Great Omari Mosque - Aga Khan Award for Architecture
Aga Khan Development Network

Great Omari Mosque

Great Omari Mosque
Location: Sidon, Lebanon (West Asia)
Architect: Saleh Lamei-Mostafa
Client: Lebanese Department of Islamic Awqaf
Completed: 1986
Site size: 1'975 m²

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Great Omari Mosque Project Brief

This late 13th-century mosque of the Bahri Mamluk period is the oldest standing in Sidon. Built on the remains of a Crusader fortress, the south wall is still braced by five sturdy Crusader buttresses, in stylistic and chronological juxtaposition to the minaret executed by the Ottomans in the second half of the 19th century. This outstanding monument was severely damaged by shellfire during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Its users, instead of building a new mosque, elected to restore their old one, the funds having been provided by a native son living in Paris. Assisting the architect in the thorough documentation of the structure was a team of architects and students from Beirut. The walls, piers, arches, vaults and domes that had been completely or partially destroyed were rebuilt, and an iron anchorage was placed in the minaret. The jury noted that this effort, was a combination of human steadfastness in the face of tragedy, of restoration talent and inventiveness in particularly difficult circumstances, and of dedicated patronage and sacrifice that makes the reconstruction of the mosque a beacon in a tortured land and a sign of hope for the rebuilding of war torn nations.

1989 Award Recipients