al-Marwani Mosque (Jerusalem)

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The al-Marwani Mosque, also known as the Musalla Marwani (المصلى المرواني) or the Eastern Basement of Haram al-Sharif, is a massive subterranean hall located in the south-eastern corner of the al Aqsa mosque. It extends over four and a half acres of land and can cater for approximately 6000 worshippers at once. It can be accessed using a stone staircase that is connected to two huge gates, which is situated to the northeast of the Qibli Masjid.


Modern entrance to the structure, from within the Haram al-Sharif. The original structure is most widely said to have been built by King Herod as part of his extension of the platform of the Haram al-Sharif southward onto the Ophel. The structure has been called Solomon's Stables since Crusader times as a historical composite. 'Solomon's' refers to the First Temple built on the site, while the 'stables' refers to the functional usage of the space by the Crusaders in the time of Baldwin II (King of Jerusalem 1118-1131 CE).


Main Prayer Area
The main mehrab of the Solomonian Mosque, a great deal of the original interior survives in the area of the Herodian staircases, although not in the area now renovated for use as a mosque. It extends over an area of about four acres and a half, and is the largest roofed area in the Masjid al-Aqsa Mosque complex. Visitors are rarely permitted to enter the areas with Herodian finishes. The structure is also known as the Stables of Solomon, pointing to the tradition of Crusader understanding of the structure dating back to 1099 CE.

Chamber of Mary
A small room in the south-eastern corner of the Musalla al-Marwani contains a domed cavity in the floor, according to the tradition this is the site of cradle of Jesus, where Mary placed him at the age of 40 days.

Excavation and the Establishment of the Mosque

In December 1996 the new mosque was officially inaugurated as el-Marwani Mosque. In co-ordination with the al-Aqsa Institution for the Renovation of Islamic Sites in the Galilee, and under the supervision of the Islamic Waqf in Jerusalem, thousands of young volunteers from al-Quds, Galilee and the Naqab participated in refurbishing the Musalla al Marwani. Carpets for its interior were donated by the Arab Republic of Egypt in 1996 CE.


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