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Notes on the Geography of Great Mirror: Photo 16

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The gorgeous dome in front of the mihrab.  It's  brightened by mosaics set by workmen who came from Constantinople with orders to do here what they had done earlier in the mosque at Damascus.  Again, the ribs do not converge but form a polygon.

Spectacular as it is, al-Makkari describes vanished glories that he calls greater still.  He mentions a "pure gold" door into the maqsura and says that "the floor of the makssurah was paved with silver, and... all the parts adjacent to it were covered with sofeysafa (rich mosaic work intermixed with gold); and... most of the columns, which are described as being placed in clusters of four, and having only one capital, were most beautifully carved and inlaid from top to bottom with gold and lapis-lazuli...."  He also describes a vanished pulpit "built of ivory, and of the most exquisite woods, such as ebony , sandal, bakam, Indian plantain, citron wood, aloe, and so forth, at the expense of thirty-five thousand seven hundred and five dinars...." Another writer, he says, reported that it was formed of 36,000 small pieces of wood, "fastened together with gold and silver nails, and occasionally incrusted with precious stones...." Al-Makkari then adds the prudent and standard disclaimer: "...but God only is all-knowing."

 

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