The Al-Omari Mosque is an early Islamic-era mosque in the Roman city of Bosra, Syria. It was founded by Caliph Umar, who led the Muslim conquest of Syria in 636 CE, and it was completed in the early 8th century by Caliph Yazid II. The mosque was renovated in the 12th and 13th century CE by the Ayyubid dynasties.
Before it was destroyed, this mosque was one of the oldest standing mosques in the world. It served as a rest stop for travelers, Arab caravans on trade routes through Syria and pilgrims traveling to Mecca. The travelers used the central courtyard of the mosque as a marketplace as well as a place to sleep. The arcades of the mosque on the eastern and western sides enclosed this central courtyard. The south side of the mosque had a double arcade that led to the mosque’s prayer hall.
The mosque’s square minoret was one of the earliest examples of Umayyad-style minorets. Mosques in Damascus and Aleppo have similar style minorets from the same dynasty. This style of minoret was potentially inspired by the steeples of Syrian churches.
Damage to Bosra began in 2012, as shells and tanks caused significant damage. In 2014, shell crater damage caused a hole in the roof of the mosque, and the upper level of the mosque was also destroyed. Rubble from the mosque is scattered around the destruction site, and there is shell damage in the surrounding area as well. In March 2015, terrorists captured Bosra from the Syrian Government after heavy shelling of the town and caused further damage to the area.