The name Rusafa is used for several places
in the Islamic world from Cordova in the west to Nishapur in
the east. Today al-Rusafa is the name of a quarter of the city
of Baghdad which was founded soon after the caliph al-Mansur
built his Round City. The quarter of al-Rusafa (whose name refers
to the paved, embanked causeway across the swampy ground enclosed
by the bend of the Tigris within which the quarter was laid out)
was, according to the historical accounts was built by al-Mansur
on the eastern banks of the river, opposite the palace of al-Khuld
and the Round City.
The building of al- Rusafa took seven years,
and was not completed till 159/776, by which time al-Mahdi had
(in 159/775) succeeded to the throne. The new quarter was connected
to the western side of Baghdad by a bridge of boats whose obvious
strategic importance was such that each end was guarded by a
police post. The foundation of al- Rusafa was the starting-point
for the expansion of Baghdads suburbs on the eastern bank.
Along with the palace a large congregational mosque was constructed
in the Rusafa district. There are several references also of
the Suwayqat Nasr which was adjacent to the Rusafa Mosque and
was home to several scholars as well as being a place where traditions
were exchanged. The original mosque is no longer in existence.