Mosque Name: Resafa Great Mosque

Country: Syria

City: Resafa

Year of construction (AH): 106 AH

Year of construction 725 CE

GPS: 35.628606 38.759662

ArchNet:, and

Gibson Classification: Mecca

Rebuilt facing Mecca:


Resafa is situated 25 km from the Euphrates at the edge of the “Syrian Desert” in northern Syria. It began as a large Roman fort on the Roman Limes or walls across Syria. As it became the place of the martyrdom of Saint Sergios it grew into one of the most important places of Christian pilgrimage in the Eastern Mediterranean region during the 5th and 6th centuries. Under Islamic rule it became the residence of caliph Hisham b. Abd al-Malik (reign. 724-743 AD.) and continued to be of central importance in the Islamic period. The veneration of S. Sergius as well as the settlement lived on until the city was abandoned after the Mongolian invasion in the middle of the 13th century.

The city suffered several major earthquakes, which now helps date various buildings. The Great Mosque was begun in the second quarter of the 8th century (Chronique Archeologique en Syria Vol 42010 Page 299) being commissioned by Hisham b. Abd al-Malik whose reign started in 724.

The important thing about this mosque is that it is the very earliest Mecca facing mosque we have been able to find anywhere. It is notable that it is the first Mosque that Caliph Hisham built, located near his palace, making this a significant statement.

City Gates

City Gates

City from the air

City from the air

The Great mosque (left) attached to a Basilica.

The Great mosque (left) attached to a Basilica.


Sack, Dorothée, 1996. Resafa IV. Die Grosse Moschee von Resafa – Rusâfat Hishâm, Philipp von Zabern: Mainz am Rhein.

Otto-Dorn, Katharina, 1957. “Grabung im Umayyadischen Ruṣāfah”, Ars Orientalis 2: 119-133.

Ulbert, Thilo, 1986. Resafa II. Die Basilika Heiligen Kreuzes in Resafa-Sergiupolis, Deutche Archäologisches Institut, Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern.

Northedge, Alastair, 1994. “ULBERT: Resafa II: Die Basilika des Heiligen Kreuzes in Resafa-Sergiupolis (Book Review)”, Der Islam 74: 342-344.

Sack, Dorothée,1991. “The Friday Mosque at Rusāfat Hishām in the Abbasid Period”, in: Adnan Bakhit and Robert Schick (eds.), Bilād al-Shām During the Abbasid Period (132 A.H./750 A.D.-451 A.H./1059 A.D.), Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on the History of Bilād al-Shām, English French Section, Amman: University of Jordan, 195-205.

Gussone, Martin, 2016. “Resafa – Rusafat Hišam, Siedlung und Residenz. Ergebnisse zur relativen Chronologie der Siedlungsreste und ihre Auswirkungen auf die Interpretation der Kalifenresidenz“, in: Dorothée Sack, Daniela Spiegel and Martin Gussone (eds.), Wohnen – Reisen – Residieren. Herrschaftliche Repräsentation zwischen temporärer Hofhaltung und dauerhafter Residenz in Orient und Okzident, Petersberg: Imhof Verlag, 151-164.

Meyer, Jan-Waalke, Mussa, Imad, and Michael Würz, 2010. “Report about the 11th Excavation Campaign 2008 at Kharab Sayyar”, Chronique Archéologique en Syrie 4: 321-327.

Sack, Dorothée, 2015. “St Sergios in Resafa: Worshiped by Christians and Muslims Alike”, in: Michael Blömer, Achim Lichtenberger and Rubina Raja (eds.), Religious Identities in the Levant from Alexander to Muhammed: Continuity and Change, Turnhout: Brepols, 270-280.

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