to visit in Tripoli-Lebanon :
An outstanding madrasah of Tripoli which also serves as a mosque today is
the al-Burtasiya which met with severe damage in 1955 when flood waters of the Abou Ali
River invaded the building and rose to its second story.However repairs undertaken by
Lebanons Department of Antiquities have made this imposing monument of the early
Mamluks one of old Tripolis major attractions . Its mots ornate feature is its dark
stone portal, the overhanging half-dome ceiling of which is decorated with the usual
stalactites, beneath which is a band of Arabic inscriptions. The lintel of the door is
incised with intricate panels of geometric designs. In the interior of the building the
central cupola is supported by arches. The walls are decorated with alveolate carvings,
above which, is a row of arched decorations pierced by pairs of arched windows and light
apertures all around the inside of the dome .
A marble fountain stands in the
prayer hall while to the south, the beautiful mihrdb can be seen decorated with stone and
glass mosaics overlaid with gold leaf. The designs of the mosaic are floral and geometric
with green -blue branches standing out against a
golden background .
The madrasah has a square minaret, on the east side of which are a pair of
windows with arches in black and white stone reminiscent of Moorish architecture The small
decorative column separating the windows has a badly worn capital which may be of Crusader
origin. Of Crusader inspiration are the corbelled windows on all four sides. The upper
story overhanging balcony of the minaret in decorated with a mass of stalactites.
The inscription tell us that the madrasah was built by Isa, son of Omar
al-Burtasi and although there is no foundation date it appears, by the style of the
inscription, to belong to the Hahn Mamluk period. It was destined, according to the
wishes of the founder, for the use of theologians of the Shafiite school for the
explanation and interpretation of the Koran and the presentation of the hadtth. It was
also destined for ceremonies and for Friday prayers. The founder stipulates that it is
strictly forbidden to give sums of money or lodgings to those not employed in the
madrasah. This clause was included presumably to discourage begging and other mis-uses of
the endowment fund.