Ramla
Prior to his reign as Caliph, in 712 Abd al-Malik established a settlement at Ramla while he served as the Umayyad governor of the surrounding area. After constructing his palace he proceeded to build the White Mosque, which was finished during the reign of the succeeding caliph, Umar. Ramla's city walls encompassed houses constructed in stone, commercial areas including bazaars and khans, and baths. After several periods of one earthquake devastation after another, and a period of Seljuk and then Crusader rule, Ramla was sieged by Salah el-Din in 1187. By 1266 Baybars had secured power and established Ramla as a high-profile Muslim pilgrimage destination, specifically through the Shrine of Nabi Salih, a notable Palestinian saint, situated at the northwest corner of the White Mosque. It isn't until 1318 however, that the minaret of the White Mosque is reconstructed by the Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad and in turn became the most visually prominent monument in Ramla. Through increased trade and agricultural activity Ramla became the largest populated city in Palestine under Mamluk authority, however it soon lost its distinction to other cities, mainly nearby Jaffa in the late Ottoman era. Since 1950, Ramla has been a municipality of Israel. In addition to the White Mosque, Ramla features a medley of architectural monuments from its various occupations, including Bir al-Anaziya, an Abbasid cistern, ten historic mosques, churches, at least two convents, old houses and a hammam. Sources: Prag, Kay. 2002. Israel & the Palestinian Territories Blue Guide. London: A & C Publishers Limited, 315-322.
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