39o PICTURESQUE PALESTINE.
same time endowed an institution for the support of two sets of mueddins to chant the call to
prayer from his minaret to the end of time. The most beautiful of the three minarets is that
at the south-west angle of the mosque, called Gharbiyeh. It occupies the place of one
destroyed by fire in a.d. 1449. The Christians were accused of having set fire to it, and they
were accordingly heavily taxed for its reconstruction. No expense was spared in the execution
of the work. It is built of fine limestone and black basalt from the Hauran. The foundation,
which rises to a considerable height, is square; by an ingenious mode of cutting the angles
this is converted into an octagon, on each face of which there is a trefoil-headed niche
surmounted by circular ornaments of inlaid black and white stone, four of which are pierced in
the centre. Above these there is a covered projecting gallery supported by stalactite brackets
and protected by a balustrade of beautiful tracery carved in stone. Here the mueddin stands
to chant the call to prayer. Above this the minaret is more slender, and is ornamented with
courses of black basalt and circles with bosses in the centre. Higher still there is another
gallery with a carved balustrade, but without a canopy; here there is a framework on which to
suspend lamps to be lighted at night during the month of Ramadan and on the eve of the
great festivals of Islam. From the third and highest landing-place, which is surrounded by an
ornamental battlement, rises a slender octagonal pinnacle surmounted by an egg-shaped finial,
which supports a glittering crescent. This minaret may be distinguished in the view on page
411 to the left of the great dome, but a clearer representation of the upper portion of it is given
on page 385. The third minaret is at the south-east angle of the mosque, and is called
Madinet 'Isa, " the Minaret of Jesus," from the Muslim tradition that " when Christ comes to
judge the world he will first descend on its summit." Perhaps this idea arose from the
circumstance of this being the highest minaret in Syria. It is two hundred and fifty feet in
height. It consists of a high square tower, on each side of which there are double-arched
openings on two stages. The twin arches, which are of slightly pointed horseshoe form, are
together framed in pointed arches of beautiful proportions, the masonry between the inner
arches being pierced with a star-shaped or circular opening.
In the illustration on page 385 a mueddin is admirably represented in the act of chanting
the call to prayer from the higher of the two stages, only one of the twin arches, with its
wooden balustrade, being shown. High above this level, from the summit of the square tower,
springs an octagonal turret with two projecting open galleries one above the other, and still
higher there is an inner gallery, which is surmounted by a tall pyramidal spire rising from an
octagon base and crowned with a crescent. On page 411 this minaret may be distinguished
in front of the great dome, which is more clearly shown on page 385, rising above the high
dilapidated roof of the transept, and beyond the triple-gabled lead-covered roof of the aisles.
The dome is called Kubbet en Nisr, " the Dome of the Vulture."
The entrance to the court of the mosque, at Bab Berid, on the western side, is through
the Muslim book bazaar, a lofty arcade in which there are remains of an ancient colonnade.
This was without doubt one of the chief entrances to the ancient temple, for at its western