Dar as-Sitt Tunshuq ,Dar al Aytam ארמון סת טונשוק


site Profile

The northern wing of the complex is called ‘Dar as-Sitt Tunshuq’. Established in 1388, the
palace includes a large reception hall of 36x11 meters. Inside the hall is a row of columns,
holding up the wide ceiling and the floor built above it. Three separate staircases lead to the
second floor. An inner courtyard is extended on the ground floor. Over the years, the site has
undergone various incarnations, and today the northwestern wing houses the Dar El Aytam
High School.
The palace is considered to be among the most beautiful and impressive structures built during
the Mamluk period. Near the front entrance are decorated stone benches, red/white/black stone
pillars, and colorful leaf-shape stonework, placed upside down and right side up, alternately.
Above the eastern entrance is a large square mosaic and above it is a Muqarnas, a series of
decorations made of stone stalactites. On the window above the western gate is an inscription
of verses from the Quran.
The three original gates survived2
, although large parts of the stone carvings were damaged,
causing them to lose their splendor. The rest of the original structure has undergone changes
over the years. The middle entrance is slightly more modest in size, but its stone designs are as
rich and meticulous as the others. The other two gates (eastern and western) are quite similar,
decorated with great splendor and large dimensions.
The eastern portal has a limestone square panel with round hole in the center. It is decorated
with incised geometric designs, which were originally inlaid with colored mosaics. The panel is
surrounded by a gray boarder and the arched bay at the top, contains two tiers of stalactite
engravings. The western portal differs from the eastern one in having a flight of five steps.
Under the arch, there is rectangular window surrounded by a limestone frame of meticulous

Dar al Aytam – This Muslim school, which serves the city’s residents, extends over most of the
southern area of the complex. The entrance to the school is from the Saraya Street. A
monumental gate leads to the mosque’s courtyard and to the vaulted hall to its north.
Until the first half of the 19th century, it served as an integral part of the soup kitchen, which
served Muslim pilgrims and the city’s poor. In the 1870s, the Ottoman authorities renovated the
site and restationed the residence of the governor of Jerusalem that had previously been
located in the Madrasat al Jawiliyya building (see site no. 637), as well as the Jerusalem Civil
Court, which became the district governmental center.

School address: Islamic Orphanage Secondary School, Awqaf Department, Tel- 02-6283613
There is an entrance to the school from Saraya St. and from Ma'alot ha-Midrasha Street.

The Northeastern Wing is the complex’s original kitchen and bakery from the 14th century. The
entrance is from e-Taqiya street from a monumental gate house. The public kitchen continued
to function for hundreds of years under the management of the charity fund left behind by Lady
Tunshuq. The kitchen is a square structure of 14x14 meters. The kitchen is 2.3 meters lower
than the street level due to the topography of the site. The building has four massive pillars that
support the upper level, which includes vaults, light holes and ventilation to release smoke. In
the southern part of the space area were high chimneys for the cooking and lighting fires. Next
to the kitchen, water tanks were installed, as well as a sabil, which was the main source of water
for the whole complex. Right next to the kitchen, was the dining room and storage (for dishes
and dry ingredients - wheat, rice, chickpeas, cereals and other dry food).

2 In the front of the buildings are meticulously carved stone pillars and in their case, instead of mortar and
straw, which was customarily used as a bonding material, lead was used.

Parent Usages

  • Monument (Muslim) active
  • Heritage (Muslim) active

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