Throne Hall (Aleppo Citadel)

By the Editors of the Madain Project

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The throne hall, added during the reign of Sultan Qaitabi, was the most important Mamluk architectural contribution to the Citadel of Aleppo. Even though it has not survived in its authentic state, it remains one of the most visited spaces in the historic citadel. The forecourt preserves Mamluk-era historic fabric and plays an important role in the choreography of visiting this impressive audience chamber.

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The throne room is on the second floor of the entrance block to the Citadel of Aleppo. The throne measures 30 square meters and has been covered with reinforced concrete. An octagon is raised in the center of the flat ceiling to allow clerestory lighting through twenty-four stained glass windows. The ceiling is finished with carved and painted woodwork and plaster.

Following a sack of the citadel by the conqueror Timur, known to the West as Tamerlane, in 1400, the Mamluk governors of Aleppo embarked on a large-scale reconstruction program. During the restoration of the citadel a magnificent throne hall was added on top of the twelfth-century fortified entrance complex. The new throne hall was the grandest space in the citadel and it was used for official functions and for entertaining by the rulers of Aleppo and by Mamluk sultans visiting from Cairo. Damaged in a devastating earthquake that struck Aleppo in 1822, the throne hall was heavily restored in the second half of the twentieth century.

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