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Explore the Islamic Heritage of the Mediterranean in Syria | Hama

Hama Archaeological Museum

Hama Archaeological Museum


This new museum is located 2 km north of the city centre on Ziqar Street. Opening times are Wed–Mon 9.00–18.00 during the summer, 9.00–16.00 during the winter. Closed on Tuesdays and during Friday prayers (approx 11.00–13.00). There is an entrance fee.

Descriptions with thematic focus from other MWNF programmes

Hama Archaeological Museum
In Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Exhibition Trails.
Hama Archaeological Museum in The Ayyubid Era. Art and Architecture in Medieval Syria, by Wa'al Hafian (English)
Noria Mosaic: This is the first visual record of the magnificent hydraulic waterwheel-structure known as noria. The Byzantine mosaic panel, originally located in Apamea, has a date AD 469. It measures 148 cm x 170 cm and is irregular in shape due to loss of material. Despite its fragmentary state, the different elements that make up the noria are evident, such as the wooden beams and circular frame of the wheel, the streams of water that pour from the buckets as it rotates, and the triangular structure made of stone blocks that supports the noria’s axle. Various colours feature in the tesserae of the mosaic: grey, brown, beige, yellowish beige and pinkish beige – to distinguish the different media of the noria.
Shaduf Jar: Like the noria, the shaduf, is another method of water-collecting technology, which is similarly ancient. The shaduf is a more provincial construct, and the wheel is generally smaller in size The shaduf, unlike the noria, is not propelled by the momentum of the river, but is instead driven by animal power; a mule, for example, would walk in circles to rotate the wheel. Attached to the mechanism by way of a rope around the neck or through a pierced hole, these distinctively shaped jars held the water collected by the shaduf. The exact date and place of production of shaduf jars is unknown, but they are indigenous to the Hama region, and probably date back to some time between the 6th/12th and 8th/14th centuries. Indeed, to this day there is a village called “Tel Shaduf ”, located to the north of the Salamiyya and Shmemis citadels. On average, the dimensions of these shaduf jars are 28.5 cm high, 7.5 cm wide at the base, and 11.5 cm wide at the rim.
Minbar of Nur al-Din: This minbar was originally part of the new Mosque of Nur al-Din in Hama, its beauty matched only by its strong political message relating to Islamic piety and Holy War. Standing tall and copiously carved, it is made of wood, 84 cm wide, 318 cm long and 425 cm at its utmost height; the crescent-shaped finial above the domed seat. Geometric designs and calligraphic inscriptions executed in naskhi script indicate the name and titlature of the patron, Nur al-Din, and the date of its execution, 559/1263–4. The top of the seat back is decorated with an arched frame with carved-interlacing hexagonal patterns, amidst which is the testimony of faith “La Ilaha Illa Alla” (“There is no god but God”), and “Muhammad Rasul Allah” (“Muhammad is God’s Prophet”), carved in two cartouches and executed in broad calligraphy set on a delicate background of spiralling tendrils. The lower part of the seat back is composed of a hexagonal and triangular grid with pierced brackets that highlight the pattern and make the structure itself less heavy. A magnificent cornice, with floral carving and sculptural floral crenellations along the rim, gives the minbar a throne-like quality accentuated by the dome and its farreaching crescent finial.
The banisters currently on the minbar are modern restorations, but one of the original banisters hangs on the wall to the right of the minbar and presents the original features of Nur al-Din’s inscription, executed in naskhi script, all along the frame. The body of the banister, carved with a matrix of criss-crossing lines with diamond-shaped piercing at the intersections, has a zigzag design along the periphery.

Wa'al Hafian.

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