The el-Jazzar Mosque which is also known as the White Mosque is located on el-Jazzar Street inside the walls of the old city of Acre; overlooking the eastern Mediterranean Sea. In fact, it is named after the Ottoman Bosnian governor Ahmad Pasha el-Jazzar (“the Butcher”).
More About El-Jazzar Mosque
The el-Jazzar Mosque was the project of its namesake; Ahmad Pasha el-Jazzar; the Acre-based governor of the Sidon and Damascus provinces. He was famous for his impressive public works. But above all the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at the Siege of Acre in 1799. El-Jazzar ordered the construction in 1781 and had it completed within the year.
Despite lacking architectural training; el-Jazzar was the architect of the mosque. He was responsible for drawing up its plans and design; supervising its entire construction. In addition to the mosque itself, the complex included an Islamic theological academy with student lodging, an Islamic court, and a public library. Also, the mosque was built for religious purposes. But its grandiose size and additional functions were also intended by el-Jazzar to serve as a means of consolidating his political legitimacy as ruler of Syria. He modeled the mosque on the mosques of Istanbul, the Ottoman capital.
El-Jazzar Mosque was built over former Muslim and Christian prayer houses and other Crusader buildings. Building materials for the mosque, particularly its marble and granite components, were taken from the ancient ruins of Caesarea, Atlit, and medieval Acre. Adjacent to the mosque is a mausoleum and small graveyard containing the tombs of Jazzar Pasha and his adoptive son and successor, Sulayman Pasha, and their relatives.
About The Architecture of El-Jazzar Mosque
The mosque is an excellent example of Ottoman architecture; which incorporated both Byzantine and Persian styles. Some of its fine features include the green dome and minaret, a green-domed sebil next to its steps (a kiosk, built by Sultan Abdul Hamid II, for dispensing chilled drinking water and beverages), and a large courtyard.
El-Jazzar Mosque, which is dominating Acre’s skyline, was originally named Masjid al-Anwar (the “Great Mosque of Lights”) and is also known as the White Mosque because of its once silvery-white dome that glittered at a great distance. The dome is now painted green. The minaret has a winding staircase of 124 steps.
In fact, El-Jazzar Mosque is the largest mosque in Israel outside of Jerusalem.