To continue on this trail, one must head towards al-Aqsa Mosque through Bab al-Silsila, turn north (left of the entrance) and reach al-Mathara (purification) Gate. Directly to the left of the entrance is the façade of al-Madrasa al- ‘Uthmaniyya.
Location and Founder
The ‘Uthmaniyya School is located on the western wall of al-Aqsa Mosque to the south of Bab al-Mutawada’, between the door of Suq al-Qattanin and al-Madrasa al-Ashrafiyya. The ‘Uthmaniyya was funded and built by Asfahan Khatun, the daughter of Prince Muhammad who was known as Khanum. Lady Asfahan generously spent on her madrasa, given that this school’s Waqf included the lands of the village of Kafr Qar’ and others in the lands of the Rum. The Waqf had a teacher, a Quran reader, nine students and some Sufis.
The school’s architecture comprises two levels. The top level overlooks the Dome of the Rock through a colored façade, comprising a pointed arch surrounding two rectangular windows that were built with joggled red and black stones.
The madrasa is accessed through a door located on Bab al-Mathara Road, carved in its beautifully decorated northern façade. The entrance leads to the transitional area of Dirka (vestibule after entrance)), leading to a courtyard and a burial room. There is a prayer niche in a lower level room, known as the Lower Mosque, while the large hall that overlooks al-Aqsa Mosque is known as the Upper Mosque. The school is currently the residence of the al-Fityani family. It is therefore difficult to see inside. The school also sits atop the famous Israeli tunnel an excavation, causing major damage to the building and many complains were submitted to international institutions such as UNESCO.