location of a mosque on a fountain inside a ḫān is very interesting because it was a new and unique feature in Damascus. There are a few examples of ḫān-s with a courtyard mosque in an urban context in the province of Syria and they all date from the Ottoman period.32 The Ḫān al-Bāšā is however most closely related to roadside ḫān-s such as the Ḫān Kara Muġurt, founded by Murād iv, the caravanserai in Ǧisr al-Šuġūr as well as the ḫān-s in the villages of al-Rastān and in Ḥasiyā’, all on the road between Istanbul and Damascus.33 However, the actual origin of this practice was probably Seljuk and several Seljuk Anatolian caravanserais had this type of masǧid-fountain in their courtyards as for instance the Aksaray Sultan Han.34 This link to Anatolian architectural tradition together with the large dimensions, the new structure and the introduction of other new architectural details to Damascene architecture certainly emphasised the Ḫān al-Bāšā’s role as a symbol of Ottoman presence in the city.

30The local building tradition here can be found in the building material with alternating layers of limestone and basalt. For the decoration, however there are several mentions of marble and we also know that there were tile decorations that both connect this building with Ottoman architectural decoration, although in this case they had already been integrated to the local architecture. The distinguished material used in this building however emphasises the fact that this founder was closely connected with the central power in Istanbul.

Importance of the endowments

  • 35 A possible comparison could be made here with Sultan Selim’s restoration of the tomb of ‘Ibn ‘Arabī (...)
  • 36 See Waddington, p. 169; el-Zawareh 1992, p. 171; Ṭalas 1949, p. 198.

31The two endowments discussed here had strong political and religious importance. The one of Šamsī Aḥmad Pasha was closely affiliated with a traditional Damascene monument that had great importance for Sunni Islam; the mausoleum of Bilāl al-Ḥabašī. The mausoleum was naturally part of the obligatory visit to holy sites (ziyāra) in Damascus and the endowment thus confirmed the legitimacy of the Ottoman dynasty in Damascus through the adoption of a patron saint.35 The mausoleum itself was finally restored by Darussade Aġası ʿUṯmān Agha, chief black eunuch of the imperial harem and supervisor of the imperial waqf in 1007/1598-99.36 In addition, in the 17th century the endowment was incorporated in the administration of the Ḥarāmayn al-Šarīfayn that was under the supervision of the Darussade Aġası and exempted from taxation. The endowment of Lālā Muṣṭafā Pasha had enjoyed the particular status of imperial waqf since its foundation and was thus also exempt from taxation.

Integration of new elements to the local building tradition

32Some of the elements included in the two foundations discussed above that are new to Damascus could suggest that there were Ottoman workmen present in the construction teams which worked on them. This can be linked to the fact that the construction projects were contemporary with the two building phases of the Takiyya al-Sulaymāniyya, for which Šamsī Aḥmad Pasha and Lālā Muṣṭafā Pasha were responsible as governors of the province. One might also argue that the length of their appointments was related to their involvement in the sultan’s building project.

  • 37 Molla Agha al-ʿAǧamī or Müslihüddin Halife.
  • 38 Sauvaire 1896, VII, p. 255-256; Necipoglu 2005, p. 226.
  • 39 Necipoglu 2005, p. 226-227.

33According to contemporary source material, the first phase of the Takiyya al-Sulaymāniyya building project has been attributed to the head imperial architect, Miʿmar Sinān. It was supervised by one of his master builders,37 who later on returned for the management of the second part of the complex, the madrasa and dervish convent.38 He left after approximately a month and passed the responsibility to a certain Miʿmār Todoros who achieved the building project with a mixed team of his own and local workmen. This was the first known example of workmen being sent from the central Ottoman provinces to Damascus to work with local workmen and with local building materials and must thus have been important in the making of a “local Ottoman architecture”. In the case of the Takiyya al-Sulaymāniyya some building material was imported from Istanbul, some was reused and some was produced locally, such as the tiles. This has sometimes been connected with the suggestion that tile workers from the building site of the Dome of the Rock were employed on this site.39

34I argue that the building material also shows the difference between these two complexes and that of the Sultan. In the same way as there is a difference between the complexes and those built by local patrons, maybe because these two individuals must have had access to the royal material stores and could have obtained a permission to use imperial building material in their own building projects. According to the endowment deeds, the use of precious building material was particularly recurrent in the Ḫān al-Bāšā, especially in the masǧid for there are mentions of marble, painted wood and coloured decoration for the interior. In the complex of Šamsī Aḥmad Pasha, the use of local building material seems to have been more frequent. A simple explanation for this could be that Lālā Muṣṭafā was wealthier than Šamsī Aḥmad, or that there was more building material available in the province at the time of Ḫān al-Bāšā’s construction. This is an issue that needs more research.

35When it comes to the structure and the organisation of space the Ottoman influence is apparent in both complexes. The spatial organisation of the Ḫān al-Bāšā can be associated with Anatolian roadside architecture and although the spatial organisation was similar to that of later Ottoman ḫān-s in Damascus, such as the Ḫān al-Ḥarīr or the Ḫān al-Zayt (fig. 5), with domed galleries and rooms on two floors it was built on a much bigger scale. The complex of Šamsī Aḥmad Pasha probably have many features in common with the madrasa of the Takiyya al-Sulaymāniyya, also mainly built with local building material.

Building an Ottoman city?

36The only remains of the 16th century structure in the complex of Šamsī Aḥmad Pasha today is the main entrance towards the sūq makes it even more difficult to determine (fig. 6), which makes it difficult to understand its original size and possible importance for the urban development of Damascus.

  • 40 Bakhit 1982, p. 16.
  • 41 A building type that held a particular status in the Ottoman city both as a governmental foundation (...)

37The complex contributed to the process of destruction of the governors’ palace, Dār al-Saʿāda that had been introduced when the Ottoman sultan Salīm 1st used it as a source of building material for the building site of the mosque of Ibn ‘Arabī in Ṣāliḥiyya in 923/1518.40 The location of this complex also confirms the importance of the city quarters of the western part of the city inside the walls to what I argue constitutes an Ottoman urban project. The complex founded by Aḥmad Šamsī Pasha should also be considered together with his other constructions that visualised the Ottoman presence inside of the city walls in strategic spots visited everyday by many Damascenes. These buildings were strongly affiliated with the Ottoman building tradition and were important both for the urban and architectural development of Ottoman Damascus: the vaulted Sūq al-Arwām (possibly a bedesten)41 that included the first coffee-shop in the city and the Ḫān al-Ǧuḫiyya that was the first ḫān with a domed courtyard. The latter also had an inscription in osmanlı that indicates the presence of Ottoman workmen in Damascus at that time. Their shape, spatial organisation and use were new and of major importance for the transformation of local architecture that took place in mid-16th century Damascus; possibly the same extent as the construction project of the Takiyya al-Sulaymāniyya that represented a clear statement of Ottoman presence in the city.

38The Ḫān al-Bāšā was also built in a strategic location with easy access to the main road to Damascus from the north. As a comparison, the Takiyya al-Sulaymāniyya was located close to the roads towards the Biqāʿ in the west, towards Palestine and Egypt to the south west and straight south towards the Ḥiǧāz. If one argues that the position of the sultan’s complex close to these roads encouraged the urban development of Damascus towards the west and south west, the Ḫān al-Bāšā must have been an important factor in the urbanisation of the northern neighbourhoods outside of the city walls. These were areas where many Ottoman officials and officers chose to settle in the coming centuries.

39An additional point of interest is that both complexes contained a masǧid instead of a Friday mosque. Could this be related to the fact that they were contemporary with the construction of the imperial Friday mosque of the Takiyya al-Sulaymāniyya?

  • 42 From the 18th century on names of teachers in this maktab are mentioned in damascene court document (...)

40Another issue is the impact of these complexes on the Damascene society as a whole. The makān of Šamsī Aḥmad Pasha was intended for a small group of ten young boys and a few scholars for whom we don’t know the origin.42 In this case the buildings symbolic value that must have been important at the time of its foundation was later on overshadowed by the size of later governors’ endowments in the city.

41For the Ḫān al-Bāšā, it was built to be used by pilgrims, traders and travellers passing by Damascus on their way to Egypt, Mecca or Istanbul and was later on also used as shelter by militaries, probably due to its location close to the citadel. Also in this case, the symbolic presence must have been an important factor behind its foundation and the ordinary Damascene population probably didn’t enter this building very often. Other buildings in the endowment, such as the baths and the markets adjacent to this building, were however open for public use. The fountain-masǧid in the center of the courtyard must have had a symbolic value as it was visible through the entrance to the ḫān and was a new element in a damascene context.

Conclusion

  • 43 Bayerle 1997, p. 100-101, defines the term külliye.

42To conclude, there were several utilities and architectural features included in the ḫān al-Bāšā and the makān of Šamsī Aḥmad Pasha that represented new features in Damascus at the beginning of the Ottoman period that expressed many of the trademarks of Ottoman architecture.43

  • 44 Al-Ġazzī, Kawākib, II, p. 150, 201; al-Muḥibbī, Ḫulasa, I, p. 30; IV, p. 434; al-Muradī, Silk, I, p (...)

43Given that these two complexes were built at the same time as the Takiyya al-Sulaymāniyya, it is possible that they were part of a common building program, linked to the enhancement of Damascus’ role as the main departure for the eastern ḥāǧǧ caravan, as well as for the Red Sea trade.44 They contributed both to the reorganisation of the city where the building of Šamsī Aḥmad Pasha with its primary school and a sufi lodge enhanced ḥanafī jurisprudence and supported at the same time one of the monuments in the damascene ziyāra, the mausoleum of Bilāl al-Ḥabašī, with a possible intention of turning him into a patron saint. The Ḫān al-Bāšā provided additional space for pilgrims and travellers in Damascus and was related to Anatolian building tradition.

44These two complexes were of course surpassed by the Takiyya al-Sulaymāniyya that offered a monumental Friday mosque together with shelter and food for more distinguished travellers and pilgrims, and a madrasa housing the chair of the ḥanafī mufti of Damascus, including shelter for dervishes.

45Their second contribution was the establishment of a local Ottoman architecture that after the passage of several teams of Ottoman workmen and team leaders that had worked together with the Damascene workshops and with the local building material started to take its own shape.

Fig. 1 - Maktab of Sinān Pasha, located outside of Bāb al-Ǧābiya, the building to the right of the mosque

Fig. 1 - Maktab of Sinān Pasha, located outside of Bāb al-Ǧābiya, the building to the right of the mosque

Fig. 2 - Maktab of Darwīš Pasha

Fig. 2 - Maktab of Darwīš Pasha

Fig. 3 - Masǧid of the Ḫān al-Bāšā (Watzinger & Wultzinger 1924)

Fig. 3 - Masǧid of the Ḫān al-Bāšā (Watzinger & Wultzinger 1924)

Fig. 4 - Ūǧāq in Sinān Pasha’s imperial imaret in Saʿsaʿ

Fig. 4 - Ūǧāq in Sinān Pasha’s imperial imaret in Saʿsaʿ

Fig. 5 - Ḫān al-Zayt, with domed galleries and rooms on two floors

Fig. 5 - Ḫān al-Zayt, with domed galleries and rooms on two floors

Fig. 6 - Entrance to the complex of Šamsī Aḥmad Pasha today

Fig. 6 - Entrance to the complex of Šamsī Aḥmad Pasha today
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Kupferschmidt, Uri, 1987: The Supreme Muslim Council: Islam Under the British Mandate for Palestine, Leiden, Brill.

Laoust, Henri, 1952: Les gouverneurs de Damas sous les Mamlouks et les premiers Ottomans, Damascus, Institut français d’études arabes.

Marino, Brigitte, 1997: Le faubourg du Midān à Damas à l’époque ottomane 1742-1830, Damascus, Institut français d’études arabes.

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Murphy, Rhoads, 1999: Ottoman Warfare 1500-1700, London, UCL Limited.

Necipoğlu, Gülru, 2005: The Age of Sinan, Architectural Culture in the Ottoman Empire, London, Reaktion Books.

Pascual, Jean-Paul, 1983: Damas à la fin du xvie siècle d’après trois actes de waqfs ottomans, Damascus, Institut français d’études arabes.

Petersen, Andrew, 1989: “Early Ottoman forts on the Darb al-Hajj”, Levant 21, p. 97-117.

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Sauvaire, Henri, 1894-1896 : Description de Damas, Journal Asiatique, ixe série, iii, 1894, p. 251-318 et 385-501 ; IV, 1894, p. 242-331 et 465-503 ; v, 1895, p. 269-315 et 377-411 ; vi, 1895, p. 221-313 et 409-484 ; VII, 1896, p. 185-285 et 369-459.

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Notes

1 I would like to thank the Syrian Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the Syrian Department of Antiquities and Museums as well as the Turkish Ministry of Culture and the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Without their authorisations I would not have been able to get access to any of the material presented in this paper. I would also like to thank Astrid Meier, Stephen McPhillips and Mathieu Eychenne for their comments and corrections to different versions of this paper.

2 On the waqf, see Bakhit 1982, p. 116 and el-Zawareh 1992, p. 153-154.

3 According to Weber 2006, p. 641 the northern wall was probably destroyed at the time when the Sūq al-amīdiyya, that today runs along its northern facade, was enlarged in 1298/1881. In addition, the complex was used as a military kitchen during World War 1 and finally a major restoration was done in 1942.

4 Most of the historical buildings just north of the city wall were destroyed in 1936 during a process of urban reorganisation.

5 al-Burīnī, Tarāǧim, I, p. 188-89 ; Laoust 1942, p. 185. He was also one of the rare high officials at the Ottoman court in the 16th century who did not come from the devshirme system, but was the descendant of a family of Ottoman emirs. For more information about this person and his career, see Babinger 1927, p. 105, 106, 136; Fleischer 1986, p. 56, 71-72; Goodwin 1971, p. 317; Sureyya, 3, p. 170.

6 Sack 1989 Nr.42.6 ; Talas 1943, p. 191-192 (944/1537) Watzinger & Wulzinger 1924, D.4.2, p. 69; el-Zawareh 1992, p. 162.

7 Waqfiyya of Aḥmad Šamsī Pasha, Supp. Ar. 1119; Arna’ut 1995 p. 19-32. See also al-Ansarī, Nuẓha, II, p. 170-71; Watzinger & Wulzinger 1924, D.4.1, p. 69; Baedeker 1912, p. 303; Pascual 1983, p. 20 and 107, n° 3.

8 Sauvaire 1894-1896, p. 389.

9 Ar. 1119 fol. 2b.

10 Ar. 1119, fol. 3a.

11 According to Weber 2006, p. 641, these domes were visible in the north east and north west corners on aerial photographs both from the Palästinaflieger in 1918 and in the Ifpo from 1935. They were thus probably removed in the restoration of 1942.

12 Ar. 1119, fol. 8-9.

13 The other two were built by Darwīš Pasha about a decade later and Sinān Pasha about forty years later. The introduction of elementary schools for young Muslim children (boys), was the possibility for the Ottoman state to offer a religious education to children from all social strata. It thus implied integration into the Ottoman system implemented by way of education at a young age.

14 It had been preceeded by the Takiyya al-Salīmiyya in the northern suburb of Ṣāliḥiyya, in 913/1518 and that of Sulaymān on the Marǧ, built between 961/1554 and 967/1560.

15 Ar. 1119, fol. 9-10, 13.

16 On the stipulations concerning different dishes on Fridays and Ramaḍān and for special guests, see Meier 2007, p. 130-31.

17 Singer 2011, has made a classification of what type of food was served in Ottoman public kitchens and the daily soups with bread is the most basic type of menu. In more wealthy establishments different types of food could be served during the normal day and other, special dishes on feast days.

18 On his rivalry with Sinān Pasha, see Fleischer 1986, p. 48, 49-52, 85, 89, 135, see also Bayerle 1997, p. 97; Murphy 1999, p. 248; Turan 1958, p. 551-593.

19 For further information on Lālā Muṣṭafa see Sureyya, IV, p. 1202-03; Fleischer 1986, p. 39-40, notes 69, 70.

20 The waqfiyya-s of Lālā Muṣṭafā Pasha and Fāṭima ātūn has been edited by Ḫalīl Mardam Bek. Supplementary copies of the document are kept in the Vakıflar Genel Müdürlügü in Ankara VGM 747-216 (Lālā Muṣṭafa) and VGM 747-134 (Fāṭima ātūn). For information on how the endowment was managed in later periods, see Kupferschmidt 1987, p. 113, n. 59; Schatowsky-Schilcher 1985, p. 105, 213; Weber 2006, p. 67.

21 The annual costs of this endowment was calculated to around 100000 dirhams, The complex in Qunayṭra, had a staff of 88 people. Mardam Bek 1956, p. 211-17; el-Zawareh 1992, p. 158.

22 The measurements of the ḫān are given in ḏiraʿ and could at least hypothetically be redrawn.

23 Watzinger & Wulzinger 1924, D.2.2, Abb.6, p. 52-55, Taf. 32, They also mention an inscription dated 971-72/1563-65. An inscription on tiles dated 998/1590 from this mosque is kept at the national museum of Syria: http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;sy;Mus01;39;en.

24 Palerne 1581-1583, p. 210.

25 Heyd 1960, p. 156, discusses in 984/1576 the material held in the governmental stocks and which is not used due to the lack of competent workmen. Ibid. p. 157, is mentioned the transport from Istanbul of lead for the roofs of al-Aqṣā, the Dome of the Rock, and the Umayyad mosque in 987/1579.

26 The ḫan had one hundred seventy storage rooms, a mosque, a bakery and rooms for shelter, Bakhit 1982, p. 116-117; Mardam Bek 1956, p. 70-73; Watzinger & Wulzinger 1924, C.2.3, p. 52; Yaḥyā 1979, n. 143-145, p. 316-318, n. 204, 206, 207, p. 349, 351-52.

27 DCR64/56/102, 13 Raǧab 1140/23 February 1728 records an inspection before restoration of the eastern and northern parts of the Ḫān al-Bāšā.

28 Abdelnour 1979, p. 75-77.

29 Mš38/13/14, Ḏū al-ḥiǧǧa 1174/July 1761, the ulemas complained that the militaries that had previously lived in the ḫān had started to invade private homes. The restoration was estimated to cost 26200 qurš and the responsibility was given to the mutawallī of the endowment.

30 Marino 1997, p. 91, 93, 95, 104-106.

31 Sauvaget 1937, p. 101, 104, plan, p. 99, fig. 1.

32 The complex in Maʿarrat al-Nuʿmān built in 973/1566-67 by Murad Çelebi has a masǧid shaped as a domed square, in relation to a fountain (sabīl) on the ground floor. The ḫān of the grand vizier Rüstem Pasha in Ḥamā (963/1556) and the Ḫān al-Ǧumruk in Aleppo, built by Hanzade Mehmed Ibrahim Pasha (981/1574) both have polygonal domed masǧid-s.

33 Sauvaget 1937, p. 104, 108, fig. 3, 4; p. 110-111, fig. 15, 17-19; p. 111-112, 117, fig. 16 and 24.

34 See Yavuz 1997, fig. 17.

35 A possible comparison could be made here with Sultan Selim’s restoration of the tomb of ‘Ibn ‘Arabī in Ṣāliḥiyya, just after the Ottoman conquest of Damascus.

36 See Waddington, p. 169; el-Zawareh 1992, p. 171; Ṭalas 1949, p. 198.

37 Molla Agha al-ʿAǧamī or Müslihüddin Halife.

38 Sauvaire 1896, VII, p. 255-256; Necipoglu 2005, p. 226.

39 Necipoglu 2005, p. 226-227.

40 Bakhit 1982, p. 16.

41 A building type that held a particular status in the Ottoman city both as a governmental foundation, a sign of integration in the Ottoman urban system and of prosperity and importance.

42 From the 18th century on names of teachers in this maktab are mentioned in damascene court documents. I would like to thank Astrid Meier for providing me with this information.

43 Bayerle 1997, p. 100-101, defines the term külliye.

44 Al-Ġazzī, Kawākib, II, p. 150, 201; al-Muḥibbī, Ḫulasa, I, p. 30; IV, p. 434; al-Muradī, Silk, I, p. 258; Rafiq 1966, p. 52.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1 - Maktab of Sinān Pasha, located outside of Bāb al-Ǧābiya, the building to the right of the mosque
URL http://beo.revues.org/docannexe/image/907/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 116k
Titre Fig. 2 - Maktab of Darwīš Pasha
URL http://beo.revues.org/docannexe/image/907/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 96k
Titre Fig. 3 - Masǧid of the Ḫān al-Bāšā (Watzinger & Wultzinger 1924)
URL http://beo.revues.org/docannexe/image/907/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 140k
Titre Fig. 4 - Ūǧāq in Sinān Pasha’s imperial imaret in Saʿsaʿ
URL http://beo.revues.org/docannexe/image/907/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 136k
Titre Fig. 5 - Ḫān al-Zayt, with domed galleries and rooms on two floors
URL http://beo.revues.org/docannexe/image/907/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 140k
Titre Fig. 6 - Entrance to the complex of Šamsī Aḥmad Pasha today
URL http://beo.revues.org/docannexe/image/907/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 120k
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Référence papier

Marianne Boqvist, « Building an Ottoman City », Bulletin d’études orientales, Tome LXI | 2012, 191-207.

Référence électronique

Marianne Boqvist, « Building an Ottoman City », Bulletin d’études orientales [En ligne], Tome LXI | décembre 2012, mis en ligne le 20 mars 2013, consulté le 25 mai 2017. URL : http://beo.revues.org/907 ; DOI : 10.4000/beo.907

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Auteur

Marianne Boqvist

Chercheur & directrice adjointe au Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul

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