This lecture deals with the el-Qameriya burial structure in Jerusalem and will focus on the building style of the structure and the el-Qameriya family members who are buried inside it.
The dedicatory inscription that was found during the course of the archaeological excavation that was carried out next to the burial structure includes the names of two emirs (military commanders): Tsia el-Din el-Qameriya and Hassam el-Din el-Qameriya. A broken piece of the same inscription dates the construction of the building to the year 1251, that is, the end of Ayyubid rule in the city. Therefore most of this discussion will concentrate on buildings from the Ayyubid period in Jerusalem. In addition, a comparison was made between the el-Qameriya tomb and single domed structures that were built in Jerusalem in the Crusader period and the Early Mamluk period.
During the comparison of the buildings from the Crusader period, an attempt was made to trace the impact of Crusader architecture on the Ayyubid single domed structures. A comparison of the Ayyubid buildings with each other suggests the existence of a common building style. An attempt was also made to trace the development of the same style in buildings of the Early Mamluk period.
Another comparison was made between the single domed buildings in Jerusalem and the single domed buildings in Damascus and Cairo, the two main capitals of the thirteenth century. An examination of the building style in Damascus raised the need for another comparison with the burial structure called the Tomb of Rabbi Gamliel/Abu Horeda, which is located in Yavne.
The main conclusion that was drawn from the study indicates the existence of a local building style in Jerusalem during the Ayyubid period. The style is characterized by stepped squinches comprised of a series of arches built one inside the other and resting on pointed arches that spring from corner pillars. This building style was identified in Kubat Musa, which is a room with single dome located on Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem, which was built under the auspices of the last Ayyubid sultan, Al-Salah Ayyub in 1249 CE. The same style can also be found in the Gate of Chains that was built at the end of the 12th century CE. In addition that style was employed in the construction of a domed room that was erected on the burial chamber of King David on Mount Zion, hence the conclusion that it was built during the Ayyubid period.
The building style described herein can be defined as a local Jerusalem style that exists in the city during the Ayyubid period and reappears with slight changes in the buildings that were constructed in and around Jerusalem during the Early Mamluk period. Evidence of this building style can be seen in the single domed burial structure called Al-Qobikhya located in the cemetery in Mamilla in Jerusalem and in a single domed burial chamber containing the tombstone of Nebi Samuel, located alongside the Jerusalem – Jericho road.
Another burial structure is the tomb of Rabbi Gamliel/Abu Horeda located in Yavne. The building was erected in two main phases. The early phase comprises a single domed burial chamber that was probably built in the Ayyubid period. The later phase, consisting of a roak (covered balcony), is dated according to a dedicatory inscription to the Mamluk period. The style of the burial chamber is different than the building style that was defined in the work as a local Jerusalem style and is similar to the Damascus style.