Lady Bint Ahmed Mosque in Jiblah [Archives:2008/1189/Last Page]

September 11 2008
Photo from archived article: photos/1189/lastpage1_1
Photo from archived article: photos/1189/lastpage1_1
The city of Jiblah is one of the most beautiful cities that were founded by the Salahites. Situated 2000 meters above sea level, it is characterized by its terraced landscape, mild weather, fertile soil and beautiful buildings. It was known in the past as the city of the two rivers. Poets eulogized the beauty of nature in the city, to quote Abdullah bin Ya'ala:

'No Egypt, no Tabriz, no Tiberais;

Compared to a city flanked by two rivers

It is not compared to the Levant;

O the love of Orient but the love of Yemen'

The Salahites took Jabalah as their capital city in 1066 A.D. The Lady Bint Ahmed mosque is considered a prime example of the magnificent Salahite architecture of Yemen, much like the religious buildings of the Fatimids are to Egypt.

The mosque was built on the ruins of an old building known as Dar Al Ezz whose remains are still there at the bottom of the present mosque. It is entered through a stone staircase leading to a long vestibule that extends from the south to the north, and overlooks the mosque's facade from the east.

The mosque has an open nave in the middle (20 x 17.8 meters), and is surrounded by porticos from all directions. The porticos overlook the nave with pointed knots of different shapes that rest on cylindrical stone columns with square bases. The prayer place is also rectangular shaped (31.60 x 16.20 meters), and covered with wooden boxes decorated with a group of intricate engravings.

When Lady Bint Ahmed passed away in 1137 A.D, she was buried in the northwest corner of the prayer place. Her tomb occupied a space of 3.50 x 3.70 meters, and her wooden coffin was enclosed by a fence with various gypsum inscriptions that reflect the techniques of this Islamic art of Yemen under the Salahites. In the middle of the kiblah wall, there is a hollow mihrab, decorated and inscribed with Koranic verses written in the Kufi font. To the right of the mihrab, there is a wooden pulpit with an Arabic arabesque of plant elements. The preacher's chair in the prayer place dates back to 1800 A.D.

A single visit to this mosque is all that is required to give a visitor an impression of the Islamic art techniques that were prevalent during the Salahit state. These are represented in the architecture, arts, wall inscriptions, columns, capitals, minarets, domes, wooden boxes and pulpit and mihrab decoration which were all superbly and uniquely executed.

Source: Tourism ministry , Endowment ministry