Madrasa Khayriyya Hasan
Tripoli, Lebanon
"The madrasa was built by Khayriyyah Hasan, wife of Qatlu.

History and Inscriptions:

The Khayriyyah Hasan is probably the earliest of the madrasahs built around the Great Mosque, but neither its inscription nor the literature reveal Khayriyyah Hasan's identity or when she lived. The inscription set above the door on a squarish slab of stone contains six lines of naskh and reads as follows:

'In the name of God the Merciful, the Compassionate, the wife of the late Qatlu has constituted as waqf the soap factory and the oil press, the story above the mill, four carats and one quarter of the mill in Dawudlyyah and Usindamiyyah in the land of Kafr Qahil, and the garden outside Tripoli and three carats and one half in the suq of Usindamur and the third of the convent known as land of Asnun, and a grove of olive trees, and the courtyard, the fountain and the room by the madrasah, and half of the new mill at Ardat, an orchard of olive trees at Buturam and a room and a shop in the warehouse [qaysariyyah] of the Franks.'

About all this tells us is that the madrasah was very well endowed, since although it does not say so, the revenues from these properties were to pay for the upkeep of the building and support the teacher. As for the lady who provided this endowment, we know nothing about her, not even her name. We only know she was the "wife of Qatlu," but since Qatlu is a common first name there is no way of tracing her further. Since the traditional name is Khayriyyah Hasan, however, it is fairly safe to assume that this was also the name of its obscure benefactress.

It is possible to infer from the inscription a date after A.H. 709 (A.D. 1308), since the endowment includes land and property named after Usindamur, who was governor of Tripoli until 1308, and it is unlikely that a suq would have been named after him until his rule had ended.


The Madrasah Khayriyyah Hasan is essentially a three-room building arranged longitudinally, with a facade on the street running the length of the structure and reflecting the building behind it. It is a simple, organized facade of sandstone that uses openings (windows and a door) as elements for emphasis and decoration.

The entrance is centrally set and provides a focus for the facade. A rectangle the height of the building, it is framed by a plain fish-scale motif and opened by an archway into a recessed wall containing the inscription plaque and the small door to the mosque. The arch itself is built of alternating black and white stone, the two side stones and the central one joggled for greater decorative effect.

The three windows, identical in size and decoration, are set just above the street level and provided with metal bars for security. The sides and top are framed by an ablaq motif: the sides by a simple alternation of black and white stones, the top by joggled stones above a white slab. Two of these windows are to the left of the entrance and are topped on the axis by two rectangular openings surmounted by an arched opening. The third window is on the right and is also topped by an arched opening. Simple as it is, the facade of the Khayriyyah Hasan effectively distinguishes the building from the others around it.

The three-room interior includes a central room, which consists of a squarish area (5 meters to the side) covered by a cross-vault. The vault lines are emphasized, as they are in so much of Tripoli's vaulting, by deep widening lines going from the corners to the center. In this case the wider ends of the vault lines lead to an octagonal opening in the center and not to a rosette as shown on the plan.

The room to the left, a step higher than the central room, is the prayer room. Also squarish in shape (about 7 meters to the side), it is covered by a simple cross-vault resting on corner pillars. Its south side has a simple mihrab set between two deep windows.

The third and smallest room to the right is two steps higher than the central room. It is covered by a cross-vaulting of emphasized lines, ending in a central concave rosette. Its size and decorative rosette suggest that it may have been planned as the tomb chamber for the founder" (Salam 1983:102-7).

(Source: Salam-Liebich, Hayat, 1983. The Architecture of the Mamluk City of Tripoli. Cambridge: The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture.)
Hayy Nouri, Tripoli, Lebanon
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Associated Names
1308-09/709 AH
Style Periods
Variant Names
Khayriyya Hasan Madrasa
Madrasa Khayriyya Hosn
Building Usages