Fountain of Qasim Pasha (Sabil al-Naranj)

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The Fountain of Qasim Pasha (سبيل قاسم باشا) also known as the Sabil Bab al-Mahkama (Fountain of the Court House), or Fountain of the Bitter Orange (al-Naranj, سبيل نارنج) is an ablution and drinking fountain located in the western esplanade of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is situated in front of the Chain Gate.


Sabil Qasim Pasha with Qubat ul-Sakhr'a (Dome of Rock) in the background. It is the first Ottoman public building to be built in Jerusalem. Earlier works were not new buildings but the restoration of the wall and transformation of the citadel of Jerusalem to Masjid al-Nabi Da'ud (Mosque of David the Prophet). The function of Sabil Qasim Pasha, like other sabils, was to supply fresh water to the general public for drinking and for ablution. Accounts exist that the sabil was in use until the late 1940's.


circa 1527 CE

Ottoman Features
Sabil Qasim Pasha is unique in its design and different from other Jerusalem and al-Aqsa Mosque Sabils. It is the first monument built during the Ottoman era in al-Aqsa Mosque. Hence, it came before Sultan Suleiman al-qanuni’s (Suleiman I) famous projects, which included restoration project of al-Aqsa Mosque, the Sabils (drinking water fountains), Qanat (canal) Sabil, and the Jerusalem Wall. The Sebil originally got its water from a water channel or aquaduct, but today it is supplied water via the al-Aqsa Mosque water system.

circa 1527 CE

Enclosed Structure
The sabil structure, enclosing a cistern, is sunk about 1 meters below the platform of the Haram. The structure is preceded by a square shallow pool, with marble paving and a modern fountain in its center. The structure is octagonal (inspect), its dome rests on an octagonal drum. In the recent restoration, in 1998, the lead sheeting was removed and a handsome finely crafted stone-dome was exposed.

circa 1527 CE

Wooden Colonnade
A wooden colonnade was added to protect the benches and steps surrounding the Fountain of Qasim Pasha from rain and the summer-time sun in the 1920s restoration by the Supreme Muslim Council. The Dome was rebuilt during the restoration, and covered with lead panels that bestowed upon it a pointed shallower profile. In 1998, the lead sheeting was replaced by a finely crafted stone. Directly behind the dome of the Sabil Qasim Pasha the entrance to the Madrassah al-Ashraf is also visible.

Mastaba Sabil Qasim Pasha

circa 1527 CE

To the south of the Sabil Qasim Pasha is a small Mastaba (raised platform) called Mosque-Mestaba Sabil Qaitbay, which was installed in 860 CE by Ashraf abu al-Nassar. It is located north of the Sebil Qaitbay. The rectangular mastaba-mosque has a mehrab (inspect) as well.

See Also


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