The survival of the Knights' Church in Tripoli

David Mallia[*]

The Reconquista in 1492 and establishment of presidios in North African cities

The culmination of the Spanish reconquista came at the beginning of 1492 when the last Nasrid ruler of Granada surrendered the city to the Catholic Monarchs. The momentum generated by this event led to the creation of presidios along the North African littoral. A number of strategic port cities –such as Ceuta, Bougie, Oran, Algiers, La Goulette, Mandia and Djerba — were conquered by the Spanish forces and held as fortified outposts. The function of these presidios was manifold. They were meant to serve as a springboard for the eventual conquest and re-Christianisation of Africa (the home of St Augustine) and to prevent the use of these harbours by Muslim corsairs. They also served as a place of exile for criminals and as trading posts with the hinterland. Life in these presidios may be compared to life in a frontier town and many of them were ephemeral conquests, since the greater part were retaken by the Muslim forces, although Ceuta and Melilla remain Spanish to this day.

The Spanish conquest of Tripoli in 1510 and the arrival of the Hospitallers

In July 1510 Count Pedro Navarro undertook the conquest of Tripoli[1] on behalf of Ferdinand the Catholic.[2] The city was devastated and there was a great loss of life among the defenders.[3] A considerable number of its former inhabitants sought refuge in the nearby settlements of Janzur and Tajura.[4] The city and its immediate


Fig. 1. Sixteenth-century map of Tripoli by P. Furlani / B. Zaltirie (courtesy Istituto italiano di cultura Tripoli)

Fig. 2. Map of Tripoli c. 1560 by H. van Schoel (courtesy Istituto Italiano di cultura Tripoli)

[p.31] hinterland thus came under direct control of the Sicilian viceroy, Ugo de Moncada.[5] Considerable efforts were made to encourage Chrisitan settlement in the city.[6] Early in the reign of Charles I, efforts were made to encourage the return of Muslim inhabitants who had fled in 1510 by permitting the former sheik of the city to leave Sicily and settle there.[7] There is also evidence of considerable merchandise passing through the city — towards Europe and Africa — as attested to by the three sets of Capitoli dated 1511, 1512 and 1521, which regulated trade and indicated tariffs for goods entering or leaving the city.[8] However, the situation remained tenuous in view of the weakness of this presidio (see Figs. land 2).

Meanwhile on the other side of the Mediterranean, the Ottomans succeeded in removing a pernicious thorn in their flesh by expelling the Knights of St John from the island of Rhodes at the end of 1522.[9] The Order had been in Rhodes since 1307 and had constantly preyed on Muslim shipping.[10] Under pressure from the inhabitants of the island, Sultan Suleiman's generous terms were accepted by the Order, who sailed from the island with flags flying on 1 January 1523.[11] The Order had lost its home and had it not been for the tenacity of Grand Master l'Isle Adam might have perished altogether. The Order was granted refuge in Viterbo by the pope. It soon became obvious that the desired recapture of Rhodes was not an option and failing that, the idea took root that the Order might take over another Mediterranean island to continue their crusading activities.[12] The Order began negotiations with the emperor to acquire Malta, but the emperor insisted that the granting of Malta included Tripoli. The Order sent a deputation composed of one knight from each langue to inspect Malta, Gozo and Tripoli and they drew up a report of their visit which was rather unfavourable.[13] The Order was opposed to accepting Tripoli with Malta because of the distance and the expenses involved. However, the emperor was obdurate and after much procrastination, the Order accepted these terms.

In 1530, the city of Tripoli and the Maltese Islands were granted as a fief to the Knights of St John and the Order appointed a series of governors to rule the city. This was considered to be a critical appointment in view of the continual threat to the city from land and sea.[14] The arrival of the Order seems to have induced a reduction in trade, which resulted in a serious reduction of revenue. This may have been due to a shifting of the trade routes away from Tripoli to nearby Tajura. Meanwhile the Order [p.32] continued to improve the fortifications of the castle and the city. In 1533 the new governor of Tripoli Fra Garzia Cortes took the Order's engineer Piccino with him for advice. The work was continued under the next governor Fra Georg Schilling.[15]

The Barbary Corsairs

As early as 1512 the Muslim counter offensive was being planned with attacks by the Barbary corsairs on Tripoli. These corsairs were destined to be the Ottoman Empire's vanguard in the Western Mediterranean.[16] By 1515 the 'Barbarossa' brothers were based in Tunis and were threatening Tripoli.[17] The death of Ferdinand the Catholic in 1516 and the impasse which followed meant that the recently acquired presidios lost some of their importance making them more open to attack. The same year Uruj Barbarossa supported by local chiefs retook Algiers, which he ruled until his death in 1518.[18] He was succeeded by his younger brother Khair ud-Din, whose first action was to put himself under the protection of the Sultan, who appointed him as Beylerbey, or Governor General.[19] He then proceeded to retake as many presidios as he could, thereby carving out a kingdom for himself which was only nominally controlled from Istanbul.[20] Khair ud-Din eventually retired to Istanbul leaving Algiers to his son Hasan Pasha. Khair ud-Din's fleet was considered to be large and among his lieutenants were famous captains such as Salih Reis, Sinan the Jew, Aydin Reis and Dragut Reis, perhaps his most famous protege.

Dragut Reis was born in Karabag (near Bodrum, Turkey) towards the end of the fifteenth century.[21] The son of a Muslim farming family, he went to sea at an early age, and soon made a name for himself due to his skill in artillery.[22] Having learned his navigational skills with Khair ud-Din Barbarossa, he achieved a notable success in 1538 during the naval battle of Prevesa in which the Ottoman navy defeated the fleet of the Holy League. Later captured and enslaved by Giannetino Doria, he was subsequently ransomed by Khair ud-Din, soon becoming one of the most renowned corsairs in the Mediterranean of his time.[23] The link between Dragut and Khair ud-Din Barbarossa was further strengthened when Dragut's daughter married Hassan, Khair ud-Din's son and successor as Dey of Algiers.[24]

[p.33] Preparations for the re-conquest of Tripoli

In 1526 the sheik fled from the city of Tripoli and took refuge among the inhabitants of Tajura, who organised themselves and appealed to the Sultan for assistance in retaking their city.[25] The sultan initially sent one of Khair ud-Din's lieutenants – Aydin Reis – known as devil-driver by the Spaniards, and who became the effective ruler of Tajura.[26] It was the base from where he attacked Tripoli and continually harassed its inhabitants. He went so far as to build a small fortress less than a mile from the city walls. However, this was soon destroyed by forces led by Fra Georg Schilling, who, however did not manage to take Tajura.[27] Aydin Reis died in 1535 and around 1539 the Sultan appointed Murad Aga to take charge of Tajura.[28] Murad Aga was one of the eunuchs of the Seraglio and his appointment may well have been influenced by the Sultan's son-in-law (and later Grand Vizier) Rustem Pasha.[29] Meanwhile, the post of admiral in chief, which had been vacated on the death of Khair ud-Din in 1546, was given to Grand Vizier Riistem Pasha's brother Sinan. Dragut was offered the post of Sancak (governor) of Karlieli (Acarnia), but he refused the appointment, preferring to roam and raid in the Mediterranean rather than enter the nebulous world of Seraglio intrigue.[30] Moreover, in 1546, Jean de Valette was appointed governor of Tripoli, under whose command and discipline the city's fortunes revived. For various reasons he proposed that the Order should transfer its main base to Tripoli and leave Malta as a mere outpost. Murad Aga passed on this information to the Sultan who hardened his resolve to take the city.[31]

The Ottoman re-conquest of Tripoli in 1551

Early in 1551 Sultan Suleiman gave orders to his chief admiral Sinan Pasha – Grand Vizier Riistem Pasha's brother –to conquer Tripoli.[32] Dragut was also ordered to join this expedition but was only persuaded to join by being promised the governorship of the city. In fact, Dragut narrowly missed being captured in Djerba by Andrea Doria who cornered his fleet in the bay south of Burj el-Kastilya. The bay is separated from the open sea by a Punic-Roman causeway. Dragut ordered his men to open a small channel in the causeway and to haul the vessels through. By morning Dragut [p.34] and his ships had vanished leaving an astonished and disappointed Andrea Doria wondering how this could have been done.[33] The expedition got underway early in the summer and soon reached the Maltese Islands. Following a three day siege of the island of Gozo, Tripoli was besieged from land and sea for only two weeks before capitulating. Negotiations had been mediated by the French ambassador to the Sublime Porte Gabriel Francis D'Aramont and as a result the governor Gaspard de Vallies was given an honourable surrender. They left on 15 August with 300 men on ships provided by the ambassador.

In spite of the promises made to him, Sinan Pasha appointed Murad Aga as Beylerbey (governor) ofTripoli.[34] Dragut left and the entire Ottoman fleet followed his galley into the Tyrrhenian, declaring they would only accept him as their commander. Dragut considered this mutiny and treason to be unacceptable and returned to Istanbul. Sultan Suleiman's solution around this domestic crisis was to offer Dragut the governorship of Karlieli again,[35] but also to instruct Sinan Pasha to do what ever Dragut says. Despite his short tenure of office as the Ottoman governor, Murad Agha managed to pacify Tripoli and its vicinity. In Tripoli he repaired the walls and built new towers and battlements and strengthened the castle, the seat of his administration for protection against possible attacks by the Knights of St John.[36] However, he is best remembered for the construction of the great mosque of Tajura, the design of which indicates that it was also intended to serve as a fortress against incursions by the Order of St John.[37] The large rectangular building is delineated by massive exterior walls and the interior is divided into a series of barrel vaults supported by red granite columns from Leptis Magna.[38] In 1553/4, while Rustem Pasha had been temporarily removed from office, Dragut was appointed as Beylerbey (Governor General) of Tripoli and Murad Aga, although nominally still pasha, retreated to Tajura where he died in 1556 and was buried just outside his mosque.[39]

Dragut in Tripoli

On being appointed Beylerbey of Tripoli Dragut began an ambitious programme of works to reorganise the city and the province, which was intensified once he was promoted to pasha.[40] Apart from forcing the local tribes to submit to Ottoman [p.35] authority, he also encouraged the economy, culture and architecture of the city.[41] Apart from strengthening the existing fortifications and adapting them to modern warfare, he erected a number of new buildings within the city thereby spearheading building activity in Tripolitania.[42] These included: a fortress built at the north west end of the city,[43] which is sometimes referred to as Fort Dragon on maps;[44] a gunpowder factory (dar al-barud),[45] also shown due south of this fort on these maps and is referred to as Fon Dragon;[46] a palace or serail, which is referred to as Palazzo edificato da Draguto Corsaro,[47] as well as a mosque, hammam (public bath) and turbe (mausoleum) near the Sea Gate.[48] Dragut's name became inseparable from the history of Ottoman naval activities in the Central Mediterranean where he was a dominant figure for more than a decade.[49]

From church to mosque: Its evolution, emulation and restoration

Prior to the conquest of the city, there were a number of churches therein. Apart from the church of St Leonard which was situated within the castle itself,[50] other churches included the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli,[51] St George al Marzoquilo (overlooking the Menscia), St Lazarus in the ghetto[52] and the church of the Order. This ancient church was situated near the sea and was built and used by the Knights [p.36] and sailors of the Order's galleys. According to an ancient tradition the church survived the siege and was personally chosen by Dragut to build his mosque.[53]

Bruno Zevi defines architecture as being unique among the arts in that it is the only art form that is composed of dimensional volumes which include man within; architecture is like a sculpture into which man penetrates and walks.[55] The existing church seems to have been a small rectangular building with a flat roof supported by timber beams. This typology was not deemed to conform to traditional mosque design in which the building is generally at least as wide as it is long. Dragut's solution resulted in the construction of the first Ottoman style mosque in Tripoli. Construction seems to have taken place around 1560.[55]

The plan of Dragut's mosque, although apparently modelled on 'T' shaped Anatolian mosques, displays considerable differences from them: the position of the mihrab (directional niche) is diametrically opposite. Furthermore, in the Anatolian mosques the space reserved for prayer is generally restricted to the foot of the 'T' while the rest of the space is dedicated to teaching areas. In Dragut's mosque the prayer hall covers the entire space. It would seem that Dragut was aiming at something much grander. In his Annales Tripolitaines, Feraud asserts that the Ottoman admiral founded the mosque that bears his name, using a chapel built by the Knights of Malta, adding a wing on either side of the existing building and adding a mausoleum. Feraud wrote between 1871 and 1878 and declares that 'According to the local tradition the old chapel remained intact'. How much of the original building actually survived has been the subject of some discussion, however there is no doubt about the location of the site.[56]

The plan of the Sidi Darghut mosque, which Feraud saw, was accurately surveyed in 1921 by the Superintendence of Monuments and Excavations and is shown below (Fig. 5).[57] In it, the two wings are evident. On the other hand, examination of the central part of the building will suggest that the above statement is not entirely correct, in that some parts of the building had been changed. It seems certain that the central body of the mosque had previously formed the perimeter of a Christian church, as Feraud indicates. In fact it was divided into an odd number of naves (3) which are developed in a longitudinal sense, as in a church. Furthermore, the spatial organisation of the building does not correspond to the normal design criteria of mosques. It is the longer side of the rectangle, which should be perpendicular to the direction of the qibla and not the shorter. Moreover, the orientation of the building is 27 degrees out of that prescribed, which means that the axis of the mihrab is oblique with respect to the wall in which it is situated. However, it is most unlikely that the church roof could have been originally composed of small cupolas [p.37] since Christians, particularly in that period, would never have accepted that one of their religious buildings could have resembled a mosque.

Therefore the transformation of the Church into a mosque, in Dragut's time, must have included the dismantling of the roofs and the creation of the small cupolas, which subsequently became a characteristic element of local mosques. Furthermore, the plan of the church, with the columns that subdivide it into so many equal compartments, must have suggested, or imposed, the idea of a roof made of many small cupolas: a precursor to modular architecture. The style of having multiple domes was adopted by the builders of Libyan mosques for the roofing of large sanctuaries because of the limitations of the local architectural tradition. This style of mosque was already popular in Libya, albeit on a much smaller scale, and therefore the adoption of this familiar style would have pleased the local population. Until this time the Libyan style mosques of Tripoli were generally ornamented with four small domes (maximum of nine) and the only mosque, worthy of this appellation, which was to be found in the entire city, was the monumental Fatimid mosque, which was in an archaic style.[58] In the mosque of Sidi Dragut there were twenty-seven small domes, and it was this high number of domes that promoted this style of building, formerly reserved for 'mesaged', to became acceptable for a 'gamaa' in accordance with the wish of its founder. The difference between a 'masgid' and a 'gamaa' is that whereas the former is a local mosque used principally for prayer, the latter is the principal congregational mosque in which the Friday sermon is delivered. Thus, Dragut's interventions created a new style of mosque in Libya in which the relatively simple method of construction of many smaller domes became the accepted style for even principal mosques. Dragut's mosque was the first congregational mosque to be re-built within the city after the re-conquest and it was achieved with an amazing economy of means by simply adapting an existing building and exploiting local building traditions to the full. It is also to be noted that the two wings added by Dragut also apparently 'corrected' the mosque plan by lengthening the plan in the direction parallel to the qibla, which would have been a positive intervention from an Islamic point of view (see Figs. 3 and 4).

Directly behind the mihrab wall is the founder's tomb in a domed chamber which also contains those of the members of his family. Over the centuries other notables were buried near the founder and this has resulted in a mausoleum with an area almost equal to that of the prayer hall. A fine example is the tomb of Osman Bey, who was buried there after being accorded an imposing funeral on 29 September 1649.[59] There is a second mihrab in the courtyard, which is also used for prayer, weather permitting; a midha (ablution fountain) and an Ottoman style minaret which was remodelled during the reign of Iskander Pasha in 1602, as indicated on


Fig. 3. Evolution of Libyan tombs from headstone to Zawia (marabut) — (from Gaspare Messana, L'Architettura Musulmana della Libia, 1970, 45)

Fig. 4. The Libyan style mosque — (from Gaspare Messana, L'Architettura Musulmana della Libia, 1970, 33)


Fig. 5. Plan of Dragut's complex surveyea by Aurigemma in 1927 (elaborated and analysed by the author)


Fig. 6. Plan of Dragut's complex in 1947 (after El-Ballushi and Aurigemma; elaborated and analysed by the author)

[p.41] an engraved inscription above the door.[60] Further additions to the complex included a hammam or Turkish bath, which seems to have been considerably altered in 1604, although according to the plaque placed above the door, it was 'constructed' at this time. However, the fact that the hammam is named after Dragut and not after the person who paid for the work in 1604 strongly implies that either there was already a bath built at the time of Dragut's reign, or at least that it was already envisaged by Dragut and that a suitable sum of money had been left for its construction. It should be noted that a hammam had already been noted in the city of Tripoli by Al-Tidjani in 1308 (see Fig. 5 and Fig. 6).[61]

It has been remarked that the mosque of Piyale Pasha, in Istanbul, is unique among architectSinan's works in being the only multi-domed mosque he ever built.[62] Its style is not related to either his earlier or later works.[63] Piyale Pasha's victories in North Africa stimulated a strong link with North Africa, so much so that when he became vizier, he caused a hill in Istanbul to be levelled and turned into a park in which he planted vine saplings from Tunisia, which is now a cemetery through which a spine-road called Tunusbagi passes.[64] It is therefore understandable that when he commissioned the court architect Sinan to design his mosque, he insisted that the design be based on the Tripolitanian models with which he had become familiar during his association with Dragut.[65] This explains the enigmatic design of this mosque by Sinan as a unique example which emulates the Tripolitanian models rather than as the progenitor of all the Tripolitanian mosques (Fig. 7).[66]

The mosque was restored in the 1920's and subsequently hit by a bomb during the Second World War. The central part of the mosque was most damaged. The 'restoration' was carried out by Ali Mohamed Abu Zaian.[67] During the works the housing of the original timber beams, which supported the flat roof, was discovered in the walls. However, many of the original granite columns were replaced by reinforced concrete ones. Furthermore, the plan was altered to divide the space into four bays rather than the original three and the length of the nave was slightly reduced to enable easier external access. The mihrab and mimbar (steps and sermon platform) were also modified. This has resulted in a building with five more domes than the original, although each dome is smaller. The domes meet the supporting columns by means of pendentives many of which are decorated in the Ottoman style, that is, with medallions each inscribed with one of God's attributes.


Fig. 7. Dragut's complex viewed from the former shoreline

The column capitals are simple and decorated with original geometric motifs. The cupolas above the mihrab and mimbar are decorated with floral motifs painted by the restorer himself (see Figs. 8 to 12).[68]

Political implications of the choice of the site: Apotheosis of Dragut

Consideration of the documentation already cited leads to the conclusion that the only surviving parts of the Knight's Church in Tripoli are portions of the side and rear walls of the central section of the mosque. Although this may not be considered to be a substantial portion of the original structure, the fact that any of it has survived at all would itself be remarkable and improbable until one considers that it was willed to survive by Dragut as an indelible sign of his victory over the Knights of St John. The trio of buildings which bear his name — a typology which is commonly found in the Islamic world — was meant to assist the citizen in his life by providing him with the means to achieve holiness and respect for the law (mosque); cleanliness and [p.43] physical well-being (hammam); and a model of inspiration in holiness or martyrdom (founder's mausoleum). It must be remembered that Dragut's lifelong battle with Christendom — and in particular the Knights of St John – was considered to be a jihad or holy war against the enemies of Islam, which culminated in his heroic martyr's death during the siege of Malta on 23 June 1565. At the command of Piyale Pasha, his body was taken back to Tripoli for burial in his mausoleum by Uluc Ali Reis,[69] who was also temporarily appointed to rule the province by Piyale Pasha (see Fig. 13).

Fig. 8. Mosque Courtyard

Fig. 9. Interior of the Mosque

Dragut's mosque is known as the Mosque of Sidi Dragut; sidi, although technically meaning my master, is the title given in the Maghreb to the spiritual leader and guide of a Muslim community. The tombs of such leaders, or rrturubuuts, become special places of reflection and inspiration (although not pilgrimage) for the pious of the venerated figure in view of the deeds he carried out during his life.[70] The shrine contains artefacts related to Dragut. From an Islamic point of view, Dragut is held in high esteem, particularly by the Tripolitanians and the Turks. Notwithstanding the negative reputation Dragut has in Malta, it must be remembered he was not merely a 'pirate', but an admirable strategist and statesman. His particular choice of the former church of the Knights of St John in Tripoli as the core of the mosque that bears his name can be considered to be a masterstroke of statesmanship on par [p.44] with Suleiman the Magnificent's rededication of the former church of Hagia Sofia. The re-use rather than the destruction of the fallen enemy's iconic building served as a perpetual reminder of the remarkable victory achieved by the conqueror and the political kudos he acquired as a result. This remarkable act can be seen as central to the paradigm shift that turned the 'pirate' into the 'statesman', an act that was only upstaged by his heroic death and apotheosis on the field of battle in Malta.[71] The reorganisation of the state of Tripoli during his brief rule set the stage for the eventual creation of the Libyan state under the Karamanli dynasty in the eighteenth century and the re-establishment of Libya as an independent state by the Senussis in the mid-twentieth century.[72]

Fig. 10. Detail of the Minbar

Fig. 11. Detail of the Mihrab

Fig. 12. Piyale Pasha Mosque in Istanbul (courtesy of the Istanbul Tourist Board)

Fig. 13. Dragut's Tomb

[*] DAVID MALLIA is a manager at the MEPA responsible for development control in Urban Conservation Areas, a visiting lecturer in conservation at the University of Malta and Malta Centre for Restoration and an external examiner at Al-Albayt University (Jordan) and the M.U.S.T. University (Cairo). His studies have focused on rural churches and fortifications, the origins and development of Maltese vernacular architecture, as well as society, culture and architecture in the Islamic world.

[1] Tarabulousgarb or Tarabulus al-Gharb means Tripoli of the West, which helps distinguish this city in Libya from the other Tripoli in Lebanon.

[2] G. la Mantia, '_a secrezia o dogana di Tripoli', Archivio Storico Sicilian, vol. XLI -1916, 469.

[3] E. Rossi, 11 Dominio degli Spagnoli e dei Cavalieri di Malta a Tripoli (1510-1551), Rome, 1937, 17.

[4] Janzur is some 15 km west of Tripoli and Tajura the same distance to the east.

[5] La Manila, 471. Ugo de Moncada was given 'possession' of the castle of Tripoli for life in 1513.

[6] G. Longo, La Sicilia e Tripoli, Catania 1912, 23, 26, 36-39.

[7] Rossi 1937, 32.

[8] Rossi. The full text of these capitoli is given from 478-490.

[9] R.E. de Vertot, The History of the Knights of Malta, vol. I, facsimile edition, Malta 1989, 466.

[10] Vertot vol. I, 202.

[11] Vertot vol. I, 468.

[12] E. Rossi, 'II dominio dei Cavalieri di Malta a Tripoli', Archivium Melitense, VI, Malta 1924, 2.

[13] The original report is lost, however considerable portions of it, including a description of the condition and extent of the fortifications of Tripoli have survived in G. Bosio's Dell'lstoria della sacra Religione et lllustrissima Militia di San Giovanni Gierosolimitano, vol. III, Rome 1629. III, 29 et seq.

[14] Rossi 1924, 4.

[15] S. Spiteri, Fortresses of the Cross, Malta 1994, 286.

[16] S. Lane-Poole, The Barbary Corsairs, facsimile edition, London 1842, 26.

[17] Rossi 1937, 38. Of the four 'Barbarossa' brothers, only Aruj and Hayreddin were actually known as Barbarossa. The others —Ishak and Ilyas—were not. Neither was his son Hasan Pasha known as Barbarossa.

[18] Lane-Poole 1842, 52.

[19] Rossi 1937, 39.

[20] Lane-Poole 1842, 55.

[21] Dragut is the European version of Turgut (Turkish) and Dorghut (Arabic). The town of Karabag was renamed Turgutreis in 1972 in honour of Dragut.

[22] A.R. Seyfi, Turgut Reis (reprint of the 1911 edition), Istanbul 2005, 9.

[23] H. Balikçisi, Turgut Reis, Istanbul 1966, 207.

[24] J. Morgan, A complete history of Algiers, London 1729, vol. II, 432 quoting Vertot, vol II, book xiii, 10.

[25] Rossi 1937, 39.

[26] A. Sutherland, The achievements of the Knights of Malta, vol. II, Edinburgh 1831, 210.

[27] Sutherland 1831, 126.

[28] Rossi 1937. Vertot, 1989, 123. O. Kologlu, 500 yillik Turkiye ve Libya arasindaki ili;kilerin, Istanbul 2007, 23.

[29] N. de Nicolai, Navigationi et viaggi in Turchia, Venezia, 1580, p. 22 Nicolai, who saw Murad Aga during the siege of Tripoli in 1551, spoke to him and was told that he was 'a eunuch from Ragusa (Dubrovnik) who was an expert in the art of war'. A. Kavas, Osmanli-Afrika ilişkileri, Istanbul 2006, 44.

[30] Seyfi 2005, 78.

[31] A.P. Vella, 'The Order of Malta and the defence of Tripoli 1530-1551', Melita Historica, vol. VI no. 4, Malta 1975, 362-381.

[32] Seyfi 2005, 83.

[33] Seyfi 2005, 71.

[34] L.C. Feraud, Annales Tripolitaines, reprint of first edition, Paris 2005, 73.

[35] Although it has been suggested that Dragut was initially offered Algiers; Feraud, 75.

[36] A. Mas'ud EI-Ballushi, A History of Libyan Mosque Architecture during the Ottoman and Karamanli Period: 1551-1911, Tripoli 1979, 15.

[37] R. Bartoccino, 'La moschea di Murad Agha in Tajura Tripolitania', Architettura e arte decorative, vol. I, Rome 1923, 337-346.

[38] The flat ends of the barrel vaults are punctured by small apertures which seem to be musketry loopholes rather than windows; author's note.

[39] Feraud 2005, 75.

[40] El-Ballushi 1979, 29.

[41] Feraud 2005, 128.

[42] Spiteri 1994, 282. G. Messana, L'architettura musulmana della Libia, Castelfranco Veneto 1973, 103.

[43] Feraud 2005, 140, 144.

[44] Vide Plan de Tripoly en Barbarie, by Nicholas le Fer, 1705.

[45] C. Bergna, Tripoli dal 1510 al 1850, Tripoli 1924, 78.

[46] Vide Plan de Tripoly en Barbarie, engraved map by Nicholas le Fer, 1705.

[47] Vide Tripoli cittd di Barbaric, engraved map from Geografia Tavole moderne di Geografia de la maggior parte del mondo di divers/ autor raccolte et messe secondo l'ordine di Tolomeo con idisegni di molte citta et Forte__i di diverse Provintie stampate in rame cin studio et diligen_a in Roma (1545-72), Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze. This interesting map shows the artists impression of the projected retaking of the city of Tripoli in 1559-60. The map's legend describes the city surrounded by the fleet of Philip II of Spain led by the Duke of Medina-Celi, Viceroy of Sicily as well as those of the Pope, the Duke of Florence and the Order of St John, some 60 galleys in all: sperando con l'aiuto di D/O di reportarne Vittoria. In actual fact the fleet did not make it to Tripoli but retreated to Djerba, where it was set upon by the Ottoman fleet headed by Dragut, Occhiali and Piali Pasha, and suffered a terrible defeat that has come down in history as the disaster at Djerba.

[48] Feraud 2005, 76.

[49] Seyfi 2005, 7.

[50] Rossi 1937, 52. This church is now the castle mosque.

[51] This church was founded about the year 1680 when the Apostolic Prefect of the Roman Catholic Church in Tripoli received a gift of land in what is now the Old City that was allocated to the Franciscan Order which then came to Tripoli to care for the captives taken in the struggle for the control of the Mediterranean Sea. The property was developed to include a hospice and a chapel. The foundation stone of the church was laid on 14 September 1703. The hospice and the church were paid for by Simone Barbaro, son of Francesco, who came to Malta in 1703. He was a very learned, pious and widely-travelled gentleman, who spent a fortune redeeming hundreds of slaves for one hundred piastres each. Hence he was known throughout Barbary as padre dei poveri schiavi cristiani. Simone was a personal friend of Pope Clement XI. Personal communication by Marquis Anthony Cremona-Barbaro: the church referred to now forms part of the sacristy of the later church built by the Italians in the twentieth century, which still exists and is now in the care of the Anglican community.

[52] Vide Tripoli di Barbanel, engraved map published 'alla Libreria della Colonna (Venezia)', 1567.

[53] Feraud 2005, 76.

[54] B. Zevi, Soper vedere I'architettura, Milan 1951, 21.

[55] Messana 1973, 103.

[56] Messana 1973, 105.

[57] S. Aurigemma, Tripoli e le sue opere d'arte, Milan 1927, tay. XLIII.

[58] In Dragut's time it was still partially in ruins, following its destruction in 1510 during the Spanish conquest. It was completely restored some fifty years later by governor Safar Day.

[59] Feraud 2005, 118.

[60] Feraud 2005, 76.

[61] E. Rossi, Tripoli, in The First Encyclopaedia of /slam, vol. IS, M. Th. Houtsma ed. Leiden 1913-1936, 815.

[62] Piyale Pasha (c.1515-1578) was the Turkish admiral during the Siege of Malta in 1565, during which Dragut lost his life. He subsequently became Vizier, and also commanded the Ottoman fleet that captured Cyprus in 1571.

[63] U. Vogt-Goknil, Ottoman Turkey, (no. 14 of Architecture of the World Series), Cologne 1965, 104.

[64] Tunusbagi is Turkish for Vineyard of Tunisia. R. Bartoccino, 'La moschea di Murad Agha in Tajura Tripolitania', Architettura e arte decorative.

[65] Messana 1973, 39.

[66] As suggested by G. Marcais, Manuel d'art musulman: L'architecture, vol. 2, Paris 1927, 848-55 and by A. Sa'im Ulgen, Trablusgarpta Turgut Reis Mimari Mantumesi, in Vakfilar Dergisi, ///, Istanbul 1962, 87-92.

[67] Messana 1973, 106.

[68] Messana 1973, 107.

[69] He was born Giovanni Dionigi Galeni.

[70] F.X. Cassar, Dorghut, on visiting his grave in Gamgha Darghut at 'Bab al Bahar' Tripoli of the West, Libya, (unpublished study), 1995, 2.

[71] D. Mallia, 'The Restoration of Dragut's Tomb', Vigilo 40, Malta 2011, 35-40.

[72] The Karamanli dynasty ruled the three provinces that now form Libya between 1711 and 1835. King Idriss al-Senussi ruled Libya between 1951 and 1969.