Al Omari Mosque Tiberias
Daher al-Omar (1689/90 – 21 August 1775) built “The Great Mosque Tiberias” in 1743 in Khan square in the heart of the old city of Tiberias. The al Omari Mosque was built with alternating white and black basalt stone, typical of the architectural style of Zahir’s building works, a white dome and a minaret. The mosque is named “al Omari Mosque” for Daher al-Omar himself. During the 18th and 19th centuries it was the most prominent building in the town and was often depicted in official pictures of Tiberias. He also commissioned the building of a citadel (now ruined).
Tiberius became Daher’s seat of power. Daher al-Omar was unique in his attitude towards both Christians and Jews. He permitted the building of the Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth and also allowed Jews to resettle in Tiberias, inviting Rabbi Haim Abulafia of Istanbul to set up a synagogue in Tiberias.
The mosque has not been in use since Arab minority of Tiberias was evacuated by the British in April 1948. The mosque is one of the last few buildings dating from pre-1948 still standing in Tiberias.
This video of Tiberias in 1925 shows you how The Great Mosque Tiberias actually looked.[The al Omari Mosque in Tiberias should not be confused with the Al-Omari Mosque in Gaza City – the largest and oldest mosque in the Gaza Strip. The mosque in Gaza is named “al-Omari” in honor of Omar ibn al-Khattab.]
Tourism in Tiberias
The abandoned al-Omari mosque of Tiberias stands in the shadows of numerous hotels, hidden behind a strip of bankrupt storefronts. In the meantime there are no Moslem prayers in the mosque. It is a situation to either “swallow or regurgitate”. The city of Tiberias may have plans to renovate the al-Omari mosque area and make it more of an attraction, but the plans have yet to be seen. Unfortunately the city has neither time-table nor budget for such a project. So much said for tourism in Tiberias. If only Daher al-Omar was mayor………
Al Bakhri Mosque Tiberias
The Sea Mosque was built of basalt in the 18th century. This is one of the few reminders of the city’s pre-1948 Arab community.
Near the marina, just off the promenade, is this 19th century place of worship later operated as an Antique Museum for many years. It is called the sea mosque because it once served Tiberias’ Muslim fishermen, and there was a special entrance from the water for worshipers arriving by boat. It is no longer on the water since the lakeshore was changed during construction of the promenade.