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11 The Early Islamic City of Ramla in Light of New Archaeological Discoveries, g.i.s. Applications, and a Re-examination of the Literary Sources

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Chapter Summary

The city of Ramla was built on a Pleistocene red sand hill. According to the archaeological data collected in numerous excavations, the earliest habitation of Ramla did not predate the second/eighth century. At that time, the earliest known buildings in the area of the White Mosque were erected according to an orthogonal plan and aligned with the four cardinal points. The mosque, built in a style characteristic of eighth-century mosques in Syria and Palestine, included a long, narrow hall, and an exedra enclosing a central courtyard. In the second half of the eighth century, the White Mosque was reconstructed and its area was almost doubled in comparison to the previous mosque. In the later ʿAbbāsid and Fāṭimid periods, the city developed and reached its peak. The areas north and south of the White Mosque changed in use and appearance, becoming a public compound where the city's Friday Mosque stood.

Keywords: ʿAbbāsid; Fāṭimid; Palestine; Ramla; Syria; White Mosque



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