Masjid Hammuda Pasha
Tunis, Tunisia
The mosque was built between 1654 and 1655 by Hammuda (Muhammed) Pasha (d. 1696), who succeeded his father as the Ottoman governor of Tunisia in 1631 and left his post to his son in 1662. It is located inside a walled courtyard at the southeast corner of Sidi ben Arus and Kasbah streets. A tomb was added within the precinct between 1685 and 1686 for the founder and his family. The architect of the ensemble is Muhammed Nigro of Cordoba.

The mosque is aligned with the two streets and with qibla, along the northwest-southeast axis. The rectangular prayer hall is accessed through a narrow courtyard that envelops it on three sides, except for qibla, to the southeast. Three portals -- a main portal facing northwest on Kasbah street, a side portal facing northeast and a third portal at the eastern corner -- lead into the courtyard, which is raised several steps from the street level to even out the natural slope of the site. A large part of the courtyard is shaded by the portico that wraps the prayer hall, which is mirrored along the northeast courtyard wall to delineate an overflow prayer area with an outdoor mihrab. Both the arcade and the portico feature columns with a variety of capitals carrying horseshoe and round arches.

The prayer hall is entered from through seven iron doors set in archways. Of the three portals on the main façade, the central entrance is distinguished with a black and white marble arch set inside a frame of interlocking hexagons. Inside, the hypostyle prayer hall is seven bays wide and five bays deep and measures 26.5 by 16.5 meters. It is roofed with six trough vaults and a central barrel vault that terminate at the qibla aisle, which is crowned with a raised dome above the mihrab, flanked by two transverse trough vaults and corner cross-vaults. Its horseshoe arches are carried on twenty four free-standing and twenty engaged marble columns with identical capitals bearing volutes and crescent motifs.

Centered on the qibla wall, the mihrab niche has a wide horseshoe arch of black and white voussoirs carried on black marble columns with gilt capitals. The surface of the niche is covered with veined polychrome marbles forming seven blind niches and its semi-vault is decorated with geometric motifs finely carved into plaster. Similar carvings can be found inside the arches linking the twenty engaged columns along the walls. The minbar is made of white marble accentuated with thick bands of black marble below the balustrade. The interior is dimly lit with ten casement windows and a row of upper windows above the doors and casements.

The tomb of Hammuda Pasha, a small square structure measuring about six by six meters, adjoins the courtyard wall at the southern corner. It is covered with a mirror vault topped with a distinctive, two-tiered pyramidal roof covered with green tiles. The chamber is entered from an arched doorway facing northwest, which is flanked by geometric panels in black and white marble, topped with blind twin-windows. It is lit by three windows that bear with Arabic and Turkish inscriptions on the exterior that praise the donor and give the tomb's date of construction.

The tall octagonal minaret rises at the western corner of the courtyard, where the two streets intersect. Its stone shaft is braced with eight pilasters that end at blind horseshoe arches below the balcony. The balcony projects out from the shaft carried on carved stone brackets joined by ogee arches and is protected by wooden eaves immediately below the conical crown.

Sources:

Maison tunisienne de l'edition. Mosquées de Tunisie. Tunis: Maison tunisienne de l'edition, 1973. 24-25.

Michell, George. The Architecture of the Islamic World. London: Thames and Hudson, 1978. 221.

Pektas, Kadir. Tunus'ta Osmanli Mimari Eserleri. Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu Basimevi, 2002. 20, 55-61.

Santelli, Serge. Medinas, l'Architecture Traditionnelle en Tunisie. Dar Ashraf Editions, 1992. 76-77.
Location
Tunis, Tunisia
Images & Videos
Associated Names
Events
1654-55/1065-66 AH
Style Periods
Variant Names
Masjid Hammuda Pasha
Mosquee Hammouda Pacha
Alternate
Mosque of Hamouda Pasha
Translated
Masjid Hammuda Basha
Alternate
Masjid Hammudah Pacha
Alternate
Building Usages
tomb
funerary
mosque
religious
zawiya
religious