Islamic dynasty which ruled in northern Iraq, south-east Anatolia and Syria from 1127 to 1222. In 1127 ‛Imad al-Din Zangi, the son of a Turkish commander in the Saljuq army, was appointed governor of Mosul for the Saljuq sultan and guardian (Turk. atabeg) for his sons. The semi-independent Zangi expanded his dominion north and west and was granted Aleppo in 1129. He fought against the crusaders, most notably at Edessa in 1144. Zangi was succeeded by two independent branches of the family in Mosul and Aleppo. His son Nur al-Din (reg in Aleppo 1146–74) conquered Damascus in 1154, opposed the crusaders and sent his generals Shirkuh and Salah al-Din to Egypt, where the latter founded the Ayyubid dynasty. The Ayyubids succeeded the Zangids in Aleppo in 1183 and in Damascus in 1186.
Nur al-Din, a staunch Sunni, built many religious institutions, and fortified Aleppo, Damascus and other key sites. During his reign there was a Classical Revival in Syrian architecture as well as a wholehearted adoption of symmetrical building plans and forms, such as the iwan, typical of Abbasid architecture in Iraq. In his hospital (...