Islamic Architecture

Comparative Civilizations 12 K.J. Benoy

• The Most notable type of building is the mosque. • Originally this was only a large open area where the faithful would gather. • The original mosque was probably the courtyard of Mohammad’s house in Medina.


• The courtyard – descendant of the basilica’s atrium and the Egyptian temple court, remains a feature of most mosques today

– Within the courtyard is usually an ablution fountain – where the worshipper symbolically washes before prayer.

which the faithful must face when praying. indicates the Qibla.Mosques • Certain characteristics are present in most mosques. the direction of Mecca. or niche. – The Mihrab. .

Mosques – There is also a minbar. . from which sermons are delivered. or pulpit.

or tower.Mosques – And a minaret. Later they influenced Christian designs. – Originally this call was made from the main roof of the mosque. – Minarets developed from Christian bell towers. . from which the Muezzin call the faithful to prayer.

Mosques – The social obligations within the religion later led to the addition of madrassa (schools. . colleges or universities) attached. – Occasionally there were and are also hospitals.

Mosques • Moslems borrowed extensively from neighbouring civilization because there was no native architectural style in Mohammad’s homeland. Hagia Sophia – converted to a mosque after the Moslem conquest of Constantinople .

• Mehmet Aga’s 17th century structure rises 77 feet to the top of its central dome.The Blue Mosque . .Istanbul • Istanbul’s Blue Mosque is clearly based on the Hagia Sophia.

on the site of the old Imperial Palace.The Blue Mosque . .Istanbul • It is actually built facing Justinian’s Church.

The Blue Mosque .Istanbul Central dome of Istanbul’s Blue Mosque .

The Blue Mosque . .Istanbul Note the massive pendentive and windowed drum.

The Blue Mosque .Istanbul • The Blue Mosque is more properly known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque. • Its more common western name comes from the wide use of blue Iznik tiles. .

Istanbul • This mosque is particularly notable for its six minarets.The Blue Mosque . .

Istanbul .The Blue Mosque .

there are no images of people. due to Mohammad’s prohibition against them.The Blue Mosque . unlike European stained glass. • However. .Istanbul • Stained glass creates a magical lighting effect.

.Istanbul • It is the magnificent dome and adjoining halfdomes that impress most. • Built a thousand years after the Hagia Sophia. the Blue Mosque displays more grace than its predecessor.The Blue Mosque .

where they exist. – The Great Mosque at Samarra has a minaret in the style of a Babylonian Ziggurat. .The Great Mosque at Samarra. Iraq • Regional variations in Islamic architecture reflect local traditions.

The Grand Mosque .Mecca • Mecca’s Grand Mosque houses Islam’s most holy site – the Kaaba. • It features the Kaaba in its massive courtyard. . which all moslems face to pray.

contrary to Koranic teaching. The Black stone at one of its corners is. but is a site of pilgrimage for millions of moslems.Mecca This simple cube-shaped building predates Islam.The Grand Mosque . . venerated by many Moslems.

The Dome of the Rock . Christians and Moslems. • Note the Byzantine inspired Central Plan. • It is built on a site holy to Jews. .Jerusalem • This is one of Islam’s earliest mosques.

Jerusalem Interior of the Dome of the Rock – where Abraham intended to sacrifice Isaac and where.The Dome of the Rock . . for a time. Mohammad directed Moslems to face when praying – until Mecca became a Moslem city.

. their Iwan (great Hall) form and characteristic monumental entrances are purely Persian in design.The Blue Mosque . • However.Isfahan • Iranian mosques frequently used the same blue tiles as was popular in Ottoman Turkey.

.Mosque of Sheik LotfallahIsfahan • Note the ornate and characteristically Persian dome. • Note also the tendence toward horror vacui.

.Mogul Architecture • The Moslem conquerors of India developed an architecture of particular grace and grandeur. • Persian domes and great gates appeared throughout northern India.

. merged with Persian domes.Mogul Architecture • Sometimes Islamic and Hindu features were fused – as in Akbar’s palace complex at Fatehpur Sikri. • In the pavilion to the right one sees the traditional trabeated Hindu features.

.The Taj Mahal • The most famous Mogul building of all is neither a palace or a mosque. • Rather. it is a mausoleum to house the favourite wife of a mogul emperor.

The Taj Mahal .

• The glistening white marble appears almost weightless.The Taj Mahal • Modelled on a mosque. . the building is sited in a garden. despite the volume of masonry.

there is no sense of horror vacui. • Rather. . especially passages from the Koran in magnificent calligraphy. decorate its marble surfaces. and.The Taj Mahal • Unlike its Persian predecessors. the inlaid stone work has a restrained feel of balance and harmony. Floral decoration.

The Mesquita -. some of the most exuberant Moslem architecture evolved. • A prime example of this “Moorish” architecture is theMesquite (mosque) in Cordoba.Cordoba • In Spain. .

Cordoba • The horseshoeshaped double arch atop its forest of columns is easily identified. • The double arch helped to increase the vertical height of the ceiling. .The Mesquita .

The Mesquita .Cordoba .

.The Mesquita .Cordoba • Close examination of the pillar capitals reveal that they are recycled from earlier buildings – both Roman and Germanic.

The Mesquita . .Cordoba • Another prominent feature is the incredibly intricate arching found in the Mihrab – here called the Capilla de Villaviciosa.

Cordoba • The vaulting is also wondrously complex. showing the Arab love of geometry .The Mesquita .

• Yet another example of cultural recycling – but strangely out of keeping with the rest of the building.Cordoba • Perhaps the strangest feature of the Mesquita today is th Christian church carved out of the middle of the original mosque. .The Mesquita .

.Grenada • For a time Grenada was the Moorish capital of Spain. • The Alhambra palace complex contains some of the most beautiful Islamic architecture in the world.The Alhambra .

The Alhambra . . with its slim columns and carved lace-like wall surfaces are unique.Grenada • The Court of Lions.

The Alhambra .Grenada .

.Grenada • The carved stucco of the ceiling in the Hall of the Two Sisters is unparalleled in beauty and geometrical complexity.The Alhambra .

. • The Patio de los Aranyanes shows the value of water to a culture with desert roots.The Alhambra .Grenada • Of particular note is the use of water as an architectural feature.

The Generalife . .Grenada • The fountains and abundant water features serve to reduce the temperature of the palace gardens.

Mud Mosque at Djenne . .Mali • One of the strangest Islamic structures in the world is the mud mosque at Djenne.

.Mali • Here the palm wood beams extend out in order to support scaffolding for the workers who must annually plaster its surface.Mud Mosque at Djenne .

Shah Faisal Mosque. • New building materials and techniques create new and interesting possibilities. but are interpreted in novel ways. Pakistan. .Islamic Architecture Today • Traditional features remain apparent. Islamabad.

in Brunei.Islamic Architecture Today Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque. .

Finis .

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful