Jami' Madrasa al-Ashrafiyya
Taizz, Yemen
This mosque and madrasa complex dates to both the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries as it was constructed in two periods, first by al-Ashraf I (1295-6) and subsequently by al-Ashraf II (1377-1400). Its whitewashed façade coupled with its two impressive minarets mark a sharp contrast to the surrounding city and landscape. To its north is the rectangular prayer hall surmounted by a large central dome with four smaller domes to each side. To the south of the prayer hall is a square courtyard off of which are royal tombs for the Rasulid Sultans and classrooms and student accommodations for the madrasa. Encompassing the complex from the west, south and east is a veranda, or stoa, where scholars of the religious school debate and study under its arcades. Off of the terrace at each façade is an entrance to the compound; the southern one can be seen in the attached images. This southern portal is flanked by two long classrooms that each open up to the terrace to the north. A domed pavilion is located at each corner of the building and off of the southeast corner is the ablution area. Its two minarets extend from the southern half of the complex. By the early fifteenth century, three additional royal tombs had been built in three of the courtyard's corners. Constructed by architects from Cairo, these domed tombs exhibit both Mamluk Egyptian and Yemeni design influence. Inside, this mosque and madrasa features inscriptions and carved stucco ornamentation on the ceiling and domes of its prayer hall and decorating some of the royal tombs.


King, Geoffrey and Ronald Lewcock. "Arabia." In Architecture of the Islamic World: its history and social meaning, edited by George Michell, 211. New York: Morrow, 1978.

Wald, Peter. Yemen, translated by Sebastian Wormell, 167-169. London: Pallas Athene, 1996.

Williams, John A.. Early Islamic Architecture of the Yemen: the early Islamic period, 10-12. Santa Barbara: Visual Education, Inc., 1977.
Taizz, Yemen
Images & Videos
Associated Names
1296-1297/696 AH
Style Periods
Variant Names
Mosque and Madrasa of al-Ashrafiyya
Jami' wa Madrasa al-Ashrafiyya
Building Usages