Unveiling Jordan's Gems: A Journey Through Historical Mosques and Places

Jordan, a land steeped in rich history and cultural tapestry, boasts a collection of awe-inspiring mosques that stand as testaments to the deep faith and architectural brilliance of past civilizations. These sanctuaries are not just places of worship, but also architectural marvels that whisper tales of bygone eras. Join us on a virtual voyage as we unveil some of Jordan’s most captivating historical mosques:

Jordan boasts several renowned Islamic landmarks, among them are the King Abdullah I Mosque, King Hussein Mosque, Abu Darweesh Mosque, Prophet Jadur Shrine, and Nabi Harun Shrine, attracting visitors worldwide.

A Beacon on the Hill: King Abdullah I Mosque (1944-1949 CE)

The King Abdullah I Mosque, Jordan’s most renowned, stands as a testament to late King Hussein’s tribute to his grandfather, King Abdullah I. Completed in 1989, it showcases remarkable architecture, highlighted by its iconic blue dome visible from afar.

Accommodating over 3000 worshippers in its octagonal courtyard and 7000 in the hall, the mosque also offers a women’s section and private royal enclosure for 200-300 individuals.

Adorned with Quranic inscriptions, it is the sole mosque in Amman allowing entry to non-Muslims. Additional features include a library boasting 20,000 books, a reception area, Dar al-Quran, roofed lounges and halls, an Islamic museum, and a charity market—a must-visit Jordanian landmark.

Towering over Amman, Jordan’s capital city, the King Abdullah I Mosque stands as a majestic landmark, a visual testament to faith and artistry. More than just a place of worship, it’s a historical treasure, boasting modern influences that blend seamlessly with traditional Islamic architecture. Let’s delve into the captivating story of this mosque, named after a visionary king:

A Royal Vision (1944 CE)

  • 1944 CE: Following the ascension of King Abdullah I to the throne in 1 جبل شرق (Jabal شرق) or East Hill, the need for a grand mosque in Amman becomes apparent. King Abdullah I, himself a devout Muslim leader, commissions the construction of a mosque that would become a symbol of the city.

Construction and Design (1944-1949 CE)

  • 1944-1949 CE: The construction of the King Abdullah I Mosque takes place over a five-year period. The design incorporates elements of traditional Islamic architecture, such as the large central dome, towering minarets, and intricate geometric patterns. However, the mosque also features modern influences, evident in the use of light-colored stones and clean lines.

A Legacy of Unity and Beauty (1949 CE – Present Day)

  • 1949 CE: The King Abdullah I Mosque is inaugurated, marking a significant moment in Amman’s history. The mosque becomes a central place of worship for the city’s growing Muslim population.

Architectural Features:

  • Central Dome: The grand dome, a hallmark of Islamic architecture, dominates the mosque’s skyline. Its intricate design and use of mosaics add to the overall beauty of the structure.
  • Minarets: Two towering minarets flank the main entrance, serving as a call to prayer for the surrounding community.
  • Prayer Hall: The spacious prayer hall features a traditional mihrab (prayer niche) indicating the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca. The interior is adorned with intricate calligraphy and geometric patterns, reflecting Islamic artistic traditions.
  • Courtyard: A tranquil courtyard provides a peaceful space for reflection and socializing before or after prayers.

A Symbol of Faith and Modernity:

The King Abdullah I Mosque stands as a unique landmark, bridging the gap between tradition and modernity. It serves as a place of worship, a symbol of Amman’s Islamic heritage, and a testament to the vision of King Abdullah I. Today, the mosque continues to be a focal point for the city’s Muslim community, attracting visitors who come to admire its architectural beauty and experience the spiritual serenity it offers.

The Great Mosque (Al-Masjid al-Kabir) in Amman

Standing tall amidst the bustling streets of Amman, Jordan, the Great Mosque (Al-Masjid al-Kabir) whispers tales of a bygone era. More than a place of worship, it’s a historical landmark, a cornerstone of the city’s Islamic heritage. Let’s embark on a journey through time to explore the captivating story of this grand mosque:

Umayyad Legacy (7th-8th Centuries CE)

  • Uncertain Date: The exact date of the Great Mosque’s construction remains unknown. However, historical evidence suggests it most likely emerged during the reign of the Umayyad Caliphate (7th-8th centuries CE), making it one of the oldest mosques in Amman.

A Flourishing Islamic Center:

  • 7th-8th Centuries CE Onwards: During the Umayyad era, Amman thrives as a significant provincial capital. The Great Mosque becomes the focal point of the city’s religious life, serving as a place of worship, education, and social gathering for the Muslim community.

Architectural Grandeur:

  • Umayyad Style: The Great Mosque embodies the architectural style of the Umayyad period. Key features include a large rectangular plan, a spacious prayer hall with a central mihrab (prayer niche), and a towering square minaret. The mosque’s simplicity and functionality reflect the Umayyad approach to mosque design.

Enduring Legacy:

  • Throughout History: The Great Mosque has undergone renovations and additions over the centuries, reflecting the evolving architectural styles of different eras. Despite these changes, it retains its core Umayyad character and continues to serve as a vital center for Amman’s Muslim community.

A Place of Peace and Reflection:

Today, the Great Mosque (Al-Masjid al-Kabir) remains a cherished landmark in Amman. The serene atmosphere of the prayer hall and the historic significance of the site continue to attract worshippers and visitors alike. The mosque serves as a bridge between the past and present, a testament to the enduring legacy of Islamic faith and architecture in Jordan.

King Hussein Bin Talal Mosque (2005 CE)

Soaring amidst the vibrant cityscape of Amman, Jordan, the King Hussein Bin Talal Mosque stands as a majestic landmark, the largest mosque in the entire country. More than just a place of worship, it’s a modern marvel, a testament to contemporary Islamic architecture and the legacy of a revered king. Unfold the captivating story behind this architectural gem:

A Royal Edifice (2005 CE)

  • 2005 CE: The King Hussein Bin Talal Mosque is inaugurated during the reign of King Abdullah II. Named after his father, the late King Hussein, the mosque serves as a tribute to a beloved monarch and a symbol of unity for the Jordanian people.

Prime Location and Design:

  • West Amman: Situated in Al Hussein Public Parks at King Abdullah II Street near King Hussein Medical Center, the mosque occupies a prominent location in West Amman. Its grandeur and scale make it a striking landmark visible from most parts of the city.
  • Modern Islamic Architecture: The mosque’s design embodies a modern interpretation of Islamic architecture. The square-shaped building features four towering minarets, reflecting a blend of traditional and contemporary aesthetics. The use of white marble for the floors creates an atmosphere of elegance and serenity.

A Place of Worship and Community:

  • Spacious Prayer Hall: The expansive prayer hall can accommodate a large congregation of worshippers. The intricate calligraphy and geometric patterns adorning the walls showcase Islamic art forms.
  • Community Center: The mosque complex also includes a library, a conference hall, and educational facilities. It serves as a center for not just prayer, but also for learning, social gatherings, and community events.

A Legacy of Faith and Leadership:

The King Hussein Bin Talal Mosque stands as a powerful symbol of Jordan’s Islamic heritage and its commitment to modern architecture. It serves as a place of worship, a center for Islamic learning, and a lasting tribute to the legacy of King Hussein. The mosque continues to be a focal point for the Jordanian people, fostering a sense of community and spiritual connection.

A Hilltop Beacon of Faith: Abu Darweesh Mosque (1961 CE)

Towering over Amman’s bustling cityscape, the Abu Darweesh Mosque stands as a striking landmark, a testament to modern Islamic architecture and devotion. More than just a place of worship, it boasts a unique history and offers a captivating glimpse into Jordanian Islamic heritage. Unfold the story behind this prominent mosque:

A Vision Realized (1961 CE):

  • 1961 CE: The Abu Darweesh Mosque is constructed under the patronage of Mustafa Hassan Sharkas, also known as Abu Darweesh. This wealthy Circassian immigrant envisioned a grand mosque on the city’s highest hill, Jebel al-Ashrafiyeh. His vision materialized in 1961 CE, marking a significant moment in Amman’s religious landscape.

Striking Design:

  • Black and White Stripes: The mosque’s most distinctive feature is its exterior, adorned with alternating rows of black and white stones. This unique design draws inspiration from traditional Levantine architecture, creating a visually striking and memorable facade.

A Spacious Sanctuary:

  • Accommodating a Large Congregation: The Abu Darweesh Mosque boasts a spacious prayer hall capable of accommodating over 7,000 worshippers. This makes it one of the largest mosques in Amman, catering to the growing Muslim population.

Limited Access for Non-Muslims:

  • Respecting Traditions: As a general rule, the mosque’s interior is not open to non-Muslims. However, some exceptions may exist, and local tour guides can sometimes arrange special visits for respectful visitors outside of prayer times.

A Legacy of Faith:

Today, the Abu Darweesh Mosque remains a prominent landmark in Amman. Its unique design, spacious interior, and dedication to the local Muslim community solidify its place as a vital center of worship and a symbol of Islamic heritage in Jordan.

The Umayyad Palace in Jordan (7th-8th Centuries CE)

Whispering tales of a bygone era, the Umayyad Palaces scattered across Jordan stand as captivating testaments to the power and artistry of the Umayyad Caliphate (7th-8th centuries CE). These grand structures, nestled amidst the desert landscapes, offer a glimpse into the opulent lifestyles of the Umayyad dynasty.

Flourishing Under the Umayyads:

  • 7th-8th Centuries CE: Following the rise of the Umayyad Caliphate in the mid-7th century CE, Jordan witnessed a flourishing of Islamic architecture. The caliphs, known for their patronage of the arts and sciences, commissioned the construction of several palaces throughout the region, including Jordan.

Desert Castles:

  • Defensive and Recreational Purposes: While often referred to as “palaces,” some Umayyad structures in Jordan might have served a dual purpose. They may have functioned as both luxurious retreats for the caliphs and their court, as well as fortified outposts along trade routes.

Examples of Umayyad Palaces in Jordan:

  • Qasr Kharana: One of the most well-preserved Umayyad palaces in Jordan, Qasr Kharana is located east of Amman. The intricate stucco decorations and spacious halls offer a glimpse into the grandeur of Umayyad architecture.

  • Qasr Al-Azraq: This Black Desert castle, also known as Qasr al-Bint (“the daughter’s castle”), is another prominent example. While its exact purpose remains unclear, it showcases the Umayyad’s mastery of desert architecture.

  • Qasr Hallabat: Situated near the Dead Sea, Qasr Hallabat presents a unique blend of Roman and Islamic architectural elements. It served as a significant Umayyad administrative center.

A Legacy of Power and Culture:

The Umayyad Palaces in Jordan stand as enduring reminders of a glorious era in Islamic history. These architectural marvels continue to capture the imagination of visitors, offering a glimpse into the lives of the Umayyad caliphs and the artistic achievements of their reign.

Jerash: A Journey Through Time (63 BC - Present Day)

Jerash, a captivating city nestled amidst Jordan’s rolling hills, boasts a rich tapestry of history. Unveiling layers of bygone eras, it seamlessly blends the grandeur of the Greco-Roman world with the serenity of Islamic architecture. Let’s embark on a captivating journey through time to explore Jerash’s fascinating story:

1. Gerasa: The Jewel of the Roman Decapolis (63 BC – 4th century CE)

Jerash’s heart lies in its awe-inspiring ancient Roman ruins, known as Gerasa. Founded in the 2nd century BC, the city flourished during the Roman era, becoming a prominent member of the Decapolis, a league of ten Roman cities. Its grand, colonnaded streets, majestic temples, and well-preserved theaters transport visitors back to a time of Roman power and prosperity.

Highlights of Gerasa:

  • The Oval Forum: A bustling social and commercial center.
  • The Artemis Temple: Dedicated to the Greek goddess of the hunt.
  • Hadrian’s Arch: A monumental gateway commemorating the Roman emperor’s visit.
  • The Jerash Archaeological Museum: Housing artifacts unearthed from the city.

2. A Flourishing Islamic Center (7th Century CE Onwards)

As history unfolded, Islam arrived in Jerash in the 7th century CE. While the Roman structures remained, the city embraced its new faith. Mosques, including the Al-Ma’aref Mosque, began to dot the landscape, showcasing the city’s cultural evolution.

3. The Modern City of Jerash

Jerash today thrives as a vibrant city, where the echoes of the past intertwine with contemporary life. Visitors can delve into the magnificent Roman ruins, marvel at the Al-Ma’aref Mosque, and experience the warmth of Jordanian hospitality.

A Legacy Unveiled:

Jerash offers a captivating journey through time. From the grandeur of Gerasa to the serenity of the Al-Ma’aref Mosque, the city unveils a fascinating story of cultural evolution and the enduring power of human history.

Al-Ma'aref Mosque in Jerash (7th Century CE Onwards)

Nestled amidst the awe-inspiring Roman ruins of Jerash, Jordan, lies the Al-Ma’aref Mosque, a testament to the city’s rich history and cultural fusion. This mosque, shrouded in some mystery, whispers tales of Islamic faith taking root amidst the remnants of a glorious Roman past. Unfold the captivating story of this unique structure:

A City Steeped in History:

Jerash, anciently known as Gerasa, flourished as a major Roman city from the 63 BC to the 4th century CE. Its grand colonnaded avenues, towering temples, and well-preserved theaters stand as enduring testaments to Roman engineering and artistic brilliance.

The Arrival of Islam:

With the arrival of Islam in the 7th century CE, Jerash embraced its new faith while retaining its Roman legacy. The city transitioned, and mosques began to dot the landscape alongside the existing Roman structures.

Al-Ma’aref Mosque: A Unique Blend (7th Century CE Onwards)

  • Uncertain Origins: The exact date of construction for the Al-Ma’aref Mosque remains unclear. Historical estimates suggest it emerged sometime around the 7th century CE, during the early Islamic period in Jerash.

  • Architectural Fusion: The mosque’s design holds the key to its captivating story. It’s believed that the builders incorporated elements from existing Roman structures, most likely reusing stones and architectural features. This unique approach resulted in a mosque that embodies a fascinating fusion of Islamic faith and Roman heritage.

  • Limited Information: Unfortunately, comprehensive details and records about the Al-Ma’aref Mosque are scarce. Further archaeological exploration and research are needed to fully understand the mosque’s construction methods, materials used, and its place within Jerash’s Islamic history.

A Standing Symbol:

Despite the unknowns, the Al-Ma’aref Mosque stands as a powerful symbol of Jerash’s cultural evolution. It represents the city’s ability to embrace new traditions while cherishing its Roman past. Today, the mosque serves as a place of worship and a reminder of the rich tapestry woven into the fabric of Jerash.

The Sharif Hussein bin Ali Mosque Aqaba (Early 20th Century)

Standing tall amidst the bustling port city of Aqaba, Jordan, the Sharif Hussein bin Ali Mosque serves as a prominent landmark and a testament to Islamic faith. Named after a key figure in Arab history, the mosque’s story unfolds against the backdrop of Jordan’s evolving landscape.

Early 20th Century Construction:

  • Precise Date Unknown: Historical records lack a definitive date for the construction of the Sharif Hussein bin Ali Mosque. However, estimates place its construction sometime in the early 20th century, likely during the reign of King Abdullah I of Jordan (1921-1951).

A Legacy of Leadership:

  • Sharif Hussein bin Ali: The mosque’s namesake, Sharif Hussein bin Ali, was a prominent figure in the early 20th century. As Sharif of Mecca, he played a pivotal role in the Arab Revolt (1916-1918) against the Ottoman Empire, paving the way for the establishment of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Architectural Grandeur:

  • Ottoman Influences: The architectural style of the Sharif Hussein bin Ali Mosque reflects Ottoman influences prevalent in the region during its construction period. The mosque likely features a central dome, a spacious prayer hall, and a minaret, reflecting traditional Islamic mosque design.

A Place of Worship and Community:

  • Serving Aqaba’s Muslims: The Sharif Hussein bin Ali Mosque serves as a vital center for Aqaba’s Muslim community. It offers a serene space for prayer, reflection, and religious gatherings, fostering a sense of community and spiritual connection.

A Blend of History and Faith:

Today, the Sharif Hussein bin Ali Mosque stands as a symbol of Aqaba’s rich heritage and its vibrant Muslim community. The mosque’s historical connection to Sharif Hussein bin Ali adds another layer of significance, reminding visitors of the city’s role in shaping the modern Middle East.

References:  Own Research, Wikipedia.

Scroll to Top