Notes on the 14th-century Ya'qubiyya Complex in Tlemcen, Algeria

  • Péter T. Nagy Khalili Research Centre, University of Oxford, Wolfson College, Linton Road, OX2 6UD, Oxford, UK


This paper discusses the Islamic funerary complex in central Tlemcen, Algeria, built in 1362–1363, recorded in historical sources as "the Ya'qubiyya", and today known by the name of Sidi Ibrahim al-Masmudi. During the late middle ages, the north-west corner of Africa was shared between two related Berber dynasties, the Marinids of Fez (Morocco) and the Zayyanids of Tlemcen, who were in constant conflict with one another. The Ya'qubiyya complex was erected by the Zayyanid sultan Abu Hammu Musa II (r. 1359–1389) to commemorate his father and two of his uncles, who were praised in coeval sources as heroes of the war against the Marinids. In this article, I shall describe how the Ya'qubiyya was discovered in the 19th century, study the relevant sources in Arabic, discuss the extant buildings indicating their original parts, and touch upon the complex’s relations with other sites in the region. I shall conclude that, although the Ya'qubiyya commemorated members of the Zayyanid family who had fought successfully against the Marinids, its basic concept was adopted from the earlier shrine of the Marinid dynasty at Shalla (Rabat-Salé, Morocco).

Keywords: Islamic architecture, Maghrib, funerary complex, Tlemcen (Algeria), Zayyanid dynasty (1236–1556)
Published online
How to Cite
Nagy, P. (2018) “Notes on the 14th-century Ya’qubiyya Complex in Tlemcen, Algeria”, Periodica Polytechnica Architecture, 49(2), pp. 126-134. doi: