Dome of the Eagle (Qubbat ul-Nisr)

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The largest dome of the mosque is known as the "Dome of the Eagle", Qubbat an-Nisr (قبة النسر) in Arabic, and located atop the center of the prayer hall. The original wooden dome was replaced by one built of stone following the 1893 CE fire. It is supported by the central interior arcade and has openings along its parameter.


It receives its name because it is thought to resemble an eagle, with the dome itself being the eagle's head while the eastern and western flanks of the prayer hall represent the wings. With a height of 36 meters (118 ft), the dome rests on an octagonal substructure with two arched windows on each of its sides. The Dome of Eagle has a diameter of 16.6 meters, and a height of 43 meters from the ground level. It is one of at least three domes of Umayyad Mosque.



Second Dome in Islamic History
The Qubbat al-Nissr is believed (not certain) to be the second dome built in Islamic era, first being the Dome of the Rock (Qubbat al-Sakhara). The Dome of Eagle in the Umayyad Mosque was built by Walid bin Abdul Malik. Later, Muslims increased using domes to have a dome for every mosque. Also, they used them above the shrines and other palaces. The Dome has two minarets on either ends of the central hall, Minaret of Isa on the east and Minaret of the Qaitbey on the western end.


Ibn Jubayr's Account
The Dome of the Eagle (Qubbat al-Nisr) is architecturally considered one of the best parts of the Omayyad Mosque. It was named because the architect who built it imagined the dome as a head of an eagle, and the aisles at its right and left as its wings. An Arab historian (probably Ibn Jubayr) wrote: if a person looks at the Eagle Dome from a certain distance he will have the impression of seeing an eagle. The head is the cupola, body is the prayer hall, and wings are the walls.



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