El-Jazzar Mosque

Acre, Israel

The el-Jazzar Mosque inside the walls of the old city of Acre is named after the Ottoman Bosnian governor Ahmad Pasha el-Jazzar ('the Butcher').

El-Jazzar ordered the mosque's construction in 1781 and had it completed within the year. Despite lacking architectural training, el-Jazzar was the architect of the mosque, drawing up its plans and design, and supervising its entire construction. In addition to the mosque itself, the complex included an Islamic theological academy with student lodging, an Islamic court and a public library. The mosque was built for religious purposes, but its grandiose size and additional functions were also intended by el-Jazzar to serve as a means of consolidating his political legitimacy as ruler of Syria. He modeled the mosque on the mosques of Istanbul, the Ottoman capital.

The el-Jazzar Mosque was built over former Muslim and Christian prayer houses and other Crusader buildings. Building materials for the mosque, particularly its marble and granite components, were taken from the ancient ruins of Caesarea, Atlit and medieval Acre. El-Jazzar commissioned several Greek masons as the mosque's builders. There is a tughra or monogram on a marble disc inside the gate, naming the ruling Sultan, his father, and bearing the legend 'ever-victorious'.

Adjacent to the mosque is a mausoleum and small graveyard containing the tombs of Jazzar Pasha and his adoptive son and successor, Sulayman Pasha, and their relatives.

Architecture

The mosque is an excellent example of Ottoman architecture, which incorporated both Byzantine and Persian styles. Some of its fine features include the green dome and minaret, a green-domed sabil next to its steps (a kiosk, built by Sultan Abdul Hamid II, for dispensing chilled drinking water and beverages) and a large courtyard.

The mosque, that is dominating Acre's skyline, was originally named Masjid al-Anwar (the 'Great Mosque of Lights') and is also known as the White Mosque because of its once silvery-white dome that glittered at a great distance. The dome is now painted green. The minaret has a winding staircase of 124 steps.

It is the largest mosque in Israel outside of Jerusalem.

Sha'r an-Nabi

The mosque houses the Sha'r an-Nabi, a hair (or lock of hair) from the beard of the Prophet Muhammad. The Sha'r an-Nabi used to be paraded through Acre on Eid al-Fitr, ending the fast of Ramadan, but is now only shown to the congregation. The relic is kept inside the mosque in a glass cabinet placed at the women's upper floor gallery.

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Address

El Jazzar Street 10, Acre, Israel
See all sites in Acre

Details

Founded: 1781
Category: Religious sites in Israel

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Tal Paca (13 months ago)
Magical building because of the remarkable architecture and vivid colours! Entrance is ₪10 and women can borrow a scarf to cover the hair.
Arkan Attariya (Anne) (2 years ago)
Quiet and clean. Not very crowded
софія кізюн (3 years ago)
Being a Christian, one didn't expect to be invited to a Muslim's treasure nicely. BUT. The level of hospitality and kindness we've received at the Mosque was extremely pleasant. The Mosque itself is a real world's heritage (history, architecture, atmosphere). People were really friendly. We've enjoyed every minute of that visit. It's not five it's hundred stars.
haytam mograbi (3 years ago)
The oldest mosque in the area a lot of history in this place
Karoline SakouryPettersson (3 years ago)
A mosque everyone can visit for a charge of NIS10 (only cash). The biggest mosque in Israel outside of Jerusalem. The place the ottoman governor AL Jazzar is buried together with his son Suleiman.
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