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Islamic Architecture



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  • 1. IslamIc archItecture Comparative Civilizations 12 K.J. Benoy
  • 2. 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.
  • 3. Mosques• The courtyard – descendant of the basilica’s atrium and the Egyptian temple court, remains a feature of most mosques today
  • 4. Mosques – Within the courtyard is usually an ablution fountain – where the worshipper symbolically washes before prayer.
  • 5. 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.
  • 6. Mosques – There is also a minbar, or pulpit, from which sermons are delivered.
  • 7. 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.
  • 8. 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.
  • 9. Mosques• Moslems borrowed extensively from neighbouring civilization because there was no native Hagia Sophia – converted to a architectural style mosque after the Moslem conquest of Constantinople in Mohammad’s homeland.
  • 10. The Blue Mosque - Istanbul • Istanbul’s Blue Mosque is clearly based on the Hagia Sophia. • Mehmet Aga’s 17th century structure rises 77 feet to the top of its central dome.
  • 11. The Blue Mosque - Istanbul• It is actually built facing Justinian’s Church, on the site of the old Imperial Palace.
  • 12. The Blue Mosque - Istanbul Central dome of Istanbul’s Blue Mosque
  • 13. The Blue Mosque - Istanbul Note the massive pendentive and windowed drum.
  • 14. 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.
  • 15. The Blue Mosque - Istanbul• This mosque is particularly notable for its six minarets.
  • 16. The Blue Mosque - Istanbul
  • 17. 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.
  • 18. The Blue Mosque - Istanbul • It is the magnificent dome and adjoining half- domes that impress most. • Built a thousand years after the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque displays more grace than its predecessor.
  • 19. 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.
  • 20. 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.
  • 21. The Grand Mosque - MeccaThis simple cube-shaped The Black stone at one ofbuilding predates Islam, but its corners is, contrary tois a site of pilgrimage for Koranic teaching,millions of moslems. venerated by many Moslems.
  • 22. 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.
  • 23. 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.
  • 24. 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.
  • 25. Mosque of Sheik Lotfallah-Isfahan• Note the ornate and characteristically Persian dome.• Note also the tendence toward horror vacui.
  • 26. Mogul Architecture • The Moslem conquerors of India developed an architecture of particular grace and grandeur. • Persian domes and great gates appeared throughout northern India.
  • 27. 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.
  • 28. 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.
  • 29. The Taj Mahal
  • 30. 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.
  • 31. 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.
  • 32. The Mesquita -- Cordoba • In Spain, some of the most exuberant Moslem architecture evolved. • A prime example of this “Moorish” architecture is theMesquite (mosque) in Cordoba.
  • 33. The Mesquita - Cordoba• The horseshoe- shaped double arch atop its forest of columns is easily identified.• The double arch helped to increase the vertical height of the ceiling.
  • 34. The Mesquita - Cordoba
  • 35. The Mesquita - Cordoba • Close examination of the pillar capitals reveal that they are recycled from earlier buildings – both Roman and Germanic.
  • 36. The Mesquita - Cordoba • Another prominent feature is the incredibly intricate arching found in the Mihrab – here called the Capilla de Villaviciosa.
  • 37. The Mesquita - Cordoba • The vaulting is also wondrously complex, showing the Arab love of geometry
  • 38. 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.
  • 39. 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.
  • 40. The Alhambra - Grenada• The Court of Lions, with its slim columns and carved lace-like wall surfaces are unique.
  • 41. The Alhambra - Grenada
  • 42. The Alhambra - Grenada• The carved stucco of the ceiling in the Hall of the Two Sisters is unparalleled in beauty and geometrical complexity.
  • 43. 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.
  • 44. The Generalife - Grenada• The fountains and abundant water features serve to reduce the temperature of the palace gardens.
  • 45. Mud Mosque at Djenne - Mali• One of the strangest Islamic structures in the world is the mud mosque at Djenne.
  • 46. 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.
  • 47. 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.
  • 48. Islamic Architecture Today Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, in Brunei.
  • 49. Finis