Wandering through the small pathways of Beirut Souks nothing strikes you as hard as the juxtaposing contrast of Zawiyat Ibn ‘Arraq. The Zawiyat is the last remaining link that ties Beirut to the Mamluk rule.
Like the outsider that gave up fitting into his surrounding it stands. Like A muse in the middle of the fire the site mirrors the city’s struggles, desires, anxieties and dreams.
The site is the last surviving façade of the Mamluk era and Lebanon was under its control during the late 13th century. Although the Mamluk realm later became a part of the Ottoman Empire (1517), the Mamluk visual culture continued to inspire Ottoman and other Islamic artistic traditions.
The Zawiya was originally built as a part of a house and a ribat (hospice) in Beirut. The chronicle elaborates that Arraq Al-Dimashqi chose its location to be in close proximity to the former house of Imam ‘Abd Al-Rahman al-Ouzai’i. After ‘Arraq’s death in 1526 his house remained a private madrasa until it was later incorporated into the Souk under the Ottoman rule.