Iwan of Sultan Mahmud II (Dome of Lovers of Prophet)

Iwan of Sultan Mahmud II (ايوان السلطان محمود الثاني) or most commonly known as Dome of Lovers of Prophet (قبة عشاق النبي) is a freestanding dome on the northern side of the Temple Mount (Haram al-Sharif). It is also called Dome of Suleyman pasha.

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circa 1817 CE

The Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II wanted to leave a landmark that commemorates him inside al-Aqsa Mosque, thus he built this dome in the northern part of the mosque next to the Gate of King Faisal in 1817-18 CE (1233 Hj.). The dome is made of a square building which is open from all sides and topped with a small dome. The building is based on four stone pillars built over a platform that is half a meter higher than the rest of al-Aqsa’s grounds.

circa 1817 CE

The iwan is a simple stone structure, with a square plan. The iwan's dome sits directly on the octagonal area with no drum or transition zone. It has an odd shape, and is clumsily finished, giving it the appearance of an incomplete half-oval. Unlike the rest of the domes of that period, it is built of rubble and mortar and has no external stone slab cladding.

circa 1817 CE

The four sides of the iwan are open, and the north facade is viewed as the main facade when approaching the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque. At the corners, piers support four tall pointed arches that, in turn, support the dome. The northern facade is composed of a tall pointed arch set between piers, the three other facades are identical.

circa 1817 CE

Another important structure located immediatedly north of the Iwan Sultan Mahmud is the Sebil Sultan Suleiman. It is one of the several domes on Temple Mount. It is also known by the name “The Lovers of the Prophet Dome” because Sufi Sheikhs used to gather under it for prayers and remembrance of Allah.

circa 1817 CE

A freestanding mihrab (inspect) is situated in the southern side. The mihrab is concave and projects beyond the line of the southern qibla face, allowing a partial view of Dome of the Rock. It is rectangular, and built of alternating red and white ablaq masonry. The semi-dome that tops it is built of a single piece of stone coated with a mortar mixture. It is expressed on the exterior as a scalloped half-dome with seven ribs. Two intricately carved marble columns with Ottoman design capitals flank the niche. The details of the mihrab suggest that it may have been part of an earlier Ottoman structure.

circa 1817 CE

It was the last Ottoman commemorative building to be erected in the Haram area by an Ottoman sultan after Sultan Sulayman's grand projects of the 16th century. The masonry of the mihrab is different from the iwan's, suggesting a different construction date. It consists of a square dais raised above the level of the Haram with stone steps providing access to the east, north and west sides. Because the structure is open on all four sides, looking towards teh west, one can see the Dome of Solomon and the Ghawanima Minaret

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