“The Mardinian School in Damascus … “A Women’s Creativity

At the year of (610 Hijri) Ezzit Eddin Akhsha Khatoon, the wife of the majestic king ‘Eisa’ the son of the Just king ‘Abi Baker Ayyub’ in 1213 BC has established ‘The Mardinian School’ one of the most wonderful Ayyoubi buildings.

The Historian Bashir Zuhdi says : ‘ We don’t bring up anything new when saying that Syria in general and Damascus in particular has witnessed a distinctive architectural rising in the Ayyoubi era in which school building, khans, and bathrooms increased where several entails have been assigned  for the care and expenses on them and the beneficiaries . However, what draw the attention is some of these buildings have been built by a number of women who requested to do that and did contribute in the building. Zuhdi adds : ‘ if a hundred and sixty schools have been established in Damascus, Al-Quds, Trablus, Egypt, Aleppo, Hama in the period that lies between 1262-1132 BC, then a nineteen school out of all have been established in Damascus only in a women initiative.

One of the most prominent and outstanding  buildings of women in that era is ‘The Mardinian School’ which has been established by Azizt Eddin Aksha Khanon, the daughter of the King ‘ Kutib Eddin the owner of Mardin, from the name of this city ‘ the Mardiania’ was derived.  Zuhdi Continues: ‘there has been a debate over naming this building. In his ‘The Essential Necklaces’; Ibin Talon is called ‘The Mardinian Mosque’ in which studies are run, at others ‘the Mardinian School’. However, nowadays the school is no longer found as it has been transformed into the White Bridge Mosque.

The Location:

The ‘Mardinian School’ is sited on the edge of Tura River near the white bridge area, the so called today ‘Omar Al Abrash Square’. In 624 Hijri, 1227 BC, Ezzet Eddin has installed several orchards, shops and hakura( small vegetable gardens) in a well-known area today by the White Bridge putting a condition that who teaches in it not to be teaching in other schools, as has been stated in the book of ‘ The Studier in the History of Schools’ for Alnuaimi.

Mr Bashir Zuhdi assures that Ezzat Eddin hasn’t been buried in the school as she wished to: (It’s right that she has built herself a burying dome attached to the school in order to be buried in. However, her wishes, so to speak, hasn’t been reached as most of the histocal resources confirm that. Some say that: ‘Aziza returned to Mardin after the death of her majestic husband, some illustrate that she has gone to pilgrimage and was devoted to worshipping in the reverenced Mecca where she died and was buried there. Two hundred years later, the Mamluki prince ‘ Isnik Bin Izdimur’ has been buried in it in / 916 Hijri / 1413 BC, then it became a cemetery for Elmuayeyd family as Myhammed Kurd Ali stated in his book ‘ Plans of Damascus’; where the graves have been moved to the ‘ Small Door Cemetery’ in 1969 at the time of school reparation.

Architectural specifications:

Zuhdi says: (there hasn’t been left from the school except a ceiled mosque (with bricks) next to it a stand a minaret designed according to the Ayyobi Architecture, over the eastern section lies the cemetery dome, sleek, pinned and high, based on a two-layer pillar, the first is octagonal with alternate four arching windows, each two lie under a bow. The Upper one consists of sixteen angle and contains 8 arching windows, with eight prayer niches (Mihrab) and nine-line cockleshells where some of them have eroded because of the act of nature. The minarate is a square-shape with several rising windows ending up by the Muazzen terrace topped by the  minarate peak.

There hasn’t been left from the Mardinian school, which has been renewed in 1931 / 1969 / 1979, except a mosque which carries the name of the Mosque of While Bridge, a Minarate was renewed recently,  and a new four-floor building opposite to the Mosque that was one of the Entails endowed by Aziza to the ‘ The Mardinia School’.

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