Khanqat Salahiyya

In preparation for the visit to Jerusalem of the German Emperor Wilhelm II (1898), the Ottoman authorities repaired and tidied up the sections of the city which he was to visit. One of these buildings was Khanqat Salahiyya, named for Saladin, which still constitutes the northwestern corner of the Crusader Church of the Holy Sepulcher complex.

According to Crusader period sources, the khanqah served at that time as the palace of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. Proof of this was found with the discovery of a Latin inscription during the renovations carried out in the building prior to the visit of the German emperor. The inscription reads- “The Patriarch Arnolfus erected this building.” Arnolfus served as the fourth Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem in 1099 and from 1112 to 1117, the year in which the building was constructed. After the inscription was discovered, it was despoiled by the Qadi of the khanqah, for fear that the Christians would demand they be given repossession of the building. However, a Dominican monk succeeded in making a copy of the inscription.

In 1187, Saladin converted the building into a khanqah (a hospice and prayer house for dervishes) named for him. The building was renovated by the Mamluk Sultan en-Nasir Muhammad Ibn Qalawun in 1341, and it would seem that the minaret was erected at this time. Few Crusader period remains are extant, and what is visible is mainly from the fifteenth-century Mamluk restoration work.

Dan Bahat. The Illustrated Atlas of Jerusalem. The Israel Map and Publishing Company LTD, Israel, 1996. p. 75.