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The Shrine of Sayeda Zainab
Tourist Guide Magazine
Dr.Mohammad al Omar
Zainab al Kubra, peace be upon her, is the daughter of the Caliph Ali Bin Abi Taleb, may God bless him, and the grand daughter of the prophet Muhammad,peace and greetings of God may be settled on him, from his daughter Fatima al Zahraa and sister of Hasan and al Husein.
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Her shrine in "al Ghouta” of Damascus is one of the most important Moslem shrines in the world and a wonder of Islamic architecture, visited by hundreds of visitors every day. Historians say that Mr. Mousa Murtadha, grand father of the custodians of the Shrine of Zainab al Kubra constructed the mausoleum from rows of stones, bricks and wood. In 1870 the ceiling crashed down to be renewed with bricks supported by a wooden skeleton by Mr. Salim Murtadha, who gave the custody of the shrine to his son, and then to the oldest of his successors. Now a committee headed jointly by Dr. Hani Murtadha and Eng. Mohammad Ridha Murtadha is sponsoring the site.
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In 1952 Eng. Mohammad Ridha Murtadha prepared a general schema for the shrine of Zainab al Kubra with an area of 150 X 190 m, and 90X90 m for the courtyard and 30 X 30 m for the main hall of the shrine. The arcade floor was covered with valuable marble tiles. The shrine has four gates, each is four meters wide with a four meters wide beautiful portico, behind which there are seventy rooms with facades of basalt stones, similar to the facades of old Damascene houses.
The roof of the shrine is 10 m high covered with wonderful Iranian china tiles .The dome is plated with pure gold plates that make it glitter day and night, and add a unique attractive sight to the whole land scape.
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If architecture is considered a mold for integrated arts, the Shrine of Sayeda Zainab represents the
aesthetic values of modern Islamic architecture. It enriches the Islamic and world heritage, because it com bines all the types of beautiful arts; namely photography, ornament, calligraphy, in addition to applied arts like china, mirrors, glass blowing, decorations, carpet weaving, book binding and lighting.
To expand the shrine, and under recommendations from the Ministry of Waqf and Ministry of Housing
, the committee bought several neighboring real estates under decree no. 995 of 11 May 1979 and allocated the necessary budgets to start an expansion project which is not fulfilled yet.
The committee is operating the shrine as a religious tourist establishment according to a well studied system with the cooperation of a staff of 90 employees, and an annual budget. One of the tasks of the committee is to sponsor and protect the shrine and its financial resources.
Since the shrine is one of the major religious tourist sites in Syria, visited by more than one and a half million visitor annually, care should be given to provide it with all the necessary services and to help ex ecute the expansion plan which will, sure, support the national income and will develop the region of Sayeda Zainab and change it into a civilized town worthy of the religious and tourist shrine of Zainab al Kubra, peace be upon her.