Photograph: Ali LaferPhotograph: Ali Lafer

Name of Monument:

Sidi Abdarrahman complex


Algiers, Algeria

Date of Monument:

Hegira 1108-1141 / AD 1696-1730

Period / Dynasty:



Dey al-Hadj Ahmad al-Atchi.


It was decided in 1020 H / 1611 that the sepulchre of Sidi Abdarrahman al-Thaalibi, the patron saint of Al-Djazair, who died in AH 877 / AD 1470, should be covered with a qubba (dome). Later on, in AH 1108 / AD 1696, Dey al-Hadj Ahmad al-Atchi ordered the square mausoleum to be transformed into a prayer hall, notably through the introduction of a mihrab.
Four pairs of columns that are semi-engaged in the walls enable the transition from a square layout to an octagonal one, to accommodate the dome that covers the hall. As well as the two marble columns that flank it on either side, the mihrab is decorated with faïence tiles. The qubba encloses a certain number of sepulchres, including those of Sidi Abdarrahman and Sidi Boudjemaa, and the function and living quarters and buildings could have been constructed with the revenues from the zawiya.
Within the enclosure, a small cemetery holds the tombs of illustrious or notable persons such as Sidi Boudouma, Sidi Ouaddah or Dey ‘Umar.

View Short Description

After the death of Sidi Abdarrahman al-Thaalibi, the patron saint of Algiers, the tomb was covered with a qubba and then laid out as a prayer room. Four pairs of semi-engaged columns in the walls make it possible to turn the square plan into an octagon to support the cupola. The mihrab is flanked by two columns and decorated with earthenware tiles. The square-plan minaret has three levels of blind arcatures, each one crowned with earthenware tiles.

How Monument was dated:

Above the porch, the mosque's foundation inscription states the date 1108 / 1696. Inside, another inscription dates the completion of works to have been in 1141 / 1730.

Selected bibliography:

Bourouiba, R., Apports de l'Algérie à l'architecture arabo-islamique, Algiers, 1986.
Klein, H., Feuillets d'Al-Djazaïr, Blida, 2003.
Ministère de l'information et de la culture, Les mosquées en Algérie, Algiers, 1974.

Citation of this web page:

Ali Lafer "Sidi Abdarrahman complex" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2022. 2022.;ISL;dz;Mon01;23;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 30


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