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islamic architecture Comparative Civilizations 12 K. J. Benoy
Mosques • 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.
Mosques • The courtyard – descendant of the basilica’s atrium and the Egyptian temple court, remains a feature of most mosques today
Mosques – Within the courtyard is usually an ablution fountain – where the worshipper symbolically washes before prayer.
Mosques • Certain characteristics are present in most mosques. – The Mihrab, or niche, indicates the Qibla, the direction of Mecca, which the faithful must face when praying.
Mosques – There is also a minbar, or pulpit, from which sermons are delivered.
Mosques – And a minaret, or tower, from which the Muezzin call the faithful to prayer. – Originally this call was made from the main roof of the mosque. – Minarets developed from Christian bell towers. Later they influenced Christian designs.
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
The Blue Mosque - Istanbul • Istanbul’s Blue Mosque is clearly based on the Hagia Sophia. • Mehmet Aga’s 17 th century structure rises 77 feet to the top of its central dome.
The Blue Mosque - Istanbul • It is actually built facing Justinian’s Church, on the site of the old Imperial Palace.
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.
The Blue Mosque - Istanbul • This mosque is particularly notable for its six minarets.
The Blue Mosque - Istanbul
The Blue Mosque - Istanbul • Stained glass creates a magical lighting effect. • However, unlike European stained glass, there are no images of people, due to Mohammad’s prohibition against them.
The Blue Mosque - 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 Great Mosque at Samarra, Iraq • Regional variations in Islamic architecture reflect local traditions, where they exist. – The Great Mosque at Samarra has a minaret in the style of a Babylonian Ziggurat.
The Grand Mosque - Mecca • Mecca’s Grand Mosque houses Islam’s most holy site – the Kaaba, which all moslems face to pray. • It features the Kaaba in its massive courtyard.
The Grand Mosque - Mecca This simple cube-shaped building predates Islam, but is a site of pilgrimage for millions of moslems. The Black stone at one of its corners is, contrary to Koranic teaching, venerated by many Moslems.
The Dome of the Rock - Jerusalem • This is one of Islam’s earliest mosques. • It is built on a site holy to Jews, Christians and Moslems. • Note the Byzantine inspired Central Plan.
The Dome of the Rock - Jerusalem Interior of the Dome of the Rock – where Abraham intended to sacrifice Isaac and where, for a time, Mohammad directed Moslems to face when praying – until Mecca became a Moslem city.
The Blue Mosque - Isfahan • Iranian mosques frequently used the same blue tiles as was popular in Ottoman Turkey. • However, their Iwan (great Hall) form and characteristic monumental entrances are purely Persian in design.
Mosque of Sheik Lotfallah. Isfahan • 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.
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, merged with Persian domes.
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 Taj Mahal • Modelled on a mosque, the building is sited in a garden. • The glistening white marble appears almost weightless, despite the volume of masonry.
The Taj Mahal • Unlike its Persian predecessors, there is no sense of horror vacui. • Rather, the inlaid stone work has a restrained feel of balance and harmony. Floral decoration, and, especially passages from the Koran in magnificent calligraphy, decorate its marble surfaces.
The Mesquita -- Cordoba • In Spain, some of the most exuberant Moslem architecture evolved. • A prime example of this “Moorish” architecture is the. Mesquite (mosque) in Cordoba.
The Mesquita - 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 - 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.
The Mesquita - Cordoba • The vaulting is also wondrously complex, showing the Arab love of geometry
The Mesquita - Cordoba • Perhaps the strangest feature of the Mesquita today is th Christian church carved out of the middle of the original mosque. • Yet another example of cultural recycling – but strangely out of keeping with the rest of the building.
The Alhambra - 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 - Grenada • The Court of Lions, with its slim columns and carved lace-like wall surfaces are unique.
The Alhambra - Grenada
The Alhambra - Grenada • The carved stucco of the ceiling in the Hall of the Two Sisters is unparalleled in beauty and geometrical complexity.
The Alhambra - Grenada • Of particular note is the use of water as an architectural feature. • The Patio de los Aranyanes shows the value of water to a culture with desert roots.
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.
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.
Islamic Architecture Today • Traditional features remain apparent, but are interpreted in novel ways. • New building materials and techniques create new and interesting possibilities. Shah Faisal Mosque, Islamabad, Pakistan.
Islamic Architecture Today Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, in Brunei.