Photograph: Ali LaferPhotograph: Ali LaferPhotograph: Ali LaferPhotograph: Ali LaferPhotograph: Ali Lafer

Name of Monument:

Sidi Brahim Mosque


Tlemcen, Algeria

Date of Monument:

Hegira 6th century / AD 13th century

Period / Dynasty:



Abu Hammu Musa II.


The Sidi Brahim Mosque formed part of a site that was known under the name of Yakoubiya madrasa and which included a mausoleum, a zawiya and a madrasa. All that remains of it are the mosque and the mausoleum, the latter being referred to as Sidi Brahim al-Masmoudi. The mosque is of medium size. Its courtyard, surrounded by a gallery on its northern, eastern and western sides, is approximately 11.20 m wide and 10m deep; it is accessed via a projecting doorway on the northern side. The prayer hall, which was initially a simple oratory annexed to the madrasa, eventually became a place of Friday prayer for the local inhabitants. The prayer hall (19 m x 15.40 m inside) is also accessed via two projecting side doorways that each open onto the fourth bay on both the eastern and western sides. Inside one can see five balatat (naves) that are perpendicular to the qibla wall, where each nave is bordered by two rows of rectangular-based pillars that are cruciform or T-shaped and support pointed arches. Neither the walls nor the galleries are decorated in any way. The hexagonal mihrab, crowned by a dome with eight segments, is surmounted by three blind windows, and features a semi-circular arch opening. The framework had been covered in faïence tiles, but it was then refurbished in stucco during 'restoration' works that are currently still in progress in the adjoining tomb of Sidi Brahim. The quadrangular minaret is not especially slender in shape. Its façades are decorated with large diamond-patterned panels held up by three arches. The panel below the diamond pattern features four arches and is entirely covered in mosaic.

View Short Description

This mosque was part of a complex that included a mausoleum, a zawiya and a madrasa. The rectangular prayer room opens out onto a courtyard surrounded by galleries and side entrances. Its five naves are lined with pillars supporting pointed arches. The hexagonal mihrab is crowned by three blind windows and a small cupola. The surrounding arch was once framed with earthenware tiles. The square minaret has large diamond-pattern panels, one of which is decorated with mosaics.

How Monument was dated:

R. Bourouiba dates this site to the reign of Abu Hammu Musa II (760-91 / 1359-89).

Selected bibliography:

Bourouiba, R., Apports de l'Algérie à l'architecture arabo-islamique, Algiers, 1986.
Bourouiba, R., L'art religieux musulman en Algérie, Algiers, 1973.

Citation of this web page:

Ali Lafer "Sidi Brahim Mosque" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018. 2018.;ISL;dz;Mon01;25;en

Prepared by: Ali LaferAli Lafer

Architecte diplômé de l'École nationale d'architecture et des beaux-arts d'Alger, stagiaire du Centre international pour la conservation et la restauration des biens culturels (ICCROM) à Rome, Ali Lafer a été architecte en chef des Monuments au ministère de la Culture pendant son service civil. Directeur de l'Atelier Casbah chargé des études d'aménagement de la médina d'Alger, il a également enseigné au cours de Tunis pour la formation d'architectes du patrimoine maghrébin. Membre fondateur de l'association “Les amis du Tassili”, il est aussi chercheur dans les domaines de la numérisation de la documentation graphique et du relevé photogrammétrique.

Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: Maria Vlotides
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: AL 33


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