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Ottoman-era mosque containing hieroglyphic inscriptions damaged after recent rainfall

By Saeb Rawashdeh - Mar 16,2019 - Last updated at Mar 16,2019

The destroyed wall of the 19th-century Ottoman mosque at Sheikh Khalilat Al Turrah, near Ramtha, northern Jordan can be seen in this undated photo (Photo courtesy of Thomas Weber-Karyotakis)

AMMAN — After recent torrential rains, the Ottoman mosque of Sheikh Khalilat Al Turrah, near Ramtha, was seriously damaged and one of its walls collapsed, a German archaeologist told The Jordan Times.

The mosque is thought to have been built no earlier than the mid-19th century, said Professor Thomas Weber-Karyotakis, adding that the supporting piers of the cross-vaulted domes contain ancient spolia (decorative sculpture reused in new monuments), such as a fragment of hieroglyph dated to the reign of Ramesses II (1272 BC). 

In order to conduct restoration work of this significant monument, the western wall of the mosque must be rebuilt in “a proper way”, he underlined.

Regarding the ancient Egyptian inscription found at the mosque, there are similar hieroglyphic inscriptions commemorating military campaigns by the Pharaohs towards the Late Bronze Age in Palestine, Lebanon and southern Syria, Weber-Karyotakis elaborated.

“The Turrah fragment had been allegedly brought from Tell Chehab on the northern bank of the Yarmouk River,” the archaeologist said. 

“To my knowledge, hieroglyphic inscriptions are extremely rare in Jordan,” the professor underlined.
Weber-Karyotakis was informed about the recent damage by the Ramtha branch of the Department of Antiquities.

“It would be a pity to lose this important Islamic monument of cultural heritage in Jordan,” the German expert, who teaches at the German-Jordanian University, concluded.

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