The building of al-Isardiyya, endowed by the Turkish merchant Majd al-Din al-Isardi, portrays one of the most elegant and well-crafted façades overlooking al-Haram al-Sharif ('The Noble Sacred Enclosure'). The building, that sits in a most difficult site between a bedrock to its west and al-Aminiyya to its east, and that is divided by a 4 meter thick ancient wall built by Herod (1st century AD) demonstrates in its harmonious and complete design the ingenuity of its builders.

Al-Isardiyya, which originally served as a madrasa (religious college) and/or as a khanqah (Sufi monastery), is divided into two parts by the Herodian wall. A vaulted passage is excavated within the wall and connects the two parts. The southern part that consists of a main domed hall flanked from east and west by two domed chambers, faces the Haram. A semicircular mihrab is projecting from the hall to be expressed in the center of the façade. Crossing to the dividing wall one gets into the qibla iwan of an internal courtyard surrounded by two tiers of residential units.

In the year of 1927-28 the building was renovated and turned into a library by the Supreme Muslim Council. The library, known as 'Dar Kutub al-Masjid al-Aqsa,' was later moved to the Ashrafiyya, and today al-Isardiyya serves exclusively as a dwelling.


Burgoyne, Michael H. "A Chronological Index to the Muslim Monuments of Jerusalem." In The Architecture of Islamic Jerusalem. Jerusalem: The British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, 1976.

Burgoyne, Michael Hamilton. Mamluk Jerusalem: An Architectural Study, 368. Jerusalem: British School of Archeology in Jerusalem, 1987.
North border of al-Haram al-Sharif, Jerusalem
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Associated Names
Part of Site
1359/760 AH
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Variant Names
Madrasa al-Is'ardiyya Madrasa
al-Is'ardiyya Madrasa
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