The Great Al-Omari Mosque was built in 1291 by Mamluk Sultan
al-Mansur Qalawun atop a Crusader fortification and church that included a refectory,
stables and rooms for the knights Templar. The complex is expansive and was the
largest and most important mosque in the city prior to the construction of the
Hariri mosque in 2003 on Saida’s northern fringes. The interior is impressive,
with a 10-meter high ceiling that is held by study external buttressing from
the Crusader era. The mosque was renovated repeatedly at the end of the 19th
century, and was partially destroyed by Israeli bombardment during the Invasion
of Lebanon in 1982. Since then, it has been rebuilt in 1986 using traditional
construction techniques and the remains of the same stones on site. The
renovation project received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in the
The mosque is longitudinal and oriented along an east-west
axis which suggests that it had previously been a church built in the
neo-byzantine style. Once it was converted to a mosque in 1291, a minbar was
added on the southern façade, shifting the primary orientation of the building
towards the north-south axis. Over time, an external courtyard and accessory
prayer halls were added on the north side, as well as a series of ablution
rooms, a school, and a minaret that dates from the late Ottoman period.
Najjar, Jasmina, ed. Old Saida: The History of a City, a Legend for the Future. Beirut, 2008.
Ludvigsen, Børre. Sidon in History, 2018. https://almashriq.hiof.no/lebanon/900/910/919/saida1/history.html.
Jami' al-Omari al-Kabir (Transliterated)
الجامع العمري الكبير (Original)
المسجد العمري (Alternate)
Built by Sultan Al-Mansur Qalawun, Shelled and Partially Destroyed by Israeli Bombardment, Reconstruction Efforts Funded by Bahaeddine Hariri