The fall of the Mamluk state, which ruled Egypt, the Levant, the Hijaz and Cyrenaica for more than two and a half centuries, marked the entry of the Ottomans into the Arab countries and their takeover. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, the title that the Mamluks gave themselves before
The Ottomans entered with a great religious passion, a passion that wanted to restore every sacred place to its ancient splendor after the Mamluks failed to perform the task due to their internal conflicts, and the weakness of their economic structure that stood as an obstacle to renewal and reconstruction in the last twenty years of their state. The city of Jerusalem, the first of the two qiblahs, and the third of the Two Holy Mosques, was the focus of this care and care. The Ottomans brought about a revolution and an urban renaissance in it after centuries of laziness and stagnation. So what did Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent do against the holy city? Are these construction facilities built by this great sultan in Jerusalem still in existence to this day?!
Sultan Selim Al-Othmani, when he set foot in Palestine for the first time, was keen to head towards Al-Aqsa Mosque to pray in it, prior to entering Egypt, and his final judgment on the Mamluk state in the year 1517AD/923 AH. It was shown by the Ottomans as the beginning of a new era in the right of Jerusalem. Jerusalem witnessed the greatest urban and civilized renaissance in its history at the hands of his son, the famous Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent – one of the longest rulers of the Ottoman Empire – in the period between 926-974 AH / 1520-1566 AD, and the Ottoman traveler Evliya Chalabi tells us the reason that prompted Sultan Suleiman To the remarkable interest in the city of Jerusalem, saying:
In the year 926 AH / 1521 AD, Sultan Suleiman ascended the throne, and opened the fortress of Belgrade (the capital of Serbia) in 927 AH / 1521 AD, and the island of Rhodes in 928 AH / 1522 AD. Solomon, you will achieve many victories, and you must spend the spoils on decorating Mecca and Medina, and on fortifying the citadel of Jerusalem to repel the infidels if they try to occupy it during the rule of your successors. Rock of God and to rebuild the city of Jerusalem”.
Regardless of the authenticity of this narration, Sultan Suleiman embarked on construction, reconstruction and renovation in the city of Jerusalem, especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, which is the central and most sacred building in the entire city. And new shapes, colors and techniques, such as tile decoration and the use of colored tile by the most famous and skilled Ottoman craftsmen and calligraphers.
The traveler Evliya Chalabi mentions some of their names, such as the famous calligrapher at the time, Ahmed Karahisari (d. 963 AH / 1556 AD), who decorated with his calligraphy the external mosaic of the Dome of the Rock, the same calligrapher who supervised the same task in the Sultan Suleiman Mosque (Sulaymaniyah) in Istanbul, and it continued The process of restoring the walls, windows, and tiles of the mosque, and renewing the lines, the infrastructure, the surroundings of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, for nearly forty years, until Evliya Chalabi described it as “a paradise like no other on earth”, and some inscriptions from the restoration remain to this day.
One of the most prominent buildings built by the Ottomans, especially during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in the city of Jerusalem, was the reconstruction of the wall that surrounded the city from its four sides. 1219 AD, which caused the German King Frederick to seize Jerusalem on a platter of gold, according to a shameful agreement with the Ayyubid Sultan al-Kamil Muhammad in 626 AH.
The city wall was protecting it from the Crusaders’ invasions and the raids of the looting Arabs. Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent rebuilt it tightly at a height ranging from 12 to 15 meters, and a length of about 4 km, and a thickness of 3 meters, and he brought builders and craftsmen from Cairo, Aleppo, Istanbul and others, Its construction lasted for five years, between 943 AH – 947 AH / 1536-1541 AD, and the inscription of its construction is still evidence of that, as it says: “He ordered the construction of this blessed wall, our master Sultan Suleiman bin Salim Khan in the year ninety-seven. ” .
The construction of this wall cost huge expenditures amounting to more than three hundred thousand gold coins (Ottoman Akca), and Sultan Suleiman ordered the construction of permanent watchtowers, day and night, for both those entering and leaving near Bab al-Khalil in 945 AH / 1538 AD, one of the gates of Jerusalem, and the Tower of David, which is one of the The most famous old towers that remain to this day in Jerusalem, as well as the reconstruction and construction of the gates of Jerusalem, such as Bab al-Amoud and Bab al-Khalil. Some inscriptions are still witness to the renovations of the Ottomans, especially the era of Sultan Suleiman to this day.