Name of Monument:
Mausoleum of Saladin (Salah al-Din)
Also known as:
The building faces the north wall of the Great Umayyad Mosque, Damascus, Syria
Date of Monument:
Hegira 589–92 / AD 1193–6
Period / Dynasty:
Al-Malik al-Afdal Nur al-Din ‘Ali (r. AH 582–92 / AD 1186–96).
Salah al-Din's (Saladin's) tomb is located next to the northwestern corner of the Great Umayyad Mosque. Although Saladin died in AH 589 / AD 1193, he was initially interred at the Damascus Citadel until his son al-Malik al-Afdal Nur al-Din 'Ali, ruler of Damascus, completed the construction of the mausoleum. Saladin's body was transferred to its final resting place on the holy day of 'Ashura in AH 592 (AD 1195). Soon afterwards, Salah al-Din's other son, al-Malik al-Aziz ‘Uthman (‘Uthman II), ruler of Egypt, decided to construct a madrasa attached to his father's tomb. Thus it is also known as al-Madrasa al-'Aziziyya. The events surrounding the death and burial of Saladin are clearly recorded in the historical sources, based on the eyewitness account of Imad al-Din al-Isfahani (d. AH 597 / AD 1201), who was Saladin's confidant and administrative genius.
View Short Description
Saladin's tomb is located in close proximity to the Great Umayyad Mosque and is considered a holy site. His mausoleum was built by his sons after his death in AH 589/ AD 1193 and his body was transferred there in 592 / 1195. The architecture is typically Damascene Ayyubid: a square chamber decorated with alternating muti-coloured stones and capped by a dome. The coffin itself is a very important example of the art of Ayyubid woodcarving. A second coffin, made of white marble, was presented as a gift to Damascus by the German Emperor in 1903.
How Monument was dated:
The original inscriptions have been modernised, but contemporary Ayyubid histories contain accounts of Salah al-Din's burial. Stylistic comparisons of Damascene Ayyubid architecture also support the 6th- / 12th-century dating.
Allen, T., “Ayyubid Architecture”, Solipsist Press (electronic publication 7th edition), 2003.
Citation of this web page:
Abd al-Razzaq Moaz, Zena Takieddine "Mausoleum of Saladin (Salah al-Din)" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020. 2020. http://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=monument;ISL;sy;Mon01;14;en