Dar Mufidal Amin...An Appointment with History

In the district of Bab Tadmur, one of the old districts of Homs, which could maintain very little of its historical heritage from the invasion of modernity which turned the district into narrow lanes of cement blocks, and just near the Serai of the district, stands Dar MufidalAmin which the endowment documents confirm that it is the second official house built by the government inside the wall of the city during the Mamelouk period after alZahrawi Palace. The house remained an official building until the ottomans entered the city in the year 922 Hijira= 1516 AD.


History of the Dar:

Mr. FaridJabbour, Director of Homs Antiquities Department, told me that this Dar was built by king Ahmad ShihabeddinKujok to be the court- house of the Mamelouk Princedom as stated in the historical document "alHalabi Endowment" dated 967 Hijira=1571AD.

The Dar was attributed also to Mar Elian the Miraculous because he, and his family, lived in it for a long time, and then it became property of Beit alMallak, and later property of MufidalAmin. The Dar was registered in the records of the historical and heritage buildings in Homs in 1967AD. At the beginnings of the 1990s of the past century restoration works began in the house to recover all its parts in order to be used as a museum of important historical documents and manuscripts,including pictures and official documents and also as a center of certain activities like exhibitions and heritage festivities...etc.

The external facade:

Once you enter the district of BabTadmur you start a trip with theremains of the history of the city ofHoms; streets tiled with black cobbledstones, and houses built of black basalt stones. East of alSarraj Street you find the external facade of Dar alAmin with its Ablaq style of black and white alternated rows of stones, and an arch decorated with wonderful geometrical designs carved with the phrase "God Is Right" over a wooden gate. Between the arch and the door there is an inscription of a water jug topped with a stone formed in the shape of a glass, symbol of the Kojaks who inspired it from a Quranic verse saying "We made every living creature from water".

The facade has another gate left to the main one also topped with an arch similar in its decorations to the main one but different in that it was closed in its lower part and changed into a window to an adjacent house separated, with one of its halls, from the original house.

The facade extends to the end of the lane and turns left to make a corner decorated with beautiful white stalactites distinguishing the house from the neighboring ones, then a third gate appears topped with a basalt arch brought from one of the houses of theold city.

Internal parts of the house:

The main gate leads you into a long corridor at its right corner there is a door of a large hall topped with one of the most beautiful Mamelouk domes decorated with stalactites and corner panels. The floor is tiled with white and blue marble tiles while the four walls have high plat- forms. The two western ones are opened to two side halls whose entrances are decorated with Quranic verses saying" A victory from God and an approaching Relief" while the northern platform leads into basalt stairs leading to another hall and extend forward up into a room of decorated panels and a corridor closed at its end and topped with a dome similar to those of the domes of bath houses, without any indication of the function of the place.

The corner of the main entrance is occupied by another corridor leading to the open courtyard, seemingly was another main gate of the house.

At the length of the main internal façade there is a door leading to a corridor roofed with crossed panels at the end of which is the kitchen with an attic found in a devastated state, and now is under restoration with the kitchen in which at its eastern corner there is a stone ladder leading to a tomb, now closed.

The open courtyard is wide enough and has a square stone fountain and several water wells and cisterns. In the center of the northern wall there are three steps leading to the second gate of the house.

Distinguished efforts:

At the beginning of the restoration works the house was in shambles due to the natural and human devastating factors. Well arranged and distinguished efforts were exerted to revive the house again in order to contain the history of the city of Homs which we are all eager to know its details. We are waiting the opening of this new documentary museum of Homs which will return, at least, some interest in the heritage of this ancient city.


Haifaa Mafalani