Hershel Shanks

The Great Mosque of Gaza. Elegant arches and columns grace the interior of the mosque, built originally as a Crusader church in the 12th century. The building’s architectural history goes back even earlier than the Crusades, however. At least one column in the upper register of columns came from an earlier synagogue, as shown by a bas-relief on a column that once bore Jewish symbols (see drawing of column and close-up drawing of bas-relief). Tragically, the bas-relief no longer exists—it was destroyed during the Intifada, the Palestinian uprising against Israel that began in December 1987.