new icn messageflickr-free-ic3d pan white
View allAll Photos Tagged German+Archaeologist

The temple construction of Trajan or Trajaneum was started by the Roman emperor Trajan (53-117 CE). After his death, emperor Hadrian (117-138 CE) completed the construction of the temple in Corinthian order. The temple was placed upon a terrace of the acropolis. Both the emperors were worshipped here as they were considered divine. Attempts have been continuing by German archaeologists since 1976 to erect this temple which has a peripteros plan (one row of columns around the temple). It is completely built of marble. Please click to see a Model of the Trajaneum in Berlin museum showing how the Trajaneum looked when it was built.

---------------------------------------------------------------------- -----------

All my photographs are © Copyrighted and All Rights Reserved.

Ancient Pergamon....was a small settlement during the Archaic Period. Lysimachos, one of the generals of Alexander the Great and who had become the sovereign of Anatolia after 301 BC, delivered the war expenditures, at the amount of 9000 talents (1 talent is believed to be US$7,500 approx.), to Philetarios who was the commander of Pergamon, and the kingdom founded by Philetarios by using this sum of money following Lysimachos's death, flourished and became the most eminent center of culture of the Hellenistic period for 150 years. Eumenes I, Attalos I and Eumenes II were enthroned successively after Philetarios. Eumenes II took acropolis of Athens as an example and had the acropolis of Pergamon adorned with works of art which reflected fine taste, and Pergamon became one of the most graceful cities of the world. Attalos III who succeeded Attalos II, handed over his land to the Romans when he died in 133 BC. In the Acropolis, the remains that you see on the left hand side while going in, are the monumental tombs or heroons built for the kings of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period. Shops are situated at their side. When you enter the Acropolis, the remains seen at your left side, are the foundations of Propylon (monumental gates) which were constructed by Eumenes II. When you pass to the square surrounded with three stoas of the Doric order you will notice the ruins of the temple of Athena, built during the time of Eumenes II in the 3rd century BC. It's just above the theater. The famous Library of Pergamon which contained 200,000 books, was situated north of the square. Antonius gave all the books of the library to Cleopatra as a wedding gift. The remains near the library, are some houses from the Hellenistic period. If you go up the stairs, you will see the remains of the palaces of Eumenes II and Attalos II. Inside the Acropolis there are houses, military barracks and military warehouses called "Arsenals". The building that has been restored at present, is the Temple of Trajan. Trajan started it but after his death Emperor Hadrian (117-138) finished the temple in Corinthian order and it was placed upon a terrace with dimensions of 68 m × 58 m (223.10 ft × 190.29 ft). Attempts have been continuing by the German archaeologists since 1976 to erect this temple which has 6 x 9 columns and a peripteros plan (one row of columns around the temple). It is completely marble.

 

Ancient Pergamon....was a small settlement during the Archaic Period. Lysimachos, one of the generals of Alexander the Great and who had become the sovereign of Anatolia after 301 BC, delivered the war expenditures, at the amount of 9000 talents (1 talent is believed to be US$7,500 approx.), to Philetarios who was the commander of Pergamon, and the kingdom founded by Philetarios by using this sum of money following Lysimachos's death, flourished and became the most eminent center of culture of the Hellenistic period for 150 years. Eumenes I, Attalos I and Eumenes II were enthroned successively after Philetarios. Eumenes II took acropolis of Athens as an example and had the acropolis of Pergamon adorned with works of art which reflected fine taste, and Pergamon became one of the most graceful cities of the world. Attalos III who succeeded Attalos II, handed over his land to the Romans when he died in 133 BC. In the Acropolis, the remains that you see on the left hand side while going in, are the monumental tombs or heroons built for the kings of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period. Shops are situated at their side. When you enter the Acropolis, the remains seen at your left side, are the foundations of Propylon (monumental gates) which were constructed by Eumenes II. When you pass to the square surrounded with three stoas of the Doric order you will notice the ruins of the temple of Athena, built during the time of Eumenes II in the 3rd century BC. It's just above the theater. The famous Library of Pergamon which contained 200,000 books, was situated north of the square. Antonius gave all the books of the library to Cleopatra as a wedding gift. The remains near the library, are some houses from the Hellenistic period. If you go up the stairs, you will see the remains of the palaces of Eumenes II and Attalos II. Inside the Acropolis there are houses, military barracks and military warehouses called "Arsenals". The building that has been restored at present, is the Temple of Trajan. Trajan started it but after his death Emperor Hadrian (117-138) finished the temple in Corinthian order and it was placed upon a terrace with dimensions of 68 m × 58 m (223.10 ft × 190.29 ft). Attempts have been continuing by the German archaeologists since 1976 to erect this temple which has 6 x 9 columns and a peripteros plan (one row of columns around the temple). It is completely marble.

 

The Theater of Pergamon, one of the steepest theaters in the world, has a capacity of 10,000 people and was constructed in the 3rd century BC. The theater underwent changes during the Roman period under the reign of Caracalla. There is a 246.5 m (808.73 ft) long and approximately 16 m (52.49 ft) wide stoa (portico) in front of the theater. The road in front of the theater leads to the Temple of Dionysos (known in Rome as Baccus, god of wine). The temple was constructed in the 2nd century BC and reconstructed in marble during Caracalla's period (211-217 AD). Its dimensions are 11.80 m × 20.22 m (38.71 ft × 66.34 ft). The temple, which arouses interest because of the staircase in front with a height of 4.5 m (14.76 ft) and 25 steps, has an exquisite appearance.

   

Ancient Pergamon.....was a small settlement during the Archaic Period. Lysimachos, one of the generals of Alexander the Great and who had become the sovereign of Anatolia after 301 BC, delivered the war expenditures, at the amount of 9000 talents (1 talent is believed to be US$7,500 approx.), to Philetarios who was the commander of Pergamon, and the kingdom founded by Philetarios by using this sum of money following Lysimachos's death, flourished and became the most eminent center of culture of the Hellenistic period for 150 years. Eumenes I, Attalos I and Eumenes II were enthroned successively after Philetarios. Eumenes II took acropolis of Athens as an example and had the acropolis of Pergamon adorned with works of art which reflected fine taste, and Pergamon became one of the most graceful cities of the world. Attalos III who succeeded Attalos II, handed over his land to the Romans when he died in 133 BC. In the Acropolis, the remains that you see on the left hand side while going in, are the monumental tombs or heroons built for the kings of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period. Shops are situated at their side. When you enter the Acropolis, the remains seen at your left side, are the foundations of Propylon (monumental gates) which were constructed by Eumenes II. When you pass to the square surrounded with three stoas of the Doric order you will notice the ruins of the temple of Athena, built during the time of Eumenes II in the 3rd century BC. It's just above the theater. The famous Library of Pergamon which contained 200,000 books, was situated north of the square. Antonius gave all the books of the library to Cleopatra as a wedding gift. The remains near the library, are some houses from the Hellenistic period. If you go up the stairs, you will see the remains of the palaces of Eumenes II and Attalos II. Inside the Acropolis there are houses, military barracks and military warehouses called "Arsenals". The building that has been restored at present, is the Temple of Trajan. Trajan started it but after his death Emperor Hadrian (117-138) finished the temple in Corinthian order and it was placed upon a terrace with dimensions of 68 m × 58 m (223.10 ft × 190.29 ft). Attempts have been continuing by the German archaeologists since 1976 to erect this temple which has 6 x 9 columns and a peripteros plan (one row of columns around the temple). It is completely marble.

 

Ephesus (/ˈɛfəsəs/;[1] Ancient Greek: Ἔφεσος Efesos; Turkish: Efes; may ultimately derive from Hittite Apasa) was an ancient Greek city[2][3] on the coast of Ionia, three kilometres southwest of present-day Selçuk in İzmir Province, Turkey. It was built in the 10th century BC on the site of the former Arzawan capital[4][5] by Attic and Ionian Greek colonists. During the Classical Greek era it was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League. The city flourished after it came under the control of the Roman Republic in 129 BC.

 

The city was famed for the nearby Temple of Artemis (completed around 550 BC), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.[7] Among many other monumental buildings are the Library of Celsus, and a theatre capable of holding 25,000 spectators.[8]

 

Ephesus was one of the seven churches of Asia that are cited in the Book of Revelation.[9] The Gospel of John may have been written here.[10] The city was the site of several 5th-century Christian Councils (see Council of Ephesus). The city was destroyed by the Goths in 263, and although rebuilt, the city's importance as a commercial centre declined as the harbour was slowly silted up by the Küçükmenderes River. It was partially destroyed by an earthquake in AD 614. The ruins of Ephesus are a favourite international and local tourist attraction, partly owing to their easy access from Adnan Menderes Airport or from the cruise ship port of Kuşadası, some 30 km to the South.

 

It was added as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015.

 

History

Neolithic age

The area surrounding Ephesus was already inhabited during the Neolithic Age (about 6000 BC), as was revealed by excavations at the nearby höyük (artificial mounds known as tells) of Arvalya and Cukurici.[11][12]

 

Bronze Age

Excavations in recent years have unearthed settlements from the early Bronze Age at Ayasuluk Hill. According to Hittite sources, the capital of the Kingdom of Arzawa (another independent state in Western and Southern Anatolia/Asia Minor[13]) was Apasa (or Abasa). Some scholars suggest that this is the later Greek Ephesus.[5][14][15][16] In 1954, a burial ground from the Mycenaean era (1500–1400 BC) with ceramic pots was discovered close to the ruins of the basilica of St. John.[17] This was the period of the Mycenaean Expansion when the Achaioi (as they were called by Homer) settled in Asia Minor during the 14th and 13th centuries BC. The names Apasa and Ephesus appear to be cognate,[18] and recently found inscriptions seem to pinpoint the places in the Hittite record.[19][20]

 

Period of Greek migrations

 

Site of the Temple of Artemis in the town of Selçuk, near Ephesus.

Ephesus was founded as an Attic-Ionian colony in the 10th century BC on a hill (now known as the Ayasuluk Hill), three kilometers (1.9 miles) from the centre of ancient Ephesus (as attested by excavations at the Seljuk castle during the 1990s). The mythical founder of the city was a prince of Athens named Androklos, who had to leave his country after the death of his father, King Kodros. According to the legend, he founded Ephesus on the place where the oracle of Delphi became reality ("A fish and a boar will show you the way"). Androklos drove away most of the native Carian and Lelegian inhabitants of the city and united his people with the remainder. He was a successful warrior, and as a king he was able to join the twelve cities of Ionia together into the Ionian League. During his reign the city began to prosper. He died in a battle against the Carians when he came to the aid of Priene, another city of the Ionian League.[21] Androklos and his dog are depicted on the Hadrian temple frieze, dating from the 2nd century. Later, Greek historians such as Pausanias, Strabo and Herodotos and the poet Kallinos reassigned the city's mythological foundation to Ephos, queen of the Amazons.

 

The Greek goddess Artemis and the great Anatolian goddess Kybele were identified together as Artemis of Ephesus. The many-breasted "Lady of Ephesus", identified with Artemis, was venerated in the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the largest building of the ancient world according to Pausanias (4.31.8). Pausanias mentions that the temple was built by Ephesus, son of the river god Caystrus,[22] before the arrival of the Ionians. Of this structure, scarcely a trace remains.

 

Ancient sources seem to indicate that an older name of the place was Alope (Ancient Greek: Ἀλόπη, romanized: Alópē).[23]

 

Archaic period

 

Street scene at the archeological excavations at Ephesus.

About 650 BC, Ephesus was attacked by the Cimmerians who razed the city, including the temple of Artemis. After the Cimmerians had been driven away, the city was ruled by a series of tyrants. Following a revolt by the people, Ephesus was ruled by a council. The city prospered again under a new rule, producing a number of important historical figures such as the elegiac poet Callinus[24] and the iambic poet Hipponax, the philosopher Heraclitus, the great painter Parrhasius and later the grammarian Zenodotos and physicians Soranus and Rufus.

  

Electrum coin from Ephesus, 620–600 BC. Obverse: Forepart of stag. Reverse: Square incuse punch.

About 560 BC, Ephesus was conquered by the Lydians under king Croesus, who, though a harsh ruler, treated the inhabitants with respect and even became the main contributor to the reconstruction of the temple of Artemis.[25] His signature has been found on the base of one of the columns of the temple (now on display in the British Museum). Croesus made the populations of the different settlements around Ephesus regroup (synoikismos) in the vicinity of the Temple of Artemis, enlarging the city.

 

Later in the same century, the Lydians under Croesus invaded Persia. The Ionians refused a peace offer from Cyrus the Great, siding with the Lydians instead. After the Persians defeated Croesus, the Ionians offered to make peace, but Cyrus insisted that they surrender and become part of the empire.[26] They were defeated by the Persian army commander Harpagos in 547 BC. The Persians then incorporated the Greek cities of Asia Minor into the Achaemenid Empire. Those cities were then ruled by satraps.

 

Ephesus has intrigued archaeologists because for the Archaic Period there is no definite location for the settlement. There are numerous sites to suggest the movement of a settlement between the Bronze Age and the Roman period, but the silting up of the natural harbours as well as the movement of the Kayster River meant that the location never remained the same.

 

Classical period

 

Statue of Artemis of Ephesus

Ephesus continued to prosper, but when taxes were raised under Cambyses II and Darius, the Ephesians participated in the Ionian Revolt against Persian rule in the Battle of Ephesus (498 BC), an event which instigated the Greco-Persian wars. In 479 BC, the Ionians, together with Athens, were able to oust the Persians from the shores of Asia Minor. In 478 BC, the Ionian cities with Athens entered into the Delian League against the Persians. Ephesus did not contribute ships but gave financial support.

 

During the Peloponnesian War, Ephesus was first allied to Athens[citation needed] but in a later phase, called the Decelean War, or the Ionian War, sided with Sparta, which also had received the support of the Persians. As a result, rule over the cities of Ionia was ceded again to Persia.

 

These wars did not greatly affect daily life in Ephesus. The Ephesians were surprisingly modern in their social relations:[citation needed] they allowed strangers to integrate and education was valued. In later times, Pliny the Elder mentioned having seen at Ephesus a representation of the goddess Diana by Timarete, the daughter of a painter.[27]

 

In 356 BC the temple of Artemis was burnt down, according to legend, by a lunatic called Herostratus. The inhabitants of Ephesus at once set about restoring the temple and even planned a larger and grander one than the original.

 

Hellenistic period

 

Historical map of Ephesus, from Meyers Konversationslexikon, 1888

When Alexander the Great defeated the Persian forces at the Battle of Granicus in 334 BC, the Greek cities of Asia Minor were liberated. The pro-Persian tyrant Syrpax and his family were stoned to death, and Alexander was greeted warmly when he entered Ephesus in triumph. When Alexander saw that the temple of Artemis was not yet finished, he proposed to finance it and have his name inscribed on the front. But the inhabitants of Ephesus demurred, claiming that it was not fitting for one god to build a temple to another. After Alexander's death in 323 BC, Ephesus in 290 BC came under the rule of one of Alexander's generals, Lysimachus.

 

As the river Cayster (Grk. name Κάϋστρος) silted up the old harbour, the resulting marshes caused malaria and many deaths among the inhabitants. Lysimachus forced the people to move from the ancient settlement around the temple of Artemis to the present site two kilometres (1.2 miles) away, when as a last resort the king flooded the old city by blocking the sewers.[28] The new settlement was officially called Arsinoea (Ancient Greek: Ἀρσινόεια[29] or Ἀρσινοΐα[30]) or Arsinoe (Ἀρσινόη),[31][32] after the king's second wife, Arsinoe II of Egypt. After Lysimachus had destroyed the nearby cities of Lebedos and Colophon in 292 BC, he relocated their inhabitants to the new city.

 

Ephesus revolted after the treacherous death of Agathocles, giving the Hellenistic king of Syria and Mesopotamia Seleucus I Nicator an opportunity for removing and killing Lysimachus, his last rival, at the Battle of Corupedium in 281 BC. After the death of Lysimachus the town again was named Ephesus.

 

Thus Ephesus became part of the Seleucid Empire. After the murder of king Antiochus II Theos and his Egyptian wife, pharaoh Ptolemy III invaded the Seleucid Empire and the Egyptian fleet swept the coast of Asia Minor. Ephesus came under Egyptian rule between 263 and 197 BC.

 

The Seleucid king Antiochus III the Great tried to regain the Greek cities of Asia Minor and recaptured Ephesus in 196 BC but he then came into conflict with Rome. After a series of battles, he was defeated by Scipio Asiaticus at the Battle of Magnesia in 190 BC. As a result of the subsequent Treaty of Apamea, Ephesus came under the rule of Eumenes II, the Attalid king of Pergamon, (ruled 197–159 BC). When his grandson Attalus III died in 133 BC without male children of his own, he left his kingdom to the Roman Republic, on condition that the city of Pergamon be kept free and autonomous.

 

Roman period

 

The 'terrace houses' at Ephesus, showing how the wealthy lived during the Roman period. Eventually the harbour became silted up, and the city lost its natural resources.

Ephesus, as part of the kingdom of Pergamon, became a subject of the Roman Republic in 129 BC after the revolt of Eumenes III was suppressed.

  

The Theatre of Ephesus with harbour street. Due to ancient and subsequent deforestation, overgrazing (mostly by goat herds), erosion and soil degradation the Turkey coastline is now 3–4 km (2–2 mi) away from the ancient Greek site with sediments filling the plain and the Mediterranean Sea. In the background: muddy remains of the former harbour, bare hill ridges without rich soils and woods, a maquis shrubland remaining.

 

Stone carving of the goddess Nike

The city felt Roman influence at once; taxes rose considerably, and the treasures of the city were systematically plundered. Hence in 88 BC Ephesus welcomed Archelaus, a general of Mithridates, king of Pontus, when he conquered Asia (the Roman name for western Asia Minor). From Ephesus, Mithridates ordered every Roman citizen in the province to be killed which led to the Asiatic Vespers, the slaughter of 80,000 Roman citizens in Asia, or any person who spoke with a Latin accent. Many had lived in Ephesus, and statues and monument of Roman citizens in Ephesus were also destroyed. But when they saw how badly the people of Chios had been treated by Zenobius, a general of Mithridates, they refused entry to his army. Zenobius was invited into the city to visit Philopoemen, the father of Monime, the favourite wife of Mithridates, and the overseer of Ephesus. As the people expected nothing good of him, they threw him into prison and murdered him. Mithridates took revenge and inflicted terrible punishments. However, the Greek cities were given freedom and several substantial rights. Ephesus became, for a short time, self-governing. When Mithridates was defeated in the First Mithridatic War by the Roman consul Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Ephesus came back under Roman rule in 86 BC. Sulla imposed a huge indemnity, along with five years of back taxes, which left Asian cities heavily in debt for a long time to come.[33]

  

Temple of Hadrian

King Ptolemy XII Auletes of Egypt retired to Ephesus in 57 BC, passing his time in the sanctuary of the temple of Artemis when the Roman Senate failed to restore him to his throne.[34]

 

Mark Antony was welcomed by Ephesus for periods when he was proconsul[35] and in 33 BC with Cleopatra when he gathered his fleet of 800 ships before the battle of Actium with Octavius.[36]

 

When Augustus became emperor in 27 BC, the most important change was when he made Ephesus the capital of proconsular Asia (which covered western Asia Minor) instead of Pergamum. Ephesus then entered an era of prosperity, becoming both the seat of the governor and a major centre of commerce. According to Strabo, it was second in importance and size only to Rome.[37]

 

The city and temple were destroyed by the Goths in 263 AD. This marked the decline of the city's splendour. However emperor Constantine the Great rebuilt much of the city and erected new public baths.

 

The Roman population

Until recently the population of Ephesus in Roman times was estimated to number up to 225,000 people by Broughton.[38][39] More recent scholarship regards these estimates as unrealistic. Such a large estimate would require population densities seen in only a few ancient cities, or extensive settlement outside the city walls. This would have been impossible at Ephesus because of the mountain ranges, coastline and quarries which surrounded the city.[40]

  

Artist Simon Kozhin Ephesus. Ruins Temple of Hadrian.

The wall of Lysimachus has been estimated to enclose an area of 415 hectares (1,030 acres). Not all of this area was inhabited due to public buildings and spaces in the centre and the steep slope of the Bülbül Dağı mountain, which was enclosed by the wall. Ludwig Burchner estimated this area with the walls at 1000.5 acres. Jerome Murphy-O'Connor uses an estimate of 345 hectares for the inhabited land or 835 acres (Murphey cites Ludwig Burchner). He cites Josiah Russell using 832 acres and Old Jerusalem in 1918 as the yardstick estimated the population at 51,068 at 14.85 persons per thousand square meters. Using 51 persons per thousand square meters he arrives at a population between 138,000 and 172,500.[41] J. W. Hanson estimated the inhabited space to be smaller at 224 hectares (550 acres). He argues that population densities of 150 or 250 people per hectare (100 per acre) are more realistic which gives a range of 33,600 to 56,000 inhabitants. Even with these much lower population estimates, Ephesus was one of the largest cities of Roman Asia Minor, ranking it as the largest city after Sardis and Alexandria Troas.[42] By contrast Rome within the walls encompassed 1500 hectares = 3,600 acres with a population estimated to between 750,000 and one million (over 1000 built-up acres were left outside the Aurelian Wall whose construction was begun in 274 and finished in 279) or 208 to 277 inhabitants per acres including open and public spaces.

 

Byzantine era (395–1308 AD)

Ephesus remained the most important city of the Byzantine Empire in Asia after Constantinople in the 5th and 6th centuries.[43] Emperor Flavius Arcadius raised the level of the street between the theatre and the harbour. The basilica of St. John was built during the reign of emperor Justinian I in the 6th century.

 

The city was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 614 AD.

 

The importance of the city as a commercial centre declined as the harbour was slowly silted up by the river (today, Küçük Menderes) despite repeated dredging during the city's history.[44] (Today, the harbour is 5 kilometres inland). The loss of its harbour caused Ephesus to lose its access to the Aegean Sea, which was important for trade. People started leaving the lowland of the city for the surrounding hills. The ruins of the temples were used as building blocks for new homes. Marble sculptures were ground to powder to make lime for plaster.

 

Sackings by the Arabs first in the year 654–655 by caliph Muawiyah I, and later in 700 and 716 hastened the decline further.

 

When the Seljuk Turks conquered Ephesus in 1090,[45] it was a small village. The Byzantines resumed control in 1097 and changed the name of the town to Hagios Theologos. They kept control of the region until 1308. Crusaders passing through were surprised that there was only a small village, called Ayasalouk, where they had expected a bustling city with a large seaport. Even the temple of Artemis was completely forgotten by the local population. The Crusaders of the Second Crusade fought the Seljuks just outside the town in December 1147.

 

Pre-Ottoman era (1304–1390)

 

The İsa Bey Mosque constructed in 1374–75, is one of the oldest and most impressive remains from the Anatolian beyliks.

The town surrendered, on 24 October 1304, to Sasa Bey, a Turkish warlord of the Menteşoğulları principality. Nevertheless, contrary to the terms of the surrender the Turks pillaged the church of Saint John and deported most of the local population to Thyrea, Greece when a revolt seemed probable. During these events many of the remaining inhabitants were massacred.[46]

 

Shortly afterwards, Ephesus was ceded to the Aydinid principality that stationed a powerful navy in the harbour of Ayasuluğ (the present-day Selçuk, next to Ephesus). Ayasoluk became an important harbour, from which piratical raids to the surrounding Christian regions were organised, both official by the state and private.[47]

 

The town knew again a short period of prosperity during the 14th century under these new Seljuk rulers. They added important architectural works such as the İsa Bey Mosque, caravansaries and Turkish bathhouses (hamam).

 

Ottoman era

Ephesians were incorporated as vassals into the Ottoman Empire for the first time in 1390. The Central Asian warlord Tamerlane defeated the Ottomans in Anatolia in 1402, and the Ottoman sultan Bayezid I died in captivity. The region was restored to the Anatolian beyliks. After a period of unrest, the region was again incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1425.

 

Ephesus was completely abandoned by the 15th century. Nearby Ayasuluğ was renamed Selçuk in 1914.

 

Ephesus and Christianity

Main article: Metropolis of Ephesus

See also: Early centers of Christianity in Anatolia

 

The Preaching of Saint Paul at Ephesus, Eustache Le Sueur, 1649

Ephesus was an important centre for Early Christianity from the AD 50s. From AD 52–54, the apostle Paul lived in Ephesus, working with the congregation and apparently organizing missionary activity into the hinterlands.[48] Initially, according to the Acts of the Apostles, Paul attended the Jewish synagogue in Ephesus, but after three months he became frustrated with the stubbornness or hardness of heart of some of the Jews, and moved his base to the school of Tyrannus.[49] The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary reminds readers that the unbelief of "some" (Greek: τινες) implies that "others, probably a large number, believed"[50] and therefore there must have been a community of Jewish Christians in Ephesus. Paul introduced about twelve men to the 'baptism with the Holy Spirit' who had previously only experienced the baptism of John the Baptist.[51] Later a silversmith named Demetrios stirred up a mob against Paul, saying that he was endangering the livelihood of those making silver Artemis shrines.[52] Demetrios in connexion with the temple of Artemis mentions some object (perhaps an image or a stone) "fallen from Zeus". Between 53 and 57 AD Paul wrote the letter 1 Corinthians from Ephesus (possibly from the 'Paul tower' near the harbour, where he was imprisoned for a short time). Later, Paul wrote the Epistle to the Ephesians while he was in prison in Rome (around 62 AD).

 

Roman Asia was associated with John,[53] one of the chief apostles, and the Gospel of John might have been written in Ephesus, c 90–100.[54] Ephesus was one of the seven cities addressed in the Book of Revelation, indicating that the church at Ephesus was strong.

 

According to Eusebius of Caesarea, Saint Timothy was the first bishop of Ephesus.[55]

 

Polycrates of Ephesus (Greek: Πολυκράτης) was a bishop at the Church of Ephesus in the 2nd century. He is best known for his letter addressed to the Pope Victor I, Bishop of Rome, defending the Quartodeciman position in the Easter controversy.

 

In the early 2nd century AD, the church at Ephesus was still important enough to be addressed by a letter written by Bishop Ignatius of Antioch to the Ephesians which begins with "Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church which is at Ephesus, in Asia, deservedly most happy, being blessed in the greatness and fullness of God the Father, and predestinated before the beginning of time, that it should be always for an enduring and unchangeable glory" (Letter to the Ephesians). The church at Ephesus had given their support for Ignatius, who was taken to Rome for execution.

  

House of the Virgin Mary

A legend, which was first mentioned by Epiphanius of Salamis in the 4th century AD, purported that the Virgin Mary may have spent the last years of her life in Ephesus. The Ephesians derived the argument from John's presence in the city, and Jesus’ instructions to John to take care of his mother, Mary, after his death. Epiphanius, however, was keen to point out that, while the Bible says John was leaving for Asia, it does not say specifically that Mary went with him. He later stated that she was buried in Jerusalem.[56] Since the 19th century, The House of the Virgin Mary, about 7 km (4 mi) from Selçuk, has been considered to have been the last home of Mary, mother of Jesus in the Roman Catholic tradition, based on the visions of Augustinian sister the Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824). It is a popular place of Catholic pilgrimage which has been visited by three recent popes.

 

The Church of Mary near the harbour of Ephesus was the setting for the Third Ecumenical Council in 431, which resulted in the condemnation of Nestorius. A Second Council of Ephesus was held in 449, but its controversial acts were never approved by the Catholics. It came to be called the Robber Council of Ephesus or Robber Synod of Latrocinium by its opponents.

 

Main sites

 

The Gate of Augustus in Ephesus was built to honor the Emperor Augustus and his family.

Ephesus is one of the largest Roman archaeological sites in the eastern Mediterranean. The visible ruins still give some idea of the city's original splendour, and the names associated with the ruins are evocative of its former life. The theatre dominates the view down Harbour Street, which leads to the silted-up harbour.

 

Main article: Temple of Artemis

The Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, once stood 418' by 239' with over 100 marble pillars each 56' high. The temple earned the city the title "Servant of the Goddess".[57] Pliny tells us that the magnificent structure took 120 years to build but is now represented only by one inconspicuous column, revealed during an archaeological excavation by the British Museum in the 1870s. Some fragments of the frieze (which are insufficient to suggest the form of the original) and other small finds were removed – some to London and some to the İstanbul Archaeology Museums.

 

Main article: Library of Celsus

 

Library of Celsus, side view

The Library of Celsus, the façade of which has been carefully reconstructed from original pieces, was originally built c. 125 AD in memory of Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, an Ancient Greek[58][59][60] who served as governor of Roman Asia (105–107) in the Roman Empire. Celsus paid for the construction of the library with his own personal wealth[61] and is buried in a sarcophagus beneath it.[62] The library was mostly built by his son Gaius Julius Aquila[63] and once held nearly 12,000 scrolls. Designed with an exaggerated entrance — so as to enhance its perceived size, speculate many historians — the building faces east so that the reading rooms could make best use of the morning light.

 

The interior of the library measured roughly 180 square metres (2,000 square feet) and may have contained as many as 12,000 scrolls.[64] By the year 400 C.E. the library was no longer in use after being damaged in 262 C.E. The facade was reconstructed during 1970 to 1978 using fragments found on site or copies of fragments that were previously removed to museums.[65]

 

At an estimated 25,000 seating capacity, the theatre is believed to be the largest in the ancient world.[8] This open-air theatre was used initially for drama, but during later Roman times gladiatorial combats were also held on its stage; the first archaeological evidence of a gladiator graveyard was found in May 2007.[66]

 

There were two agoras, one for commercial and one for state business.[67][68]

  

Aqueduct near Ephesus – Mayer Luigi – 1810

Ephesus also had several major bath complexes, built at various times while the city was under Roman rule.

 

The city had one of the most advanced aqueduct systems in the ancient world, with at least six aqueducts of various sizes supplying different areas of the city.[69][70] They fed a number of water mills, one of which has been identified as a sawmill for marble.

 

The Odeon was a small roofed theatre[71] constructed by Publius Vedius Antoninus and his wife around 150 AD. It was a small salon for plays and concerts, seating about 1,500 people. There were 22 stairs in the theatre. The upper part of the theatre was decorated with red granite pillars in the Corinthian style. The entrances were at both sides of the stage and reached by a few steps.[72]

  

Tomb of John the Apostle at the Basilica of St. John.

The Temple of Hadrian dates from the 2nd century but underwent repairs in the 4th century and has been reerected from the surviving architectural fragments. The reliefs in the upper sections are casts, the originals now being exhibited in the Ephesus Archaeological Museum. A number of figures are depicted in the reliefs, including the emperor Theodosius I with his wife and eldest son.[73] The temple was depicted on the reverse of the Turkish 20 million lira banknote of 2001–2005[74] and of the 20 new lira banknote of 2005–2009.[75]

 

The Temple of the Sebastoi (sometimes called the Temple of Domitian), dedicated to the Flavian dynasty, was one of the largest temples in the city. It was erected on a pseudodipteral plan with 8 × 13 columns. The temple and its statue are some of the few remains connected with Domitian.[73]

 

The Tomb/Fountain of Pollio was erected in 97 AD in honour of C. Sextilius Pollio, who constructed the Marnas aqueduct, by Offilius Proculus. It has a concave façade.[72][73]

 

A part of the site, Basilica of St. John, was built in the 6th century AD, under emperor Justinian I, over the supposed site of the apostle's tomb. It is now surrounded by Selçuk.

 

Seven Sleepers

 

Image of Ephesus on the reverse of the 20 new lira banknote (2005–2008)

Ephesus is believed to be the city of the Seven Sleepers. The story of the Seven Sleepers, who are considered saints by Catholics and Orthodox Christians and whose story is also mentioned in the Qur'an,[76] tells that they were persecuted because of their monotheistic belief in God and that they slept in a cave near Ephesus for three centuries.

 

Archaeology

The history of archaeological research in Ephesus stretches back to 1863, when British architect John Turtle Wood, sponsored by the British Museum, began to search for the Artemision. In 1869 he discovered the pavement of the temple, but since further expected discoveries were not made the excavations stopped in 1874. In 1895 German archaeologist Otto Benndorf, financed by a 10,000 guilder donation made by Austrian Karl Mautner Ritter von Markhof, resumed excavations. In 1898 Benndorf founded the Austrian Archaeological Institute, which plays a leading role in Ephesus today.[77]

 

Finds from the site are exhibited notably in the Ephesos Museum in Vienna, the Ephesus Archaeological Museum in Selçuk and in the British Museum.

 

In October 2016, Turkey halted the works of the archeologists, which had been ongoing for more than 100 years, due to tensions between Austria and Turkey. In May 2018, Turkey allowed Austrian archeologists to resume their excavations.[78]

 

Notable persons

Heraclitus (c. 535 – c. 475 BC), Presocratic philosopher [79]

Hipponax (6th Century BC), poet

Zeuxis (5th century BC), painter

Parrhasius (5th century BC), painter

Herostratus (d 356 BC), criminal

Zenodotus (fl. 280 BC), grammarian and literary critic, first librarian of the Library of Alexandria

Agasias (2nd century BC), Greek sculptors

Menander (early 2nd century BC), historian

Artemidorus Ephesius (c. 100 BC), geographer

Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus (ca. 45 – before ca. 120), founder of the Celsus library

Publius Hordeonius Lollianus (1st century AD), sophist

Rufus (1st century AD), physician

Polycrates of Ephesus (130 – 196), bishop

Soranus of Ephesus (1st–2nd century AD), physician

Artemidorus (2nd century AD), diviner and author

Xenophon (2nd–3rd Century AD), novelist

Maximus (4th Century AD), Neoplatonic philosopher

Manuel Philes (c. 1275 – 1345), Byzantine poet

Ancient Pergamon....was a small settlement during the Archaic Period. Lysimachos, one of the generals of Alexander the Great and who had become the sovereign of Anatolia after 301 BC, delivered the war expenditures, at the amount of 9000 talents (1 talent is believed to be US$7,500 approx.), to Philetarios who was the commander of Pergamon, and the kingdom founded by Philetarios by using this sum of money following Lysimachos's death, flourished and became the most eminent center of culture of the Hellenistic period for 150 years. Eumenes I, Attalos I and Eumenes II were enthroned successively after Philetarios. Eumenes II took acropolis of Athens as an example and had the acropolis of Pergamon adorned with works of art which reflected fine taste, and Pergamon became one of the most graceful cities of the world. Attalos III who succeeded Attalos II, handed over his land to the Romans when he died in 133 BC. In the Acropolis, the remains that you see on the left hand side while going in, are the monumental tombs or heroons built for the kings of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period. Shops are situated at their side. When you enter the Acropolis, the remains seen at your left side, are the foundations of Propylon (monumental gates) which were constructed by Eumenes II. When you pass to the square surrounded with three stoas of the Doric order you will notice the ruins of the temple of Athena, built during the time of Eumenes II in the 3rd century BC. It's just above the theater. The famous Library of Pergamon which contained 200,000 books, was situated north of the square. Antonius gave all the books of the library to Cleopatra as a wedding gift. The remains near the library, are some houses from the Hellenistic period. If you go up the stairs, you will see the remains of the palaces of Eumenes II and Attalos II. Inside the Acropolis there are houses, military barracks and military warehouses called "Arsenals". The building that has been restored at present, is the Temple of Trajan. Trajan started it but after his death Emperor Hadrian (117-138) finished the temple in Corinthian order and it was placed upon a terrace with dimensions of 68 m × 58 m (223.10 ft × 190.29 ft). Attempts have been continuing by the German archaeologists since 1976 to erect this temple which has 6 x 9 columns and a peripteros plan (one row of columns around the temple). It is completely marble.

 

Ancient Pergamon....was a small settlement during the Archaic Period. Lysimachos, one of the generals of Alexander the Great and who had become the sovereign of Anatolia after 301 BC, delivered the war expenditures, at the amount of 9000 talents (1 talent is believed to be US$7,500 approx.), to Philetarios who was the commander of Pergamon, and the kingdom founded by Philetarios by using this sum of money following Lysimachos's death, flourished and became the most eminent center of culture of the Hellenistic period for 150 years. Eumenes I, Attalos I and Eumenes II were enthroned successively after Philetarios. Eumenes II took acropolis of Athens as an example and had the acropolis of Pergamon adorned with works of art which reflected fine taste, and Pergamon became one of the most graceful cities of the world. Attalos III who succeeded Attalos II, handed over his land to the Romans when he died in 133 BC. In the Acropolis, the remains that you see on the left hand side while going in, are the monumental tombs or heroons built for the kings of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period. Shops are situated at their side. When you enter the Acropolis, the remains seen at your left side, are the foundations of Propylon (monumental gates) which were constructed by Eumenes II. When you pass to the square surrounded with three stoas of the Doric order you will notice the ruins of the temple of Athena, built during the time of Eumenes II in the 3rd century BC. It's just above the theater. The famous Library of Pergamon which contained 200,000 books, was situated north of the square. Antonius gave all the books of the library to Cleopatra as a wedding gift. The remains near the library, are some houses from the Hellenistic period. If you go up the stairs, you will see the remains of the palaces of Eumenes II and Attalos II. Inside the Acropolis there are houses, military barracks and military warehouses called "Arsenals". The building that has been restored at present, is the Temple of Trajan. Trajan started it but after his death Emperor Hadrian (117-138) finished the temple in Corinthian order and it was placed upon a terrace with dimensions of 68 m × 58 m (223.10 ft × 190.29 ft). Attempts have been continuing by the German archaeologists since 1976 to erect this temple which has 6 x 9 columns and a peripteros plan (one row of columns around the temple). It is completely marble.

 

Ancient Pergamon....was a small settlement during the Archaic Period. Lysimachos, one of the generals of Alexander the Great and who had become the sovereign of Anatolia after 301 BC, delivered the war expenditures, at the amount of 9000 talents (1 talent is believed to be US$7,500 approx.), to Philetarios who was the commander of Pergamon, and the kingdom founded by Philetarios by using this sum of money following Lysimachos's death, flourished and became the most eminent center of culture of the Hellenistic period for 150 years. Eumenes I, Attalos I and Eumenes II were enthroned successively after Philetarios. Eumenes II took acropolis of Athens as an example and had the acropolis of Pergamon adorned with works of art which reflected fine taste, and Pergamon became one of the most graceful cities of the world. Attalos III who succeeded Attalos II, handed over his land to the Romans when he died in 133 BC. In the Acropolis, the remains that you see on the left hand side while going in, are the monumental tombs or heroons built for the kings of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period. Shops are situated at their side. When you enter the Acropolis, the remains seen at your left side, are the foundations of Propylon (monumental gates) which were constructed by Eumenes II. When you pass to the square surrounded with three stoas of the Doric order you will notice the ruins of the temple of Athena, built during the time of Eumenes II in the 3rd century BC. It's just above the theater. The famous Library of Pergamon which contained 200,000 books, was situated north of the square. Antonius gave all the books of the library to Cleopatra as a wedding gift. The remains near the library, are some houses from the Hellenistic period. If you go up the stairs, you will see the remains of the palaces of Eumenes II and Attalos II. Inside the Acropolis there are houses, military barracks and military warehouses called "Arsenals". The building that has been restored at present, is the Temple of Trajan. Trajan started it but after his death Emperor Hadrian (117-138) finished the temple in Corinthian order and it was placed upon a terrace with dimensions of 68 m × 58 m (223.10 ft × 190.29 ft). Attempts have been continuing by the German archaeologists since 1976 to erect this temple which has 6 x 9 columns and a peripteros plan (one row of columns around the temple). It is completely marble.

 

Ephesus (/ˈɛfəsəs/;[1] Ancient Greek: Ἔφεσος Efesos; Turkish: Efes; may ultimately derive from Hittite Apasa) was an ancient Greek city[2][3] on the coast of Ionia, three kilometres southwest of present-day Selçuk in İzmir Province, Turkey. It was built in the 10th century BC on the site of the former Arzawan capital[4][5] by Attic and Ionian Greek colonists. During the Classical Greek era it was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League. The city flourished after it came under the control of the Roman Republic in 129 BC.

 

The city was famed for the nearby Temple of Artemis (completed around 550 BC), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.[7] Among many other monumental buildings are the Library of Celsus, and a theatre capable of holding 25,000 spectators.[8]

 

Ephesus was one of the seven churches of Asia that are cited in the Book of Revelation.[9] The Gospel of John may have been written here.[10] The city was the site of several 5th-century Christian Councils (see Council of Ephesus). The city was destroyed by the Goths in 263, and although rebuilt, the city's importance as a commercial centre declined as the harbour was slowly silted up by the Küçükmenderes River. It was partially destroyed by an earthquake in AD 614. The ruins of Ephesus are a favourite international and local tourist attraction, partly owing to their easy access from Adnan Menderes Airport or from the cruise ship port of Kuşadası, some 30 km to the South.

 

It was added as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015.

 

History

Neolithic age

The area surrounding Ephesus was already inhabited during the Neolithic Age (about 6000 BC), as was revealed by excavations at the nearby höyük (artificial mounds known as tells) of Arvalya and Cukurici.[11][12]

 

Bronze Age

Excavations in recent years have unearthed settlements from the early Bronze Age at Ayasuluk Hill. According to Hittite sources, the capital of the Kingdom of Arzawa (another independent state in Western and Southern Anatolia/Asia Minor[13]) was Apasa (or Abasa). Some scholars suggest that this is the later Greek Ephesus.[5][14][15][16] In 1954, a burial ground from the Mycenaean era (1500–1400 BC) with ceramic pots was discovered close to the ruins of the basilica of St. John.[17] This was the period of the Mycenaean Expansion when the Achaioi (as they were called by Homer) settled in Asia Minor during the 14th and 13th centuries BC. The names Apasa and Ephesus appear to be cognate,[18] and recently found inscriptions seem to pinpoint the places in the Hittite record.[19][20]

 

Period of Greek migrations

 

Site of the Temple of Artemis in the town of Selçuk, near Ephesus.

Ephesus was founded as an Attic-Ionian colony in the 10th century BC on a hill (now known as the Ayasuluk Hill), three kilometers (1.9 miles) from the centre of ancient Ephesus (as attested by excavations at the Seljuk castle during the 1990s). The mythical founder of the city was a prince of Athens named Androklos, who had to leave his country after the death of his father, King Kodros. According to the legend, he founded Ephesus on the place where the oracle of Delphi became reality ("A fish and a boar will show you the way"). Androklos drove away most of the native Carian and Lelegian inhabitants of the city and united his people with the remainder. He was a successful warrior, and as a king he was able to join the twelve cities of Ionia together into the Ionian League. During his reign the city began to prosper. He died in a battle against the Carians when he came to the aid of Priene, another city of the Ionian League.[21] Androklos and his dog are depicted on the Hadrian temple frieze, dating from the 2nd century. Later, Greek historians such as Pausanias, Strabo and Herodotos and the poet Kallinos reassigned the city's mythological foundation to Ephos, queen of the Amazons.

 

The Greek goddess Artemis and the great Anatolian goddess Kybele were identified together as Artemis of Ephesus. The many-breasted "Lady of Ephesus", identified with Artemis, was venerated in the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the largest building of the ancient world according to Pausanias (4.31.8). Pausanias mentions that the temple was built by Ephesus, son of the river god Caystrus,[22] before the arrival of the Ionians. Of this structure, scarcely a trace remains.

 

Ancient sources seem to indicate that an older name of the place was Alope (Ancient Greek: Ἀλόπη, romanized: Alópē).[23]

 

Archaic period

 

Street scene at the archeological excavations at Ephesus.

About 650 BC, Ephesus was attacked by the Cimmerians who razed the city, including the temple of Artemis. After the Cimmerians had been driven away, the city was ruled by a series of tyrants. Following a revolt by the people, Ephesus was ruled by a council. The city prospered again under a new rule, producing a number of important historical figures such as the elegiac poet Callinus[24] and the iambic poet Hipponax, the philosopher Heraclitus, the great painter Parrhasius and later the grammarian Zenodotos and physicians Soranus and Rufus.

  

Electrum coin from Ephesus, 620–600 BC. Obverse: Forepart of stag. Reverse: Square incuse punch.

About 560 BC, Ephesus was conquered by the Lydians under king Croesus, who, though a harsh ruler, treated the inhabitants with respect and even became the main contributor to the reconstruction of the temple of Artemis.[25] His signature has been found on the base of one of the columns of the temple (now on display in the British Museum). Croesus made the populations of the different settlements around Ephesus regroup (synoikismos) in the vicinity of the Temple of Artemis, enlarging the city.

 

Later in the same century, the Lydians under Croesus invaded Persia. The Ionians refused a peace offer from Cyrus the Great, siding with the Lydians instead. After the Persians defeated Croesus, the Ionians offered to make peace, but Cyrus insisted that they surrender and become part of the empire.[26] They were defeated by the Persian army commander Harpagos in 547 BC. The Persians then incorporated the Greek cities of Asia Minor into the Achaemenid Empire. Those cities were then ruled by satraps.

 

Ephesus has intrigued archaeologists because for the Archaic Period there is no definite location for the settlement. There are numerous sites to suggest the movement of a settlement between the Bronze Age and the Roman period, but the silting up of the natural harbours as well as the movement of the Kayster River meant that the location never remained the same.

 

Classical period

 

Statue of Artemis of Ephesus

Ephesus continued to prosper, but when taxes were raised under Cambyses II and Darius, the Ephesians participated in the Ionian Revolt against Persian rule in the Battle of Ephesus (498 BC), an event which instigated the Greco-Persian wars. In 479 BC, the Ionians, together with Athens, were able to oust the Persians from the shores of Asia Minor. In 478 BC, the Ionian cities with Athens entered into the Delian League against the Persians. Ephesus did not contribute ships but gave financial support.

 

During the Peloponnesian War, Ephesus was first allied to Athens[citation needed] but in a later phase, called the Decelean War, or the Ionian War, sided with Sparta, which also had received the support of the Persians. As a result, rule over the cities of Ionia was ceded again to Persia.

 

These wars did not greatly affect daily life in Ephesus. The Ephesians were surprisingly modern in their social relations:[citation needed] they allowed strangers to integrate and education was valued. In later times, Pliny the Elder mentioned having seen at Ephesus a representation of the goddess Diana by Timarete, the daughter of a painter.[27]

 

In 356 BC the temple of Artemis was burnt down, according to legend, by a lunatic called Herostratus. The inhabitants of Ephesus at once set about restoring the temple and even planned a larger and grander one than the original.

 

Hellenistic period

 

Historical map of Ephesus, from Meyers Konversationslexikon, 1888

When Alexander the Great defeated the Persian forces at the Battle of Granicus in 334 BC, the Greek cities of Asia Minor were liberated. The pro-Persian tyrant Syrpax and his family were stoned to death, and Alexander was greeted warmly when he entered Ephesus in triumph. When Alexander saw that the temple of Artemis was not yet finished, he proposed to finance it and have his name inscribed on the front. But the inhabitants of Ephesus demurred, claiming that it was not fitting for one god to build a temple to another. After Alexander's death in 323 BC, Ephesus in 290 BC came under the rule of one of Alexander's generals, Lysimachus.

 

As the river Cayster (Grk. name Κάϋστρος) silted up the old harbour, the resulting marshes caused malaria and many deaths among the inhabitants. Lysimachus forced the people to move from the ancient settlement around the temple of Artemis to the present site two kilometres (1.2 miles) away, when as a last resort the king flooded the old city by blocking the sewers.[28] The new settlement was officially called Arsinoea (Ancient Greek: Ἀρσινόεια[29] or Ἀρσινοΐα[30]) or Arsinoe (Ἀρσινόη),[31][32] after the king's second wife, Arsinoe II of Egypt. After Lysimachus had destroyed the nearby cities of Lebedos and Colophon in 292 BC, he relocated their inhabitants to the new city.

 

Ephesus revolted after the treacherous death of Agathocles, giving the Hellenistic king of Syria and Mesopotamia Seleucus I Nicator an opportunity for removing and killing Lysimachus, his last rival, at the Battle of Corupedium in 281 BC. After the death of Lysimachus the town again was named Ephesus.

 

Thus Ephesus became part of the Seleucid Empire. After the murder of king Antiochus II Theos and his Egyptian wife, pharaoh Ptolemy III invaded the Seleucid Empire and the Egyptian fleet swept the coast of Asia Minor. Ephesus came under Egyptian rule between 263 and 197 BC.

 

The Seleucid king Antiochus III the Great tried to regain the Greek cities of Asia Minor and recaptured Ephesus in 196 BC but he then came into conflict with Rome. After a series of battles, he was defeated by Scipio Asiaticus at the Battle of Magnesia in 190 BC. As a result of the subsequent Treaty of Apamea, Ephesus came under the rule of Eumenes II, the Attalid king of Pergamon, (ruled 197–159 BC). When his grandson Attalus III died in 133 BC without male children of his own, he left his kingdom to the Roman Republic, on condition that the city of Pergamon be kept free and autonomous.

 

Roman period

 

The 'terrace houses' at Ephesus, showing how the wealthy lived during the Roman period. Eventually the harbour became silted up, and the city lost its natural resources.

Ephesus, as part of the kingdom of Pergamon, became a subject of the Roman Republic in 129 BC after the revolt of Eumenes III was suppressed.

  

The Theatre of Ephesus with harbour street. Due to ancient and subsequent deforestation, overgrazing (mostly by goat herds), erosion and soil degradation the Turkey coastline is now 3–4 km (2–2 mi) away from the ancient Greek site with sediments filling the plain and the Mediterranean Sea. In the background: muddy remains of the former harbour, bare hill ridges without rich soils and woods, a maquis shrubland remaining.

 

Stone carving of the goddess Nike

The city felt Roman influence at once; taxes rose considerably, and the treasures of the city were systematically plundered. Hence in 88 BC Ephesus welcomed Archelaus, a general of Mithridates, king of Pontus, when he conquered Asia (the Roman name for western Asia Minor). From Ephesus, Mithridates ordered every Roman citizen in the province to be killed which led to the Asiatic Vespers, the slaughter of 80,000 Roman citizens in Asia, or any person who spoke with a Latin accent. Many had lived in Ephesus, and statues and monument of Roman citizens in Ephesus were also destroyed. But when they saw how badly the people of Chios had been treated by Zenobius, a general of Mithridates, they refused entry to his army. Zenobius was invited into the city to visit Philopoemen, the father of Monime, the favourite wife of Mithridates, and the overseer of Ephesus. As the people expected nothing good of him, they threw him into prison and murdered him. Mithridates took revenge and inflicted terrible punishments. However, the Greek cities were given freedom and several substantial rights. Ephesus became, for a short time, self-governing. When Mithridates was defeated in the First Mithridatic War by the Roman consul Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Ephesus came back under Roman rule in 86 BC. Sulla imposed a huge indemnity, along with five years of back taxes, which left Asian cities heavily in debt for a long time to come.[33]

  

Temple of Hadrian

King Ptolemy XII Auletes of Egypt retired to Ephesus in 57 BC, passing his time in the sanctuary of the temple of Artemis when the Roman Senate failed to restore him to his throne.[34]

 

Mark Antony was welcomed by Ephesus for periods when he was proconsul[35] and in 33 BC with Cleopatra when he gathered his fleet of 800 ships before the battle of Actium with Octavius.[36]

 

When Augustus became emperor in 27 BC, the most important change was when he made Ephesus the capital of proconsular Asia (which covered western Asia Minor) instead of Pergamum. Ephesus then entered an era of prosperity, becoming both the seat of the governor and a major centre of commerce. According to Strabo, it was second in importance and size only to Rome.[37]

 

The city and temple were destroyed by the Goths in 263 AD. This marked the decline of the city's splendour. However emperor Constantine the Great rebuilt much of the city and erected new public baths.

 

The Roman population

Until recently the population of Ephesus in Roman times was estimated to number up to 225,000 people by Broughton.[38][39] More recent scholarship regards these estimates as unrealistic. Such a large estimate would require population densities seen in only a few ancient cities, or extensive settlement outside the city walls. This would have been impossible at Ephesus because of the mountain ranges, coastline and quarries which surrounded the city.[40]

  

Artist Simon Kozhin Ephesus. Ruins Temple of Hadrian.

The wall of Lysimachus has been estimated to enclose an area of 415 hectares (1,030 acres). Not all of this area was inhabited due to public buildings and spaces in the centre and the steep slope of the Bülbül Dağı mountain, which was enclosed by the wall. Ludwig Burchner estimated this area with the walls at 1000.5 acres. Jerome Murphy-O'Connor uses an estimate of 345 hectares for the inhabited land or 835 acres (Murphey cites Ludwig Burchner). He cites Josiah Russell using 832 acres and Old Jerusalem in 1918 as the yardstick estimated the population at 51,068 at 14.85 persons per thousand square meters. Using 51 persons per thousand square meters he arrives at a population between 138,000 and 172,500.[41] J. W. Hanson estimated the inhabited space to be smaller at 224 hectares (550 acres). He argues that population densities of 150 or 250 people per hectare (100 per acre) are more realistic which gives a range of 33,600 to 56,000 inhabitants. Even with these much lower population estimates, Ephesus was one of the largest cities of Roman Asia Minor, ranking it as the largest city after Sardis and Alexandria Troas.[42] By contrast Rome within the walls encompassed 1500 hectares = 3,600 acres with a population estimated to between 750,000 and one million (over 1000 built-up acres were left outside the Aurelian Wall whose construction was begun in 274 and finished in 279) or 208 to 277 inhabitants per acres including open and public spaces.

 

Byzantine era (395–1308 AD)

Ephesus remained the most important city of the Byzantine Empire in Asia after Constantinople in the 5th and 6th centuries.[43] Emperor Flavius Arcadius raised the level of the street between the theatre and the harbour. The basilica of St. John was built during the reign of emperor Justinian I in the 6th century.

 

The city was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 614 AD.

 

The importance of the city as a commercial centre declined as the harbour was slowly silted up by the river (today, Küçük Menderes) despite repeated dredging during the city's history.[44] (Today, the harbour is 5 kilometres inland). The loss of its harbour caused Ephesus to lose its access to the Aegean Sea, which was important for trade. People started leaving the lowland of the city for the surrounding hills. The ruins of the temples were used as building blocks for new homes. Marble sculptures were ground to powder to make lime for plaster.

 

Sackings by the Arabs first in the year 654–655 by caliph Muawiyah I, and later in 700 and 716 hastened the decline further.

 

When the Seljuk Turks conquered Ephesus in 1090,[45] it was a small village. The Byzantines resumed control in 1097 and changed the name of the town to Hagios Theologos. They kept control of the region until 1308. Crusaders passing through were surprised that there was only a small village, called Ayasalouk, where they had expected a bustling city with a large seaport. Even the temple of Artemis was completely forgotten by the local population. The Crusaders of the Second Crusade fought the Seljuks just outside the town in December 1147.

 

Pre-Ottoman era (1304–1390)

 

The İsa Bey Mosque constructed in 1374–75, is one of the oldest and most impressive remains from the Anatolian beyliks.

The town surrendered, on 24 October 1304, to Sasa Bey, a Turkish warlord of the Menteşoğulları principality. Nevertheless, contrary to the terms of the surrender the Turks pillaged the church of Saint John and deported most of the local population to Thyrea, Greece when a revolt seemed probable. During these events many of the remaining inhabitants were massacred.[46]

 

Shortly afterwards, Ephesus was ceded to the Aydinid principality that stationed a powerful navy in the harbour of Ayasuluğ (the present-day Selçuk, next to Ephesus). Ayasoluk became an important harbour, from which piratical raids to the surrounding Christian regions were organised, both official by the state and private.[47]

 

The town knew again a short period of prosperity during the 14th century under these new Seljuk rulers. They added important architectural works such as the İsa Bey Mosque, caravansaries and Turkish bathhouses (hamam).

 

Ottoman era

Ephesians were incorporated as vassals into the Ottoman Empire for the first time in 1390. The Central Asian warlord Tamerlane defeated the Ottomans in Anatolia in 1402, and the Ottoman sultan Bayezid I died in captivity. The region was restored to the Anatolian beyliks. After a period of unrest, the region was again incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1425.

 

Ephesus was completely abandoned by the 15th century. Nearby Ayasuluğ was renamed Selçuk in 1914.

 

Ephesus and Christianity

Main article: Metropolis of Ephesus

See also: Early centers of Christianity in Anatolia

 

The Preaching of Saint Paul at Ephesus, Eustache Le Sueur, 1649

Ephesus was an important centre for Early Christianity from the AD 50s. From AD 52–54, the apostle Paul lived in Ephesus, working with the congregation and apparently organizing missionary activity into the hinterlands.[48] Initially, according to the Acts of the Apostles, Paul attended the Jewish synagogue in Ephesus, but after three months he became frustrated with the stubbornness or hardness of heart of some of the Jews, and moved his base to the school of Tyrannus.[49] The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary reminds readers that the unbelief of "some" (Greek: τινες) implies that "others, probably a large number, believed"[50] and therefore there must have been a community of Jewish Christians in Ephesus. Paul introduced about twelve men to the 'baptism with the Holy Spirit' who had previously only experienced the baptism of John the Baptist.[51] Later a silversmith named Demetrios stirred up a mob against Paul, saying that he was endangering the livelihood of those making silver Artemis shrines.[52] Demetrios in connexion with the temple of Artemis mentions some object (perhaps an image or a stone) "fallen from Zeus". Between 53 and 57 AD Paul wrote the letter 1 Corinthians from Ephesus (possibly from the 'Paul tower' near the harbour, where he was imprisoned for a short time). Later, Paul wrote the Epistle to the Ephesians while he was in prison in Rome (around 62 AD).

 

Roman Asia was associated with John,[53] one of the chief apostles, and the Gospel of John might have been written in Ephesus, c 90–100.[54] Ephesus was one of the seven cities addressed in the Book of Revelation, indicating that the church at Ephesus was strong.

 

According to Eusebius of Caesarea, Saint Timothy was the first bishop of Ephesus.[55]

 

Polycrates of Ephesus (Greek: Πολυκράτης) was a bishop at the Church of Ephesus in the 2nd century. He is best known for his letter addressed to the Pope Victor I, Bishop of Rome, defending the Quartodeciman position in the Easter controversy.

 

In the early 2nd century AD, the church at Ephesus was still important enough to be addressed by a letter written by Bishop Ignatius of Antioch to the Ephesians which begins with "Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church which is at Ephesus, in Asia, deservedly most happy, being blessed in the greatness and fullness of God the Father, and predestinated before the beginning of time, that it should be always for an enduring and unchangeable glory" (Letter to the Ephesians). The church at Ephesus had given their support for Ignatius, who was taken to Rome for execution.

  

House of the Virgin Mary

A legend, which was first mentioned by Epiphanius of Salamis in the 4th century AD, purported that the Virgin Mary may have spent the last years of her life in Ephesus. The Ephesians derived the argument from John's presence in the city, and Jesus’ instructions to John to take care of his mother, Mary, after his death. Epiphanius, however, was keen to point out that, while the Bible says John was leaving for Asia, it does not say specifically that Mary went with him. He later stated that she was buried in Jerusalem.[56] Since the 19th century, The House of the Virgin Mary, about 7 km (4 mi) from Selçuk, has been considered to have been the last home of Mary, mother of Jesus in the Roman Catholic tradition, based on the visions of Augustinian sister the Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824). It is a popular place of Catholic pilgrimage which has been visited by three recent popes.

 

The Church of Mary near the harbour of Ephesus was the setting for the Third Ecumenical Council in 431, which resulted in the condemnation of Nestorius. A Second Council of Ephesus was held in 449, but its controversial acts were never approved by the Catholics. It came to be called the Robber Council of Ephesus or Robber Synod of Latrocinium by its opponents.

 

Main sites

 

The Gate of Augustus in Ephesus was built to honor the Emperor Augustus and his family.

Ephesus is one of the largest Roman archaeological sites in the eastern Mediterranean. The visible ruins still give some idea of the city's original splendour, and the names associated with the ruins are evocative of its former life. The theatre dominates the view down Harbour Street, which leads to the silted-up harbour.

 

Main article: Temple of Artemis

The Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, once stood 418' by 239' with over 100 marble pillars each 56' high. The temple earned the city the title "Servant of the Goddess".[57] Pliny tells us that the magnificent structure took 120 years to build but is now represented only by one inconspicuous column, revealed during an archaeological excavation by the British Museum in the 1870s. Some fragments of the frieze (which are insufficient to suggest the form of the original) and other small finds were removed – some to London and some to the İstanbul Archaeology Museums.

 

Main article: Library of Celsus

 

Library of Celsus, side view

The Library of Celsus, the façade of which has been carefully reconstructed from original pieces, was originally built c. 125 AD in memory of Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, an Ancient Greek[58][59][60] who served as governor of Roman Asia (105–107) in the Roman Empire. Celsus paid for the construction of the library with his own personal wealth[61] and is buried in a sarcophagus beneath it.[62] The library was mostly built by his son Gaius Julius Aquila[63] and once held nearly 12,000 scrolls. Designed with an exaggerated entrance — so as to enhance its perceived size, speculate many historians — the building faces east so that the reading rooms could make best use of the morning light.

 

The interior of the library measured roughly 180 square metres (2,000 square feet) and may have contained as many as 12,000 scrolls.[64] By the year 400 C.E. the library was no longer in use after being damaged in 262 C.E. The facade was reconstructed during 1970 to 1978 using fragments found on site or copies of fragments that were previously removed to museums.[65]

 

At an estimated 25,000 seating capacity, the theatre is believed to be the largest in the ancient world.[8] This open-air theatre was used initially for drama, but during later Roman times gladiatorial combats were also held on its stage; the first archaeological evidence of a gladiator graveyard was found in May 2007.[66]

 

There were two agoras, one for commercial and one for state business.[67][68]

  

Aqueduct near Ephesus – Mayer Luigi – 1810

Ephesus also had several major bath complexes, built at various times while the city was under Roman rule.

 

The city had one of the most advanced aqueduct systems in the ancient world, with at least six aqueducts of various sizes supplying different areas of the city.[69][70] They fed a number of water mills, one of which has been identified as a sawmill for marble.

 

The Odeon was a small roofed theatre[71] constructed by Publius Vedius Antoninus and his wife around 150 AD. It was a small salon for plays and concerts, seating about 1,500 people. There were 22 stairs in the theatre. The upper part of the theatre was decorated with red granite pillars in the Corinthian style. The entrances were at both sides of the stage and reached by a few steps.[72]

  

Tomb of John the Apostle at the Basilica of St. John.

The Temple of Hadrian dates from the 2nd century but underwent repairs in the 4th century and has been reerected from the surviving architectural fragments. The reliefs in the upper sections are casts, the originals now being exhibited in the Ephesus Archaeological Museum. A number of figures are depicted in the reliefs, including the emperor Theodosius I with his wife and eldest son.[73] The temple was depicted on the reverse of the Turkish 20 million lira banknote of 2001–2005[74] and of the 20 new lira banknote of 2005–2009.[75]

 

The Temple of the Sebastoi (sometimes called the Temple of Domitian), dedicated to the Flavian dynasty, was one of the largest temples in the city. It was erected on a pseudodipteral plan with 8 × 13 columns. The temple and its statue are some of the few remains connected with Domitian.[73]

 

The Tomb/Fountain of Pollio was erected in 97 AD in honour of C. Sextilius Pollio, who constructed the Marnas aqueduct, by Offilius Proculus. It has a concave façade.[72][73]

 

A part of the site, Basilica of St. John, was built in the 6th century AD, under emperor Justinian I, over the supposed site of the apostle's tomb. It is now surrounded by Selçuk.

 

Seven Sleepers

 

Image of Ephesus on the reverse of the 20 new lira banknote (2005–2008)

Ephesus is believed to be the city of the Seven Sleepers. The story of the Seven Sleepers, who are considered saints by Catholics and Orthodox Christians and whose story is also mentioned in the Qur'an,[76] tells that they were persecuted because of their monotheistic belief in God and that they slept in a cave near Ephesus for three centuries.

 

Archaeology

The history of archaeological research in Ephesus stretches back to 1863, when British architect John Turtle Wood, sponsored by the British Museum, began to search for the Artemision. In 1869 he discovered the pavement of the temple, but since further expected discoveries were not made the excavations stopped in 1874. In 1895 German archaeologist Otto Benndorf, financed by a 10,000 guilder donation made by Austrian Karl Mautner Ritter von Markhof, resumed excavations. In 1898 Benndorf founded the Austrian Archaeological Institute, which plays a leading role in Ephesus today.[77]

 

Finds from the site are exhibited notably in the Ephesos Museum in Vienna, the Ephesus Archaeological Museum in Selçuk and in the British Museum.

 

In October 2016, Turkey halted the works of the archeologists, which had been ongoing for more than 100 years, due to tensions between Austria and Turkey. In May 2018, Turkey allowed Austrian archeologists to resume their excavations.[78]

 

Notable persons

Heraclitus (c. 535 – c. 475 BC), Presocratic philosopher [79]

Hipponax (6th Century BC), poet

Zeuxis (5th century BC), painter

Parrhasius (5th century BC), painter

Herostratus (d 356 BC), criminal

Zenodotus (fl. 280 BC), grammarian and literary critic, first librarian of the Library of Alexandria

Agasias (2nd century BC), Greek sculptors

Menander (early 2nd century BC), historian

Artemidorus Ephesius (c. 100 BC), geographer

Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus (ca. 45 – before ca. 120), founder of the Celsus library

Publius Hordeonius Lollianus (1st century AD), sophist

Rufus (1st century AD), physician

Polycrates of Ephesus (130 – 196), bishop

Soranus of Ephesus (1st–2nd century AD), physician

Artemidorus (2nd century AD), diviner and author

Xenophon (2nd–3rd Century AD), novelist

Maximus (4th Century AD), Neoplatonic philosopher

Manuel Philes (c. 1275 – 1345), Byzantine poet

This is Islam's fourth most holiest site

  

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosque_of_Uqba

  

The Great Mosque of Kairouan (جامع القيروان الأكبر), also known as the Mosque of Uqba (Arabic: جامع عقبة‎), is one of the most important mosques in Tunisia, situated in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Kairouan.

Built by the Arab general Uqba ibn Nafi from 670 AD (the year 50 according to the Islamic calendar) at the founding of the city of Kairouan, the mosque is spread over a surface area of 9,000 square metres and it is one of the oldest places of worship in the Islamic world, as well as a model for all later mosques in the Maghreb.[1] The Great Mosque of Kairouan is one of the most impressive and largest Islamic monuments in North Africa,[2] its perimeter is almost equal to 405 metres (1,328 feet). This vast space contains a hypostyle prayer hall, a huge marble-paved courtyard and a massive square minaret. In addition to its spiritual prestige,[3] the Mosque of Uqba is one of the masterpieces of both architecture and Islamic art.[4][5][6]

Under the Aghlabids (9th century), huge works gave the mosque its present aspect.[7] The fame of the Mosque of Uqba and of the other holy sites at Kairouan helped the city to develop and repopulate increasingly. The university, consisting of scholars who taught in the mosque, was a centre of education both in Islamic thought and in the secular sciences.[8] Its role can be compared to that of the University of Paris in the Middle Ages.[9] With the decline of the city of Kairouan from the mid 11th century, the centre of intellectual thought moved to the University of Ez-Zitouna in Tunis.

  

Location and general aspect

  

Located in the north-east of the medina of Kairouan, the mosque is in the intramural district of Houmat al-Jami (literally "area of the Great Mosque").[11] This location corresponded originally to the heart of the urban fabric of the city founded by Uqba ibn Nafi.

But because of the specific nature of the land, crossed by several tributaries of the wadis, the urban development of the city stretched southwards. Then there are the upheavals of Kairouan following Hilalian's invasions in 449 AH (or 1057 AD) and which led to the decline of the city. For all these reasons, the mosque (which occupies the same place since its founding in 670) is not any more situated in the center of the medina, and is thereby positioned on the extremity, near the walls.

The building is a vast irregular quadrilateral, longer (with 127.60 meters) from the eastern side than on the opposite side (with 125.20 meters) and less wide (with 72.70 meters) on the north side (in the middle of which stands the minaret) that the opposite side (with 78 meters). It covers a total area of 9000 m2.

From the outside, the Great Mosque of Kairouan is a fortress-like building, which required as much by its massive ocher walls of 1.90 meters thick composed of well-worked stones, courses of rubble stone and courses of baked bricks,[12] as the square angle towers measuring 4.25 meters on each side and the solid and projecting buttresses that support and bind. More than a defensive role, the buttresses and towers full serve more to enhance the stability of the mosque built on a soil subject to compaction.[13] Although a seemingly harsh, the external facades, punctuated with powerful buttresses and towering porches, some of which are surmounted by cupolas, give to the sanctuary a striking aspect characterized by majestic sobriety.

  

History

  

Evolution

  

At the foundation of Kairouan in 670, the Arab general and conqueror Uqba Ibn Nafi (himself the founder of the city) chose the site of his mosque in the center of the city, near the headquarters of the governor. Around 690, shortly after its construction, the mosque was destroyed[15] during the occupation of Kairouan by the Berbers, originally conducted by Kusaila. It was rebuilt by the Ghassanid general Hasan ibn al-Nu'man in 703.[16] With the gradual increase of the population of Kairouan and the consequent increase in the number of faithful, Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik, Umayyad Caliph in Damascus, charged his governor Bishr ibn Safwan to carry out development work in the city which include the renovation and expansion of the mosque around the years 724–728.[17] In view of its expansion, he pulled down the mosque and rebuilt it with the exception of the mihrab. It was under his auspices that the construction of the minaret began.[18] In 774, a new reconstruction accompanied by modifications and embellishments[19] took place under the direction of the Abbasid governor Yazid Ibn Hatim.[20]

Plan architect of the building.

  

Under the rule of Aghlabid sovereigns, Kairouan was at its apogee, and the mosque profited from this period of stability and prosperity. In 836, Ziadet-Allah I reconstructed the mosque once more:[21] this is when the building acquired, at least in its entirety, the appearance we see today.[22][23] At the same time, the mihrab's ribbed dome on squinches was raised.[24] Around 862-863, Abul Ibrahim enlarged the oratory, with three bays to the north, and added the cupola over the arched portico which precedes the prayer hall.[25] In 875 Ibrahim II built another three bays, thereby reducing the size of the courtyard which was further limited on the three other sides by the addition of double galleries.[26]

The current state of the mosque can be traced back to the reign of Aghlabids—no element is earlier than the ninth century besides the mihrab—except for some partial restorations and a few later additions made in 1025 during the reign of Zirids,[27] 1248 and 1293-1294 under the reign of Hafsids,[28] 1618 at the time of mouradites beys,[29] in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In 1967, major restoration works, executed during five years and conducted under the direction of the National Institute of Archeology and Art, were achieved throughout the monument, and were ended with an official reopening of the mosque during the celebration of Mawlid of 1972.[30]

  

Host stories

  

Several centuries after its founding, the Great Mosque of Kairouan is the subject of numerous descriptions by Arab historians and geographers in the Middle Ages. The stories concern mainly the different phases of construction and expansion of the sanctuary, and the successive contributions of many princes to the interior decoration (mihrab, minbar, ceilings, etc.). Among the authors who have written on the subject and whose stories have survived[31] are Al-Bakri (Andalusian geographer and historian who died in 1094 and who devoted a sufficiently detailed account of the history of the mosque in his book Description of Septentrional Africa), Al-Nuwayri (historian who died in Egypt, 1332) and Ibn Nagi (scholar and historian of Kairouan who died around 1435).

On additions and embellishments made to the building by the Aghlabid sovereign Abul Ibrahim, Ibn Nagi gives the following account :

« He built in the mosque of Kairouan the cupola that rises over the entrance to the central nave, together with the two colonnades which flank it from both sides, and the galleries were paved by him. He then made the mihrab. »[22]

  

Among the Western travelers, poets and writers who visited Kairouan, some of them leave impressions and testimonies sometimes tinged with emotion or admiration on the mosque. From the eighteenth century, the French doctor and naturalist John Andrew Peyssonnel, conducting a study trip to 1724, during the reign of sovereign Al-Husayn Bey I, underlines the reputation of the mosque as a deemed center of religious and secular studies :

« The Great Mosque is dedicated to Uqba, where there is a famous college where we will study the remotest corners of this kingdom : are taught reading and writing of Arabic grammar, laws and religion. There are large rents for the maintenance of teachers. »[32]

At the same time,the doctor and Anglican priest Thomas Shaw (1692–1751),[33] touring the Tunis Regency and passes through Kairouan in 1727, described the mosque as that : " which is considered the most beautiful and the most sacred of Berberian territories ", evoking for example : " an almost unbelievable number of granite columns ".[34]

At the end of the nineteenth century, the French writer Guy de Maupassant expresses in his book La vie errante (The Wandering Life), his fascination with the majestic architecture of the Great Mosque of Kairouan as well as the effect created by countless columns : " The unique harmony of this temple consists in the proportion and the number of these slender shafts upholding the building, filling, peopling, and making it what it is, create its grace and greatness. Their colorful multitude gives the eye the impression of unlimited ".[35] Early in the twentieth century, the Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke describes his admiration for the impressive minaret :

« Is there a more beautiful than this still preserved old tower, the minaret, in Islamic architecture ? In the history of Art, its three-storey minaret is considered such a masterpiece and a model among the most prestigious monuments of Muslim architecture. »

  

Architecture and decoration

  

Exterior

  

Enclosure

  

Today, the enclosure of the Great Mosque of Kairouan is pierced by nine gates (six opening on the courtyard, two opening on the prayer hall and a ninth allows access to the maqsura) some of them, such as Bab Al-Ma (Gate of water) located on the western facade, are preceded by salient porches flanked by buttresses and surmounted by ribbed domes based on square tholobate which are porting squinches with three vaults.[12][37] However, Arab geographers and historians of the Middle Ages Al-Muqaddasi and Al-Bakri reported the existence, around the tenth and eleventh centuries, of about ten gates named differently from today. This reflects the fact that, unlike the rest of the mosque, the enclosure has undergone significant changes to ensure the stability of the building (adding many buttresses). Thus, some entries have been sealed, while others were kept.[12]

During the thirteenth century, new gates were opened, the most remarkable, Bab Lalla Rihana dated from 1293, is located on the eastern wall of the enclosure.[12] The monumental entrance, work of the Hafsid sovereign Abu Hafs `Umar ibn Yahya (reign from 1284 to 1295),[38] is entered in a salient square, flanked by ancient columns supporting Horseshoe arches and covered by a dome on squinches.[12] The front facade of the porch has a large horseshoe arch relied on two marble columns and surmounted by a frieze adorned with a blind arcade, all crowned by serrated merlons (in a sawtooth arrangement).[39] Despite its construction at the end of the thirteenth century, Bab Lalla Rihana blends well with all of the building mainly dating from the ninth century.[39]

Enclosure and gates of the Mosque of Uqba

  

Courtyard

  

The courtyard is a vast trapezoidal area whose interior dimensions are approximately 65 by 50 meters.[40] It is surrounded on all its four sides by a portico with double rows of arches, opened by slightly horseshoe arches supported by columns in various marbles, in granite or in porphyry, reused from Roman, Early Christian or Byzantine monuments particularly from Carthage.[14] Access to the courtyard by six side entrances dating from the ninth and thirteenth centuries.

The portico on the south side of the courtyard, near the prayer hall, includes in its middle a large dressed stone pointed horseshoe arch which rests on ancient columns of white veined marble with Corinthian capitals. This porch of seven meters high is topped with a square base upon which rests a semi-spherical ribbed dome ; the latter is ribbed with sharp-edged ribs. The intermediary area, the dodecagonal drum of the dome, is pierced by sixteen small rectangular windows set into rounded niches.[41] The great central arch of the south portico, is flanked on each side by six rhythmically arranged horseshoe arches, which fall on twin columns backed by pillars.[42] Overall, the proportions and general layout of the facade of the south portico, with its thirteen arches of which that in the middle constitutes a sort of triumphal arch crowned with a cupola, form an ensemble with " a powerful air of majesty ", according to the French historian and sociologist Paul Sebag (1919–2004).[43]

Courtyard area and porticoes

  

Details of the courtyard

  

The combination formed by the courtyard and the galleries that surround it covers an immense area whose dimensions are about 90 meters long and 72 meters in width.[44] The northern part of the courtyard is paved with flagstones while the rest of the floor is almost entirely composed of white marble slabs. Near its center is an horizontal sundial, bearing an inscription in naskhi engraved on the marble dating from 1258 AH (which corresponds to the year 1843) and which is accessed by a little staircase ; it determines the time of prayers. The rainwater collector or impluvium, probably the work of the Muradid Bey Mohamed Bey al-Mouradi (1686–1696), is an ingenious system that ensures the capture (with the slightly sloping surface of the courtyard) then filtering stormwater at a central basin furnished with horseshoe arches sculpted in white marble.[45] Freed from its impurities, the water flows into an underground cistern supported by seven meters high pillars. In the courtyard there are also several water wells some of which are placed side by side. Their edges, obtained from the lower parts of ancient cored columns,[46] support the string grooves back the buckets.

  

Minaret

  

A square stone tower rises high above a wall.

  

The minaret, which occupies the center of the northern facade of the complex's enclosure, is 31.5 meters tall and is seated on a square base of 10.7 meters on each side.[47] It is located inside the enclosure and does not have direct access from the outside. It consists of three tapering levels, the last of which is topped with a small ribbed dome that was most probably built later than the rest of the tower.[48] The first and second stories are surmounted by rounded merlons which are pierced by arrowslits. The minaret served as a watchtower, as well as to call the faithful to prayer.[48]

The door giving access to the minaret is framed by a lintel and jambs made of recycled carved friezes of antique origin.[49] There are stone blocks from the Roman period that bear Latin inscriptions. Their use probably dates to the work done under the Umayyad governor Bishr ibn Safwan in about 725 AD, and they have been reused at the base of the tower.[49] The greater part of the minaret dates from the time of the Aghlabid princes in the ninth century. It consists of regular layers of carefully cut rubble stone, thus giving the work a stylistically admirable homogeneity and unity.[50]

The interior includes a staircase of 129 steps, surmounted by a barrel vault, which gives access to the terraces and the first tier of the minaret. The courtyard facade (or south facade) of the tower is pierced with windows that provide light and ventilation,[51] while the other three facades—facing north, east and west—are pierced with small openings in the form of arrowslits.[47] The minaret, in its present aspect, dates largely from the early ninth century, about 836 AD. It is the oldest minaret in the Muslim world,[52][53] and it is also the world's oldest minaret still standing.[54]

Due to its age and its architectural features, the minaret of the Great Mosque of Kairouan is the prototype for all the minarets of the western Islamic world : it served as a model in both North Africa and in Andalusia.[55] Despite its massive form and austere decoration, it nevertheless presents a harmonious structure and a majestic appearance.[51][56]

Minaret

  

Domes

  

The Mosque has several domes, the largest being over the mihrab and the entrance to the prayer hall from the courtyard. The dome of the mihrab is based on an octagonal drum with slightly concave sides, raised on a square base, decorated on each of its three southern, Easter and western faces with five flat-bottomed niches surmounted by five semi-circular arches,[24][57] the niche in the middle is cut by a lobed oculus enrolled in a circular frame. This dome, whose construction goes back to the first half of the ninth century (towards 836), is one of the oldest and most remarkable domes in the western Islamic world.[58]

  

Interior

  

Prayer hall

  

The prayer hall is located on the southern side of the courtyard ; and is accessed by 17 carved wooden doors. A portico with double row of arches precede the spacious prayer hall, which takes the shape of a rectangle of 70.6 meters in width and 37.5 meters depth.[59]

  

The hypostyle hall is divided into 17 aisles of eight bays, the central nave is wider, as well as the bay along the wall of the qibla.[60] They cross with right angle in front of the mihrab, this device, named "T shape", which is also found in two Iraqi mosques in Samarra (around 847) has been adopted in many North African and Andalusian mosques where it became a feature.[61]

The central nave, a sort of triumphal alley which leads to the mihrab,[62] is significantly higher and wider than the other sixteen aisles of the prayer hall. It is bordered on each side of a double row of arches rested on twin columns and surmounted by a carved plaster decoration consisting of floral and geometric patterns.[63]

Enlightened by impressive chandeliers which are applied in countless small glass lamps,[64] the nave opens into the south portico of the courtyard by a monumental delicately carved wooden door, made in 1828 under the reign of the Husainids.[65] This sumptuous door, which has four leaves richly carved with geometric motifs embossed on the bottom of foliages and interlacing stars, is decorated at the typanum by a stylized vase from which emerge winding stems and leaves.[66] The other doors of the prayer hall, some of which date from the time of the Hafsids,[67] are distinguished by their decoration which consists essentially of geometric patterns (hexagonal, octagonal, rectangular patterns, etc.).[59]

  

Columns and ceiling

  

In the prayer hall, the 414 columns of marble, granite or porphyry[68] (among more than 500 columns in the whole mosque),[69] taken from ancient sites in the country such as Sbeïtla, Carthage, Hadrumetum and Chemtou,[59] support the horseshoe arches. A legend says they could not count them without going blind.[70] The capitals resting on the column shafts offer a wide variety of shapes and styles (Corinthian, Ionic, Composite, etc..).[59] Some capitals were carved for the mosque, but others come from Roman or Byzantine buildings (dating from the second to sixth century) and were reused. According to the German archaeologist Christian Ewert, the special arrangement of reused columns and capitals surrounding the mihrab obeys to a well-defined program and would draw symbolically the plan of the Dome of the Rock.[71] The shafts of the columns are carved in marble of different colors and different backgrounds. Those in white marble come from Italy,[59] some shafts located in the area of the mihrab are in red Porphyry imported from Egypt,[72] while those made of greenish or pink marble are from quarries of Chemtou, in the north-west of current Tunisia.[59] Although the shafts are of varying heights, the columns are ingeniously arranged to support fallen arches harmoniously. The height difference is compensated by the development of variable bases, capitals and crossbeams ; a number of these crossbeams are in cedar wood.[59] The wooden rods, which usually sink to the base of the transom, connect the columns together and maintain the spacing of the arches, thus enhancing the stability of all structures which support the ceiling of the prayer hall.[73]

  

The covering of the prayer hall consists of painted ceilings decorated with vegetal motifs and two domes : one raised at the beginning of the central nave and the other in front of the mihrab. The latter, which its hemispherical cap is cut by 24 concave grooves radiating around the top,[74] is based on ridged horns shaped shell and a drum pierced by eight circular windows which are inserted between sixteen niches grouped by two.[57][75] The niches are covered with carved stone panels, finely adorned with characteristic geometric, vegetal and floral patterns of the Aghlabid decorative repertoire : shells, cusped arches, rosettes, vine-leaf, etc.[57] From the outside, the dome of the mihrab is based on an octagonal drum with slightly concave sides, raised on a square base, decorated on each of its three southern, Easter and western faces with five flat-bottomed niches surmounted by five semi-circular arches,[24][57] the niche in the middle is cut by a lobed oculus enrolled in a circular frame.

  

The painted ceilings are a unique ensemble of planks, beams and brackets, illustrating almost thousand years of the history of painting on wood in Tunisia. Wooden brackets offer a wide variety of style and decor in the shape of a crow or a grasshopper with wings or fixed, they are characterized by a setting that combines floral painted or carved, with grooves. The oldest boards date back to the Aghlabid period (ninth century) and are decorated with scrolls and rosettes on a red background consists of squares with concave sides in which are inscribed four-petaled flowers in green and blue, and those performed by the Zirid Dynasty (eleventh century) are characterized by inscriptions in black kufic writing with gold rim and the uprights of the letters end with lobed florets, all on a brown background adorned with simple floral patterns.

The boards painted under the Hafsid period (during the thirteenth century) offers a floral decor consists of white and blue arches entwined with lobed green. The latest, dated the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (mostly dating from the time of the Muradid Beys), are distinguished by an epigraphic decoration consists of long black and red texts on olive green background to those painted from 1618 to 1619, under the reign of Murad I Bey (1613-1631), while those back to the eighteenth century have inscriptions in white naskhi script on an orange background.[76]

  

Mihrab and minbar

  

Close view of the mihrab, whose current state dates from the ninth century

The mihrab, which indicates the Qibla (direction of Mecca), in front of which stands the imam during the prayer, is located in the middle of the southern wall of the prayer hall. It is formed by an oven-shaped niche framed by two marble columns and topped by a painted wooden half-cupola. The niche of the mihrab is two meters long, 4.5 meters high and 1.6 meters deep.[77]

The mosque's mihrab, whose decor is a remarkable witness of Muslim art in the early centuries of Islam, is distinguished by its harmonious composition and the quality of its ornaments. Considered as the oldest example of concave mihrab, it dates in its present state to 862-863 AD.[78]

  

Upper Part of The Mihrab

  

It is surrounded at its upper part by 139 lusterware tiles (with a metallic sheen), each one is 21.1 centimeters square and they are arranged on the diagonal in a chessboard pattern. Divided into two groups, they are dated from the beginning of the second half of the ninth century but it is not determined with certainty whether they were made in Baghdad or in Kairouan by a Baghdadi artisan, the controversy over the origin of this precious collection agitates the specialists. These tiles are mainly decorated with floral and plant motifs (stylized flowers, palm leaves and asymmetrical leaves on bottom hatch and checkered) belong to two series : one polychrome characterized by a greater richness of tones ranging from light gold to light, dark or ocher yellow, and from brick-red to brown lacquer, the other monochrome is a beautiful luster that goes from smoked gold to green gold. The coating around them is decorated with blue plant motifs dating from the eighteenth century or the first half of the nineteenth century. The horseshoe arch of the mihrab, stilted and broken at the top, rest on two columns of red marble with yellow veins, which surmounted with Byzantine style capitals that carry two crossbeams carved with floral patterns, each one is decorated with a Kufic inscription in relief.

  

Detail of the marble cladding

  

The wall of the mihrab is covered with 28 panels of white marble, carved and pierced, which have a wide variety of plant and geometric patterns including the stylized grape leaf, the flower and the shell. Behind the openwork hint, there is an oldest niche on which several assumptions were formulated. If one refers to the story of Al-Bakri, an Andalusian historian and geographer of the eleventh century, it is the mihrab which would be done by Uqba Ibn Nafi, the founder of Kairouan, whereas Lucien Golvin shares the view that it is not an old mihrab but hardly a begun construction which may serve to support marble panels and either goes back to work of Ziadet Allah I (817-838) or to those of Abul Ibrahim around the years 862-863.[79] Above the marble cladding, the mihrab niche is crowned with a half dome-shaped vault made of manchineel bentwood. Covered with a thick coating completely painted, the concavity of the arch is decorated with intertwined scrolls enveloping stylized five-lobed vine leaves, three-lobed florets and sharp clusters, all in yellow on midnight blue background.[80]

The minbar, situated on the right of the mihrab, is used by the imam during the Friday or Eids sermons, is a staircase-shaped pulpit with an upper seat, reached by eleven steps, and measuring 3.93 meters length to 3.31 meters in height. Dated from the ninth century (about 862) and erected under the reign of the sixth Aghlabid ruler Abul Ibrahim (856-863), it is made in teak wood imported from India.[81] Among all the pulpits of the Muslim world, it is certainly the oldest example of minbar still preserved today.[82] Probably made by cabinetmakers of Kairouan (some researchers also refer to Baghdad), it consists of an assembly of more than 300 finely carved wood pieces with an exceptional ornamental wealth (vegetal and geometric patterns refer to the Umayyad and Abbasid models), among which about 90 rectangular panels carved with plenty of pine cones, grape leaves, thin and flexible stems, lanceolate fruits and various geometric shapes (squares, diamonds, stars, etc.). The upper edge of the minbar ramp is adorned with a rich and graceful vegetal decoration composed of alternately arranged foliated scrolls, each one containing a spread vine-leaf and a cluster of grapes. In the early twentieth century, the minbar had a painstaking restoration. Although more than eleven centuries of existence, all panels, with the exception of nine, are originals and are in a good state of conservation, the fineness of the execution of the minbar makes it a great masterpiece of Islamic wood carving referring to Paul Sebag.[83] This old chair of the ninth century is still in its original location, next to the mihrab.

  

Maqsura

  

The maqsura, located near the minbar, consists of a fence bounding a private enclosure that allows the sovereign and his senior officials to follow the solemn prayer of Friday without mingling with the faithful. Jewel of the art of woodwork produced during the reign of the Zirid prince Al-Muizz ibn Badis and dated from the first half of the eleventh century, it is considered the oldest still in place in the Islamic world. It is a cedar wood fence finely sculpted and carved on three sides with various geometric motifs measuring 2.8 meters tall, eight meters long and six meters wide.[84] Its main adornment is a frieze that crowns calligraphy, the latter surmounted by a line of pointed openwork merlons, features an inscription in flowery kufic character carved on the background of interlacing plants. Carefully executed in relief, it represents one of the most beautiful epigraphic bands of Islamic art.[84]

The library is near located, accessible by a door which the jambs and the lintel are carved in marble, adorned with a frieze of floral decoration. The library window is marked by an elegant setting that has two columns flanking the opening, which is a horseshoe arch topped by six blind arches and crowned by a series of berms sawtooth.[85]

  

Artworks

  

The Mosque of Uqba, one of the few religious buildings of Islam has remained intact almost all of its architectural and decorative elements, is due to the richness of its repertoire which is a veritable museum of Islamic decorative art and architecture. Most of the works on which rests the reputation of the mosque are still conserved in situ while a certain number of them have joined the collections of the Raqqada National Museum of Islamic Art ; Raqqada is located about ten kilometers southwest of Kairouan.

From the library of the mosque comes a large collection of calligraphic scrolls and manuscripts, the oldest dating back to the second half of the ninth century. This valuable collection, observed from the late nineteenth century by the French orientalists Octave Houdas and René Basset who mention in their report on their scientific mission in Tunisia published in the Journal of African correspondence in 1882, comprises according to the inventory established at the time of the Hafsids (circa 1293-1294) several Qur'ans and books of fiqh that concern mainly the Maliki fiqh and its sources. These are the oldest fund of Maliki legal literature to have survived.[86]

  

Among the finest works of this series, the pages of the Blue Qur'an, currently exhibited at Raqqada National Museum of Islamic Art, from a famous Qur'an in the second half of the fourth century of the Hegira (the tenth century) most of which is preserved in Tunisia and the rest scattered in museums and private collections worldwide. Featuring kufic character suras are written in gold on vellum dyed with indigo, they are distinguished by a compact graph with no marks for vowels. The beginning of each surah is indicated by a band consisting of a golden stylized leafy foliage, dotted with red and blue, while the verses are separated by silver rosettes. Other scrolls and calligraphic Qur'ans, as that known as the Hadinah's Qur'an, copied and illuminated by the calligrapher Ali ibn Ahmad al-Warraq for the governess of the Zirid prince Al-Muizz ibn Badis at about 1020 AD, were also in the library before being transferred to Raqqada museum. This collection is a unique source for studying the history and evolution of calligraphy of medieval manuscripts in the Maghreb, covering the period from the ninth to the eleventh century.

Other works of art such as the crowns of light (circular chandeliers) made in cast bronze, dating from the Fatimid-Zirid period (around tenth-early eleventh century), originally belonged to the furniture of the mosque. These polycandelons, now scattered in various Tunisian museums including Raqqada, consist of three chains supporting a perforated brass plate, which has a central circular ring around which radiate 18 equidistant poles connected by many horseshoe arches and equipped for each of two landmarks flared. The three chains, connected by a suspension ring, are each fixed to the plate by an almond-shaped finial. The crowns of light are marked by Byzantine influence to which the Kairouanese artisan brought the specificities of Islamic decorative repertoire (geometric and floral motifs).[

  

Role in Muslim civilization

  

At the time of its greatest splendor, between the ninth and eleventh centuries AD, Kairouan was one of the greatest centers of Islamic civilization and its reputation as a hotbed of scholarship covered the entire Maghreb. During this period, the Great Mosque of Kairouan was both a place of prayer and a center for teaching Islamic sciences under the Maliki current. One may conceivably compare its role to that of the University of Paris during the Middle Ages.

In addition to studies on the deepening of religious thought and Maliki jurisprudence, the mosque also hosted various courses in secular subjects such as mathematics, astronomy, medicine and botany. The transmission of knowledge was assured by prominent scholars and theologians which included Sahnun ibn Sa'id and Asad ibn al-Furat, eminent jurists who contributed greatly to the dissemination of the Maliki thought, Ishaq ibn Imran and Ibn al-Jazzar in medicine, Abu Sahl al-Kairouani and Abd al-Monim al-Kindi in mathematics. Thus the mosque, headquarters of a prestigious university with a large library containing a large number of scientific and theological works, was the most remarkable intellectual and cultural center in North Africa during the ninth, tenth and eleventh centuries

Tyne Cyclist and Pedestrian Tunnel was Britain's first purpose-built cycling tunnel. It runs under the River Tyne between Howdon and Jarrow, and was opened in 1951, heralded as a contribution to the Festival of Britain.[1] The original cost was £833,000[1] and the tunnel was used by 20,000 people a day.[2] It actually consists of two tunnels running in parallel, one for pedestrian use with a 3.2 m (10 ft 6 in) diameter, and a larger 3.7 m (12 ft 2 in) diameter tunnel for pedal cyclists. Both tunnels are 270 m (884 ft) in length, and lie 12 m (40 ft) below the river bed, at their deepest point.[1] The tunnels are over 60 years old and are Grade II listed buildings.[3][2]

 

At each end, the tunnels are connected to surface buildings by two escalators and a lift. The Waygood-Otis escalators have 306 wooden steps each, and are the original models from 1951.[1] At the time of construction, they were the highest single-rise escalators in the UK, with a vertical rise of 85 feet (26 m) and a length of 197 feet (60 m). In 1992, escalators with a higher vertical rise of 90 feet (27.4 m) and 200 feet (61 m) in length were constructed at Angel station on the London Underground. The Tyne Tunnel escalators remain the longest wooden escalators in the world.

 

20,000 people a month used the pedestrian tunnel in 2013.

 

Refurbishment

In a refitting phase the escalators and lift shafts were due to be upgraded by October 2010 to early 2011 at a cost of £500,000.[2] A £6,000,000 refurbishment was due to take place in 2011, but multiple delays pushed the reopening date to summer 2019.[5][1]

 

In 2012, contractor GB Building Solutions of Balliol Business Park, Newcastle, was appointed to carry out the £4.9 million refurbishment which included the replacement of two of the original four escalators with inclined lifts and the replacement of the tunnels' ageing mechanical and electrical systems. However, GB Building Solutions went into administration in 2015, delaying the project.[6]

 

The two remaining escalators, which are original and of historical significance, will be opened up to public view and illuminated with feature lighting.

 

New lighting, CCTV, control and communications systems were installed, in addition to carrying out repairs to the tunnel structure itself and to the historic finishes within the tunnel such as the tiling and panelling. The concrete floor sections were also refurbished or replaced. During the closure, a free, timetabled shuttle bus for pedestrians and cyclists was in operation between 6am and 8pm, seven days a week, 364 days a year.[7]

 

The tunnel reopened at midday on 7 August 2019[8], operating initially for 14 hours a day until installation of the new inclined lifts is completed when the service will be 24 hours. By December 2019 monthly journeys were above 20,000 with around 25% of users being cyclists.

 

A tunnel is an underground passageway, dug through the surrounding soil/earth/rock and enclosed except for entrance and exit, commonly at each end. A pipeline is not a tunnel, though some recent tunnels have used immersed tube construction techniques rather than traditional tunnel boring methods.

 

A tunnel may be for foot or vehicular road traffic, for rail traffic, or for a canal. The central portions of a rapid transit network are usually in the tunnel. Some tunnels are aqueducts to supply water for consumption or for hydroelectric stations or are sewers. Utility tunnels are used for routing steam, chilled water, electrical power or telecommunication cables, as well as connecting buildings for convenient passage of people and equipment.

 

Secret tunnels are built for military purposes, or by civilians for smuggling of weapons, contraband, or people. Special tunnels, such as wildlife crossings, are built to allow wildlife to cross human-made barriers safely. Tunnels can be connected together in tunnel networks.

 

Terminology

A tunnel is relatively long and narrow; the length is often much greater than twice the diameter, although similar shorter excavations can be constructed, such as cross passages between tunnels.

 

The definition of what constitutes a tunnel can vary widely from source to source. For example, the definition of a road tunnel in the United Kingdom is defined as "a subsurface highway structure enclosed for a length of 150 metres (490 ft) or more."[1] In the United States, the NFPA definition of a tunnel is "An underground structure with a design length greater than 23 m (75 ft) and a diameter greater than 1,800 millimetres (5.9 ft)."[2]

 

In the UK, a pedestrian, cycle or animal tunnel beneath a road or railway is called a subway, while an underground railway system is differently named in different cities, the "Underground" or the "Tube" in London, the "Subway" in Glasgow, and the "Metro" in Newcastle. The place where a road, railway, canal or watercourse passes under a footpath, cycleway, or another road or railway is most commonly called a bridge or, if passing under a canal, an aqueduct. Where it is important to stress that it is passing underneath, it may be called an underpass, though the official term when passing under a railway is an underbridge. A longer underpass containing a road, canal or railway is normally called a "tunnel", whether or not it passes under another item of infrastructure. An underpass of any length under a river is also usually called a "tunnel", whatever mode of transport it is for.

 

In the US, the term "subway" means an underground rapid transit system, and the term pedestrian underpass is used for a passage beneath a barrier. Rail station platforms may be connected by pedestrian tunnels or footbridges.

 

History

See also: History of water supply and sanitation

[icon]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (March 2013)

 

Joralemon Street Tunnel on 1913 postcard, part of the New York City Subway system

Much of the early technology of tunneling evolved from mining and military engineering. The etymology of the terms "mining" (for mineral extraction or for siege attacks), "military engineering", and "civil engineering" reveals these deep historic connections.

 

Antiquity and early middle ages

Predecessors of modern tunnels were adits to transport water for irrigation or drinking, and sewerage. The first Qanats are known from before 2000 B.C.

 

The Tunnel of Eupalinos is a tunnel aqueduct 1,036 m (3,399 ft) long running through Mount Kastro in Samos, Greece, built in the 6th century BC to serve as an aqueduct. It is the second known tunnel to have been excavated from both ends, after the Siloam tunnel in the neighbourhood of Silwan in eastern Jerusalem.

 

In Ethiopia, the Siqurto foot tunnel, hand-hewn in the Middle Ages, crosses a mountain ridge.

 

Geotechnical investigation and design

Main article: Geotechnical investigation

A major tunnel project must start with a comprehensive investigation of ground conditions by collecting samples from boreholes and by other geophysical techniques. An informed choice can then be made of machinery and methods for excavation and ground support, which will reduce the risk of encountering unforeseen ground conditions. In planning the route, the horizontal and vertical alignments can be selected to make use of the best ground and water conditions. It is common practice to locate a tunnel deeper than otherwise would be required, in order to excavate through solid rock or other material that is easier to support during construction.

 

Conventional desk and preliminary site studies may yield insufficient information to assess such factors as the blocky nature of rocks, the exact location of fault zones, or the stand-up times of softer ground. This may be a particular concern in large-diameter tunnels. To give more information, a pilot tunnel (or "drift tunnel") may be driven ahead of the main excavation. This smaller tunnel is less likely to collapse catastrophically should unexpected conditions be met, and it can be incorporated into the final tunnel or used as a backup or emergency escape passage. Alternatively, horizontal boreholes may sometimes be drilled ahead of the advancing tunnel face.

 

Other key geotechnical factors:

 

Stand-up time is the amount of time a newly excavated cavity can support itself without any added structures. Knowing this parameter allows the engineers to determine how far an excavation can proceed before support is needed, which in turn affects the speed, efficiency, and cost of construction. Generally, certain configurations of rock and clay will have the greatest stand-up time, while sand and fine soils will have a much lower stand-up time.[3]

Groundwater control is very important in tunnel construction. Water leaking into a tunnel or vertical shaft will greatly decrease stand-up time, causing the excavation to become unstable and risking collapse. The most common way to control groundwater is to install dewatering pipes into the ground and to simply pump the water out.[4] A very effective but expensive technology is ground freezing, using pipes which are inserted into the ground surrounding the excavation, which are then cooled with special refrigerant fluids. This freezes the ground around each pipe until the whole space is surrounded with frozen soil, keeping water out until a permanent structure can be built.

Tunnel cross-sectional shape is also very important in determining stand-up time. If a tunnel excavation is wider than it is high, it will have a harder time supporting itself, decreasing its stand-up time. A square or rectangular excavation is more difficult to make self-supporting, because of a concentration of stress at the corners.[5]

Choice of tunnels versus bridges

 

This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (February 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

  

The Harbor Tunnel in Baltimore, which carries I-895, serves as an example of a water-crossing tunnel built instead of a bridge.

For water crossings, a tunnel is generally more costly to construct than a bridge. However, navigational considerations may limit the use of high bridges or drawbridge spans intersecting with shipping channels, necessitating a tunnel.

 

Bridges usually require a larger footprint on each shore than tunnels. In areas with expensive real estate, such as Manhattan and urban Hong Kong, this is a strong factor in favor of a tunnel. Boston's Big Dig project replaced elevated roadways with a tunnel system to increase traffic capacity, hide traffic, reclaim land, redecorate, and reunite the city with the waterfront.

 

The 1934 Queensway Tunnel under the River Mersey at Liverpool was chosen over a massively high bridge for defense reasons; it was feared that aircraft could destroy a bridge in times of war. Maintenance costs of a massive bridge to allow the world's largest ships to navigate under were considered higher than for a tunnel. Similar conclusions were reached for the 1971 Kingsway Tunnel under the Mersey. In Hampton Roads, Virginia, tunnels were chosen over bridges for strategic considerations; in the event of damage, bridges might prevent US Navy vessels from leaving Naval Station Norfolk.

 

Water-crossing tunnels built instead of bridges include the Holland Tunnel and Lincoln Tunnel between New Jersey and Manhattan in New York City; the Queens-Midtown Tunnel between Manhattan and the borough of Queens on Long Island; the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel between Michigan and Ontario; and the Elizabeth River tunnels between Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia; the 1934 River Mersey road Queensway Tunnel; the Western Scheldt Tunnel, Zeeland, Netherlands; and the North Shore Connector tunnel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

 

Other reasons for choosing a tunnel instead of a bridge include avoiding difficulties with tides, weather, and shipping during construction (as in the 51.5-kilometre or 32.0-mile Channel Tunnel), aesthetic reasons (preserving the above-ground view, landscape, and scenery), and also for weight capacity reasons (it may be more feasible to build a tunnel than a sufficiently strong bridge).

 

Some water crossings are a mixture of bridges and tunnels, such as the Denmark to Sweden link and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in Virginia.

 

There are particular hazards with tunnels, especially from vehicle fires when combustion gases can asphyxiate users, as happened at the Gotthard Road Tunnel in Switzerland in 2001. One of the worst railway disasters ever, the Balvano train disaster, was caused by a train stalling in the Armi tunnel in Italy in 1944, killing 426 passengers. Designers try to reduce these risks by installing emergency ventilation systems or isolated emergency escape tunnels parallel to the main passage.

 

Project planning and cost estimates

Government funds are often required for the creation of tunnels.[6] When a tunnel is being planned or constructed, economics and politics play a large factor in the decision making process. Civil engineers usually use project management techniques for developing a major structure. Understanding the amount of time the project requires, and the amount of labor and materials needed is a crucial part of project planning. The project duration must be identified using a work breakdown structure (WBS) and critical path method (CPM). Also, the land needed for excavation and construction staging, and the proper machinery must be selected. Large infrastructure projects require millions or even billions of dollars, involving long-term financing, usually through issuance of bonds.

 

The costs and benefits for an infrastructure such as a tunnel must be identified. Political disputes can occur, as in 2005 when the US House of Representatives approved a $100 million federal grant to build a tunnel under New York Harbor. However, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was not aware of this bill and had not asked for a grant for such a project.[7] Increased taxes to finance a large project may cause opposition.[8]

 

Construction

Main article: Tunnel construction

Tunnels are dug in types of materials varying from soft clay to hard rock. The method of tunnel construction depends on such factors as the ground conditions, the groundwater conditions, the length and diameter of the tunnel drive, the depth of the tunnel, the logistics of supporting the tunnel excavation, the final use and the shape of the tunnel and appropriate risk management.

 

There are three basic types of tunnel construction in common use. Cut-and-cover tunnels are constructed in a shallow trench and then covered over. Bored tunnels are constructed in situ, without removing the ground above. Finally, a tube can be sunk into a body of water, which is called an immersed tunnel.

 

Cut-and-cover

 

Cut-and-cover construction of the Paris Métro in France

Cut-and-cover is a simple method of construction for shallow tunnels where a trench is excavated and roofed over with an overhead support system strong enough to carry the load of what is to be built above the tunnel.[9] Two basic forms of cut-and-cover tunneling are available:

 

Bottom-up method: A trench is excavated, with ground support as necessary, and the tunnel is constructed in it. The tunnel may be of in situ concrete, precast concrete, precast arches, or corrugated steel arches; in early days brickwork was used. The trench is then carefully back-filled and the surface is reinstated.

Top-down method: Side support walls and capping beams are constructed from ground level by such methods as slurry walling or contiguous bored piling. Only a shallow excavation is needed to construct the tunnel roof using precast beams or in situ concrete sitting on the walls. The surface is then reinstated except for access openings. This allows early reinstatement of roadways, services, and other surface features. Excavation then takes place under the permanent tunnel roof, and the base slab is constructed.

Shallow tunnels are often of the cut-and-cover type (if under water, of the immersed-tube type), while deep tunnels are excavated, often using a tunnelling shield. For intermediate levels, both methods are possible.

 

Large cut-and-cover boxes are often used for underground metro stations, such as Canary Wharf tube station in London. This construction form generally has two levels, which allows economical arrangements for ticket hall, station platforms, passenger access and emergency egress, ventilation and smoke control, staff rooms, and equipment rooms. The interior of Canary Wharf station has been likened to an underground cathedral, owing to the sheer size of the excavation. This contrasts with many traditional stations on London Underground, where bored tunnels were used for stations and passenger access. Nevertheless, the original parts of the London Underground network, the Metropolitan and District Railways, were constructed using cut-and-cover. These lines pre-dated electric traction and the proximity to the surface was useful to ventilate the inevitable smoke and steam.

 

A major disadvantage of cut-and-cover is the widespread disruption generated at the surface level during construction. This, and the availability of electric traction, brought about London Underground's switch to bored tunnels at a deeper level towards the end of the 19th century.

 

Boring machines

Main article: Tunnel boring machine

 

A workman is dwarfed by the tunnel boring machine used to excavate the Gotthard Base Tunnel (Switzerland), the world's longest railway tunnel.

Tunnel boring machines (TBMs) and associated back-up systems are used to highly automate the entire tunnelling process, reducing tunnelling costs. In certain predominantly urban applications, tunnel boring is viewed as a quick and cost-effective alternative to laying surface rails and roads. Expensive compulsory purchase of buildings and land, with potentially lengthy planning inquiries, is eliminated. Disadvantages of TBMs arise from their usually large size – the difficulty of transporting the large TBM to the site of tunnel construction, or (alternatively) the high cost of assembling the TBM on-site, often within the confines of the tunnel being constructed.

 

There are a variety of TBM designs that can operate in a variety of conditions, from hard rock to soft water-bearing ground. Some types of TBMs, the bentonite slurry, and earth-pressure balance machines have pressurized compartments at the front end, allowing them to be used in difficult conditions below the water table. This pressurizes the ground ahead of the TBM cutter head to balance the water pressure. The operators work in normal air pressure behind the pressurized compartment, but may occasionally have to enter that compartment to renew or repair the cutters. This requires special precautions, such as local ground treatment or halting the TBM at a position free from water. Despite these difficulties, TBMs are now preferred over the older method of tunnelling in compressed air, with an airlock/decompression chamber some way back from the TBM, which required operators to work in high pressure and go through decompression procedures at the end of their shifts, much like deep-sea divers.

 

In February 2010, Aker Wirth delivered a TBM to Switzerland, for the expansion of the Linth–Limmern Power Stations located south of Linthal in the canton of Glarus. The borehole has a diameter of 8.03 metres (26.3 ft).[10] The four TBMs used for excavating the 57-kilometre (35 mi) Gotthard Base Tunnel, in Switzerland, had a diameter of about 9 metres (30 ft). A larger TBM was built to bore the Green Heart Tunnel (Dutch: Tunnel Groene Hart) as part of the HSL-Zuid in the Netherlands, with a diameter of 14.87 metres (48.8 ft).[11] This in turn was superseded by the Madrid M30 ringroad, Spain, and the Chong Ming tunnels in Shanghai, China. All of these machines were built at least partly by Herrenknecht. As of August 2013, the world's largest TBM was "Big Bertha", a 57.5-foot (17.5 m) diameter machine built by Hitachi Zosen Corporation, which dug the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel in Seattle, Washington (US).[12]

 

Clay-kicking

Clay-kicking is a specialized method developed in the United Kingdom of digging tunnels in strong clay-based soil structures. Unlike previous manual methods of using mattocks which relied on the soil structure to be hard, clay-kicking was relatively silent and hence did not harm soft clay-based structures. The clay-kicker lies on a plank at a 45-degree angle away from the working face and inserts a tool with a cup-like rounded end with the feet. Turning the tool manually, the kicker extracts a section of soil, which is then placed on the waste extract.

 

Used in Victorian civil engineering, the method found favor in the renewal of Britain's ancient sewerage systems, by not having to remove all property or infrastructure to create a small tunnel system. During the First World War, the system was used by Royal Engineer tunnelling companies to put mines beneath the German Empire lines. The method was virtually silent and so not susceptible to listening methods of detection.[13]

 

Shafts

 

1886 illustration showing the ventilation and drainage system of the Mersey railway tunnel

A temporary access shaft is sometimes necessary during the excavation of a tunnel. They are usually circular and go straight down until they reach the level at which the tunnel is going to be built. A shaft normally has concrete walls and is usually built to be permanent. Once the access shafts are complete, TBMs are lowered to the bottom and excavation can start. Shafts are the main entrance in and out of the tunnel until the project is completed. If a tunnel is going to be long, multiple shafts at various locations may be bored so that entrance to the tunnel is closer to the unexcavated area.[5]

 

Once construction is complete, construction access shafts are often used as ventilation shafts, and may also be used as emergency exits.

 

Sprayed concrete techniques

The New Austrian Tunnelling method (NATM)—also referred to as the Sequential Excavation Method (SEM)[14]—was developed in the 1960s. The main idea of this method is to use the geological stress of the surrounding rock mass to stabilize the tunnel, by allowing a measured relaxation and stress reassignment into the surrounding rock to prevent full loads becoming imposed on the supports. Based on geotechnical measurements, an optimal cross section is computed. The excavation is protected by a layer of sprayed concrete, commonly referred to as shotcrete. Other support measures can include steel arches, rock bolts, and mesh. Technological developments in sprayed concrete technology have resulted in steel and polypropylene fibers being added to the concrete mix to improve lining strength. This creates a natural load-bearing ring, which minimizes the rock's deformation.[14]

  

Illowra Battery utility tunnel, Port Kembla. One of many bunkers south of Sydney.

By special monitoring the NATM method is flexible, even at surprising changes of the geomechanical rock consistency during the tunneling work. The measured rock properties lead to appropriate tools for tunnel strengthening.[14]

 

Pipe jacking

Main article: Pipe jacking

In pipe jacking, hydraulic jacks are used to push specially made pipes through the ground behind a TBM or shield. This method is commonly used to create tunnels under existing structures, such as roads or railways. Tunnels constructed by pipe jacking are normally small diameter bores with a maximum size of around 3.2 metres (10 ft).

 

Box jacking

Box jacking is similar to pipe jacking, but instead of jacking tubes, a box-shaped tunnel is used. Jacked boxes can be a much larger span than a pipe jack, with the span of some box jacks in excess of 20 metres (66 ft). A cutting head is normally used at the front of the box being jacked, and spoil removal is normally by excavator from within the box. Recent developments of the Jacked Arch and Jacked deck have enabled longer and larger structures to be installed to close accuracy. The 126m long 20m clear span underpass below the high-speed rail lines at Cliffsend in Kent, UK is an example of this technique[citation needed].

 

Underwater tunnels

 

Shark tunnel at the Georgia Aquarium

Main article: Undersea tunnel

There are also several approaches to underwater tunnels, the two most common being bored tunnels or immersed tubes, examples are Bjørvika Tunnel and Marmaray. Submerged floating tunnels are a novel approach under consideration; however, no such tunnels have been constructed to date.

 

Temporary way

During construction of a tunnel it is often convenient to install a temporary railway, particularly to remove excavated spoil, often narrow gauge so that it can be double track to allow the operation of empty and loaded trains at the same time. The temporary way is replaced by the permanent way at completion, thus explaining the term "Perway".

 

Enlargement

 

A utility tunnel in Prague

The vehicles or traffic using a tunnel can outgrow it, requiring replacement or enlargement:

 

The original single line Gib Tunnel near Mittagong was replaced with a double-track tunnel, with the original tunnel used for growing mushrooms.[15][16]

The 1832 double-track mile-long tunnel from Edge Hill to Lime Street in Liverpool was near totally removed, apart from a 50-metre section at Edge Hill and a section nearer to Lime Street, as four tracks were required. The tunnel was dug out into a very deep four-track cutting, with short tunnels in places along the cutting. Train services were not interrupted as the work progressed.[17][18] There are other occurrences of tunnels being replaced by open cuts, for example, the Auburn Tunnel.

The Farnworth Tunnel in England was enlarged using a tunnel boring machine (TBM) in 2015.[19] The Rhyndaston Tunnel was enlarged using a borrowed TBM so as to be able to take ISO containers.

Tunnels can also be enlarged by lowering the floor.[20]

Open building pit

An open building pit consists of a horizontal and a vertical boundary that keeps groundwater and soil out of the pit. There are several potential alternatives and combinations for (horizontal and vertical) building pit boundaries. The most important difference with cut-and-cover is that the open building pit is muted after tunnel construction; no roof is placed.

 

Other construction methods

Drilling and blasting

Hydraulic splitter

Slurry-shield machine

Wall-cover construction method.

Variant tunnel types

Double-deck and multipurpose tunnels

 

The upper-level traffic lanes through Yerba Buena Island, part of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge

Some tunnels are double-deck, for example, the two major segments of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge (completed in 1936) are linked by a 540-foot (160 m) double-deck tunnel section through Yerba Buena Island, the largest-diameter bored tunnel in the world.[21] At construction this was a combination bidirectional rail and truck pathway on the lower deck with automobiles above, now converted to one-way road vehicle traffic on each deck.

 

In Turkey, the Eurasia Tunnel under the Bosphorus, opened in 2016, has at its core a 5.4 km (3.4 mi) two-deck road tunnel with two lanes on each deck.[22]

Additionally, in 2015 the Turkish government announced that it will build the world's first three-level tunnel, also under the Bosporus.[23] The tunnel is intended to carry both the Istanbul metro and a two-level highway, over a length of 6.5 km (4.0 mi).

 

The French A86 Duplex Tunnel in west Paris consists of two bored tunnel tubes, the eastern one of which has two levels for light motorized vehicles, over a length of 10 km (6.2 mi). Although each level offers a physical height of 2.54 m (8.3 ft), only traffic up to 2 m (6.6 ft) tall is allowed in this tunnel tube, and motorcyclists are directed to the other tube. Each level was built with a three-lane roadway, but only two lanes per level are used – the third serves as a hard shoulder within the tunnel. The A86 Duplex is Europe's longest double-deck tunnel.

 

In Shanghai, China, a 2.8 km (1.7 mi) two-tube double-deck tunnel was built starting in 2002. In each tube of the Fuxing Road Tunnel both decks are for motor vehicles. In each direction, only cars and taxis travel on the 2.6 m (8.5 ft) high two-lane upper deck, and heavier vehicles, like trucks and buses, as well as cars, may use the 4.0 m (13 ft) high single-lane lower level.[24]

 

In the Netherlands, a 2.3 km (1.4 mi) two-storey, eight-lane, cut-and-cover road tunnel under the city of Maastricht was opened in 2016.[25] Each level accommodates a full height, two by two-lane highway. The two lower tubes of the tunnel carry the A2 motorway, which originates in Amsterdam, through the city; and the two upper tubes take the N2 regional highway for local traffic.[26]

 

The Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel, is a $3.3 billion 1.76-mile (2.83 km), double-decker bored highway tunnel under Downtown Seattle. Construction began in July 2013 using "Bertha", at the time the world's largest earth pressure balance tunnel boring machine, with a 57.5-foot (17.5 m) cutterhead diameter. After several delays, tunnel boring was completed in April 2017, and the tunnel opened to traffic on February 4, 2019.

 

New York City's 63rd Street Tunnel under the East River, between the boroughs of Manhattan and Queens, was intended to carry subway trains on the upper level and Long Island Rail Road commuter trains on the lower level. Construction started in 1969,[27] and the two sides of the tunnel were bored through in 1972.[28] The upper level, used by the IND 63rd Street Line (F and ​ trains) of the New York City Subway, was not opened for passenger service until 1989.[29] The lower level, intended for commuter rail, will not see passenger service until completion of the East Side Access project, expected in late 2022.[30]

 

In the UK, the 1934 Queensway Tunnel under the River Mersey between Liverpool and Birkenhead was originally to have road vehicles running on the upper deck and trams on the lower. During construction the tram usage was cancelled. The lower section is only used for cables, pipes and emergency accident refuge enclosures.

 

Hong Kong's Lion Rock Tunnel, built in the mid 1960s, connecting New Kowloon and Sha Tin, carries a motorway but also serves as an aqueduct, featuring a gallery containing five water mains lines with diameters between 1.2m and 1.5m below the road section of the tunnel.[31]

 

Wuhan's Yangtze River Highway and Railway Tunnel is a 2.59 km two-tube double-deck tunnel under the Yangtze River completed in 2018. Each tube carries 3 lanes of local traffic on the top deck with one track Wuhan Metro Line 7 on the lower deck.[32][33][34]

 

Some tunnels have more than one purpose. The SMART Tunnel in Malaysia is the first multipurpose "Stormwater Management And Road Tunnel" in the world, created to convey both traffic and occasional flood waters in Kuala Lumpur. When necessary, floodwater is first diverted into a separate bypass tunnel located underneath the 2.5 mi (4.0 km) double-deck roadway tunnel. In this scenario, traffic continues normally. Only during heavy, prolonged rains when the threat of extreme flooding is high, the upper tunnel tube is closed off to vehicles and automated flood control gates are opened so that water can be diverted through both tunnels.[35]

 

Common utility ducts or utility tunnels carry two or more utility lines. Through co-location of different utilities in one tunnel, organizations are able to reduce the costs of building and maintaining utilities.

 

Covered passageways

 

The 19th century Dark Gate in Esztergom, Hungary

Over-bridges can sometimes be built by covering a road or river or railway with brick or steel arches, and then leveling the surface with earth. In railway parlance, a surface-level track which has been built or covered over is normally called a "covered way".

 

Snow sheds are a kind of artificial tunnel built to protect a railway from avalanches of snow. Similarly the Stanwell Park, New South Wales "steel tunnel", on the Illawarra railway line, protects the line from rockfalls.

 

Underpass

The term underpass refers to a road or railway passing under another road or railway, under an overpass. This is not strictly a tunnel.

 

Safety and security

 

The entrance to the Pont de l'Alma tunnel, the site where Diana's car hit a Fiat and then the wall. There was no proper barrier and this contributed to her death

Owing to the enclosed space of a tunnel, fires can have very serious effects on users. The main dangers are gas and smoke production, with even low concentrations of carbon monoxide being highly toxic. Fires killed 11 people in the Gotthard tunnel fire of 2001 for example, all of the victims succumbing to smoke and gas inhalation. Over 400 passengers died in the Balvano train disaster in Italy in 1944, when the locomotive halted in a long tunnel. Carbon monoxide poisoning was the main cause of death. In the Caldecott Tunnel fire of 1982, the majority of fatalities were caused by toxic smoke, rather than by the initial crash.

 

Motor vehicle tunnels usually require ventilation shafts and powered fans to remove toxic exhaust gases during routine operation.[36]

 

Rail tunnels usually require fewer air changes per hour, but still may require forced-air ventilation. Both types of tunnels often have provisions to increase ventilation under emergency conditions, such as a fire. Although there is a risk of increasing the rate of combustion through increased airflow, the primary focus is on providing breathable air to persons trapped in the tunnel, as well as firefighters.

 

Aerodynamic pressure wave produced by high speed trains entering a tunnel[37] reflects at its open ends and changes sign (compression wave-front changes to rarefaction wave-front and vice versa); When two wave-front of the same sign meets the train, significant and rapid air pressure[38] may cause aural discomfort[39] to passengers and crew. When high-speed trains exit tunnels, a loud "Tunnel boom" may occur, which can disturb residents near the mouth of the tunnel, and it is exacerbated in mountain valleys where the sound can echo.

 

When there is a parallel, separate tunnel available, airtight but unlocked emergency doors are usually provided which allow trapped personnel to escape from a smoke-filled tunnel to the parallel tube.[40]

 

Larger, heavily used tunnels, such as the Big Dig tunnel in Boston, Massachusetts, may have a dedicated 24-hour manned operations center which monitors and reports on traffic conditions, and responds to emergencies.[41] Video surveillance equipment is often used, and real-time pictures of traffic conditions for some highways may be viewable by the general public via the Internet.

 

A database of seismic damage to underground structures using 217 case histories shows the following general observations can be made regarding the seismic performance of underground structures:

 

Underground structures suffer appreciably less damage than surface structures.

Reported damage decreases with increasing over burden depth. Deep tunnels seem to be safer and less vulnerable to earthquake shaking than are shallow tunnels.

Underground facilities constructed in soils can be expected to suffer more damage compared to openings constructed in competent rock.

Lined and grouted tunnels are safer than unlined tunnels in rock. Shaking damage can be reduced by stabilizing the ground around the tunnel and by improving the contact between the lining and the surrounding ground through grouting.

Tunnels are more stable under a symmetric load, which improves ground-lining interaction. Improving the tunnel lining by placing thicker and stiffer sections without stabilizing surrounding poor ground may result in excess seismic forces in the lining. Backfilling with non-cyclically mobile material and rock-stabilizing measures may improve the safety and stability of shallow tunnels.

Damage may be related to peak ground acceleration and velocity based on the magnitude and epicentral distance of the affected earthquake.

Duration of strong-motion shaking during earthquakes is of utmost importance because it may cause fatigue failure and therefore, large deformations.

High frequency motions may explain the local spalling of rock or concrete along planes of weakness. These frequencies, which rapidly attenuate with distance, may be expected mainly at small distances from the causative fault.

Ground motion may be amplified upon incidence with a tunnel if wavelengths are between one and four times the tunnel diameter.

Damage at and near tunnel portals may be significant due to slope instability.[42]

Earthquakes are one of nature's most formidable threats. A magnitude 6.7 earthquake shook the San Fernando valley in Los Angeles in 1994. The earthquake caused extensive damage to various structures including buildings, freeway overpasses and road systems throughout the area. The National Center for Environmental Information estimates total damages to be 40 billion dollars.[43] According to an article issued by Steve Hymon of TheSource – Transportation News and Views, there was no serious damage sustained by the LA subway system. Metro, the owner of the LA subway system, issued a statement through their engineering staff about the design and consideration that goes into a tunnel system. Engineers and architects perform extensive analysis as to how hard they expect earthquakes to hit that area. All of this goes into the overall design and flexibility of the tunnel.

 

This same trend of limited subway damage following an earthquake can be seen in many other places. In 1985 a magnitude 8.1 earthquake shook Mexico City; there was no damage to the subway system, and in fact the subway systems served as a lifeline for emergency personnel and evacuations. A magnitude 7.2 ripped through Kobe Japan in 1995, leaving no damage to the tunnels themselves. Entry portals sustained minor damages, however these damages were attributed to inadequate earthquake design that originated from the original construction date of 1965. In 2010 a magnitude 8.8, massive by any scale, afflicted Chile. Entrance stations to subway systems suffered minor damages, and the subway system was down for the rest of the day. By the next afternoon, the subway system was operational again.[44]

 

Examples

 

This section may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. The specific problem is: just a random list Please help improve this section if you can. (December 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

In history

 

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (March 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

See also: History of rapid transit

 

The three eastern portals of Liverpool Edge Hill tunnels, built into a hand dug deep cutting. The left tunnel with tracks is the short 1846 second Crown Street Tunnel, still used for shunting; next on the right partially hidden by undergrowth is the 2.03 km (1.26 mi) 1829 disused Wapping Tunnel, to the right again hidden by undergrowth, is the original short disused 1829 Crown Street Tunnel.

 

A short section remains of the 1890 Edge Hill to Lime Street tunnel in Liverpool. This and a short section of the original tunnel nearer to Lime Street, are the oldest rail tunnels in the world still in active use.

 

The 1,659-foot (506 m) Donner Pass Summit Tunnel (#6) was in service from 1868 to 1993.

 

Southern portal of the 1791 Dudley canal tunnel in England

 

Liverpool Lime Street Approach. The original two track tunnel was removed to create a deep cutting. Some of the road bridges seen across the cutting are solid rock and in effect are a series of short tunnels.

 

A late 19th-century pneumatic rock-drilling machine, invented by Germain Sommeiller and used to drill the first large tunnels through the Alps.

 

Small operational brick tunnel in France

The history of ancient tunnels and tunneling in the world is reviewed in various sources which include many examples of these structures that were built for different purposes.[45][46] Some well known ancient and modern tunnels are briefly introduced below:

 

The qanat or kareez of Persia are water management systems used to provide a reliable supply of water to human settlements or for irrigation in hot, arid and semi-arid climates. The deepest known qanat is in the Iranian city of Gonabad, which after 2700 years, still provides drinking and agricultural water to nearly 40,000 people. Its main well depth is more than 360 m (1,180 ft), and its length is 45 km (28 mi).[47]

The Siloam Tunnel was built before 701 BCE for a reliable supply of water, to withstand siege attacks.

The Eupalinian aqueduct on the island of Samos (North Aegean, Greece) was built in 520 BCE by the ancient Greek engineer Eupalinos of Megara under a contract with the local community. Eupalinos organised the work so that the tunnel was begun from both sides of Mount Kastro. The two teams advanced simultaneously and met in the middle with excellent accuracy, something that was extremely difficult in that time. The aqueduct was of utmost defensive importance, since it ran underground, and it was not easily found by an enemy who could otherwise cut off the water supply to Pythagoreion, the ancient capital of Samos. The tunnel's existence was recorded by Herodotus (as was the mole and harbour, and the third wonder of the island, the great temple to Hera, thought by many to be the largest in the Greek world). The precise location of the tunnel was only re-established in the 19th century by German archaeologists. The tunnel proper is 1,030 m long (3,380 ft) and visitors can still enter it.

One of the first known drainage and sewage networks in form of tunnels was constructed at Persepolis in Iran at the same time as the construction of its foundation in 518 BCE. In most places the network was dug in the sound rock of the mountain and then covered by large pieces of rock and stone followed by earth and piles of rubble to level the ground. During investigations and surveys, long sections of similar rock tunnels extending beneath the palace area were traced by Herzfeld and later by Schmidt and their archeological teams.[48]

The Via Flaminia, an important Roman road, penetrated the Furlo pass in the Apennines through a tunnel which emperor Vespasian had ordered built in 76–77 CE. A modern road, the SS 3 Flaminia, still uses this tunnel, which had a precursor dating back to the 3rd century BCE; remnants of this earlier tunnel (one of the first road tunnels) are also still visible.

The world's oldest tunnel traversing under a water body is claimed[49] to be the Terelek kaya tüneli under Kızıl River, a little south of the towns of Boyabat and Durağan in Turkey, just downstream from where Kizil River joins its tributary Gökırmak. The tunnel is presently under a narrow part of a lake formed by a dam some kilometers further downstream. Estimated to have been built more than 2000 years ago, possibly by the same civilization that also built the royal tombs in a rock face nearby, it is assumed to have had a defensive purpose.

Sapperton Canal Tunnel on the Thames and Severn Canal in England, dug through hills, which opened in 1789, was 3.5 km (2.2 mi) long and allowed boat transport of coal and other goods. Above it the Sapperton Long Tunnel was constructed which carries the "Golden Valley" railway line between Swindon and Gloucester.

The 1791 Dudley canal tunnel is on the Dudley Canal, in Dudley, England. The tunnel is 1.83 miles (2.9 km) long. Closed in 1962 the tunnel was reopened in 1973. The series of tunnels was extended in 1984 and 1989.[50]

Fritchley Tunnel, constructed in 1793 in Derbyshire by the Butterley Company to transport limestone to its ironworks factory. The Butterley company engineered and built its own railway a victim of the depression the company closed after 219 years in 2009. The tunnel is the world's oldest railway tunnel traversed by rail wagons using gravity and horse haulage. The railway was converted to steam locomotion in 1813 using a Steam Horse locomotive engineered and built by the Butterley company, however reverted to horses. Steam trains used the tunnel continuously from the 1840s when the railway was converted to a narrow gauge. The line closed in 1933. In the Second World War, the tunnel was used as an air raid shelter. Sealed up in 1977 it was rediscovered in 2013 and inspected. The tunnel was resealed to preserved the construction as it was designated an ancient monument.[51][52]

The 1794 Butterley canal tunnel canal tunnel is 3,083 yards (2,819m) in length on the Cromford Canal in Ripley, Derbyshire, England. The tunnel was built simultaneously with the 1773 Fritchley railway tunnel. The tunnel partially collapsed in 1900 splitting the Cromford Canal, and has not been used since. The Friends of Cromford Canal, a group of volunteers, are working at fully restoring the Cromford Canal and the Butterley Tunnel.[53]

The 1796 Stoddart Tunnel in Chapel-en-le-Frith in Derbyshire is reputed to be the oldest rail tunnel in the world. The rail wagons were originally horse-drawn.

Derby Tunnels in Salem, Massachusetts were built in 1801 to smuggle imports affected by President Thomas Jefferson's new customs duties. Jefferson had ordered local militias to help the Custom House in each port collect these dues, but the smugglers, led by Elias Derby, hired the Salem militia to dig the tunnels and hide the spoil. The tunnels ran 3 miles connecting the wharfs in town to an underground train station[citation needed]. Along the way they connected prominent businessmen and politicians homes to their stores, bank, and museums. Members of the Salem Commons Fund hid the tunnels behind a project to fill in the ponds and grade the local common. Tunnel dirt was hidden in those ponds and was used to fill in rivers to create new wharfs to connect the tunnels to. Many politicians were involved including a Superior Court Justice, a Secretary of the Navy, and many Senators in the Federalist Party.[citation needed]

A tunnel was created for the first true steam locomotive, from Penydarren to Abercynon. The Penydarren locomotive was built by Richard Trevithick. The locomotive made the historic journey from Penydarren to Abercynon in 1804. Part of this tunnel can still be seen at Pentrebach, Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. This is arguably the oldest railway tunnel in the world, dedicated only to self-propelled steam engines on rails.

The Montgomery Bell Tunnel in Tennessee, an 88 m long (289 ft) water diversion tunnel, 4.50 m × 2.45 m high (14.8 ft × 8.0 ft), to power a water wheel, was built by slave labour in 1819, being the first full-scale tunnel in North America.

Bourne's Tunnel, Rainhill, near Liverpool, England. 0.0321 km (105 ft) long. Built in the late 1820s, the exact date is unknown, however probably built in 1828 or 1829. This is the first tunnel in the world constructed under a railway line. The construction of the Liverpool to Manchester Railway ran over a horse-drawn tramway that ran from the Sutton collieries to the Liverpool-Warrington turnpike road. A tunnel was bored under the railway for the tramway. As the railway was being constructed the tunnel was made operational, opening prior to the Liverpool tunnels on the Liverpool to Manchester line. The tunnel was made redundant in 1844 when the tramway was dismantled.[54]

Crown Street station, Liverpool, England, 1829. Built by George Stephenson, a single track railway tunnel 266 m long (873 ft), was bored from Edge Hill to Crown Street to serve the world's first intercity passenger railway terminus station. The station was abandoned in 1836 being too far from Liverpool city centre, with the area converted for freight use. Closed down in 1972, the tunnel is disused. However it is the oldest passenger rail tunnel running under streets in the world.[55][56]

The 1829 Wapping Tunnel in Liverpool, England at 2.03 km (1.26 mi) long on a twin track railway, was the first rail tunnel bored under a metropolis. The tunnel's path is from Edge Hill in the east of the city to Wapping Dock in the south end Liverpool docks. The tunnel was used only for freight terminating at the Park Lane goods terminal. Currently disused since 1972, the tunnel was to be a part of the Merseyrail metro network, with work started and abandoned because of costs. The tunnel is in excellent condition and is still being considered for reuse by Merseyrail, maybe with an underground station cut into the tunnel for Liverpool university. The river portal is opposite the new King's Dock Liverpool Arena being an ideal location for a serving station. If reused the tunnel will be the oldest used underground rail tunnel in the world and oldest section of any underground metro system.[56][57][58]

1832, Lime Street railway station tunnel, Liverpool. A two track rail tunnel, 1.811 km (1.125 mi) long was bored under the metropolis from Edge Hill in the east of the city to Lime Street in Liverpool's city centre. The tunnel was in use from 1832 being used to transport building materials to the new Lime St station while under construction. The station and tunnel was opened to passengers in 1836. In the 1880s the tunnel was converted to a deep cutting, open to the atmosphere, being four tracks wide. This is the only occurrence of a major tunnel being removed. Two short sections of the original tunnel still exist at Edge Hill station and further towards Lime Street, giving the two tunnels the distinction of being the oldest rail tunnels in the world still in use, and the oldest in use under streets.[59] Over time a 525 m (0.326 mi) section of the deep cutting has been converted back into tunnel due to sections having buildings built over.

Box Tunnel in England, which opened in 1841, was the longest railway tunnel in the world at the time of construction. It was dug by hand, and has a length of 2.9 km (1.8 mi).

The 1.1 km (0.68 mi) 1842 Prince of Wales Tunnel, in Shildon near Darlington, England, is the oldest sizeable tunnel in the world still in use under a settlement.

The Victoria Tunnel Newcastle opened in 1842, is a 2.4 mile subterranean wagonway with a maximum depth of 85 feet (26 m) that drops 222 feet (68 m) from entrance to exit. The tunnel runs under Newcastle upon Tyne, England, and originally exited at the River Tyne. It remains largely intact. Originally designed to carry coal from Spital Tongues to the river, in WW2 part of the tunnel was used as a shelter. Under the management of a charitable foundation called the Ouseburn Trust it is currently used for heritage tours.

The Thames Tunnel, built by Marc Isambard Brunel and his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel opened in 1843, was the first tunnel (after Terelek) traversing under a water body, and the first to be built using a tunnelling shield. Originally used as a foot-tunnel, the tunnel was converted to a railway tunnel in 1869 and was a part of the East London Line of the London Underground until 2007. It was the oldest section of the network, although not the oldest purpose built rail section. From 2010 the tunnel became a part of the London Overground network.

The 3.34 km (2.08 mi) Victoria Tunnel/Waterloo Tunnel in Liverpool, England, was bored under a metropolis opening in 1848. The tunnel was initially used only for rail freight serving the Waterloo Freight terminal, and later freight and passengers serving the Liverpool ship liner terminal. The tunnel's path is from Edge Hill in the east of the city to the north end Liverpool docks at Waterloo Dock. The tunnel is split into two tunnels with a short open air cutting linking the two. The cutting is where the cable hauled trains from Edge Hill were hitched and unhitched. The two tunnels are effectively one on the same centre line and are regarded as one. However, as initially the 2,375 m (1.476 mi) long Victoria section was originally cable hauled and the shorter 862 m (943 yd) Waterloo section was locomotive hauled, two separate names were given, the short section was named the Waterloo Tunnel. In 1895 the two tunnels were converted to locomotive haulage. Used until 1972, the tunnel is still in excellent condition. A short section of the Victoria tunnel at Edge Hill is still used for shunting trains. The tunnel is being considered for reuse by the Merseyrail network. Stations cut into the tunnel are being considered and also reuse by a monorail system from the proposed Liverpool Waters redevelopment of Liverpool's Central Docks has been proposed.[60][61]

The vertex tunnel of the Semmering railway, the first Alpine tunnel, was opened in 1848 and was 1.431 km (0.889 mi) long. It connected rail traffic between Vienna, the capital of Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Trieste, its port.

The Giovi Rail Tunnel through the Appennini Mounts opened in 1854, linking the capital city of the Kingdom of Sardinia, Turin, to its port, Genoa. The tunnel was 3.25 km (2.02 mi) long.

The oldest underground sections of the London Underground were built using the cut-and-cover method in the 1860s, and opened in January 1863. What are now the Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City and Circle lines were the first to prove the success of a metro or subway system.

On 18 June 1868, the Central Pacific Railroad's 1,659-foot (506 m) Summit Tunnel (Tunnel #6) at Donner Pass in the California Sierra Nevada mountains was opened, permitting the establishment of the commercial mass transportation of passengers and freight over the Sierras for the first time. It remained in daily use until 1993, when the Southern Pacific Railroad closed it and transferred all rail traffic through the 10,322-foot (3,146 m) long Tunnel #41 (a.k.a. "The Big Hole") built a mile to the south in 1925.

In 1870, after fourteen years of works, the Fréjus Rail Tunnel was completed between France and Italy, being the second-oldest Alpine tunnel, 13.7 km (8.5 mi) long. At that time it was the longest in the world.

The third Alpine tunnel, the Gotthard Rail Tunnel, between northern and southern Switzerland, opened in 1882 and was the longest rail tunnel in the world, measuring 15 km (9.3 mi).

The 1882 Col de Tende Road Tunnel, at 3.182 km (1.977 mi) long, was one of the first long road tunnels under a pass, running between France and Italy.

As the last bit is drilled, on 26 October 2017, Ryfast becomes the longest undersea road tunnel with its 14.3 km length surpassing that of the tunnel under Tokyo Bay, Japan (9,583 m.), and previously the Shanghai Yangtze River Tunnel (8,950 m.).[62] The tunnel is projected to open for use in 2019.

The Mersey Railway tunnel opened in 1886, running from Liverpool to Birkenhead under the River Mersey. The Mersey Railway was the world's first deep-level underground railway. By 1892 the extensions on land from Birkenhead Park station to Liverpool Central Low level station gave a tunnel 3.12 mi (5.02 km) in length. The under river section is 0.75 mi (1.21 km) in length, and was the longest underwater tunnel in world in January 1886.[63][64]

The rail Severn Tunnel was opened in late 1886, at 7.008 km (4.355 mi) long, although only 3.62 km (2.25 mi) of the tunnel is actually under the River Severn. The tunnel replaced the Mersey Railway tunnel's longest under water record, which was held for less than a year.

James Greathead, in constructing the City & South London Railway tunnel beneath the Thames, opened in 1890, brought together three key elements of tunnel construction under water: 1) shield method of excavation; 2) permanent cast iron tunnel lining; 3) construction in a compressed air environment to inhibit water flowing through soft ground material into the tunnel heading.[65]

Built in sections between 1890 and 1939, the section of London Underground's Northern line from Morden to East Finchley via Bank was the longest railway tunnel in the world at 27.8 km (17.3 mi) in length.

St. Clair Tunnel, also opened later in 1890, linked the elements of the Greathead tunnels on a larger scale.[65]

In 1906 the fourth Alpine tunnel opened, the Simplon Tunnel, between Switzerland and Italy. It is 19.8 km (12.3 mi) long, and was the longest tunnel in the world until 1982. It was also the deepest tunnel in the world, with a maximum rock overlay of approximately 2,150 m (7,050 ft).

The 1927 Holland Tunnel was the first underwater tunnel designed for automobiles. The construction required a novel ventilation system.

In 1945 the Delaware Aqueduct tunnel was completed, supplying water to New York City in the US. At 137 km (85 mi) it is the longest tunnel in the world.

In 1988 the 53.850 km (33.461 mi) long Seikan Tunnel in Japan was completed under the Tsugaru Strait, linking the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido. It was longest railway tunnel in the world at that time.

Longest

Main article: List of longest tunnels

 

The Gotthard Base Tunnel is the first flat route through a major mountain range.

The Thirlmere Aqueduct in North West England, United Kingdom is sometimes considered the longest tunnel, of any type, in the world at 154 km (96 mi), though the aqueduct's tunnel section is not continuous.[dubious – discuss]

The Dahuofang Water Tunnel in China, opened in 2009, is the third longest water tunnel in the world at 85.3 km (53.0 mi) length.

The Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland, opened in 2016, is the longest and deepest railway tunnel in the world at 57.1 km (35.5 mi) length and 2,450 m (8,040 ft) maximum depth below the Gotthard Massif. It provides a flat transit route between the North and South of Europe under the Swiss Alps, at a maximum elevation of 549 m (1,801 ft).

The Seikan Tunnel in Japan connects the main island of Honshu with the northern island of Hokkaido by rail. It is 53.9-kilometre (33.5 mi) long, of which 23.3 km (14.5 mi) are crossing the Tsugaru Strait undersea.

The Channel Tunnel crosses the English Channel between France and the United Kingdom. It has a total length of 50 km (31 mi), of which 39 km (24 mi) are the world's longest undersea tunnel section.

The Lötschberg Base Tunnel in Switzerland was the longest land rail tunnel, with a length of 34.5 km (21.4 mi), from its inauguration in 2007 until the completion of the Gotthard Base Tunnel in 2016.

The Lærdal Tunnel in Norway from Lærdal to Aurland is the world's longest road tunnel, intended for cars and similar vehicles, at 24.5 km (15.2 mi).

The Zhongnanshan Tunnel in People's Republic of China opened in January 2007 is the world's second longest highway tunnel and the longest mountain road tunnel in Asia, at 18 km (11 mi).

The longest canal tunnel is the Rove Tunnel in France, over 7.12 km (4.42 mi) long.

Notable

 

The Big Dig road vehicle tunnel in Boston, USA

 

The Gerrards Cross tunnel in England, completed in 2010. Looking west towards the station in March 2005, showing the extent of construction three months before a small section collapsed

 

The eastern portal of the abandoned Sideling Hill Tunnel, Pennsylvania, USA in 2009

The Moffat Tunnel, opened in 1928, passes under the Continental Divide of the Americas in Colorado. The tunnel is 10.0 km (6.2 mi) long and at an elevation of 2,816 m (9,239 ft) is the highest active railroad tunnel in the U.S. (The inactive Tennessee Pass Line and the historic Alpine Tunnel are higher.)

Williamson's tunnels in Liverpool, from 1804 and completed around 1840 by a wealthy eccentric, are probably the largest underground folly in the world. The tunnels were built with no functional purpose.

The Chicago freight tunnel network is the largest urban street tunnel network, comprising 97 km (60 mi) of tunnels beneath the majority of downtown Chicago streets. It operated between 1906 and 1956 as a freight network, connecting building basements and railway stations. Following a 1992 flood the network was sealed, although some parts still carry utility and communications infrastructure.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike opened in 1940 with seven tunnels, most of which were bored as part of the stillborn South Pennsylvania Railroad and giving the highway the nickname "Tunnel Highway". Four of the tunnels (Allegheny Mountain, Tuscarora Mountain, Kittatinny Mountain, and Blue Mountain) remain in active use, while the other three (Laurel Hill, Rays Hill, and Sideling Hill) were bypassed in the 1960s; the latter two tunnels are on a bypassed section of the Turnpike now commonly known as the Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike.

The Fredhälls road tunnel was opened in 1966, in Stockholm, Sweden, and the New Elbe road tunnel opened in 1975 in Hamburg, Germany. Both tunnels handle around 150,000 vehicles a day, making them two of the most trafficked tunnels in the world.

The Honningsvåg Tunnel (4.443 km (2.76 mi) long) opened in 1999 on European route E69 in Norway as the world's northernmost road tunnel, except for mines (which exist on Svalbard).

The Central Artery road tunnel in Boston, Massachusetts, is a part of the larger Big Dig completed around 2007, and carries approximately 200,000 vehicles/day under the city along Interstate 93, US Route 1, and Massachusetts Route 3, which share a concurrency through the tunnels. The Big Dig replaced Boston's old badly deteriorated I-93 elevated highway.

The Stormwater Management And Road Tunnel or SMART Tunnel, is a combined storm drainage and road structure opened in 2007 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The 9.7 km (6.0 mi) tunnel is the longest stormwater drainage tunnel in South East Asia and second longest in Asia. The facility can be operated as a simultaneous traffic and stormwater passage, or dedicated exclusively to stormwater when necessary.

The Eiksund Tunnel[66] on national road Rv 653 in Norway is the world's deepest subsea road tunnel, measuring 7.776 km (4.832 mi) long, with deepest point at −287 m (−942 ft) below the sea level, opened in February 2008.

Gerrards Cross railway tunnel, in England, opened in 2010, is notable in that it converted an existing railway cutting into a tunnel to create ground to build a supermarket over the tunnel. The railway in the cutting was first opened around 1906, stretching over 104 years to complete a railway tunnel. The tunnel was built using the cover method with craned in prefabricated forms in order to keep the busy railway operating. A branch of the Tesco supermarket chain occupies the newly created ground above the railway tunnel, with an adjacent existing railway station at the end of the tunnel. During construction, a portion of the tunnel collapsed when soil cover was added. The prefabricated forms were covered with a layer of reinforced concrete after the collapse.[67]

The Fenghuoshan tunnel, completed in 2005 on the Qinghai-Tibet railway is the world's highest railway tunnel, about 4.905 km (3.05 mi) above sea level and 1,338 m (0.831 mi) long.

The La Linea Tunnel in Colombia, 2016, is the longest, 8.58 km (5.33 mi), mountain tunnel in South America. It crosses beneath a mountain at 2,500 m (8,202.1 ft) above sea level with six traffic lanes, and it has a parallel emergency tunnel. The tunnel is subject to serious groundwater pressure. The tunnel will link Bogotá and its urban area with the coffee-growing region, and with the main port on the Colombian Pacific coast.

The Chicago Deep Tunnel Project is a network of 175 km (109 mi) of drainage tunnels designed to reduce flooding in the Chicago area. Started in the mid-1970s, the project is due to be completed in 2029.

New York City Water Tunnel No. 3, started in 1970, has an expected completion date of 2020, and will measure more than 97 km long (60 mi).[68]

Mining

Main article: Mining

 

Tunnel formerly used for coal mining in New Taipei, Taiwan

The use of tunnels for mining is called drift mining.

 

Military use

See also: Sapper

Some tunnels are not for transport at all but rather, are fortifications, for example Mittelwerk and Cheyenne Mountain Complex. Excavation techniques, as well as the construction of underground bunkers and other habitable areas, are often associated with military use during armed conflict, or civilian responses to threat of attack. Another use for tunnels was for the storage of chemical weapons[69][70] [2].

 

Secret tunnels

Main articles: Secret passage and Smuggling tunnel

 

Door to a compartment where runaway slaves would sleep, on the Underground Railroad

Secret tunnels have given entrance to or escape from an area, such as the Cu Chi Tunnels or the smuggling tunnels in the Gaza Strip which connect it to Egypt. Although the Underground Railroad network used to transport escaped slaves was "underground" mostly in the sense of secrecy, hidden tunnels were occasionally used. Secret tunnels were also used during the Cold War, under the Berlin Wall and elsewhere, to smuggle refugees, and for espionage.

 

Smugglers use secret tunnels to transport or store contraband, such as illegal drugs and weapons. Elaborately engineered 1,000-foot (300 m) tunnels built to smuggle drugs across the Mexico-US border were estimated to require up to 9 months to complete,

Among the many amazing things at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin is the Ishtar Gate from the ancient City of Babylon. The original gate was constructed in about 575 BC by order of King Nebuchadnezzar II. What you see today at the Museum is a reconstruction of the original gate, assembled from tens of thousands of fragments uncovered by German archaeologists during excavations which started in 1899. The outbreak of World War I stopped the excavation work, and the 900 crates of fragments ended up being shipped to the University of Porto in Portugal. Finally shipped to the Pergamon in 1926, these pieces were fit together like a giant jigsaw puzzle, with missing pieces replicated in the original style and materials. Exhibited to the public starting in 1930, and somehow surviving the destruction in Berlin during World War II, it's an awe-inspiring sight.

 

More on the Ishtar Gate and the fascinating story of the original site in what is today Iraq, see: madainproject.com/ishtar_gate

This is Islam's fourth most holiest site

  

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosque_of_Uqba

  

The Great Mosque of Kairouan (جامع القيروان الأكبر), also known as the Mosque of Uqba (Arabic: جامع عقبة‎), is one of the most important mosques in Tunisia, situated in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Kairouan.

Built by the Arab general Uqba ibn Nafi from 670 AD (the year 50 according to the Islamic calendar) at the founding of the city of Kairouan, the mosque is spread over a surface area of 9,000 square metres and it is one of the oldest places of worship in the Islamic world, as well as a model for all later mosques in the Maghreb.[1] The Great Mosque of Kairouan is one of the most impressive and largest Islamic monuments in North Africa,[2] its perimeter is almost equal to 405 metres (1,328 feet). This vast space contains a hypostyle prayer hall, a huge marble-paved courtyard and a massive square minaret. In addition to its spiritual prestige,[3] the Mosque of Uqba is one of the masterpieces of both architecture and Islamic art.[4][5][6]

Under the Aghlabids (9th century), huge works gave the mosque its present aspect.[7] The fame of the Mosque of Uqba and of the other holy sites at Kairouan helped the city to develop and repopulate increasingly. The university, consisting of scholars who taught in the mosque, was a centre of education both in Islamic thought and in the secular sciences.[8] Its role can be compared to that of the University of Paris in the Middle Ages.[9] With the decline of the city of Kairouan from the mid 11th century, the centre of intellectual thought moved to the University of Ez-Zitouna in Tunis.

  

Location and general aspect

  

Located in the north-east of the medina of Kairouan, the mosque is in the intramural district of Houmat al-Jami (literally "area of the Great Mosque").[11] This location corresponded originally to the heart of the urban fabric of the city founded by Uqba ibn Nafi.

But because of the specific nature of the land, crossed by several tributaries of the wadis, the urban development of the city stretched southwards. Then there are the upheavals of Kairouan following Hilalian's invasions in 449 AH (or 1057 AD) and which led to the decline of the city. For all these reasons, the mosque (which occupies the same place since its founding in 670) is not any more situated in the center of the medina, and is thereby positioned on the extremity, near the walls.

The building is a vast irregular quadrilateral, longer (with 127.60 meters) from the eastern side than on the opposite side (with 125.20 meters) and less wide (with 72.70 meters) on the north side (in the middle of which stands the minaret) that the opposite side (with 78 meters). It covers a total area of 9000 m2.

From the outside, the Great Mosque of Kairouan is a fortress-like building, which required as much by its massive ocher walls of 1.90 meters thick composed of well-worked stones, courses of rubble stone and courses of baked bricks,[12] as the square angle towers measuring 4.25 meters on each side and the solid and projecting buttresses that support and bind. More than a defensive role, the buttresses and towers full serve more to enhance the stability of the mosque built on a soil subject to compaction.[13] Although a seemingly harsh, the external facades, punctuated with powerful buttresses and towering porches, some of which are surmounted by cupolas, give to the sanctuary a striking aspect characterized by majestic sobriety.

  

History

  

Evolution

  

At the foundation of Kairouan in 670, the Arab general and conqueror Uqba Ibn Nafi (himself the founder of the city) chose the site of his mosque in the center of the city, near the headquarters of the governor. Around 690, shortly after its construction, the mosque was destroyed[15] during the occupation of Kairouan by the Berbers, originally conducted by Kusaila. It was rebuilt by the Ghassanid general Hasan ibn al-Nu'man in 703.[16] With the gradual increase of the population of Kairouan and the consequent increase in the number of faithful, Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik, Umayyad Caliph in Damascus, charged his governor Bishr ibn Safwan to carry out development work in the city which include the renovation and expansion of the mosque around the years 724–728.[17] In view of its expansion, he pulled down the mosque and rebuilt it with the exception of the mihrab. It was under his auspices that the construction of the minaret began.[18] In 774, a new reconstruction accompanied by modifications and embellishments[19] took place under the direction of the Abbasid governor Yazid Ibn Hatim.[20]

Plan architect of the building.

  

Under the rule of Aghlabid sovereigns, Kairouan was at its apogee, and the mosque profited from this period of stability and prosperity. In 836, Ziadet-Allah I reconstructed the mosque once more:[21] this is when the building acquired, at least in its entirety, the appearance we see today.[22][23] At the same time, the mihrab's ribbed dome on squinches was raised.[24] Around 862-863, Abul Ibrahim enlarged the oratory, with three bays to the north, and added the cupola over the arched portico which precedes the prayer hall.[25] In 875 Ibrahim II built another three bays, thereby reducing the size of the courtyard which was further limited on the three other sides by the addition of double galleries.[26]

The current state of the mosque can be traced back to the reign of Aghlabids—no element is earlier than the ninth century besides the mihrab—except for some partial restorations and a few later additions made in 1025 during the reign of Zirids,[27] 1248 and 1293-1294 under the reign of Hafsids,[28] 1618 at the time of mouradites beys,[29] in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In 1967, major restoration works, executed during five years and conducted under the direction of the National Institute of Archeology and Art, were achieved throughout the monument, and were ended with an official reopening of the mosque during the celebration of Mawlid of 1972.[30]

  

Host stories

  

Several centuries after its founding, the Great Mosque of Kairouan is the subject of numerous descriptions by Arab historians and geographers in the Middle Ages. The stories concern mainly the different phases of construction and expansion of the sanctuary, and the successive contributions of many princes to the interior decoration (mihrab, minbar, ceilings, etc.). Among the authors who have written on the subject and whose stories have survived[31] are Al-Bakri (Andalusian geographer and historian who died in 1094 and who devoted a sufficiently detailed account of the history of the mosque in his book Description of Septentrional Africa), Al-Nuwayri (historian who died in Egypt, 1332) and Ibn Nagi (scholar and historian of Kairouan who died around 1435).

On additions and embellishments made to the building by the Aghlabid sovereign Abul Ibrahim, Ibn Nagi gives the following account :

« He built in the mosque of Kairouan the cupola that rises over the entrance to the central nave, together with the two colonnades which flank it from both sides, and the galleries were paved by him. He then made the mihrab. »[22]

  

Among the Western travelers, poets and writers who visited Kairouan, some of them leave impressions and testimonies sometimes tinged with emotion or admiration on the mosque. From the eighteenth century, the French doctor and naturalist John Andrew Peyssonnel, conducting a study trip to 1724, during the reign of sovereign Al-Husayn Bey I, underlines the reputation of the mosque as a deemed center of religious and secular studies :

« The Great Mosque is dedicated to Uqba, where there is a famous college where we will study the remotest corners of this kingdom : are taught reading and writing of Arabic grammar, laws and religion. There are large rents for the maintenance of teachers. »[32]

At the same time,the doctor and Anglican priest Thomas Shaw (1692–1751),[33] touring the Tunis Regency and passes through Kairouan in 1727, described the mosque as that : " which is considered the most beautiful and the most sacred of Berberian territories ", evoking for example : " an almost unbelievable number of granite columns ".[34]

At the end of the nineteenth century, the French writer Guy de Maupassant expresses in his book La vie errante (The Wandering Life), his fascination with the majestic architecture of the Great Mosque of Kairouan as well as the effect created by countless columns : " The unique harmony of this temple consists in the proportion and the number of these slender shafts upholding the building, filling, peopling, and making it what it is, create its grace and greatness. Their colorful multitude gives the eye the impression of unlimited ".[35] Early in the twentieth century, the Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke describes his admiration for the impressive minaret :

« Is there a more beautiful than this still preserved old tower, the minaret, in Islamic architecture ? In the history of Art, its three-storey minaret is considered such a masterpiece and a model among the most prestigious monuments of Muslim architecture. »

  

Architecture and decoration

  

Exterior

  

Enclosure

  

Today, the enclosure of the Great Mosque of Kairouan is pierced by nine gates (six opening on the courtyard, two opening on the prayer hall and a ninth allows access to the maqsura) some of them, such as Bab Al-Ma (Gate of water) located on the western facade, are preceded by salient porches flanked by buttresses and surmounted by ribbed domes based on square tholobate which are porting squinches with three vaults.[12][37] However, Arab geographers and historians of the Middle Ages Al-Muqaddasi and Al-Bakri reported the existence, around the tenth and eleventh centuries, of about ten gates named differently from today. This reflects the fact that, unlike the rest of the mosque, the enclosure has undergone significant changes to ensure the stability of the building (adding many buttresses). Thus, some entries have been sealed, while others were kept.[12]

During the thirteenth century, new gates were opened, the most remarkable, Bab Lalla Rihana dated from 1293, is located on the eastern wall of the enclosure.[12] The monumental entrance, work of the Hafsid sovereign Abu Hafs `Umar ibn Yahya (reign from 1284 to 1295),[38] is entered in a salient square, flanked by ancient columns supporting Horseshoe arches and covered by a dome on squinches.[12] The front facade of the porch has a large horseshoe arch relied on two marble columns and surmounted by a frieze adorned with a blind arcade, all crowned by serrated merlons (in a sawtooth arrangement).[39] Despite its construction at the end of the thirteenth century, Bab Lalla Rihana blends well with all of the building mainly dating from the ninth century.[39]

Enclosure and gates of the Mosque of Uqba

  

Courtyard

  

The courtyard is a vast trapezoidal area whose interior dimensions are approximately 65 by 50 meters.[40] It is surrounded on all its four sides by a portico with double rows of arches, opened by slightly horseshoe arches supported by columns in various marbles, in granite or in porphyry, reused from Roman, Early Christian or Byzantine monuments particularly from Carthage.[14] Access to the courtyard by six side entrances dating from the ninth and thirteenth centuries.

The portico on the south side of the courtyard, near the prayer hall, includes in its middle a large dressed stone pointed horseshoe arch which rests on ancient columns of white veined marble with Corinthian capitals. This porch of seven meters high is topped with a square base upon which rests a semi-spherical ribbed dome ; the latter is ribbed with sharp-edged ribs. The intermediary area, the dodecagonal drum of the dome, is pierced by sixteen small rectangular windows set into rounded niches.[41] The great central arch of the south portico, is flanked on each side by six rhythmically arranged horseshoe arches, which fall on twin columns backed by pillars.[42] Overall, the proportions and general layout of the facade of the south portico, with its thirteen arches of which that in the middle constitutes a sort of triumphal arch crowned with a cupola, form an ensemble with " a powerful air of majesty ", according to the French historian and sociologist Paul Sebag (1919–2004).[43]

Courtyard area and porticoes

  

Details of the courtyard

  

The combination formed by the courtyard and the galleries that surround it covers an immense area whose dimensions are about 90 meters long and 72 meters in width.[44] The northern part of the courtyard is paved with flagstones while the rest of the floor is almost entirely composed of white marble slabs. Near its center is an horizontal sundial, bearing an inscription in naskhi engraved on the marble dating from 1258 AH (which corresponds to the year 1843) and which is accessed by a little staircase ; it determines the time of prayers. The rainwater collector or impluvium, probably the work of the Muradid Bey Mohamed Bey al-Mouradi (1686–1696), is an ingenious system that ensures the capture (with the slightly sloping surface of the courtyard) then filtering stormwater at a central basin furnished with horseshoe arches sculpted in white marble.[45] Freed from its impurities, the water flows into an underground cistern supported by seven meters high pillars. In the courtyard there are also several water wells some of which are placed side by side. Their edges, obtained from the lower parts of ancient cored columns,[46] support the string grooves back the buckets.

  

Minaret

  

A square stone tower rises high above a wall.

  

The minaret, which occupies the center of the northern facade of the complex's enclosure, is 31.5 meters tall and is seated on a square base of 10.7 meters on each side.[47] It is located inside the enclosure and does not have direct access from the outside. It consists of three tapering levels, the last of which is topped with a small ribbed dome that was most probably built later than the rest of the tower.[48] The first and second stories are surmounted by rounded merlons which are pierced by arrowslits. The minaret served as a watchtower, as well as to call the faithful to prayer.[48]

The door giving access to the minaret is framed by a lintel and jambs made of recycled carved friezes of antique origin.[49] There are stone blocks from the Roman period that bear Latin inscriptions. Their use probably dates to the work done under the Umayyad governor Bishr ibn Safwan in about 725 AD, and they have been reused at the base of the tower.[49] The greater part of the minaret dates from the time of the Aghlabid princes in the ninth century. It consists of regular layers of carefully cut rubble stone, thus giving the work a stylistically admirable homogeneity and unity.[50]

The interior includes a staircase of 129 steps, surmounted by a barrel vault, which gives access to the terraces and the first tier of the minaret. The courtyard facade (or south facade) of the tower is pierced with windows that provide light and ventilation,[51] while the other three facades—facing north, east and west—are pierced with small openings in the form of arrowslits.[47] The minaret, in its present aspect, dates largely from the early ninth century, about 836 AD. It is the oldest minaret in the Muslim world,[52][53] and it is also the world's oldest minaret still standing.[54]

Due to its age and its architectural features, the minaret of the Great Mosque of Kairouan is the prototype for all the minarets of the western Islamic world : it served as a model in both North Africa and in Andalusia.[55] Despite its massive form and austere decoration, it nevertheless presents a harmonious structure and a majestic appearance.[51][56]

Minaret

  

Domes

  

The Mosque has several domes, the largest being over the mihrab and the entrance to the prayer hall from the courtyard. The dome of the mihrab is based on an octagonal drum with slightly concave sides, raised on a square base, decorated on each of its three southern, Easter and western faces with five flat-bottomed niches surmounted by five semi-circular arches,[24][57] the niche in the middle is cut by a lobed oculus enrolled in a circular frame. This dome, whose construction goes back to the first half of the ninth century (towards 836), is one of the oldest and most remarkable domes in the western Islamic world.[58]

  

Interior

  

Prayer hall

  

The prayer hall is located on the southern side of the courtyard ; and is accessed by 17 carved wooden doors. A portico with double row of arches precede the spacious prayer hall, which takes the shape of a rectangle of 70.6 meters in width and 37.5 meters depth.[59]

  

The hypostyle hall is divided into 17 aisles of eight bays, the central nave is wider, as well as the bay along the wall of the qibla.[60] They cross with right angle in front of the mihrab, this device, named "T shape", which is also found in two Iraqi mosques in Samarra (around 847) has been adopted in many North African and Andalusian mosques where it became a feature.[61]

The central nave, a sort of triumphal alley which leads to the mihrab,[62] is significantly higher and wider than the other sixteen aisles of the prayer hall. It is bordered on each side of a double row of arches rested on twin columns and surmounted by a carved plaster decoration consisting of floral and geometric patterns.[63]

Enlightened by impressive chandeliers which are applied in countless small glass lamps,[64] the nave opens into the south portico of the courtyard by a monumental delicately carved wooden door, made in 1828 under the reign of the Husainids.[65] This sumptuous door, which has four leaves richly carved with geometric motifs embossed on the bottom of foliages and interlacing stars, is decorated at the typanum by a stylized vase from which emerge winding stems and leaves.[66] The other doors of the prayer hall, some of which date from the time of the Hafsids,[67] are distinguished by their decoration which consists essentially of geometric patterns (hexagonal, octagonal, rectangular patterns, etc.).[59]

  

Columns and ceiling

  

In the prayer hall, the 414 columns of marble, granite or porphyry[68] (among more than 500 columns in the whole mosque),[69] taken from ancient sites in the country such as Sbeïtla, Carthage, Hadrumetum and Chemtou,[59] support the horseshoe arches. A legend says they could not count them without going blind.[70] The capitals resting on the column shafts offer a wide variety of shapes and styles (Corinthian, Ionic, Composite, etc..).[59] Some capitals were carved for the mosque, but others come from Roman or Byzantine buildings (dating from the second to sixth century) and were reused. According to the German archaeologist Christian Ewert, the special arrangement of reused columns and capitals surrounding the mihrab obeys to a well-defined program and would draw symbolically the plan of the Dome of the Rock.[71] The shafts of the columns are carved in marble of different colors and different backgrounds. Those in white marble come from Italy,[59] some shafts located in the area of the mihrab are in red Porphyry imported from Egypt,[72] while those made of greenish or pink marble are from quarries of Chemtou, in the north-west of current Tunisia.[59] Although the shafts are of varying heights, the columns are ingeniously arranged to support fallen arches harmoniously. The height difference is compensated by the development of variable bases, capitals and crossbeams ; a number of these crossbeams are in cedar wood.[59] The wooden rods, which usually sink to the base of the transom, connect the columns together and maintain the spacing of the arches, thus enhancing the stability of all structures which support the ceiling of the prayer hall.[73]

  

The covering of the prayer hall consists of painted ceilings decorated with vegetal motifs and two domes : one raised at the beginning of the central nave and the other in front of the mihrab. The latter, which its hemispherical cap is cut by 24 concave grooves radiating around the top,[74] is based on ridged horns shaped shell and a drum pierced by eight circular windows which are inserted between sixteen niches grouped by two.[57][75] The niches are covered with carved stone panels, finely adorned with characteristic geometric, vegetal and floral patterns of the Aghlabid decorative repertoire : shells, cusped arches, rosettes, vine-leaf, etc.[57] From the outside, the dome of the mihrab is based on an octagonal drum with slightly concave sides, raised on a square base, decorated on each of its three southern, Easter and western faces with five flat-bottomed niches surmounted by five semi-circular arches,[24][57] the niche in the middle is cut by a lobed oculus enrolled in a circular frame.

  

The painted ceilings are a unique ensemble of planks, beams and brackets, illustrating almost thousand years of the history of painting on wood in Tunisia. Wooden brackets offer a wide variety of style and decor in the shape of a crow or a grasshopper with wings or fixed, they are characterized by a setting that combines floral painted or carved, with grooves. The oldest boards date back to the Aghlabid period (ninth century) and are decorated with scrolls and rosettes on a red background consists of squares with concave sides in which are inscribed four-petaled flowers in green and blue, and those performed by the Zirid Dynasty (eleventh century) are characterized by inscriptions in black kufic writing with gold rim and the uprights of the letters end with lobed florets, all on a brown background adorned with simple floral patterns.

The boards painted under the Hafsid period (during the thirteenth century) offers a floral decor consists of white and blue arches entwined with lobed green. The latest, dated the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (mostly dating from the time of the Muradid Beys), are distinguished by an epigraphic decoration consists of long black and red texts on olive green background to those painted from 1618 to 1619, under the reign of Murad I Bey (1613-1631), while those back to the eighteenth century have inscriptions in white naskhi script on an orange background.[76]

  

Mihrab and minbar

  

Close view of the mihrab, whose current state dates from the ninth century

The mihrab, which indicates the Qibla (direction of Mecca), in front of which stands the imam during the prayer, is located in the middle of the southern wall of the prayer hall. It is formed by an oven-shaped niche framed by two marble columns and topped by a painted wooden half-cupola. The niche of the mihrab is two meters long, 4.5 meters high and 1.6 meters deep.[77]

The mosque's mihrab, whose decor is a remarkable witness of Muslim art in the early centuries of Islam, is distinguished by its harmonious composition and the quality of its ornaments. Considered as the oldest example of concave mihrab, it dates in its present state to 862-863 AD.[78]

  

Upper Part of The Mihrab

  

It is surrounded at its upper part by 139 lusterware tiles (with a metallic sheen), each one is 21.1 centimeters square and they are arranged on the diagonal in a chessboard pattern. Divided into two groups, they are dated from the beginning of the second half of the ninth century but it is not determined with certainty whether they were made in Baghdad or in Kairouan by a Baghdadi artisan, the controversy over the origin of this precious collection agitates the specialists. These tiles are mainly decorated with floral and plant motifs (stylized flowers, palm leaves and asymmetrical leaves on bottom hatch and checkered) belong to two series : one polychrome characterized by a greater richness of tones ranging from light gold to light, dark or ocher yellow, and from brick-red to brown lacquer, the other monochrome is a beautiful luster that goes from smoked gold to green gold. The coating around them is decorated with blue plant motifs dating from the eighteenth century or the first half of the nineteenth century. The horseshoe arch of the mihrab, stilted and broken at the top, rest on two columns of red marble with yellow veins, which surmounted with Byzantine style capitals that carry two crossbeams carved with floral patterns, each one is decorated with a Kufic inscription in relief.

  

Detail of the marble cladding

  

The wall of the mihrab is covered with 28 panels of white marble, carved and pierced, which have a wide variety of plant and geometric patterns including the stylized grape leaf, the flower and the shell. Behind the openwork hint, there is an oldest niche on which several assumptions were formulated. If one refers to the story of Al-Bakri, an Andalusian historian and geographer of the eleventh century, it is the mihrab which would be done by Uqba Ibn Nafi, the founder of Kairouan, whereas Lucien Golvin shares the view that it is not an old mihrab but hardly a begun construction which may serve to support marble panels and either goes back to work of Ziadet Allah I (817-838) or to those of Abul Ibrahim around the years 862-863.[79] Above the marble cladding, the mihrab niche is crowned with a half dome-shaped vault made of manchineel bentwood. Covered with a thick coating completely painted, the concavity of the arch is decorated with intertwined scrolls enveloping stylized five-lobed vine leaves, three-lobed florets and sharp clusters, all in yellow on midnight blue background.[80]

The minbar, situated on the right of the mihrab, is used by the imam during the Friday or Eids sermons, is a staircase-shaped pulpit with an upper seat, reached by eleven steps, and measuring 3.93 meters length to 3.31 meters in height. Dated from the ninth century (about 862) and erected under the reign of the sixth Aghlabid ruler Abul Ibrahim (856-863), it is made in teak wood imported from India.[81] Among all the pulpits of the Muslim world, it is certainly the oldest example of minbar still preserved today.[82] Probably made by cabinetmakers of Kairouan (some researchers also refer to Baghdad), it consists of an assembly of more than 300 finely carved wood pieces with an exceptional ornamental wealth (vegetal and geometric patterns refer to the Umayyad and Abbasid models), among which about 90 rectangular panels carved with plenty of pine cones, grape leaves, thin and flexible stems, lanceolate fruits and various geometric shapes (squares, diamonds, stars, etc.). The upper edge of the minbar ramp is adorned with a rich and graceful vegetal decoration composed of alternately arranged foliated scrolls, each one containing a spread vine-leaf and a cluster of grapes. In the early twentieth century, the minbar had a painstaking restoration. Although more than eleven centuries of existence, all panels, with the exception of nine, are originals and are in a good state of conservation, the fineness of the execution of the minbar makes it a great masterpiece of Islamic wood carving referring to Paul Sebag.[83] This old chair of the ninth century is still in its original location, next to the mihrab.

  

Maqsura

  

The maqsura, located near the minbar, consists of a fence bounding a private enclosure that allows the sovereign and his senior officials to follow the solemn prayer of Friday without mingling with the faithful. Jewel of the art of woodwork produced during the reign of the Zirid prince Al-Muizz ibn Badis and dated from the first half of the eleventh century, it is considered the oldest still in place in the Islamic world. It is a cedar wood fence finely sculpted and carved on three sides with various geometric motifs measuring 2.8 meters tall, eight meters long and six meters wide.[84] Its main adornment is a frieze that crowns calligraphy, the latter surmounted by a line of pointed openwork merlons, features an inscription in flowery kufic character carved on the background of interlacing plants. Carefully executed in relief, it represents one of the most beautiful epigraphic bands of Islamic art.[84]

The library is near located, accessible by a door which the jambs and the lintel are carved in marble, adorned with a frieze of floral decoration. The library window is marked by an elegant setting that has two columns flanking the opening, which is a horseshoe arch topped by six blind arches and crowned by a series of berms sawtooth.[85]

  

Artworks

  

The Mosque of Uqba, one of the few religious buildings of Islam has remained intact almost all of its architectural and decorative elements, is due to the richness of its repertoire which is a veritable museum of Islamic decorative art and architecture. Most of the works on which rests the reputation of the mosque are still conserved in situ while a certain number of them have joined the collections of the Raqqada National Museum of Islamic Art ; Raqqada is located about ten kilometers southwest of Kairouan.

From the library of the mosque comes a large collection of calligraphic scrolls and manuscripts, the oldest dating back to the second half of the ninth century. This valuable collection, observed from the late nineteenth century by the French orientalists Octave Houdas and René Basset who mention in their report on their scientific mission in Tunisia published in the Journal of African correspondence in 1882, comprises according to the inventory established at the time of the Hafsids (circa 1293-1294) several Qur'ans and books of fiqh that concern mainly the Maliki fiqh and its sources. These are the oldest fund of Maliki legal literature to have survived.[86]

  

Among the finest works of this series, the pages of the Blue Qur'an, currently exhibited at Raqqada National Museum of Islamic Art, from a famous Qur'an in the second half of the fourth century of the Hegira (the tenth century) most of which is preserved in Tunisia and the rest scattered in museums and private collections worldwide. Featuring kufic character suras are written in gold on vellum dyed with indigo, they are distinguished by a compact graph with no marks for vowels. The beginning of each surah is indicated by a band consisting of a golden stylized leafy foliage, dotted with red and blue, while the verses are separated by silver rosettes. Other scrolls and calligraphic Qur'ans, as that known as the Hadinah's Qur'an, copied and illuminated by the calligrapher Ali ibn Ahmad al-Warraq for the governess of the Zirid prince Al-Muizz ibn Badis at about 1020 AD, were also in the library before being transferred to Raqqada museum. This collection is a unique source for studying the history and evolution of calligraphy of medieval manuscripts in the Maghreb, covering the period from the ninth to the eleventh century.

Other works of art such as the crowns of light (circular chandeliers) made in cast bronze, dating from the Fatimid-Zirid period (around tenth-early eleventh century), originally belonged to the furniture of the mosque. These polycandelons, now scattered in various Tunisian museums including Raqqada, consist of three chains supporting a perforated brass plate, which has a central circular ring around which radiate 18 equidistant poles connected by many horseshoe arches and equipped for each of two landmarks flared. The three chains, connected by a suspension ring, are each fixed to the plate by an almond-shaped finial. The crowns of light are marked by Byzantine influence to which the Kairouanese artisan brought the specificities of Islamic decorative repertoire (geometric and floral motifs).[

  

Role in Muslim civilization

  

At the time of its greatest splendor, between the ninth and eleventh centuries AD, Kairouan was one of the greatest centers of Islamic civilization and its reputation as a hotbed of scholarship covered the entire Maghreb. During this period, the Great Mosque of Kairouan was both a place of prayer and a center for teaching Islamic sciences under the Maliki current. One may conceivably compare its role to that of the University of Paris during the Middle Ages.

In addition to studies on the deepening of religious thought and Maliki jurisprudence, the mosque also hosted various courses in secular subjects such as mathematics, astronomy, medicine and botany. The transmission of knowledge was assured by prominent scholars and theologians which included Sahnun ibn Sa'id and Asad ibn al-Furat, eminent jurists who contributed greatly to the dissemination of the Maliki thought, Ishaq ibn Imran and Ibn al-Jazzar in medicine, Abu Sahl al-Kairouani and Abd al-Monim al-Kindi in mathematics. Thus the mosque, headquarters of a prestigious university with a large library containing a large number of scientific and theological works, was the most remarkable intellectual and cultural center in North Africa during the ninth, tenth and eleventh centuries

This is Islam's fourth most holiest site

  

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosque_of_Uqba

  

The Great Mosque of Kairouan (جامع القيروان الأكبر), also known as the Mosque of Uqba (Arabic: جامع عقبة‎), is one of the most important mosques in Tunisia, situated in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Kairouan.

Built by the Arab general Uqba ibn Nafi from 670 AD (the year 50 according to the Islamic calendar) at the founding of the city of Kairouan, the mosque is spread over a surface area of 9,000 square metres and it is one of the oldest places of worship in the Islamic world, as well as a model for all later mosques in the Maghreb.[1] The Great Mosque of Kairouan is one of the most impressive and largest Islamic monuments in North Africa,[2] its perimeter is almost equal to 405 metres (1,328 feet). This vast space contains a hypostyle prayer hall, a huge marble-paved courtyard and a massive square minaret. In addition to its spiritual prestige,[3] the Mosque of Uqba is one of the masterpieces of both architecture and Islamic art.[4][5][6]

Under the Aghlabids (9th century), huge works gave the mosque its present aspect.[7] The fame of the Mosque of Uqba and of the other holy sites at Kairouan helped the city to develop and repopulate increasingly. The university, consisting of scholars who taught in the mosque, was a centre of education both in Islamic thought and in the secular sciences.[8] Its role can be compared to that of the University of Paris in the Middle Ages.[9] With the decline of the city of Kairouan from the mid 11th century, the centre of intellectual thought moved to the University of Ez-Zitouna in Tunis.

  

Location and general aspect

  

Located in the north-east of the medina of Kairouan, the mosque is in the intramural district of Houmat al-Jami (literally "area of the Great Mosque").[11] This location corresponded originally to the heart of the urban fabric of the city founded by Uqba ibn Nafi.

But because of the specific nature of the land, crossed by several tributaries of the wadis, the urban development of the city stretched southwards. Then there are the upheavals of Kairouan following Hilalian's invasions in 449 AH (or 1057 AD) and which led to the decline of the city. For all these reasons, the mosque (which occupies the same place since its founding in 670) is not any more situated in the center of the medina, and is thereby positioned on the extremity, near the walls.

The building is a vast irregular quadrilateral, longer (with 127.60 meters) from the eastern side than on the opposite side (with 125.20 meters) and less wide (with 72.70 meters) on the north side (in the middle of which stands the minaret) that the opposite side (with 78 meters). It covers a total area of 9000 m2.

From the outside, the Great Mosque of Kairouan is a fortress-like building, which required as much by its massive ocher walls of 1.90 meters thick composed of well-worked stones, courses of rubble stone and courses of baked bricks,[12] as the square angle towers measuring 4.25 meters on each side and the solid and projecting buttresses that support and bind. More than a defensive role, the buttresses and towers full serve more to enhance the stability of the mosque built on a soil subject to compaction.[13] Although a seemingly harsh, the external facades, punctuated with powerful buttresses and towering porches, some of which are surmounted by cupolas, give to the sanctuary a striking aspect characterized by majestic sobriety.

  

History

  

Evolution

  

At the foundation of Kairouan in 670, the Arab general and conqueror Uqba Ibn Nafi (himself the founder of the city) chose the site of his mosque in the center of the city, near the headquarters of the governor. Around 690, shortly after its construction, the mosque was destroyed[15] during the occupation of Kairouan by the Berbers, originally conducted by Kusaila. It was rebuilt by the Ghassanid general Hasan ibn al-Nu'man in 703.[16] With the gradual increase of the population of Kairouan and the consequent increase in the number of faithful, Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik, Umayyad Caliph in Damascus, charged his governor Bishr ibn Safwan to carry out development work in the city which include the renovation and expansion of the mosque around the years 724–728.[17] In view of its expansion, he pulled down the mosque and rebuilt it with the exception of the mihrab. It was under his auspices that the construction of the minaret began.[18] In 774, a new reconstruction accompanied by modifications and embellishments[19] took place under the direction of the Abbasid governor Yazid Ibn Hatim.[20]

Plan architect of the building.

  

Under the rule of Aghlabid sovereigns, Kairouan was at its apogee, and the mosque profited from this period of stability and prosperity. In 836, Ziadet-Allah I reconstructed the mosque once more:[21] this is when the building acquired, at least in its entirety, the appearance we see today.[22][23] At the same time, the mihrab's ribbed dome on squinches was raised.[24] Around 862-863, Abul Ibrahim enlarged the oratory, with three bays to the north, and added the cupola over the arched portico which precedes the prayer hall.[25] In 875 Ibrahim II built another three bays, thereby reducing the size of the courtyard which was further limited on the three other sides by the addition of double galleries.[26]

The current state of the mosque can be traced back to the reign of Aghlabids—no element is earlier than the ninth century besides the mihrab—except for some partial restorations and a few later additions made in 1025 during the reign of Zirids,[27] 1248 and 1293-1294 under the reign of Hafsids,[28] 1618 at the time of mouradites beys,[29] in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In 1967, major restoration works, executed during five years and conducted under the direction of the National Institute of Archeology and Art, were achieved throughout the monument, and were ended with an official reopening of the mosque during the celebration of Mawlid of 1972.[30]

  

Host stories

  

Several centuries after its founding, the Great Mosque of Kairouan is the subject of numerous descriptions by Arab historians and geographers in the Middle Ages. The stories concern mainly the different phases of construction and expansion of the sanctuary, and the successive contributions of many princes to the interior decoration (mihrab, minbar, ceilings, etc.). Among the authors who have written on the subject and whose stories have survived[31] are Al-Bakri (Andalusian geographer and historian who died in 1094 and who devoted a sufficiently detailed account of the history of the mosque in his book Description of Septentrional Africa), Al-Nuwayri (historian who died in Egypt, 1332) and Ibn Nagi (scholar and historian of Kairouan who died around 1435).

On additions and embellishments made to the building by the Aghlabid sovereign Abul Ibrahim, Ibn Nagi gives the following account :

« He built in the mosque of Kairouan the cupola that rises over the entrance to the central nave, together with the two colonnades which flank it from both sides, and the galleries were paved by him. He then made the mihrab. »[22]

  

Among the Western travelers, poets and writers who visited Kairouan, some of them leave impressions and testimonies sometimes tinged with emotion or admiration on the mosque. From the eighteenth century, the French doctor and naturalist John Andrew Peyssonnel, conducting a study trip to 1724, during the reign of sovereign Al-Husayn Bey I, underlines the reputation of the mosque as a deemed center of religious and secular studies :

« The Great Mosque is dedicated to Uqba, where there is a famous college where we will study the remotest corners of this kingdom : are taught reading and writing of Arabic grammar, laws and religion. There are large rents for the maintenance of teachers. »[32]

At the same time,the doctor and Anglican priest Thomas Shaw (1692–1751),[33] touring the Tunis Regency and passes through Kairouan in 1727, described the mosque as that : " which is considered the most beautiful and the most sacred of Berberian territories ", evoking for example : " an almost unbelievable number of granite columns ".[34]

At the end of the nineteenth century, the French writer Guy de Maupassant expresses in his book La vie errante (The Wandering Life), his fascination with the majestic architecture of the Great Mosque of Kairouan as well as the effect created by countless columns : " The unique harmony of this temple consists in the proportion and the number of these slender shafts upholding the building, filling, peopling, and making it what it is, create its grace and greatness. Their colorful multitude gives the eye the impression of unlimited ".[35] Early in the twentieth century, the Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke describes his admiration for the impressive minaret :

« Is there a more beautiful than this still preserved old tower, the minaret, in Islamic architecture ? In the history of Art, its three-storey minaret is considered such a masterpiece and a model among the most prestigious monuments of Muslim architecture. »

  

Architecture and decoration

  

Exterior

  

Enclosure

  

Today, the enclosure of the Great Mosque of Kairouan is pierced by nine gates (six opening on the courtyard, two opening on the prayer hall and a ninth allows access to the maqsura) some of them, such as Bab Al-Ma (Gate of water) located on the western facade, are preceded by salient porches flanked by buttresses and surmounted by ribbed domes based on square tholobate which are porting squinches with three vaults.[12][37] However, Arab geographers and historians of the Middle Ages Al-Muqaddasi and Al-Bakri reported the existence, around the tenth and eleventh centuries, of about ten gates named differently from today. This reflects the fact that, unlike the rest of the mosque, the enclosure has undergone significant changes to ensure the stability of the building (adding many buttresses). Thus, some entries have been sealed, while others were kept.[12]

During the thirteenth century, new gates were opened, the most remarkable, Bab Lalla Rihana dated from 1293, is located on the eastern wall of the enclosure.[12] The monumental entrance, work of the Hafsid sovereign Abu Hafs `Umar ibn Yahya (reign from 1284 to 1295),[38] is entered in a salient square, flanked by ancient columns supporting Horseshoe arches and covered by a dome on squinches.[12] The front facade of the porch has a large horseshoe arch relied on two marble columns and surmounted by a frieze adorned with a blind arcade, all crowned by serrated merlons (in a sawtooth arrangement).[39] Despite its construction at the end of the thirteenth century, Bab Lalla Rihana blends well with all of the building mainly dating from the ninth century.[39]

Enclosure and gates of the Mosque of Uqba

  

Courtyard

  

The courtyard is a vast trapezoidal area whose interior dimensions are approximately 65 by 50 meters.[40] It is surrounded on all its four sides by a portico with double rows of arches, opened by slightly horseshoe arches supported by columns in various marbles, in granite or in porphyry, reused from Roman, Early Christian or Byzantine monuments particularly from Carthage.[14] Access to the courtyard by six side entrances dating from the ninth and thirteenth centuries.

The portico on the south side of the courtyard, near the prayer hall, includes in its middle a large dressed stone pointed horseshoe arch which rests on ancient columns of white veined marble with Corinthian capitals. This porch of seven meters high is topped with a square base upon which rests a semi-spherical ribbed dome ; the latter is ribbed with sharp-edged ribs. The intermediary area, the dodecagonal drum of the dome, is pierced by sixteen small rectangular windows set into rounded niches.[41] The great central arch of the south portico, is flanked on each side by six rhythmically arranged horseshoe arches, which fall on twin columns backed by pillars.[42] Overall, the proportions and general layout of the facade of the south portico, with its thirteen arches of which that in the middle constitutes a sort of triumphal arch crowned with a cupola, form an ensemble with " a powerful air of majesty ", according to the French historian and sociologist Paul Sebag (1919–2004).[43]

Courtyard area and porticoes

  

Details of the courtyard

  

The combination formed by the courtyard and the galleries that surround it covers an immense area whose dimensions are about 90 meters long and 72 meters in width.[44] The northern part of the courtyard is paved with flagstones while the rest of the floor is almost entirely composed of white marble slabs. Near its center is an horizontal sundial, bearing an inscription in naskhi engraved on the marble dating from 1258 AH (which corresponds to the year 1843) and which is accessed by a little staircase ; it determines the time of prayers. The rainwater collector or impluvium, probably the work of the Muradid Bey Mohamed Bey al-Mouradi (1686–1696), is an ingenious system that ensures the capture (with the slightly sloping surface of the courtyard) then filtering stormwater at a central basin furnished with horseshoe arches sculpted in white marble.[45] Freed from its impurities, the water flows into an underground cistern supported by seven meters high pillars. In the courtyard there are also several water wells some of which are placed side by side. Their edges, obtained from the lower parts of ancient cored columns,[46] support the string grooves back the buckets.

  

Minaret

  

A square stone tower rises high above a wall.

  

The minaret, which occupies the center of the northern facade of the complex's enclosure, is 31.5 meters tall and is seated on a square base of 10.7 meters on each side.[47] It is located inside the enclosure and does not have direct access from the outside. It consists of three tapering levels, the last of which is topped with a small ribbed dome that was most probably built later than the rest of the tower.[48] The first and second stories are surmounted by rounded merlons which are pierced by arrowslits. The minaret served as a watchtower, as well as to call the faithful to prayer.[48]

The door giving access to the minaret is framed by a lintel and jambs made of recycled carved friezes of antique origin.[49] There are stone blocks from the Roman period that bear Latin inscriptions. Their use probably dates to the work done under the Umayyad governor Bishr ibn Safwan in about 725 AD, and they have been reused at the base of the tower.[49] The greater part of the minaret dates from the time of the Aghlabid princes in the ninth century. It consists of regular layers of carefully cut rubble stone, thus giving the work a stylistically admirable homogeneity and unity.[50]

The interior includes a staircase of 129 steps, surmounted by a barrel vault, which gives access to the terraces and the first tier of the minaret. The courtyard facade (or south facade) of the tower is pierced with windows that provide light and ventilation,[51] while the other three facades—facing north, east and west—are pierced with small openings in the form of arrowslits.[47] The minaret, in its present aspect, dates largely from the early ninth century, about 836 AD. It is the oldest minaret in the Muslim world,[52][53] and it is also the world's oldest minaret still standing.[54]

Due to its age and its architectural features, the minaret of the Great Mosque of Kairouan is the prototype for all the minarets of the western Islamic world : it served as a model in both North Africa and in Andalusia.[55] Despite its massive form and austere decoration, it nevertheless presents a harmonious structure and a majestic appearance.[51][56]

Minaret

  

Domes

  

The Mosque has several domes, the largest being over the mihrab and the entrance to the prayer hall from the courtyard. The dome of the mihrab is based on an octagonal drum with slightly concave sides, raised on a square base, decorated on each of its three southern, Easter and western faces with five flat-bottomed niches surmounted by five semi-circular arches,[24][57] the niche in the middle is cut by a lobed oculus enrolled in a circular frame. This dome, whose construction goes back to the first half of the ninth century (towards 836), is one of the oldest and most remarkable domes in the western Islamic world.[58]

  

Interior

  

Prayer hall

  

The prayer hall is located on the southern side of the courtyard ; and is accessed by 17 carved wooden doors. A portico with double row of arches precede the spacious prayer hall, which takes the shape of a rectangle of 70.6 meters in width and 37.5 meters depth.[59]

  

The hypostyle hall is divided into 17 aisles of eight bays, the central nave is wider, as well as the bay along the wall of the qibla.[60] They cross with right angle in front of the mihrab, this device, named "T shape", which is also found in two Iraqi mosques in Samarra (around 847) has been adopted in many North African and Andalusian mosques where it became a feature.[61]

The central nave, a sort of triumphal alley which leads to the mihrab,[62] is significantly higher and wider than the other sixteen aisles of the prayer hall. It is bordered on each side of a double row of arches rested on twin columns and surmounted by a carved plaster decoration consisting of floral and geometric patterns.[63]

Enlightened by impressive chandeliers which are applied in countless small glass lamps,[64] the nave opens into the south portico of the courtyard by a monumental delicately carved wooden door, made in 1828 under the reign of the Husainids.[65] This sumptuous door, which has four leaves richly carved with geometric motifs embossed on the bottom of foliages and interlacing stars, is decorated at the typanum by a stylized vase from which emerge winding stems and leaves.[66] The other doors of the prayer hall, some of which date from the time of the Hafsids,[67] are distinguished by their decoration which consists essentially of geometric patterns (hexagonal, octagonal, rectangular patterns, etc.).[59]

  

Columns and ceiling

  

In the prayer hall, the 414 columns of marble, granite or porphyry[68] (among more than 500 columns in the whole mosque),[69] taken from ancient sites in the country such as Sbeïtla, Carthage, Hadrumetum and Chemtou,[59] support the horseshoe arches. A legend says they could not count them without going blind.[70] The capitals resting on the column shafts offer a wide variety of shapes and styles (Corinthian, Ionic, Composite, etc..).[59] Some capitals were carved for the mosque, but others come from Roman or Byzantine buildings (dating from the second to sixth century) and were reused. According to the German archaeologist Christian Ewert, the special arrangement of reused columns and capitals surrounding the mihrab obeys to a well-defined program and would draw symbolically the plan of the Dome of the Rock.[71] The shafts of the columns are carved in marble of different colors and different backgrounds. Those in white marble come from Italy,[59] some shafts located in the area of the mihrab are in red Porphyry imported from Egypt,[72] while those made of greenish or pink marble are from quarries of Chemtou, in the north-west of current Tunisia.[59] Although the shafts are of varying heights, the columns are ingeniously arranged to support fallen arches harmoniously. The height difference is compensated by the development of variable bases, capitals and crossbeams ; a number of these crossbeams are in cedar wood.[59] The wooden rods, which usually sink to the base of the transom, connect the columns together and maintain the spacing of the arches, thus enhancing the stability of all structures which support the ceiling of the prayer hall.[73]

  

The covering of the prayer hall consists of painted ceilings decorated with vegetal motifs and two domes : one raised at the beginning of the central nave and the other in front of the mihrab. The latter, which its hemispherical cap is cut by 24 concave grooves radiating around the top,[74] is based on ridged horns shaped shell and a drum pierced by eight circular windows which are inserted between sixteen niches grouped by two.[57][75] The niches are covered with carved stone panels, finely adorned with characteristic geometric, vegetal and floral patterns of the Aghlabid decorative repertoire : shells, cusped arches, rosettes, vine-leaf, etc.[57] From the outside, the dome of the mihrab is based on an octagonal drum with slightly concave sides, raised on a square base, decorated on each of its three southern, Easter and western faces with five flat-bottomed niches surmounted by five semi-circular arches,[24][57] the niche in the middle is cut by a lobed oculus enrolled in a circular frame.

  

The painted ceilings are a unique ensemble of planks, beams and brackets, illustrating almost thousand years of the history of painting on wood in Tunisia. Wooden brackets offer a wide variety of style and decor in the shape of a crow or a grasshopper with wings or fixed, they are characterized by a setting that combines floral painted or carved, with grooves. The oldest boards date back to the Aghlabid period (ninth century) and are decorated with scrolls and rosettes on a red background consists of squares with concave sides in which are inscribed four-petaled flowers in green and blue, and those performed by the Zirid Dynasty (eleventh century) are characterized by inscriptions in black kufic writing with gold rim and the uprights of the letters end with lobed florets, all on a brown background adorned with simple floral patterns.

The boards painted under the Hafsid period (during the thirteenth century) offers a floral decor consists of white and blue arches entwined with lobed green. The latest, dated the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (mostly dating from the time of the Muradid Beys), are distinguished by an epigraphic decoration consists of long black and red texts on olive green background to those painted from 1618 to 1619, under the reign of Murad I Bey (1613-1631), while those back to the eighteenth century have inscriptions in white naskhi script on an orange background.[76]

  

Mihrab and minbar

  

Close view of the mihrab, whose current state dates from the ninth century

The mihrab, which indicates the Qibla (direction of Mecca), in front of which stands the imam during the prayer, is located in the middle of the southern wall of the prayer hall. It is formed by an oven-shaped niche framed by two marble columns and topped by a painted wooden half-cupola. The niche of the mihrab is two meters long, 4.5 meters high and 1.6 meters deep.[77]

The mosque's mihrab, whose decor is a remarkable witness of Muslim art in the early centuries of Islam, is distinguished by its harmonious composition and the quality of its ornaments. Considered as the oldest example of concave mihrab, it dates in its present state to 862-863 AD.[78]

  

Upper Part of The Mihrab

  

It is surrounded at its upper part by 139 lusterware tiles (with a metallic sheen), each one is 21.1 centimeters square and they are arranged on the diagonal in a chessboard pattern. Divided into two groups, they are dated from the beginning of the second half of the ninth century but it is not determined with certainty whether they were made in Baghdad or in Kairouan by a Baghdadi artisan, the controversy over the origin of this precious collection agitates the specialists. These tiles are mainly decorated with floral and plant motifs (stylized flowers, palm leaves and asymmetrical leaves on bottom hatch and checkered) belong to two series : one polychrome characterized by a greater richness of tones ranging from light gold to light, dark or ocher yellow, and from brick-red to brown lacquer, the other monochrome is a beautiful luster that goes from smoked gold to green gold. The coating around them is decorated with blue plant motifs dating from the eighteenth century or the first half of the nineteenth century. The horseshoe arch of the mihrab, stilted and broken at the top, rest on two columns of red marble with yellow veins, which surmounted with Byzantine style capitals that carry two crossbeams carved with floral patterns, each one is decorated with a Kufic inscription in relief.

  

Detail of the marble cladding

  

The wall of the mihrab is covered with 28 panels of white marble, carved and pierced, which have a wide variety of plant and geometric patterns including the stylized grape leaf, the flower and the shell. Behind the openwork hint, there is an oldest niche on which several assumptions were formulated. If one refers to the story of Al-Bakri, an Andalusian historian and geographer of the eleventh century, it is the mihrab which would be done by Uqba Ibn Nafi, the founder of Kairouan, whereas Lucien Golvin shares the view that it is not an old mihrab but hardly a begun construction which may serve to support marble panels and either goes back to work of Ziadet Allah I (817-838) or to those of Abul Ibrahim around the years 862-863.[79] Above the marble cladding, the mihrab niche is crowned with a half dome-shaped vault made of manchineel bentwood. Covered with a thick coating completely painted, the concavity of the arch is decorated with intertwined scrolls enveloping stylized five-lobed vine leaves, three-lobed florets and sharp clusters, all in yellow on midnight blue background.[80]

The minbar, situated on the right of the mihrab, is used by the imam during the Friday or Eids sermons, is a staircase-shaped pulpit with an upper seat, reached by eleven steps, and measuring 3.93 meters length to 3.31 meters in height. Dated from the ninth century (about 862) and erected under the reign of the sixth Aghlabid ruler Abul Ibrahim (856-863), it is made in teak wood imported from India.[81] Among all the pulpits of the Muslim world, it is certainly the oldest example of minbar still preserved today.[82] Probably made by cabinetmakers of Kairouan (some researchers also refer to Baghdad), it consists of an assembly of more than 300 finely carved wood pieces with an exceptional ornamental wealth (vegetal and geometric patterns refer to the Umayyad and Abbasid models), among which about 90 rectangular panels carved with plenty of pine cones, grape leaves, thin and flexible stems, lanceolate fruits and various geometric shapes (squares, diamonds, stars, etc.). The upper edge of the minbar ramp is adorned with a rich and graceful vegetal decoration composed of alternately arranged foliated scrolls, each one containing a spread vine-leaf and a cluster of grapes. In the early twentieth century, the minbar had a painstaking restoration. Although more than eleven centuries of existence, all panels, with the exception of nine, are originals and are in a good state of conservation, the fineness of the execution of the minbar makes it a great masterpiece of Islamic wood carving referring to Paul Sebag.[83] This old chair of the ninth century is still in its original location, next to the mihrab.

  

Maqsura

  

The maqsura, located near the minbar, consists of a fence bounding a private enclosure that allows the sovereign and his senior officials to follow the solemn prayer of Friday without mingling with the faithful. Jewel of the art of woodwork produced during the reign of the Zirid prince Al-Muizz ibn Badis and dated from the first half of the eleventh century, it is considered the oldest still in place in the Islamic world. It is a cedar wood fence finely sculpted and carved on three sides with various geometric motifs measuring 2.8 meters tall, eight meters long and six meters wide.[84] Its main adornment is a frieze that crowns calligraphy, the latter surmounted by a line of pointed openwork merlons, features an inscription in flowery kufic character carved on the background of interlacing plants. Carefully executed in relief, it represents one of the most beautiful epigraphic bands of Islamic art.[84]

The library is near located, accessible by a door which the jambs and the lintel are carved in marble, adorned with a frieze of floral decoration. The library window is marked by an elegant setting that has two columns flanking the opening, which is a horseshoe arch topped by six blind arches and crowned by a series of berms sawtooth.[85]

  

Artworks

  

The Mosque of Uqba, one of the few religious buildings of Islam has remained intact almost all of its architectural and decorative elements, is due to the richness of its repertoire which is a veritable museum of Islamic decorative art and architecture. Most of the works on which rests the reputation of the mosque are still conserved in situ while a certain number of them have joined the collections of the Raqqada National Museum of Islamic Art ; Raqqada is located about ten kilometers southwest of Kairouan.

From the library of the mosque comes a large collection of calligraphic scrolls and manuscripts, the oldest dating back to the second half of the ninth century. This valuable collection, observed from the late nineteenth century by the French orientalists Octave Houdas and René Basset who mention in their report on their scientific mission in Tunisia published in the Journal of African correspondence in 1882, comprises according to the inventory established at the time of the Hafsids (circa 1293-1294) several Qur'ans and books of fiqh that concern mainly the Maliki fiqh and its sources. These are the oldest fund of Maliki legal literature to have survived.[86]

  

Among the finest works of this series, the pages of the Blue Qur'an, currently exhibited at Raqqada National Museum of Islamic Art, from a famous Qur'an in the second half of the fourth century of the Hegira (the tenth century) most of which is preserved in Tunisia and the rest scattered in museums and private collections worldwide. Featuring kufic character suras are written in gold on vellum dyed with indigo, they are distinguished by a compact graph with no marks for vowels. The beginning of each surah is indicated by a band consisting of a golden stylized leafy foliage, dotted with red and blue, while the verses are separated by silver rosettes. Other scrolls and calligraphic Qur'ans, as that known as the Hadinah's Qur'an, copied and illuminated by the calligrapher Ali ibn Ahmad al-Warraq for the governess of the Zirid prince Al-Muizz ibn Badis at about 1020 AD, were also in the library before being transferred to Raqqada museum. This collection is a unique source for studying the history and evolution of calligraphy of medieval manuscripts in the Maghreb, covering the period from the ninth to the eleventh century.

Other works of art such as the crowns of light (circular chandeliers) made in cast bronze, dating from the Fatimid-Zirid period (around tenth-early eleventh century), originally belonged to the furniture of the mosque. These polycandelons, now scattered in various Tunisian museums including Raqqada, consist of three chains supporting a perforated brass plate, which has a central circular ring around which radiate 18 equidistant poles connected by many horseshoe arches and equipped for each of two landmarks flared. The three chains, connected by a suspension ring, are each fixed to the plate by an almond-shaped finial. The crowns of light are marked by Byzantine influence to which the Kairouanese artisan brought the specificities of Islamic decorative repertoire (geometric and floral motifs).[

  

Role in Muslim civilization

  

At the time of its greatest splendor, between the ninth and eleventh centuries AD, Kairouan was one of the greatest centers of Islamic civilization and its reputation as a hotbed of scholarship covered the entire Maghreb. During this period, the Great Mosque of Kairouan was both a place of prayer and a center for teaching Islamic sciences under the Maliki current. One may conceivably compare its role to that of the University of Paris during the Middle Ages.

In addition to studies on the deepening of religious thought and Maliki jurisprudence, the mosque also hosted various courses in secular subjects such as mathematics, astronomy, medicine and botany. The transmission of knowledge was assured by prominent scholars and theologians which included Sahnun ibn Sa'id and Asad ibn al-Furat, eminent jurists who contributed greatly to the dissemination of the Maliki thought, Ishaq ibn Imran and Ibn al-Jazzar in medicine, Abu Sahl al-Kairouani and Abd al-Monim al-Kindi in mathematics. Thus the mosque, headquarters of a prestigious university with a large library containing a large number of scientific and theological works, was the most remarkable intellectual and cultural center in North Africa during the ninth, tenth and eleventh centuries

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baloch_people

  

The Baloch or Baluch (بلوچ) are an ethnic group that belong to the larger Iranian peoples. Baluch people mainly inhabit the Baluchestan region and Sistan and Baluchestan Province in the southeast corner of the Iranian plateau in Western Asia.

The Baloch people mainly speak Balochi, which is a branch of the Iranian languages, and more specifically of the North-western Iranian languages, that is highly influenced by that of Mesopotamia and shares similarities with Kurdish and other languages of the region. It also contains archaic features reminiscent of Old Persian and Avestan.[8] They inhabit mountainous terrains and deserts, and maintain a very distinct cultural identity.

About 60 percent of the Baloch live in Balochistan, a western province in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.[9] Around 25 percent inhabit the eastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan Province in the Islamic Republic of Iran; a significant number of Baloch people also live in Sindh and South Punjab in Pakistan. Many of the rest live in Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and in some parts of Africa. Small communities of Baluch people also live in Europe (particularly Sweden) and in Perth, Australia, where they arrived in the 19th century.

  

Origins and history

Superimposed on modern borders, the Achaemenid Empire under Cyrus's rule extended approximately from Turkey, Israel, Georgia and Arabia in the west to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Indus River and Oman in the east. Persia became the largest empire the world had ever seen.

  

In 334 BC, the Achaemenid empire fell from its western borders following Alexander's conquest. The last 30-day stand by Achaemenid forces was made at the Battle of the Persian Gate, around 825 kilometers from present-day Sistan va Baluchestan.[10]

 

This also includes the harsh desert path where previously Cyrus the Great and Semiramis are thought to have lost large portions of their army. These stories are thought to have inspired Alexander to do better than Cyrus and Semiramis.[11] Later Ferdowsi in his book "Shahnameh" Chapter 11 also mentions this desert path and tells the story of army of Kai Khosrow that decided to avoid the desert and instead took the road that leads toward Kelat for rest and refreshment where Kai Khosrow's brother Firoud had been the ruler.[12]

Today the economy of Makrani Baluch is largely based on use of the oceans; practices like designing boats and fishing are traditional to the Baluch. The ancient Mesopotamian text "Adapa and the Food of Life" mentions Adapa (a wise man and a priest) and fishing in the Persian Gulf as one of his sacred duties.[13]

The Baluch people of today are descendants of ancient Median and Persian tribes. Historical references of ancient Persia have made it possible to arrive at this conclusion. Maka is mentioned by Greek historian Herodotus as one of the early satraps of Cyrus the Great, who successfully united several ancient Iranian tribes to create an empire.[14][15] In the Behistun Inscription, Darius the Great mentions Maka as one of his eastern territories.[16] Darius is recorded to have personally led his elite forces, whose ranks were restricted to those with Persian, Mede or Elamite ancestry, to fight the invading Scythians of Asia[17] and then led the conquest towards the Indian sub-continent,[18][19][20] where he conquered Sindh in 519 BC, constituted it as his 20th Satrapy, and made use of the oceans there.[21][22] Darius wanted to know more about Asia, according to Herodotus; he also wished to know where the "Indus (which is the only river save one that produces crocodiles) emptied itself into the sea".[23] The present region of Makran, which is inhabited by Baluch people, derived its name from the word "Maka". The Babylonians had also made voyages using Maka to communicate with India.[24] Maka had also communicated with Euphrates, Tigris and Indus valley, objects from the Harappan culture have also been found in modern-day Oman, other archaeology suggest that Maka was exporting copper. Herodotus mentions the inhabitants of Maka as "Mykians" who were also previously involved in several conquests with Cyrus the Great and after the conquest of Egypt with Cambyses,[25] they went to Sindh in command of Darius I, and also took in army of Xerxes the great at the battle of Thermopylae, where they were dressed and equipped the same as Pactyans, Utians and Paricanians, the tribes adjacent to the Mykians. The word Maka later became Makran as it is common in closely related ancient Avestan and Old Persian languages to use "an" and "ran" at the end of plurals,[26] which then translates as "the land of Mykians". They are mentioned as "the men from Maka" in daeva inscriptions. The "daeva inscription" is one of the most important of all Achaemenid inscriptions; in the Baluchi language, dêw translates as "giant devil or monster". Mykians were also responsible for many inventions, such as qanats and underground drainage galleries that brought water from aquifers on the piedmont to gardens or palm groves on the plains. These inventions were important reasons behind the success of the Achaemenid Empire and survival of Mykians in their largely harsh natural environment. Other inscriptions also record that gold, silver, lapis lazuli, turquise, cornalin, cedar wood, wood and the decoration for the relief at Susa were from Maka.[27] The Mykians of the other side of ancient Maka, the present-day region of Balochistan and Sindh had later taken independence because they are not mentioned in the book written by Arrian of Nicomedia about campaigns of Alexander the Great but he only mentions the Oman side of Maka which he calls "Maketa". The reasons for this may have been the arguably unjust rule of Xerxes.[28][28][29] It is highly likely that the ancient Mykians were one of the Median or Persian tribes and an important part of Achaemenid empire, as they are not mentioned as one of the ancient Iranian tribes that Cyrus the Great and Darius I had fought with. Cyrus himself was of both Persian and Median ancestry as his father was Cambyses I, who is believed to have married Mandane of Media, the daughter of Astyages, a Median king.[30]

Historical evidence suggests that Baluch people were the ancient inhabitants of the Maka satrapy in Achaemenid empire. Baluch inhabiting the coastal areas in the region of Makran (Chabahar, Gwadar), Gulf (Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain) and Arabian Sea (Karachi and other parts of Sindh) and tribes including the Rind, Bizenjo, Brahvi and Gabol are highly skilled in designing boats, fishing and other skills required to survive in their environment. Herodotus also mentions that Darius had made use of the ocean in this region of Sindh. The Slemani Baloch who inhabit the region of Baluchistan including Makran—for example, tribes including the Brahvi, Marri, Bugti, Buzdar, Mazari, Mengal, Rind, Bizenjo, Hasni, Zehri, Dehwar and others—carry different skills to survive in their mostly mountainous environment and have a history of aggressive behavior towards invasions. These tribes are not confined to one specific location as they also contain sub-tribes and can be found all over the region.

The origins of the word "Baluch" are shrouded in controversy. According to German archaeologist and Iranologist Ernst Herzfeld, it is derived from the Median word brza-vaciya, which means "loud cry", while others claim the word derives from ancient Iranian languages.

 

Baluchi culture

 

The origins of Baluchi culture and traditions can be traced back to Mesopotamia, which is widely accepted as the origin of the Baluch people.

However, due to poverty and fear of radical Islamic organizations, cultural fashion has become very limited. Radical Islamic organizations have repeatedly targeted Baluch people, including bombing Baluchi cultural celebrations.

Baluchi customs and traditions are conducted according to codes imposed by tribal laws. These strong traditions and cultural values are important to Baluch people and have enabled them to keep their distinctive ancient cultural identity and way of life with little change to this day.

Baluchi culture is mentioned in the Pirmohamad M. Zehi's account of his travel to the province of Sakestan, or the present-day Sistan va Baluchistan province of Iran, which holds strong significance to the culture of Baluch people. Baluch people have preserved their traditional dress with little change over the centuries. The Baluch men wear long shirts with long sleeves and loose pants resembling the Achaemenid outfits of ancient Persians; the dress is occasionally accompanied by a turban or a hat on their heads. The dress worn by Baluch women is one of the most interesting aspects of Baluchi culture. They are of strong significance to the culture of Iran and hold a special place in the society. The women put on loose dress and pants with sophisticated and colorful needlework, including a large pocket at the front of the dress to hold their accessories. The upper part of the dress and sleeves are also decorated with needlework, a form of artistry that is specific to the clothing of the Baluch women. Often the dress also contains round or square pieces of glass to further enhance the presentation. They cover their hair with a scarf, called a sarig in the local dialect.[31] These customs are unique to the people of Iran and the art of this needlework on women's clothing may provide one with a picture of the freedom and high status of Baluchi women in Achaemenid era.[32] Gold ornaments such as necklaces and bracelets are an important aspect of Baluch women's traditions and among their most favored items of jewelry are dorr, heavy earrings that are fastened to the head with gold chains so that the heavy weight will not cause harm to the ears. They usually wear a gold brooch (tasni) that is made by local jewelers in different shapes and sizes and is used to fasten the two parts of the dress together over the chest. In ancient times, especially during the pre-Islamic era, it was common for Baluch women to perform dances and sing folk songs at different events. The tradition of a Baluch mother singing lullabies to her children has played an important role in the transfer of knowledge from generation to generation since ancient times. Apart from the dressing style of the Baluch, indigenous and local traditions and customs are also of great importance to the Baluch.[33]

Baluch people are culturally and traditionally regarded as secular. However, Baluch people are a minority, and growing Islamic fundamentalism in the region is seen as a threat to Baluchi culture. Other challenges include violations of basic human rights, psychological warfare, propaganda in mass media of their modern geography enabled by poverty, illiteracy and inaccessibility to information in the digital age.[34][35][36][37][38][39] According to Amnesty International, Baluch activists, politicians and student leaders are among those who have been targeted in forced disappearances, abductions, arbitrary arrests and cases of torture and other ill-treatment.[40] Islamic radical organizations such as 'Sepah-e-Shohada-e-Balochistan' and others[41] claims responsibility for killing Baluch nationalists in order to secure Islam and Pakistan. Bodies of missing Baluch student activists and nationalists are later found dumped with signs of severe torture. Baluch sources claim that these missing Baluch students and activists are picked up by civilian dressed officials who come with the Pakistan's security forces.[42]

 

Baluchi music

Folk music has always played a great role in Baluchi traditions. Baluchi music and instruments belong to the same branch of Iranian music performed by many other Iranian peoples including Persians, Kurds, Lurs, Tajiks and others. Traditions like the transfer of knowledge from generation to generation by singing lullabies to children and praising warriors also have a significant role in Baluchi music traditions. The fact that both men and women participate in folk music reflects on the pre-Islamic significance of folk music in Baluchi culture. Many years of invasions, wars and later adopted religious values have prevented Baluchi music from prevailing further in the 21st century[clarification needed]. However, a Swedish folk band, Golbang, has made progress in introducing Baluchi folk music to the Western world. The most commonly used instruments in Baluchi folk music are tanbur, long-necked lutes. Lutes have been present in Mesopotamia since the Akkadian era, or the third millennium BCE. The dohol, a large cylindrical drum with two skin heads, is the principal accompaniment for the surna, an ancient Iranian woodwind instrument that dates back to the Achaemenid Dynasty (550-330 BCE). The ney is also commonly played, using single or double flutes. The suroz, a Baluchi folk violin, is also commonly played. Other Baluchi musical instruments include the tar and the saz. Balochi music has also influenced Sindhi and Seraiki folk music.

  

Geographic distribution

 

The total population of ethnic Baloch people is estimated to be around 9 million worldwide. However, the exact number of those who are Baloch or claim to be of Baloch ancestry is difficult to determine. As of 2010, the Baloch are 4.97% of Pakistan's 177,276,594 million people.[43] They make up 2% of Afghanistan's roughly 30 million people[44] and 2% of Iran's estimated 67 million.[45]

Baluch ancestry is also claimed in the neighboring areas that adjoin Baluch majority lands. The Brahui are also considered Baloch but they speak the Brahui language. Despite very few cultural differences from the Baluch. Many Baluch outside of Balochistan are also bilingual or of mixed ancestry due to their proximity to other ethnic groups, including the Sindhis, Saraikis and Pashtuns. A large number of Baluch have been migrating to or living in provinces adjacent to Balochistan for centuries. In addition, there are many Baluch living in other parts of the world, with the bulk living in the GCC countries of the Persian Gulf. The Baluch are an important community in Oman, where they make up a sizable minority.

There is a small population of Baloch in several Western countries such as Sweden and Australia. Some Baloch settled in Australia in the 19th century; some fourth-generation Baloch still live there, mainly in the western city of Perth.

 

Baluch in Oman

The Baluch in Oman have maintained their ethnic and linguistic distinctions. The Southern Baloch comprise approximately 22% of the country's population. The traditional economy of Baluch in Oman is based on a combination of trade, farming and semi-nomadic shepherding.[46]

  

Baluchi language

The Balochi language is spoken in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf Arab states, Turkmenistan, and as far as East Africa and some Western countries. It is classified as a member of the Iranian group of the Indo-European language family, which includes Kurdish, Persian, Pashto, Dari, Tajik and Ossetian. The Baluchi language has the closest similarities to Kurdish, Avestan, old Persian and other Iranian languages.

Two main dialects are spoken in Sistan va Baluchestan and Baluchestan: Eastern and Western. The exact number of Baluch speakers is difficult to know, but the estimated number could be around six million. The majority speak Western Baluchi, which is also the dialect that has been most widely used in Baluchi literature. Within the Western dialect are two further dialects, Rakhshani (spoken mainly in the northern areas) and Makkurani (in the south).[47]

The Baluch have several tribes and sub-tribes. Some of these tribes speak Brahui, while most speak Baluchi. Multilingualism is common, with many Baluch speaking both Brahui and Baluchi. The Marri tribe Domki and the Bugti tribe speak Baluchi. The Mengal tribe, who live in the Chagai, Khuzdar, Kharan districts of Balochistan and in southern parts of Afghanistan, speak Brahui. The Lango tribe, who live in central Balochistan in the Mangochar area, speak Baluchi as their first language and Brahui as their second. The Bizenjo tribe living in the Khuzdar, Nal, and parts of Makran, speak both languages, as do the Muhammadsanis. The Bangulzai tribe mostly speaks Brahui, but has a Baluchi-speaking minority (known as Garanis).

The Mazaris widely speak Baluchi or both dialects. The Malghani are part of the Nutkani tribe, which is the largest tribe in the tehsil. The Talpur, Mastoi, Jatoi, Gabol, Lashari, Chandio, Khushk, Khosa, Bozdar, Jiskani, Heesbani, Magsi, Zardari, Rind, Bhurgri, Jakhrani,MIRJAT,JAMALI and other Baluch tribes that settled in Sindh speak Sindhi, Baluchi and Saraiki. The Qaisrani Baluch living near Taunsa Sharif in the Punjab province of Pakistan speak Saraiki and Baluchi, while their clansmen living the Dera Ghazi Khan tribal areas speak Balochi. The Lund Baluch living in Shadan Lund speak Sindhi, Sairaki and Balochi. The Leghari, Lashari, Korai, and Kunara Baluch in the Dera Ismail Khan and Mianwali districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa speak Saraiki as their first language. The Tauqi Baloch in the Khara, Noshki, Chaghai and Washuk districts of Balochistan can speak both Baluchi and Brahui, but their primary language is Baluchi. The Buzdar are one of the largest tribes of Baloch in southern Punjab, living in the Koh-e-Suleman range.The Mashori are also one of the large tribe of Baloch in southern Punjab and in large area of Sindh.

   

Pergamon was a small settlement during the Archaic Period. Lysimachos, one of the generals of Alexander the Great and who had become the sovereign of Anatolia after 301 BC, delivered the war expenditures, at the amount of 9000 talents (1 talent is believed to be US$7,500 approx.), to Philetarios who was the commander of Pergamon, and the kingdom founded by Philetarios by using this sum of money following Lysimachos's death, flourished and became the most eminent center of culture of the Hellenistic period for 150 years. Eumenes I, Attalos I and Eumenes II were enthroned successively after Philetarios. Eumenes II took acropolis of Athens as an example and had the acropolis of Pergamon adorned with works of art which reflected fine taste, and Pergamon became one of the most graceful cities of the world. Attalos III who succeeded Attalos II, handed over his land to the Romans when he died in 133 BC. In the Acropolis, the remains that you see on the left hand side while going in, are the monumental tombs or heroons built for the kings of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period. Shops are situated at their side. When you enter the Acropolis, the remains seen at your left side, are the foundations of Propylon (monumental gates) which were constructed by Eumenes II. When you pass to the square surrounded with three stoas of the Doric order you will notice the ruins of the temple of Athena, built during the time of Eumenes II in the 3rd century BC. It's just above the theater. The famous Library of Pergamon which contained 200,000 books, was situated north of the square. Antonius gave all the books of the library to Cleopatra as a wedding gift. The remains near the library, are some houses from the Hellenistic period. If you go up the stairs, you will see the remains of the palaces of Eumenes II and Attalos II. Inside the Acropolis there are houses, military barracks and military warehouses called "Arsenals". The building that has been restored at present, is the Temple of Trajan. Trajan started it but after his death Emperor Hadrian (117-138) finished the temple in Corinthian order and it was placed upon a terrace with dimensions of 68 m × 58 m (223.10 ft × 190.29 ft). Attempts have been continuing by the German archaeologists since 1976 to erect this temple which has 6 x 9 columns and a peripteros plan (one row of columns around the temple). It is completely marble.

 

This is Islam's fourth most holiest site

  

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosque_of_Uqba

  

The Great Mosque of Kairouan (جامع القيروان الأكبر), also known as the Mosque of Uqba (Arabic: جامع عقبة‎), is one of the most important mosques in Tunisia, situated in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Kairouan.

Built by the Arab general Uqba ibn Nafi from 670 AD (the year 50 according to the Islamic calendar) at the founding of the city of Kairouan, the mosque is spread over a surface area of 9,000 square metres and it is one of the oldest places of worship in the Islamic world, as well as a model for all later mosques in the Maghreb.[1] The Great Mosque of Kairouan is one of the most impressive and largest Islamic monuments in North Africa,[2] its perimeter is almost equal to 405 metres (1,328 feet). This vast space contains a hypostyle prayer hall, a huge marble-paved courtyard and a massive square minaret. In addition to its spiritual prestige,[3] the Mosque of Uqba is one of the masterpieces of both architecture and Islamic art.[4][5][6]

Under the Aghlabids (9th century), huge works gave the mosque its present aspect.[7] The fame of the Mosque of Uqba and of the other holy sites at Kairouan helped the city to develop and repopulate increasingly. The university, consisting of scholars who taught in the mosque, was a centre of education both in Islamic thought and in the secular sciences.[8] Its role can be compared to that of the University of Paris in the Middle Ages.[9] With the decline of the city of Kairouan from the mid 11th century, the centre of intellectual thought moved to the University of Ez-Zitouna in Tunis.

  

Location and general aspect

  

Located in the north-east of the medina of Kairouan, the mosque is in the intramural district of Houmat al-Jami (literally "area of the Great Mosque").[11] This location corresponded originally to the heart of the urban fabric of the city founded by Uqba ibn Nafi.

But because of the specific nature of the land, crossed by several tributaries of the wadis, the urban development of the city stretched southwards. Then there are the upheavals of Kairouan following Hilalian's invasions in 449 AH (or 1057 AD) and which led to the decline of the city. For all these reasons, the mosque (which occupies the same place since its founding in 670) is not any more situated in the center of the medina, and is thereby positioned on the extremity, near the walls.

The building is a vast irregular quadrilateral, longer (with 127.60 meters) from the eastern side than on the opposite side (with 125.20 meters) and less wide (with 72.70 meters) on the north side (in the middle of which stands the minaret) that the opposite side (with 78 meters). It covers a total area of 9000 m2.

From the outside, the Great Mosque of Kairouan is a fortress-like building, which required as much by its massive ocher walls of 1.90 meters thick composed of well-worked stones, courses of rubble stone and courses of baked bricks,[12] as the square angle towers measuring 4.25 meters on each side and the solid and projecting buttresses that support and bind. More than a defensive role, the buttresses and towers full serve more to enhance the stability of the mosque built on a soil subject to compaction.[13] Although a seemingly harsh, the external facades, punctuated with powerful buttresses and towering porches, some of which are surmounted by cupolas, give to the sanctuary a striking aspect characterized by majestic sobriety.

  

History

  

Evolution

  

At the foundation of Kairouan in 670, the Arab general and conqueror Uqba Ibn Nafi (himself the founder of the city) chose the site of his mosque in the center of the city, near the headquarters of the governor. Around 690, shortly after its construction, the mosque was destroyed[15] during the occupation of Kairouan by the Berbers, originally conducted by Kusaila. It was rebuilt by the Ghassanid general Hasan ibn al-Nu'man in 703.[16] With the gradual increase of the population of Kairouan and the consequent increase in the number of faithful, Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik, Umayyad Caliph in Damascus, charged his governor Bishr ibn Safwan to carry out development work in the city which include the renovation and expansion of the mosque around the years 724–728.[17] In view of its expansion, he pulled down the mosque and rebuilt it with the exception of the mihrab. It was under his auspices that the construction of the minaret began.[18] In 774, a new reconstruction accompanied by modifications and embellishments[19] took place under the direction of the Abbasid governor Yazid Ibn Hatim.[20]

Plan architect of the building.

  

Under the rule of Aghlabid sovereigns, Kairouan was at its apogee, and the mosque profited from this period of stability and prosperity. In 836, Ziadet-Allah I reconstructed the mosque once more:[21] this is when the building acquired, at least in its entirety, the appearance we see today.[22][23] At the same time, the mihrab's ribbed dome on squinches was raised.[24] Around 862-863, Abul Ibrahim enlarged the oratory, with three bays to the north, and added the cupola over the arched portico which precedes the prayer hall.[25] In 875 Ibrahim II built another three bays, thereby reducing the size of the courtyard which was further limited on the three other sides by the addition of double galleries.[26]

The current state of the mosque can be traced back to the reign of Aghlabids—no element is earlier than the ninth century besides the mihrab—except for some partial restorations and a few later additions made in 1025 during the reign of Zirids,[27] 1248 and 1293-1294 under the reign of Hafsids,[28] 1618 at the time of mouradites beys,[29] in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In 1967, major restoration works, executed during five years and conducted under the direction of the National Institute of Archeology and Art, were achieved throughout the monument, and were ended with an official reopening of the mosque during the celebration of Mawlid of 1972.[30]

  

Host stories

  

Several centuries after its founding, the Great Mosque of Kairouan is the subject of numerous descriptions by Arab historians and geographers in the Middle Ages. The stories concern mainly the different phases of construction and expansion of the sanctuary, and the successive contributions of many princes to the interior decoration (mihrab, minbar, ceilings, etc.). Among the authors who have written on the subject and whose stories have survived[31] are Al-Bakri (Andalusian geographer and historian who died in 1094 and who devoted a sufficiently detailed account of the history of the mosque in his book Description of Septentrional Africa), Al-Nuwayri (historian who died in Egypt, 1332) and Ibn Nagi (scholar and historian of Kairouan who died around 1435).

On additions and embellishments made to the building by the Aghlabid sovereign Abul Ibrahim, Ibn Nagi gives the following account :

« He built in the mosque of Kairouan the cupola that rises over the entrance to the central nave, together with the two colonnades which flank it from both sides, and the galleries were paved by him. He then made the mihrab. »[22]

  

Among the Western travelers, poets and writers who visited Kairouan, some of them leave impressions and testimonies sometimes tinged with emotion or admiration on the mosque. From the eighteenth century, the French doctor and naturalist John Andrew Peyssonnel, conducting a study trip to 1724, during the reign of sovereign Al-Husayn Bey I, underlines the reputation of the mosque as a deemed center of religious and secular studies :

« The Great Mosque is dedicated to Uqba, where there is a famous college where we will study the remotest corners of this kingdom : are taught reading and writing of Arabic grammar, laws and religion. There are large rents for the maintenance of teachers. »[32]

At the same time,the doctor and Anglican priest Thomas Shaw (1692–1751),[33] touring the Tunis Regency and passes through Kairouan in 1727, described the mosque as that : " which is considered the most beautiful and the most sacred of Berberian territories ", evoking for example : " an almost unbelievable number of granite columns ".[34]

At the end of the nineteenth century, the French writer Guy de Maupassant expresses in his book La vie errante (The Wandering Life), his fascination with the majestic architecture of the Great Mosque of Kairouan as well as the effect created by countless columns : " The unique harmony of this temple consists in the proportion and the number of these slender shafts upholding the building, filling, peopling, and making it what it is, create its grace and greatness. Their colorful multitude gives the eye the impression of unlimited ".[35] Early in the twentieth century, the Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke describes his admiration for the impressive minaret :

« Is there a more beautiful than this still preserved old tower, the minaret, in Islamic architecture ? In the history of Art, its three-storey minaret is considered such a masterpiece and a model among the most prestigious monuments of Muslim architecture. »

  

Architecture and decoration

  

Exterior

  

Enclosure

  

Today, the enclosure of the Great Mosque of Kairouan is pierced by nine gates (six opening on the courtyard, two opening on the prayer hall and a ninth allows access to the maqsura) some of them, such as Bab Al-Ma (Gate of water) located on the western facade, are preceded by salient porches flanked by buttresses and surmounted by ribbed domes based on square tholobate which are porting squinches with three vaults.[12][37] However, Arab geographers and historians of the Middle Ages Al-Muqaddasi and Al-Bakri reported the existence, around the tenth and eleventh centuries, of about ten gates named differently from today. This reflects the fact that, unlike the rest of the mosque, the enclosure has undergone significant changes to ensure the stability of the building (adding many buttresses). Thus, some entries have been sealed, while others were kept.[12]

During the thirteenth century, new gates were opened, the most remarkable, Bab Lalla Rihana dated from 1293, is located on the eastern wall of the enclosure.[12] The monumental entrance, work of the Hafsid sovereign Abu Hafs `Umar ibn Yahya (reign from 1284 to 1295),[38] is entered in a salient square, flanked by ancient columns supporting Horseshoe arches and covered by a dome on squinches.[12] The front facade of the porch has a large horseshoe arch relied on two marble columns and surmounted by a frieze adorned with a blind arcade, all crowned by serrated merlons (in a sawtooth arrangement).[39] Despite its construction at the end of the thirteenth century, Bab Lalla Rihana blends well with all of the building mainly dating from the ninth century.[39]

Enclosure and gates of the Mosque of Uqba

  

Courtyard

  

The courtyard is a vast trapezoidal area whose interior dimensions are approximately 65 by 50 meters.[40] It is surrounded on all its four sides by a portico with double rows of arches, opened by slightly horseshoe arches supported by columns in various marbles, in granite or in porphyry, reused from Roman, Early Christian or Byzantine monuments particularly from Carthage.[14] Access to the courtyard by six side entrances dating from the ninth and thirteenth centuries.

The portico on the south side of the courtyard, near the prayer hall, includes in its middle a large dressed stone pointed horseshoe arch which rests on ancient columns of white veined marble with Corinthian capitals. This porch of seven meters high is topped with a square base upon which rests a semi-spherical ribbed dome ; the latter is ribbed with sharp-edged ribs. The intermediary area, the dodecagonal drum of the dome, is pierced by sixteen small rectangular windows set into rounded niches.[41] The great central arch of the south portico, is flanked on each side by six rhythmically arranged horseshoe arches, which fall on twin columns backed by pillars.[42] Overall, the proportions and general layout of the facade of the south portico, with its thirteen arches of which that in the middle constitutes a sort of triumphal arch crowned with a cupola, form an ensemble with " a powerful air of majesty ", according to the French historian and sociologist Paul Sebag (1919–2004).[43]

Courtyard area and porticoes

  

Details of the courtyard

  

The combination formed by the courtyard and the galleries that surround it covers an immense area whose dimensions are about 90 meters long and 72 meters in width.[44] The northern part of the courtyard is paved with flagstones while the rest of the floor is almost entirely composed of white marble slabs. Near its center is an horizontal sundial, bearing an inscription in naskhi engraved on the marble dating from 1258 AH (which corresponds to the year 1843) and which is accessed by a little staircase ; it determines the time of prayers. The rainwater collector or impluvium, probably the work of the Muradid Bey Mohamed Bey al-Mouradi (1686–1696), is an ingenious system that ensures the capture (with the slightly sloping surface of the courtyard) then filtering stormwater at a central basin furnished with horseshoe arches sculpted in white marble.[45] Freed from its impurities, the water flows into an underground cistern supported by seven meters high pillars. In the courtyard there are also several water wells some of which are placed side by side. Their edges, obtained from the lower parts of ancient cored columns,[46] support the string grooves back the buckets.

  

Minaret

  

A square stone tower rises high above a wall.

  

The minaret, which occupies the center of the northern facade of the complex's enclosure, is 31.5 meters tall and is seated on a square base of 10.7 meters on each side.[47] It is located inside the enclosure and does not have direct access from the outside. It consists of three tapering levels, the last of which is topped with a small ribbed dome that was most probably built later than the rest of the tower.[48] The first and second stories are surmounted by rounded merlons which are pierced by arrowslits. The minaret served as a watchtower, as well as to call the faithful to prayer.[48]

The door giving access to the minaret is framed by a lintel and jambs made of recycled carved friezes of antique origin.[49] There are stone blocks from the Roman period that bear Latin inscriptions. Their use probably dates to the work done under the Umayyad governor Bishr ibn Safwan in about 725 AD, and they have been reused at the base of the tower.[49] The greater part of the minaret dates from the time of the Aghlabid princes in the ninth century. It consists of regular layers of carefully cut rubble stone, thus giving the work a stylistically admirable homogeneity and unity.[50]

The interior includes a staircase of 129 steps, surmounted by a barrel vault, which gives access to the terraces and the first tier of the minaret. The courtyard facade (or south facade) of the tower is pierced with windows that provide light and ventilation,[51] while the other three facades—facing north, east and west—are pierced with small openings in the form of arrowslits.[47] The minaret, in its present aspect, dates largely from the early ninth century, about 836 AD. It is the oldest minaret in the Muslim world,[52][53] and it is also the world's oldest minaret still standing.[54]

Due to its age and its architectural features, the minaret of the Great Mosque of Kairouan is the prototype for all the minarets of the western Islamic world : it served as a model in both North Africa and in Andalusia.[55] Despite its massive form and austere decoration, it nevertheless presents a harmonious structure and a majestic appearance.[51][56]

Minaret

  

Domes

  

The Mosque has several domes, the largest being over the mihrab and the entrance to the prayer hall from the courtyard. The dome of the mihrab is based on an octagonal drum with slightly concave sides, raised on a square base, decorated on each of its three southern, Easter and western faces with five flat-bottomed niches surmounted by five semi-circular arches,[24][57] the niche in the middle is cut by a lobed oculus enrolled in a circular frame. This dome, whose construction goes back to the first half of the ninth century (towards 836), is one of the oldest and most remarkable domes in the western Islamic world.[58]

  

Interior

  

Prayer hall

  

The prayer hall is located on the southern side of the courtyard ; and is accessed by 17 carved wooden doors. A portico with double row of arches precede the spacious prayer hall, which takes the shape of a rectangle of 70.6 meters in width and 37.5 meters depth.[59]

  

The hypostyle hall is divided into 17 aisles of eight bays, the central nave is wider, as well as the bay along the wall of the qibla.[60] They cross with right angle in front of the mihrab, this device, named "T shape", which is also found in two Iraqi mosques in Samarra (around 847) has been adopted in many North African and Andalusian mosques where it became a feature.[61]

The central nave, a sort of triumphal alley which leads to the mihrab,[62] is significantly higher and wider than the other sixteen aisles of the prayer hall. It is bordered on each side of a double row of arches rested on twin columns and surmounted by a carved plaster decoration consisting of floral and geometric patterns.[63]

Enlightened by impressive chandeliers which are applied in countless small glass lamps,[64] the nave opens into the south portico of the courtyard by a monumental delicately carved wooden door, made in 1828 under the reign of the Husainids.[65] This sumptuous door, which has four leaves richly carved with geometric motifs embossed on the bottom of foliages and interlacing stars, is decorated at the typanum by a stylized vase from which emerge winding stems and leaves.[66] The other doors of the prayer hall, some of which date from the time of the Hafsids,[67] are distinguished by their decoration which consists essentially of geometric patterns (hexagonal, octagonal, rectangular patterns, etc.).[59]

  

Columns and ceiling

  

In the prayer hall, the 414 columns of marble, granite or porphyry[68] (among more than 500 columns in the whole mosque),[69] taken from ancient sites in the country such as Sbeïtla, Carthage, Hadrumetum and Chemtou,[59] support the horseshoe arches. A legend says they could not count them without going blind.[70] The capitals resting on the column shafts offer a wide variety of shapes and styles (Corinthian, Ionic, Composite, etc..).[59] Some capitals were carved for the mosque, but others come from Roman or Byzantine buildings (dating from the second to sixth century) and were reused. According to the German archaeologist Christian Ewert, the special arrangement of reused columns and capitals surrounding the mihrab obeys to a well-defined program and would draw symbolically the plan of the Dome of the Rock.[71] The shafts of the columns are carved in marble of different colors and different backgrounds. Those in white marble come from Italy,[59] some shafts located in the area of the mihrab are in red Porphyry imported from Egypt,[72] while those made of greenish or pink marble are from quarries of Chemtou, in the north-west of current Tunisia.[59] Although the shafts are of varying heights, the columns are ingeniously arranged to support fallen arches harmoniously. The height difference is compensated by the development of variable bases, capitals and crossbeams ; a number of these crossbeams are in cedar wood.[59] The wooden rods, which usually sink to the base of the transom, connect the columns together and maintain the spacing of the arches, thus enhancing the stability of all structures which support the ceiling of the prayer hall.[73]

  

The covering of the prayer hall consists of painted ceilings decorated with vegetal motifs and two domes : one raised at the beginning of the central nave and the other in front of the mihrab. The latter, which its hemispherical cap is cut by 24 concave grooves radiating around the top,[74] is based on ridged horns shaped shell and a drum pierced by eight circular windows which are inserted between sixteen niches grouped by two.[57][75] The niches are covered with carved stone panels, finely adorned with characteristic geometric, vegetal and floral patterns of the Aghlabid decorative repertoire : shells, cusped arches, rosettes, vine-leaf, etc.[57] From the outside, the dome of the mihrab is based on an octagonal drum with slightly concave sides, raised on a square base, decorated on each of its three southern, Easter and western faces with five flat-bottomed niches surmounted by five semi-circular arches,[24][57] the niche in the middle is cut by a lobed oculus enrolled in a circular frame.

  

The painted ceilings are a unique ensemble of planks, beams and brackets, illustrating almost thousand years of the history of painting on wood in Tunisia. Wooden brackets offer a wide variety of style and decor in the shape of a crow or a grasshopper with wings or fixed, they are characterized by a setting that combines floral painted or carved, with grooves. The oldest boards date back to the Aghlabid period (ninth century) and are decorated with scrolls and rosettes on a red background consists of squares with concave sides in which are inscribed four-petaled flowers in green and blue, and those performed by the Zirid Dynasty (eleventh century) are characterized by inscriptions in black kufic writing with gold rim and the uprights of the letters end with lobed florets, all on a brown background adorned with simple floral patterns.

The boards painted under the Hafsid period (during the thirteenth century) offers a floral decor consists of white and blue arches entwined with lobed green. The latest, dated the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (mostly dating from the time of the Muradid Beys), are distinguished by an epigraphic decoration consists of long black and red texts on olive green background to those painted from 1618 to 1619, under the reign of Murad I Bey (1613-1631), while those back to the eighteenth century have inscriptions in white naskhi script on an orange background.[76]

  

Mihrab and minbar

  

Close view of the mihrab, whose current state dates from the ninth century

The mihrab, which indicates the Qibla (direction of Mecca), in front of which stands the imam during the prayer, is located in the middle of the southern wall of the prayer hall. It is formed by an oven-shaped niche framed by two marble columns and topped by a painted wooden half-cupola. The niche of the mihrab is two meters long, 4.5 meters high and 1.6 meters deep.[77]

The mosque's mihrab, whose decor is a remarkable witness of Muslim art in the early centuries of Islam, is distinguished by its harmonious composition and the quality of its ornaments. Considered as the oldest example of concave mihrab, it dates in its present state to 862-863 AD.[78]

  

Upper Part of The Mihrab

  

It is surrounded at its upper part by 139 lusterware tiles (with a metallic sheen), each one is 21.1 centimeters square and they are arranged on the diagonal in a chessboard pattern. Divided into two groups, they are dated from the beginning of the second half of the ninth century but it is not determined with certainty whether they were made in Baghdad or in Kairouan by a Baghdadi artisan, the controversy over the origin of this precious collection agitates the specialists. These tiles are mainly decorated with floral and plant motifs (stylized flowers, palm leaves and asymmetrical leaves on bottom hatch and checkered) belong to two series : one polychrome characterized by a greater richness of tones ranging from light gold to light, dark or ocher yellow, and from brick-red to brown lacquer, the other monochrome is a beautiful luster that goes from smoked gold to green gold. The coating around them is decorated with blue plant motifs dating from the eighteenth century or the first half of the nineteenth century. The horseshoe arch of the mihrab, stilted and broken at the top, rest on two columns of red marble with yellow veins, which surmounted with Byzantine style capitals that carry two crossbeams carved with floral patterns, each one is decorated with a Kufic inscription in relief.

  

Detail of the marble cladding

  

The wall of the mihrab is covered with 28 panels of white marble, carved and pierced, which have a wide variety of plant and geometric patterns including the stylized grape leaf, the flower and the shell. Behind the openwork hint, there is an oldest niche on which several assumptions were formulated. If one refers to the story of Al-Bakri, an Andalusian historian and geographer of the eleventh century, it is the mihrab which would be done by Uqba Ibn Nafi, the founder of Kairouan, whereas Lucien Golvin shares the view that it is not an old mihrab but hardly a begun construction which may serve to support marble panels and either goes back to work of Ziadet Allah I (817-838) or to those of Abul Ibrahim around the years 862-863.[79] Above the marble cladding, the mihrab niche is crowned with a half dome-shaped vault made of manchineel bentwood. Covered with a thick coating completely painted, the concavity of the arch is decorated with intertwined scrolls enveloping stylized five-lobed vine leaves, three-lobed florets and sharp clusters, all in yellow on midnight blue background.[80]

The minbar, situated on the right of the mihrab, is used by the imam during the Friday or Eids sermons, is a staircase-shaped pulpit with an upper seat, reached by eleven steps, and measuring 3.93 meters length to 3.31 meters in height. Dated from the ninth century (about 862) and erected under the reign of the sixth Aghlabid ruler Abul Ibrahim (856-863), it is made in teak wood imported from India.[81] Among all the pulpits of the Muslim world, it is certainly the oldest example of minbar still preserved today.[82] Probably made by cabinetmakers of Kairouan (some researchers also refer to Baghdad), it consists of an assembly of more than 300 finely carved wood pieces with an exceptional ornamental wealth (vegetal and geometric patterns refer to the Umayyad and Abbasid models), among which about 90 rectangular panels carved with plenty of pine cones, grape leaves, thin and flexible stems, lanceolate fruits and various geometric shapes (squares, diamonds, stars, etc.). The upper edge of the minbar ramp is adorned with a rich and graceful vegetal decoration composed of alternately arranged foliated scrolls, each one containing a spread vine-leaf and a cluster of grapes. In the early twentieth century, the minbar had a painstaking restoration. Although more than eleven centuries of existence, all panels, with the exception of nine, are originals and are in a good state of conservation, the fineness of the execution of the minbar makes it a great masterpiece of Islamic wood carving referring to Paul Sebag.[83] This old chair of the ninth century is still in its original location, next to the mihrab.

  

Maqsura

  

The maqsura, located near the minbar, consists of a fence bounding a private enclosure that allows the sovereign and his senior officials to follow the solemn prayer of Friday without mingling with the faithful. Jewel of the art of woodwork produced during the reign of the Zirid prince Al-Muizz ibn Badis and dated from the first half of the eleventh century, it is considered the oldest still in place in the Islamic world. It is a cedar wood fence finely sculpted and carved on three sides with various geometric motifs measuring 2.8 meters tall, eight meters long and six meters wide.[84] Its main adornment is a frieze that crowns calligraphy, the latter surmounted by a line of pointed openwork merlons, features an inscription in flowery kufic character carved on the background of interlacing plants. Carefully executed in relief, it represents one of the most beautiful epigraphic bands of Islamic art.[84]

The library is near located, accessible by a door which the jambs and the lintel are carved in marble, adorned with a frieze of floral decoration. The library window is marked by an elegant setting that has two columns flanking the opening, which is a horseshoe arch topped by six blind arches and crowned by a series of berms sawtooth.[85]

  

Artworks

  

The Mosque of Uqba, one of the few religious buildings of Islam has remained intact almost all of its architectural and decorative elements, is due to the richness of its repertoire which is a veritable museum of Islamic decorative art and architecture. Most of the works on which rests the reputation of the mosque are still conserved in situ while a certain number of them have joined the collections of the Raqqada National Museum of Islamic Art ; Raqqada is located about ten kilometers southwest of Kairouan.

From the library of the mosque comes a large collection of calligraphic scrolls and manuscripts, the oldest dating back to the second half of the ninth century. This valuable collection, observed from the late nineteenth century by the French orientalists Octave Houdas and René Basset who mention in their report on their scientific mission in Tunisia published in the Journal of African correspondence in 1882, comprises according to the inventory established at the time of the Hafsids (circa 1293-1294) several Qur'ans and books of fiqh that concern mainly the Maliki fiqh and its sources. These are the oldest fund of Maliki legal literature to have survived.[86]

  

Among the finest works of this series, the pages of the Blue Qur'an, currently exhibited at Raqqada National Museum of Islamic Art, from a famous Qur'an in the second half of the fourth century of the Hegira (the tenth century) most of which is preserved in Tunisia and the rest scattered in museums and private collections worldwide. Featuring kufic character suras are written in gold on vellum dyed with indigo, they are distinguished by a compact graph with no marks for vowels. The beginning of each surah is indicated by a band consisting of a golden stylized leafy foliage, dotted with red and blue, while the verses are separated by silver rosettes. Other scrolls and calligraphic Qur'ans, as that known as the Hadinah's Qur'an, copied and illuminated by the calligrapher Ali ibn Ahmad al-Warraq for the governess of the Zirid prince Al-Muizz ibn Badis at about 1020 AD, were also in the library before being transferred to Raqqada museum. This collection is a unique source for studying the history and evolution of calligraphy of medieval manuscripts in the Maghreb, covering the period from the ninth to the eleventh century.

Other works of art such as the crowns of light (circular chandeliers) made in cast bronze, dating from the Fatimid-Zirid period (around tenth-early eleventh century), originally belonged to the furniture of the mosque. These polycandelons, now scattered in various Tunisian museums including Raqqada, consist of three chains supporting a perforated brass plate, which has a central circular ring around which radiate 18 equidistant poles connected by many horseshoe arches and equipped for each of two landmarks flared. The three chains, connected by a suspension ring, are each fixed to the plate by an almond-shaped finial. The crowns of light are marked by Byzantine influence to which the Kairouanese artisan brought the specificities of Islamic decorative repertoire (geometric and floral motifs).[

  

Role in Muslim civilization

  

At the time of its greatest splendor, between the ninth and eleventh centuries AD, Kairouan was one of the greatest centers of Islamic civilization and its reputation as a hotbed of scholarship covered the entire Maghreb. During this period, the Great Mosque of Kairouan was both a place of prayer and a center for teaching Islamic sciences under the Maliki current. One may conceivably compare its role to that of the University of Paris during the Middle Ages.

In addition to studies on the deepening of religious thought and Maliki jurisprudence, the mosque also hosted various courses in secular subjects such as mathematics, astronomy, medicine and botany. The transmission of knowledge was assured by prominent scholars and theologians which included Sahnun ibn Sa'id and Asad ibn al-Furat, eminent jurists who contributed greatly to the dissemination of the Maliki thought, Ishaq ibn Imran and Ibn al-Jazzar in medicine, Abu Sahl al-Kairouani and Abd al-Monim al-Kindi in mathematics. Thus the mosque, headquarters of a prestigious university with a large library containing a large number of scientific and theological works, was the most remarkable intellectual and cultural center in North Africa during the ninth, tenth and eleventh centuries

www.greecetravel.com/peloponnesos/troezen/index.html

---

Troezen: Where Pegasos struck his hoof on the earth

 

Of the many cities in Ancient Greece famous for their heroes, myths, and legends, Troezen is probably the one that is least known to the general public. This is mostly due to the fact that this city has seen just a few, very fragmentary, archaeological excavations as the ancient walls and temples of its akropolis on top of a very high hill with very steep slopes almost completely disappeared under a Frankish citadel in the 13th century CE and the monuments, houses, streets, and agora at the foot of the hill have now been covered by countless citrus trees and agricultural installations. At the end of the 19th century CE French archaeologist Philippe Legrand was the first to search for the many temples, monuments, and statues that once adorned the city. In the 1930s German archaeologist Gabriel Welter carried out a more detailed study of the Sanctuary of Hippolytos, the Asklepieion, and the Temple of Aphrodite which are located just outside the city walls, to the North-West. A few years ago, Greek archaeologist Maria Giannopoulou excavated a number of tombs in the eastern cemetery at the edge of the city, some of which contained bronze vessels, figurines, and mirrors. Quite recently (2012 - 2016) new archaeological investigations were carried out with the aim of producing a complete and detailed map of the city, its temples, and its akropolis, in preparation of future excavations.

 

For the untrained eye, however, the glory of Ancient Troezen has all but disappeared and its modern namesake only consists of a few streets with a few houses and churches, and a few inhabitants trying to make their living out of growing oranges, lemons, and other delicious fruits and vegetables. Their wealthy ancestors of several millennia ago founded the cities of Sybaris in Magna Graecia (Sibari in present-day Italy) and of Halikarnassos in Asia Minor (Bodrum in present-day Turkey), where the monumental tomb of king Mausolos (hence the word "mausoleum") became one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. And perhaps even more significant are Troezen's link with Athens, in myth and in history, and its fame for being the place where a handsome young man called Hippolytos lived, raced his horses and chariot, but died a tragical death, and was therefore worshipped as a hero.

 

The origins of the city are not easy to trace, but the topography of the site which allowed it to have a large, sheltered harbour, plenty of fresh water, and fertile soil to grow all kinds of crops, must have made it a very desirable area to live in since prehistoric times. The myths surrounding the birth of the city speak of an Egyptian nobleman or king called Oros founding the city and naming it Oraia. Leis, the daughter of Oros, became pregnant by Poseidon and gave birth to a son, called Althepos, who succeeded his grandfather on the throne and re-named the city and its region Althepia.

 

The goddess Athena and the god Poseidon both disputed the patronage of this land but were told by Zeus to hold it in common. This is why the citizens of Troezen later on showed both Poseidon's trident and Athena's portrait on their coins. Today, a visit to Troezen and the area of its old harbours still easily explains this part of its mythological past, as the presence of both Poseidon as god of the sea and Athena as goddess of the land, agriculture, and olive trees, and their dispute can be seen all around the area which lies to the north of the city, especially in the marshy lagoon of Psifta to the NW and in the very shallow bay and harbours of Vidi and Agios Georgios to the NE. Over many thousands of years both Land and Sea in that area have risen, have fallen, and have sometimes even changed shape because of the activities of the neighbouring volcano of Methana, which is now connected to the mainland but was once separated from it by a narrow strait. That particular area and one of the villages close to it is called Metamorphosi for a very good reason.

 

Althepos' successor on the throne of Althepia (Troezen) was king Saron, after whom the Saronic Gulf was named when he drowned in its waters chasing a prey. The doe which he was pursuing, dashed into the sea and swam further and further from the shore until Saron drowned in the waves.

 

After the death of Saron a number of kings ruled the area until two brothers founded two different cities in the region that later on would become the land of Troezen: Hyperes ruled in Hyperea, his brother Anthas in Anthea. Things become even more complicated when Aetios, son of Anthas, succeeds his father and uncle, and renames one of the cities Poseidonias. Aetios is joined by two brothers who had their roots in the region of Elis, in the West of the Peloponnesos. Their names are Troezen and Pittheus. They seem to rule the area together until after the death of Troezen, when Pittheus becomes the sole ruler of the area, joins the cities of Hyperea and Anthea into one city, and calls it Troezen in honour of his deceased brother.

 

This is the time when the mythological (hi)stories of Troezen and Athens as well as the lives of their legendary founders become intertwined. When Pittheus reigned in Troezen, Aegeas was king in Athens. Aegeas married twice but both marriages remained childless - reason enough to consult the Pythia, the oracle in the Sanctuary of Apollon in Delphoi. The answer of the priestess was enigmatic, but only for those who had trouble understanding a certain kind of metaphor in a certain kind of context: "The bulging mouth of the wineskin, loosen it not until you reach Athens." Apparently, Aegeas was one of those who didn't understand...

 

As Pittheus in Troezen had the name and fame of being wise, Aegeas decided to make a detour upon his return to Athens and ask for enlightenment about the wineskin. Although Pittheus understood the oracle immediately, he didn't explain anything to Aegeas. Instead he gave him plenty of food and plenty of wine, and on top of that his daughter Aithra to keep him company during the night. When Aegeas was "spent" and fast asleep, the goddess Athena appeared to Aithra as in a dream and instructed her to get up and wade across the shallow waters to the island of Sphairia (current-day Poros) to pour a libation in the sanctuary of Sphairos (the legendary charioteer of king Pelops). But upon her return, wading across the sea, she was impregnated by Poseidon. Aithra only told her father about this, but when it became obvious that she was pregnant, the father of the child would never really be known to her for sure. Aithra gave birth to a son: Theseus. When Aegeas finally decided to return to Athens, he covered his sword, shield, and sandals under a huge rock that served as an altar to Zeus. He told Aithra that when their son would grow up and be strong enough to move the rock and find his weapons, he should bring them to him in Athens. Young Theseus moved the rock, did as his father Aegeas had asked his mother, and grew up to be king of Athens and Troezen, and one of the most famous heroes in history. Killing the Minotaur in the labyrinth of Knossos was just one of his heroic adventures.

 

One mythical story playing in Troezen simply gives birth to the next one, as so often is the case in Greek mythology. Theseus and the Amazon queen Hippolyta (according to other sources her name was Antiope) had a son called Hippolytos. When Theseus married his second wife Phaedra, she irresistibly fell in love with her stepson Hippolytos, who was a great charioteer. Hippolytos, however, rejected her advances. Spurned, Phaedra committed suicide but left a deceiving note to Theseus, falsely claiming that Hippolytos had tried to rape her. Theseus furiously cursed his son and called upon Poseidon to punish him. Hippolytos takes his chariot to flee the wrath of his father but his horses become terrorised by the sudden appearance of a sea-monster, his chariot crashes, and he is dragged to a painful death.

 

Although this version of the story, as presented in Euripides' play of the 5th century BCE, ends tragically, another version tells us how Asklepios, the god of medicine who had his sanctuary in nearby Epidauros, managed to save Hippolytos' life and bring him back from the dead, on request of the goddess Artemis whom Hippolytos had worshipped all his life. This is why, in the only archaeological site of Troezen that is currently worthy of that name, the sanctuary of Hippolytos and the local Asklepieion (the sanctuary of Asklepios with its medical centre) were built next to each other. Legend has it that all Troezen girls traditionally dedicated a lock of their hair to Hippolytos in his temple just before their marriage.

 

What is not a legend but a historical fact linking once again the city states of Athens and Troezen, is what happened during the 2nd Persian invasion of Hellas (Greece) in August or September 480 BCE. Whilst at the Thermopylai the Spartan king and general Leonidas with 300 Spartans, 700 Thespians, and 400 Thebans, held off more than 100,000 Persians for several days, the Athenian statesman and general Themistokles commanded an allied navy of 271 triremes against the Persian fleet of 1,200 ships at the naval battle at Artemision. Although the Persians won both battles, they had lost a lot of ships, soldiers, and time. That time was used by Themistokles to re-assemble his triremes at the island of Salamis, to the West of Athens, and to give the order to evacuate all women, children, and older people from Athens to Troezen, on the other side of the Saronic Gulf. The Persian army of king Xerxes invaded Boeotia and Attika, devastating Thebes, Athens, and the Akropolis, but the Athenian population had escaped safe and well to Troezen, and a few weeks later Themistokles' triremes managed to defeat the Persian navy at the battle of Salamis. Xerxes retreated with much of his army back to Persia and its remaining forces were beaten decisively at the battles of Plataia and Mykale a few months later. The citizens and artists of Athens, having returned safely from Troezen, re-built the Akropolis.

 

In the centre of the modern town of Troizina a tourist map gives information on where all the archaeological remains and monuments that can be visited, are located. The site of the sanctuaries of Hippolytos and Asklepios is situated near the small church of Saint Christopher (Agios Christophoros), a few hundred meters outside the city walls of Ancient Troezen, to the NW. Although the site is small, a visit is worthwhile because of the many interesting features still visible around the ruins, such as a number of wells and what has been interpreted by some as the site of the tomb of Phaedra. And what now is the ruined church dedicated to Panagia Episkopi and featuring a lot of ancient architectural elements, was in fact the Temple of Aphrodite in Antiquity - the place from where Phaedra stealthily watched Hippolytos exercise in the stadium next to the temple precinct. Although the stadium has been located with a high degree of certainty, it was never excavated.

 

In Greece basically all churches and monasteries were built on top of the remains of Ancient Greek temples or shrines to christianise the sites and the area around them. This could explain why the famous Temple of Artemis in Troezen hasn't really been found yet, but could well be hidden underneath the church of Agios Georgios or the one dedicated to Agios Ioannis in the middle of the citrus trees next to the deep, dried up riverbed of the Chrysorroas. The city of Troezen used to be protected by the Chrysorroas to the West and by the river which is now called Agios Athanasios to the East, as both formed natural defences to which brick walls seemed to have been added in Hellenistic or Roman times. Both rivers find their sources in the Aderes mountains to the South of Troezen and run through beautiful canyons with lots of wildlife (including frogs, lizards, dragonflies, and snakes!), very old Platanus trees, huge marble boulders, and small cascades and ponds). The akropolis of Troezen with its many temples was located high upon a steep hill in between these two canyons, but most of its architecture disappeared when the blocks and columns were re-used to build a Frankish citadel on the same spot in the 13th century CE.

 

At the crossing of the roads leading to the foot of the hill of the akropolis and to the church of Agios Ioannis lies the so-called "Stone of Theseus". If this really is the stone under which Aegeas put his sword, shield, and sandals for his son Theseus, is anyone's guess. In these cases the Italians usually say "Se non è vero, è ben trovato!" (If it is not true, it is a good story!)... Another "good story" can be seen a little further uphill on the road towards the "Devil's Bridge": one of the three square towers of the "diateichisma", which was a defensive wall running from the Chrysorroas to the Agios Athanasios river east of the city of Troezen, has been very well preserved and used to be called rather romantically the "Palace of Theseus". Archaeology has identified the lower parts as dating to Hellenistic times (3rd-1st century BCE) and the upper parts as mediaeval. Even for the untrained eye the difference between the nicely cut, rectangular stone blocks and the much younger patchwork of bricks and irregular layers of smaller stones is quite clear to see.

 

Never two without three. The 19th century traveller who was willing to climb the steep path all the way up to the "Devil's Bridge", used to be told by locals how under the Ottoman Empire a local craftsman was forced to build a bridge over the deep and dangerous ravine that had been cut out by the water of the Chrysorroas. The local ruler threatened to execute the poor man if he didn't succeed. After two unsuccessful attempts he was in such fear for his life that he saw no other option than to go and ask for architectural and engineering assistance to the devil himself. This joint venture resulted in spectacular and lasting success as the "Devils' Bridge" can still be seen and walked upon to this very day. Some say that you can still see traces of the devil's feet in the shape of the hoofs of a male goat that had crossed the bridge when the mortar was still wet.

 

Although your obedient servant does have a certain amount of healthy imagination, he was sadly unable to find those traces upon his visit to the bridge. What is, however, still very visible, is a small, but very ancient aquaduct running over the bridge bringing fresh water from one or two sources nearby all the way down to the tower of the defensive "diateichisma" wall. This aquaduct was cut into the very rock - as was the bridge itself because it was, contrary to the "good story", not man-made but carved out in the most spectacular way possible by the water of the Chrysorroas. The Devil's Bridge is a bridge that was made by nature itself. There seem to be traces of a second "natural bridge" below the first one, but I was unable to spot them upon my visit. And the place is not without danger. Slipping and falling can be fatal. Equally fascinating is the fact that down below, in the ravine itself, on the face of a large boulder is carved the face of an owl, almost 2 metres high. Unfortunately, a few years ago, a rock fell down from one of the steep sides of the ravine and now completely covers the enigmatic and unique piece of rock art that nobody has been able to properly study and date.

 

If you venture out over the Devil's Bridge and take the path to the right, you will soon find openings in the rocks where sources of fresh water come out of the mountain and still feed some of the fertile fields in the valley of Troezen below. In Antiquity the water of both the Chrysorroas and these sources was far more plentiful than today as winter rains are less and modern agriculture now abuses the existing water supplies. This area of natural beauty around the Chrysorroas was sacred to Pan and his nymphs (as he was the god of the wilderness, mountain nature, shepherds and their flocks) and because their sanctuary is still somewhere hidden in the lush vegetation around this place, nature here is unspoilt, wild, and most precious. Upon my visit I met local people who were picking herbs for medicinal and culinary purposes - most probably a tradition going back very far in time.

 

Although both the Chrysorroas and Agios Athanasios rivers surround the city of Troezen, they flow in almost opposite directions once they reach the fertile fields in the valley. The Agios Athanasios flows to the NE and joins the sea at the forgotten hamlet of Vidi, from where you have a rather surreal view looking out over an almost empty little harbour with a row of dead trees, onto a marshy lagoon, over a bay with no name and an equally anonymous shipwreck, onto the white dots of the houses of touristic Poros. Little or nothing remains of one of the two ancient harbours of Troezen, as the sea level has risen and Poseidon has swallowed up part of what once was the realm of Athena. Under the waves in the bay hide the remains of houses and what looks like an ancient pier, all waiting for underwater archaeologists to give them a name and a story. As the Chrysorroas flows to the NW, joining the sea in the Gulf of Epidauros at the foot of the volcanic slopes and craters of Methana, it gives the land of Troezen a last present: the wetlands of Psifta. This protected nature reserve is a haven for migrating birds on their way to and from Africa. It features a large lake with salty waters inhabited by a flock of flamingos, marshy wetlands with low, shrubby vegetation that flourishes in coral colours, and enough fish to feed the nesting birds and their offspring. If Vidi was hiding uncharted territories under water, Psifta is at least as successful in its camouflaging efforts to protect its own big secret: a complete Roman harbour has sunk below the surface of the earth and the water, underneath the sands and the marshes.

 

If you visit Troezen, its shy ruins and its fragile nature, please do it respectfully. You are walking on sacred ground and in ancient temples, most of which have been undisturbed for centuries and are yet to be found and uncovered - like the well that sprung up here when Pegasos, the winged horse of Bellerophon and bringer of inspiration to writers and artists, struck his hoof on the earth of Troezen.

 

Angelos Asklepiades photographs and writes about his passion: archaeological sites and their history, legends, and stories. Based in the heartland of the Mycenaean civilisation, the Argolid, he explores mythical hills and magical valleys in search of ruins and roads that were seen and described by travellers of the 18th and 19th century. A master's degree in Classical Philology and Greek Archaeology helps him to share to a general public what colleagues in history, philology, and archaeology research, excavate, and publish. You can contact him at garden.of.the.muses@gmail.com

Ephesus (/ˈɛfəsəs/;[1] Ancient Greek: Ἔφεσος Efesos; Turkish: Efes; may ultimately derive from Hittite Apasa) was an ancient Greek city[2][3] on the coast of Ionia, three kilometres southwest of present-day Selçuk in İzmir Province, Turkey. It was built in the 10th century BC on the site of the former Arzawan capital[4][5] by Attic and Ionian Greek colonists. During the Classical Greek era it was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League. The city flourished after it came under the control of the Roman Republic in 129 BC.

 

The city was famed for the nearby Temple of Artemis (completed around 550 BC), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.[7] Among many other monumental buildings are the Library of Celsus, and a theatre capable of holding 25,000 spectators.[8]

 

Ephesus was one of the seven churches of Asia that are cited in the Book of Revelation.[9] The Gospel of John may have been written here.[10] The city was the site of several 5th-century Christian Councils (see Council of Ephesus). The city was destroyed by the Goths in 263, and although rebuilt, the city's importance as a commercial centre declined as the harbour was slowly silted up by the Küçükmenderes River. It was partially destroyed by an earthquake in AD 614. The ruins of Ephesus are a favourite international and local tourist attraction, partly owing to their easy access from Adnan Menderes Airport or from the cruise ship port of Kuşadası, some 30 km to the South.

 

It was added as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015.

 

History

Neolithic age

The area surrounding Ephesus was already inhabited during the Neolithic Age (about 6000 BC), as was revealed by excavations at the nearby höyük (artificial mounds known as tells) of Arvalya and Cukurici.[11][12]

 

Bronze Age

Excavations in recent years have unearthed settlements from the early Bronze Age at Ayasuluk Hill. According to Hittite sources, the capital of the Kingdom of Arzawa (another independent state in Western and Southern Anatolia/Asia Minor[13]) was Apasa (or Abasa). Some scholars suggest that this is the later Greek Ephesus.[5][14][15][16] In 1954, a burial ground from the Mycenaean era (1500–1400 BC) with ceramic pots was discovered close to the ruins of the basilica of St. John.[17] This was the period of the Mycenaean Expansion when the Achaioi (as they were called by Homer) settled in Asia Minor during the 14th and 13th centuries BC. The names Apasa and Ephesus appear to be cognate,[18] and recently found inscriptions seem to pinpoint the places in the Hittite record.[19][20]

 

Period of Greek migrations

 

Site of the Temple of Artemis in the town of Selçuk, near Ephesus.

Ephesus was founded as an Attic-Ionian colony in the 10th century BC on a hill (now known as the Ayasuluk Hill), three kilometers (1.9 miles) from the centre of ancient Ephesus (as attested by excavations at the Seljuk castle during the 1990s). The mythical founder of the city was a prince of Athens named Androklos, who had to leave his country after the death of his father, King Kodros. According to the legend, he founded Ephesus on the place where the oracle of Delphi became reality ("A fish and a boar will show you the way"). Androklos drove away most of the native Carian and Lelegian inhabitants of the city and united his people with the remainder. He was a successful warrior, and as a king he was able to join the twelve cities of Ionia together into the Ionian League. During his reign the city began to prosper. He died in a battle against the Carians when he came to the aid of Priene, another city of the Ionian League.[21] Androklos and his dog are depicted on the Hadrian temple frieze, dating from the 2nd century. Later, Greek historians such as Pausanias, Strabo and Herodotos and the poet Kallinos reassigned the city's mythological foundation to Ephos, queen of the Amazons.

 

The Greek goddess Artemis and the great Anatolian goddess Kybele were identified together as Artemis of Ephesus. The many-breasted "Lady of Ephesus", identified with Artemis, was venerated in the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the largest building of the ancient world according to Pausanias (4.31.8). Pausanias mentions that the temple was built by Ephesus, son of the river god Caystrus,[22] before the arrival of the Ionians. Of this structure, scarcely a trace remains.

 

Ancient sources seem to indicate that an older name of the place was Alope (Ancient Greek: Ἀλόπη, romanized: Alópē).[23]

 

Archaic period

 

Street scene at the archeological excavations at Ephesus.

About 650 BC, Ephesus was attacked by the Cimmerians who razed the city, including the temple of Artemis. After the Cimmerians had been driven away, the city was ruled by a series of tyrants. Following a revolt by the people, Ephesus was ruled by a council. The city prospered again under a new rule, producing a number of important historical figures such as the elegiac poet Callinus[24] and the iambic poet Hipponax, the philosopher Heraclitus, the great painter Parrhasius and later the grammarian Zenodotos and physicians Soranus and Rufus.

  

Electrum coin from Ephesus, 620–600 BC. Obverse: Forepart of stag. Reverse: Square incuse punch.

About 560 BC, Ephesus was conquered by the Lydians under king Croesus, who, though a harsh ruler, treated the inhabitants with respect and even became the main contributor to the reconstruction of the temple of Artemis.[25] His signature has been found on the base of one of the columns of the temple (now on display in the British Museum). Croesus made the populations of the different settlements around Ephesus regroup (synoikismos) in the vicinity of the Temple of Artemis, enlarging the city.

 

Later in the same century, the Lydians under Croesus invaded Persia. The Ionians refused a peace offer from Cyrus the Great, siding with the Lydians instead. After the Persians defeated Croesus, the Ionians offered to make peace, but Cyrus insisted that they surrender and become part of the empire.[26] They were defeated by the Persian army commander Harpagos in 547 BC. The Persians then incorporated the Greek cities of Asia Minor into the Achaemenid Empire. Those cities were then ruled by satraps.

 

Ephesus has intrigued archaeologists because for the Archaic Period there is no definite location for the settlement. There are numerous sites to suggest the movement of a settlement between the Bronze Age and the Roman period, but the silting up of the natural harbours as well as the movement of the Kayster River meant that the location never remained the same.

 

Classical period

 

Statue of Artemis of Ephesus

Ephesus continued to prosper, but when taxes were raised under Cambyses II and Darius, the Ephesians participated in the Ionian Revolt against Persian rule in the Battle of Ephesus (498 BC), an event which instigated the Greco-Persian wars. In 479 BC, the Ionians, together with Athens, were able to oust the Persians from the shores of Asia Minor. In 478 BC, the Ionian cities with Athens entered into the Delian League against the Persians. Ephesus did not contribute ships but gave financial support.

 

During the Peloponnesian War, Ephesus was first allied to Athens[citation needed] but in a later phase, called the Decelean War, or the Ionian War, sided with Sparta, which also had received the support of the Persians. As a result, rule over the cities of Ionia was ceded again to Persia.

 

These wars did not greatly affect daily life in Ephesus. The Ephesians were surprisingly modern in their social relations:[citation needed] they allowed strangers to integrate and education was valued. In later times, Pliny the Elder mentioned having seen at Ephesus a representation of the goddess Diana by Timarete, the daughter of a painter.[27]

 

In 356 BC the temple of Artemis was burnt down, according to legend, by a lunatic called Herostratus. The inhabitants of Ephesus at once set about restoring the temple and even planned a larger and grander one than the original.

 

Hellenistic period

 

Historical map of Ephesus, from Meyers Konversationslexikon, 1888

When Alexander the Great defeated the Persian forces at the Battle of Granicus in 334 BC, the Greek cities of Asia Minor were liberated. The pro-Persian tyrant Syrpax and his family were stoned to death, and Alexander was greeted warmly when he entered Ephesus in triumph. When Alexander saw that the temple of Artemis was not yet finished, he proposed to finance it and have his name inscribed on the front. But the inhabitants of Ephesus demurred, claiming that it was not fitting for one god to build a temple to another. After Alexander's death in 323 BC, Ephesus in 290 BC came under the rule of one of Alexander's generals, Lysimachus.

 

As the river Cayster (Grk. name Κάϋστρος) silted up the old harbour, the resulting marshes caused malaria and many deaths among the inhabitants. Lysimachus forced the people to move from the ancient settlement around the temple of Artemis to the present site two kilometres (1.2 miles) away, when as a last resort the king flooded the old city by blocking the sewers.[28] The new settlement was officially called Arsinoea (Ancient Greek: Ἀρσινόεια[29] or Ἀρσινοΐα[30]) or Arsinoe (Ἀρσινόη),[31][32] after the king's second wife, Arsinoe II of Egypt. After Lysimachus had destroyed the nearby cities of Lebedos and Colophon in 292 BC, he relocated their inhabitants to the new city.

 

Ephesus revolted after the treacherous death of Agathocles, giving the Hellenistic king of Syria and Mesopotamia Seleucus I Nicator an opportunity for removing and killing Lysimachus, his last rival, at the Battle of Corupedium in 281 BC. After the death of Lysimachus the town again was named Ephesus.

 

Thus Ephesus became part of the Seleucid Empire. After the murder of king Antiochus II Theos and his Egyptian wife, pharaoh Ptolemy III invaded the Seleucid Empire and the Egyptian fleet swept the coast of Asia Minor. Ephesus came under Egyptian rule between 263 and 197 BC.

 

The Seleucid king Antiochus III the Great tried to regain the Greek cities of Asia Minor and recaptured Ephesus in 196 BC but he then came into conflict with Rome. After a series of battles, he was defeated by Scipio Asiaticus at the Battle of Magnesia in 190 BC. As a result of the subsequent Treaty of Apamea, Ephesus came under the rule of Eumenes II, the Attalid king of Pergamon, (ruled 197–159 BC). When his grandson Attalus III died in 133 BC without male children of his own, he left his kingdom to the Roman Republic, on condition that the city of Pergamon be kept free and autonomous.

 

Roman period

 

The 'terrace houses' at Ephesus, showing how the wealthy lived during the Roman period. Eventually the harbour became silted up, and the city lost its natural resources.

Ephesus, as part of the kingdom of Pergamon, became a subject of the Roman Republic in 129 BC after the revolt of Eumenes III was suppressed.

  

The Theatre of Ephesus with harbour street. Due to ancient and subsequent deforestation, overgrazing (mostly by goat herds), erosion and soil degradation the Turkey coastline is now 3–4 km (2–2 mi) away from the ancient Greek site with sediments filling the plain and the Mediterranean Sea. In the background: muddy remains of the former harbour, bare hill ridges without rich soils and woods, a maquis shrubland remaining.

 

Stone carving of the goddess Nike

The city felt Roman influence at once; taxes rose considerably, and the treasures of the city were systematically plundered. Hence in 88 BC Ephesus welcomed Archelaus, a general of Mithridates, king of Pontus, when he conquered Asia (the Roman name for western Asia Minor). From Ephesus, Mithridates ordered every Roman citizen in the province to be killed which led to the Asiatic Vespers, the slaughter of 80,000 Roman citizens in Asia, or any person who spoke with a Latin accent. Many had lived in Ephesus, and statues and monument of Roman citizens in Ephesus were also destroyed. But when they saw how badly the people of Chios had been treated by Zenobius, a general of Mithridates, they refused entry to his army. Zenobius was invited into the city to visit Philopoemen, the father of Monime, the favourite wife of Mithridates, and the overseer of Ephesus. As the people expected nothing good of him, they threw him into prison and murdered him. Mithridates took revenge and inflicted terrible punishments. However, the Greek cities were given freedom and several substantial rights. Ephesus became, for a short time, self-governing. When Mithridates was defeated in the First Mithridatic War by the Roman consul Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Ephesus came back under Roman rule in 86 BC. Sulla imposed a huge indemnity, along with five years of back taxes, which left Asian cities heavily in debt for a long time to come.[33]

  

Temple of Hadrian

King Ptolemy XII Auletes of Egypt retired to Ephesus in 57 BC, passing his time in the sanctuary of the temple of Artemis when the Roman Senate failed to restore him to his throne.[34]

 

Mark Antony was welcomed by Ephesus for periods when he was proconsul[35] and in 33 BC with Cleopatra when he gathered his fleet of 800 ships before the battle of Actium with Octavius.[36]

 

When Augustus became emperor in 27 BC, the most important change was when he made Ephesus the capital of proconsular Asia (which covered western Asia Minor) instead of Pergamum. Ephesus then entered an era of prosperity, becoming both the seat of the governor and a major centre of commerce. According to Strabo, it was second in importance and size only to Rome.[37]

 

The city and temple were destroyed by the Goths in 263 AD. This marked the decline of the city's splendour. However emperor Constantine the Great rebuilt much of the city and erected new public baths.

 

The Roman population

Until recently the population of Ephesus in Roman times was estimated to number up to 225,000 people by Broughton.[38][39] More recent scholarship regards these estimates as unrealistic. Such a large estimate would require population densities seen in only a few ancient cities, or extensive settlement outside the city walls. This would have been impossible at Ephesus because of the mountain ranges, coastline and quarries which surrounded the city.[40]

  

Artist Simon Kozhin Ephesus. Ruins Temple of Hadrian.

The wall of Lysimachus has been estimated to enclose an area of 415 hectares (1,030 acres). Not all of this area was inhabited due to public buildings and spaces in the centre and the steep slope of the Bülbül Dağı mountain, which was enclosed by the wall. Ludwig Burchner estimated this area with the walls at 1000.5 acres. Jerome Murphy-O'Connor uses an estimate of 345 hectares for the inhabited land or 835 acres (Murphey cites Ludwig Burchner). He cites Josiah Russell using 832 acres and Old Jerusalem in 1918 as the yardstick estimated the population at 51,068 at 14.85 persons per thousand square meters. Using 51 persons per thousand square meters he arrives at a population between 138,000 and 172,500.[41] J. W. Hanson estimated the inhabited space to be smaller at 224 hectares (550 acres). He argues that population densities of 150 or 250 people per hectare (100 per acre) are more realistic which gives a range of 33,600 to 56,000 inhabitants. Even with these much lower population estimates, Ephesus was one of the largest cities of Roman Asia Minor, ranking it as the largest city after Sardis and Alexandria Troas.[42] By contrast Rome within the walls encompassed 1500 hectares = 3,600 acres with a population estimated to between 750,000 and one million (over 1000 built-up acres were left outside the Aurelian Wall whose construction was begun in 274 and finished in 279) or 208 to 277 inhabitants per acres including open and public spaces.

 

Byzantine era (395–1308 AD)

Ephesus remained the most important city of the Byzantine Empire in Asia after Constantinople in the 5th and 6th centuries.[43] Emperor Flavius Arcadius raised the level of the street between the theatre and the harbour. The basilica of St. John was built during the reign of emperor Justinian I in the 6th century.

 

The city was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 614 AD.

 

The importance of the city as a commercial centre declined as the harbour was slowly silted up by the river (today, Küçük Menderes) despite repeated dredging during the city's history.[44] (Today, the harbour is 5 kilometres inland). The loss of its harbour caused Ephesus to lose its access to the Aegean Sea, which was important for trade. People started leaving the lowland of the city for the surrounding hills. The ruins of the temples were used as building blocks for new homes. Marble sculptures were ground to powder to make lime for plaster.

 

Sackings by the Arabs first in the year 654–655 by caliph Muawiyah I, and later in 700 and 716 hastened the decline further.

 

When the Seljuk Turks conquered Ephesus in 1090,[45] it was a small village. The Byzantines resumed control in 1097 and changed the name of the town to Hagios Theologos. They kept control of the region until 1308. Crusaders passing through were surprised that there was only a small village, called Ayasalouk, where they had expected a bustling city with a large seaport. Even the temple of Artemis was completely forgotten by the local population. The Crusaders of the Second Crusade fought the Seljuks just outside the town in December 1147.

 

Pre-Ottoman era (1304–1390)

 

The İsa Bey Mosque constructed in 1374–75, is one of the oldest and most impressive remains from the Anatolian beyliks.

The town surrendered, on 24 October 1304, to Sasa Bey, a Turkish warlord of the Menteşoğulları principality. Nevertheless, contrary to the terms of the surrender the Turks pillaged the church of Saint John and deported most of the local population to Thyrea, Greece when a revolt seemed probable. During these events many of the remaining inhabitants were massacred.[46]

 

Shortly afterwards, Ephesus was ceded to the Aydinid principality that stationed a powerful navy in the harbour of Ayasuluğ (the present-day Selçuk, next to Ephesus). Ayasoluk became an important harbour, from which piratical raids to the surrounding Christian regions were organised, both official by the state and private.[47]

 

The town knew again a short period of prosperity during the 14th century under these new Seljuk rulers. They added important architectural works such as the İsa Bey Mosque, caravansaries and Turkish bathhouses (hamam).

 

Ottoman era

Ephesians were incorporated as vassals into the Ottoman Empire for the first time in 1390. The Central Asian warlord Tamerlane defeated the Ottomans in Anatolia in 1402, and the Ottoman sultan Bayezid I died in captivity. The region was restored to the Anatolian beyliks. After a period of unrest, the region was again incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1425.

 

Ephesus was completely abandoned by the 15th century. Nearby Ayasuluğ was renamed Selçuk in 1914.

 

Ephesus and Christianity

Main article: Metropolis of Ephesus

See also: Early centers of Christianity in Anatolia

 

The Preaching of Saint Paul at Ephesus, Eustache Le Sueur, 1649

Ephesus was an important centre for Early Christianity from the AD 50s. From AD 52–54, the apostle Paul lived in Ephesus, working with the congregation and apparently organizing missionary activity into the hinterlands.[48] Initially, according to the Acts of the Apostles, Paul attended the Jewish synagogue in Ephesus, but after three months he became frustrated with the stubbornness or hardness of heart of some of the Jews, and moved his base to the school of Tyrannus.[49] The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary reminds readers that the unbelief of "some" (Greek: τινες) implies that "others, probably a large number, believed"[50] and therefore there must have been a community of Jewish Christians in Ephesus. Paul introduced about twelve men to the 'baptism with the Holy Spirit' who had previously only experienced the baptism of John the Baptist.[51] Later a silversmith named Demetrios stirred up a mob against Paul, saying that he was endangering the livelihood of those making silver Artemis shrines.[52] Demetrios in connexion with the temple of Artemis mentions some object (perhaps an image or a stone) "fallen from Zeus". Between 53 and 57 AD Paul wrote the letter 1 Corinthians from Ephesus (possibly from the 'Paul tower' near the harbour, where he was imprisoned for a short time). Later, Paul wrote the Epistle to the Ephesians while he was in prison in Rome (around 62 AD).

 

Roman Asia was associated with John,[53] one of the chief apostles, and the Gospel of John might have been written in Ephesus, c 90–100.[54] Ephesus was one of the seven cities addressed in the Book of Revelation, indicating that the church at Ephesus was strong.

 

According to Eusebius of Caesarea, Saint Timothy was the first bishop of Ephesus.[55]

 

Polycrates of Ephesus (Greek: Πολυκράτης) was a bishop at the Church of Ephesus in the 2nd century. He is best known for his letter addressed to the Pope Victor I, Bishop of Rome, defending the Quartodeciman position in the Easter controversy.

 

In the early 2nd century AD, the church at Ephesus was still important enough to be addressed by a letter written by Bishop Ignatius of Antioch to the Ephesians which begins with "Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church which is at Ephesus, in Asia, deservedly most happy, being blessed in the greatness and fullness of God the Father, and predestinated before the beginning of time, that it should be always for an enduring and unchangeable glory" (Letter to the Ephesians). The church at Ephesus had given their support for Ignatius, who was taken to Rome for execution.

  

House of the Virgin Mary

A legend, which was first mentioned by Epiphanius of Salamis in the 4th century AD, purported that the Virgin Mary may have spent the last years of her life in Ephesus. The Ephesians derived the argument from John's presence in the city, and Jesus’ instructions to John to take care of his mother, Mary, after his death. Epiphanius, however, was keen to point out that, while the Bible says John was leaving for Asia, it does not say specifically that Mary went with him. He later stated that she was buried in Jerusalem.[56] Since the 19th century, The House of the Virgin Mary, about 7 km (4 mi) from Selçuk, has been considered to have been the last home of Mary, mother of Jesus in the Roman Catholic tradition, based on the visions of Augustinian sister the Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824). It is a popular place of Catholic pilgrimage which has been visited by three recent popes.

 

The Church of Mary near the harbour of Ephesus was the setting for the Third Ecumenical Council in 431, which resulted in the condemnation of Nestorius. A Second Council of Ephesus was held in 449, but its controversial acts were never approved by the Catholics. It came to be called the Robber Council of Ephesus or Robber Synod of Latrocinium by its opponents.

 

Main sites

 

The Gate of Augustus in Ephesus was built to honor the Emperor Augustus and his family.

Ephesus is one of the largest Roman archaeological sites in the eastern Mediterranean. The visible ruins still give some idea of the city's original splendour, and the names associated with the ruins are evocative of its former life. The theatre dominates the view down Harbour Street, which leads to the silted-up harbour.

 

Main article: Temple of Artemis

The Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, once stood 418' by 239' with over 100 marble pillars each 56' high. The temple earned the city the title "Servant of the Goddess".[57] Pliny tells us that the magnificent structure took 120 years to build but is now represented only by one inconspicuous column, revealed during an archaeological excavation by the British Museum in the 1870s. Some fragments of the frieze (which are insufficient to suggest the form of the original) and other small finds were removed – some to London and some to the İstanbul Archaeology Museums.

 

Main article: Library of Celsus

 

Library of Celsus, side view

The Library of Celsus, the façade of which has been carefully reconstructed from original pieces, was originally built c. 125 AD in memory of Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, an Ancient Greek[58][59][60] who served as governor of Roman Asia (105–107) in the Roman Empire. Celsus paid for the construction of the library with his own personal wealth[61] and is buried in a sarcophagus beneath it.[62] The library was mostly built by his son Gaius Julius Aquila[63] and once held nearly 12,000 scrolls. Designed with an exaggerated entrance — so as to enhance its perceived size, speculate many historians — the building faces east so that the reading rooms could make best use of the morning light.

 

The interior of the library measured roughly 180 square metres (2,000 square feet) and may have contained as many as 12,000 scrolls.[64] By the year 400 C.E. the library was no longer in use after being damaged in 262 C.E. The facade was reconstructed during 1970 to 1978 using fragments found on site or copies of fragments that were previously removed to museums.[65]

 

At an estimated 25,000 seating capacity, the theatre is believed to be the largest in the ancient world.[8] This open-air theatre was used initially for drama, but during later Roman times gladiatorial combats were also held on its stage; the first archaeological evidence of a gladiator graveyard was found in May 2007.[66]

 

There were two agoras, one for commercial and one for state business.[67][68]

  

Aqueduct near Ephesus – Mayer Luigi – 1810

Ephesus also had several major bath complexes, built at various times while the city was under Roman rule.

 

The city had one of the most advanced aqueduct systems in the ancient world, with at least six aqueducts of various sizes supplying different areas of the city.[69][70] They fed a number of water mills, one of which has been identified as a sawmill for marble.

 

The Odeon was a small roofed theatre[71] constructed by Publius Vedius Antoninus and his wife around 150 AD. It was a small salon for plays and concerts, seating about 1,500 people. There were 22 stairs in the theatre. The upper part of the theatre was decorated with red granite pillars in the Corinthian style. The entrances were at both sides of the stage and reached by a few steps.[72]

  

Tomb of John the Apostle at the Basilica of St. John.

The Temple of Hadrian dates from the 2nd century but underwent repairs in the 4th century and has been reerected from the surviving architectural fragments. The reliefs in the upper sections are casts, the originals now being exhibited in the Ephesus Archaeological Museum. A number of figures are depicted in the reliefs, including the emperor Theodosius I with his wife and eldest son.[73] The temple was depicted on the reverse of the Turkish 20 million lira banknote of 2001–2005[74] and of the 20 new lira banknote of 2005–2009.[75]

 

The Temple of the Sebastoi (sometimes called the Temple of Domitian), dedicated to the Flavian dynasty, was one of the largest temples in the city. It was erected on a pseudodipteral plan with 8 × 13 columns. The temple and its statue are some of the few remains connected with Domitian.[73]

 

The Tomb/Fountain of Pollio was erected in 97 AD in honour of C. Sextilius Pollio, who constructed the Marnas aqueduct, by Offilius Proculus. It has a concave façade.[72][73]

 

A part of the site, Basilica of St. John, was built in the 6th century AD, under emperor Justinian I, over the supposed site of the apostle's tomb. It is now surrounded by Selçuk.

 

Seven Sleepers

 

Image of Ephesus on the reverse of the 20 new lira banknote (2005–2008)

Ephesus is believed to be the city of the Seven Sleepers. The story of the Seven Sleepers, who are considered saints by Catholics and Orthodox Christians and whose story is also mentioned in the Qur'an,[76] tells that they were persecuted because of their monotheistic belief in God and that they slept in a cave near Ephesus for three centuries.

 

Archaeology

The history of archaeological research in Ephesus stretches back to 1863, when British architect John Turtle Wood, sponsored by the British Museum, began to search for the Artemision. In 1869 he discovered the pavement of the temple, but since further expected discoveries were not made the excavations stopped in 1874. In 1895 German archaeologist Otto Benndorf, financed by a 10,000 guilder donation made by Austrian Karl Mautner Ritter von Markhof, resumed excavations. In 1898 Benndorf founded the Austrian Archaeological Institute, which plays a leading role in Ephesus today.[77]

 

Finds from the site are exhibited notably in the Ephesos Museum in Vienna, the Ephesus Archaeological Museum in Selçuk and in the British Museum.

 

In October 2016, Turkey halted the works of the archeologists, which had been ongoing for more than 100 years, due to tensions between Austria and Turkey. In May 2018, Turkey allowed Austrian archeologists to resume their excavations.[78]

 

Notable persons

Heraclitus (c. 535 – c. 475 BC), Presocratic philosopher [79]

Hipponax (6th Century BC), poet

Zeuxis (5th century BC), painter

Parrhasius (5th century BC), painter

Herostratus (d 356 BC), criminal

Zenodotus (fl. 280 BC), grammarian and literary critic, first librarian of the Library of Alexandria

Agasias (2nd century BC), Greek sculptors

Menander (early 2nd century BC), historian

Artemidorus Ephesius (c. 100 BC), geographer

Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus (ca. 45 – before ca. 120), founder of the Celsus library

Publius Hordeonius Lollianus (1st century AD), sophist

Rufus (1st century AD), physician

Polycrates of Ephesus (130 – 196), bishop

Soranus of Ephesus (1st–2nd century AD), physician

Artemidorus (2nd century AD), diviner and author

Xenophon (2nd–3rd Century AD), novelist

Maximus (4th Century AD), Neoplatonic philosopher

Manuel Philes (c. 1275 – 1345), Byzantine poet