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El-Jazzar Mosque

In the 4,000-year-old seaside city of Acre, the green tip of a minaret stands sentinel above two large domes of the same color, puncturing the otherwise seamless blue Mediterranean sky. Underneath the structure’s spacious, palm tree-lined courtyard are a series of cisterns fed by water from the nearby Kabri springs. Also known as The Great Mosque and The White Mosque, this place of worship owes both its design and existence to a famous Ottoman ruler of obscure origins.

Sometime between 1720 and 1739, a young boy now known as Ahmed was born in what is today southern Bosnia. After moving to Constantinople, Ahmed worked for a period in Anatolia, eventually landing in Egypt, where he quickly curried favor with Mamluk officials. Mamluks were young Balkan (including Bosnian), Circassian, Coptic, Turkic, and Georgian men who had been sold into slavery and trained as soldiers for their captors. At one point, these slaves revolted and took control from their former owners, although they kept the slavery apparatus running so as to have a continuous supply of future rulers and administrators.


About the source: Atlas Obscura

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