Al Marwani Mosque

An underground mosque on the south-east side of the Haram ash-sharif, Al Marwani Mosque is the largest and most ambitious project undertaken since the Ottoman period

Jerusalem, Palestine

Coordinates: 31.776418, 35.237207

Commonly knows as Al-Musalla Al-Marwani, it is a subterranean massive hall located in the southeastern corner of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Originally a very steep hill, this area was raised through various structures in order to be on the same level of Al-Aqsa Mosque’s northern courtyards, as Muslims wanted to build the Al-Aqsa Mosque on strong foundations.

Although the accurate year of construction remains unknown, it has been confirmed that the Al-Musalla Al-Marwani was built before the Al-Qibli Mosque.

The mosque is made of 16 naves that extend over four and a half acres of land, which makes it the largest physical structure inside Al-Aqsa’s premises with the capacity to accommodate
over 6,000 worshipers at once.

It can be accessed by using a stone staircase connected to two huge gates to the northeast of Al-Aqsa Mosque which were built after its renovation to allow the large numbers of worshipers and visitors to enter and exit without any obstacles, and also to improve the ventilation system since the building lacks a sufficient number of windows.

When the renovation and rehabilitation of these large halls started in 1996, it was named “Al-Musalla Al-Marwani” in honor of the Umayyads who descended from Marwan bin Al-Hakam, including Abd Al-Malik, Suleiman, Hisham, and Al-Walid who built most of the essential structures of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Once used as “Stables”

Before the restoration and reopening of Al-Musalla Al-Marwani by Al-Aqsa’s Committee for the Reconstruction of Holy Sites and the Islamic Heritage Committee affiliated with the Islamic Waqf, the location of the mosque was known by the name “Solomon’s Stables.”

The name can be attributed to the fact that during their occupation of Jerusalem, the Crusaders had built a church on Al-Aqsa’s premises called “The Temple of Solomon” and used Al-Musalla Al-Marwani’s building as a stable for their horses.

What confirms this theory is the presence of big iron rings nailed to the building’s walls similar to those used to tie up horses in the past.

The Crusaders also opened a gate called “the Single Gate” in the eastern side of Al-Aqsa’s southern wall to facilitate horses access to the mosque.