The Atabegs and Ayyubids
Religious Life
‘Islamic religious art is most eloquently expressed in mosque architecture.’
Damascus’s role as a starting point for the yearly pilgrimage, or hajj, adds to the city’s religious character. During the Ayyubid period, a suburb known as al-Maydan grew around the hajj road and became an important centre for the production of religious art. Islamic religious art in the Atabeg and Ayyubid periods is most eloquently expressed in mosque architecture and illuminated Qur’ans. Masonry and woodwork on minarets, mihrabs, maqsuras and minbars exemplify this pre-eminence.
Mihrab of the Madrasa al-Halawiyya

Madrasa, Hegira 543 / AD 1149; mihrab, AH 643 / AD 1245
Zangid/Atabeg and Ayyubid
Aleppo, Syria
Mihrab or prayer niche indicating the direction of prayer; the Halawiyya Madrasa in Aleppo.