Tag : architecture

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Stunning Ceilings from the Wonders of Islamic Architecture

by Cem Nizamoglu Published on: 5th December 2019

Discover ceilings from buildings inspired by Islamic architecture where looking up is a spellbinding experience! Each has a design and a story of its own. Most of them are distinctive and unique in respect of…

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A Sanctuary for Birds: Muslim Civilisation

by Cem Nizamoglu Published on: 20th June 2018

Few creatures from the animal kingdom can live alongside humans in urban habitats. One of these survivalists are birds. There was a time when birds were simply welcomed and not worshipped not treated badly. You…

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Arabic Medicinal Manuscripts of Pre-Colonial Northern Nigeria: A Descriptive List

by Mukhtar Umar Bunza Published on: 1st January 2018

West African Muslim scholars produced a number of Arabic works relating to medicine, philosophy, economic studies, political thought, geography, architecture, town planning and public administration...

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The West Owes a Debt to Islam: Interview with Prof Glen Cooper

by The Editorial Team Published on: 31st October 2017

Professor Glen Cooper discusses the Golden Age of Muslim Civilisation. During the European Dark Ages, when science, art and literature seemed to flounder for centuries, there actually was a lot of discover in places like…

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The Back-Road Historic Mosques of China

by Sheila Blair Published on: 1st September 2017

In a country known for large numbers, it was a modest, round number that grabbed our attention: 100. That is the approximate number of mosques built before 1700 that are estimated to remain throughout central…

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An introduction to Early Islamic Society and Social Sciences

by Salah Zaimeche Published on: 28th June 2017

...in order to know or appreciate most developments of Muslim society and civilization, or to understand the very foundations of Islamic society and civilization, we have to go to the very early history of Islam.…

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Technology in sub-Saharan Cultures

by Khaleel Shaikh Published on: 5th June 2017

Genetic and paleontological findings have concluded that Africa is the birthplace of the entire human race. Africa is often thought of as a continent rich in natural beauty and culture. However, little is known or…

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Mega Cities on the Silk Road

by Cem Nizamoglu Published on: 25th August 2016

Throughout history, trade routes played a central role in the transfer of goods and exchange of ideas between different parts of the world. The historic Silk Roads, which were a network of trade routes across…

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Lighthouse of Alexandria in the sources from Islamic Civilisation

by Cem Nizamoglu Published on: 16th October 2015

The Lighthouse of Alexandria is one of the wonders of the Ancient World. It was still a great tourist attraction well into the medieval period, and was visited by many travellers to the city that…

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Nearly 3 Centuries old light system illuminates a sacred grave on Sun’s equinox

by Cem Nizamoglu Published on: 23rd September 2015

This year has been chosen as "International Year of Light (IYL2015)" by UNESCO, what a perfect time to remember these words: “If the first light of the new year doesn’t shine upon my mentor, then…

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BBC Four – The Dark Ages: An Age of Light – The Wonder of Islam

by Videos Published on: 17th February 2015

BBC Four: "The Dark Ages have been misunderstood. History has identified the period following the fall of the Roman Empire with a descent into barbarism - a terrible time when civilisation stopped."

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The European Jerusalem: Sarajevo, where Muslim heritage flourished in Central Europe

by Sairah Yassir-Deane Published on: 15th May 2014

During Ottoman rule, Sarajevo was heralded as the “European Jerusalem”, as its invaluable contributions to civil engineering, industry, trade and architecture attracted people from various ethnic and religious backgrounds. Aesthetic beauty alongside scientific ingenuity made,…

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Mosque of Whirling Colours: A Mixture of Architecture and Art in Nasīr al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran

by Cem Nizamoglu Published on: 7th April 2014

There are numerous mosques all around the world. Each has a design of its own. However, in order to be distinctive from other mosques, a mosque needs to be unique and possess outstanding features. One…

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From Frankfurt and Cairo to Damascus: Recent Models of the Umayyad Mosque Clock

by Published on: 6th January 2011

From Frankfurt and Cairo to Damascus: Recent Models of the Umayyad Mosque Clock, The Umayyad Mosque Clock, Abdel Aziz al-Jaraki, Eilhard Wiedemann, Fritz Hauser, Fuat Sezgin, Donald Hill, Ridhwan al-Sa'ati, Banu Musa, Al-Jazari, Al-Khazini, history…

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The Courtyard Houses of Syria

by Mahmoud Zein Alabidin Published on: 9th March 2010

The courtyard house is one of the most enduring architectural forms, transcending regional, historical and cultural boundaries. Its balance of simple appropriate construction, environmental control and social and familial structures continues to engage architects and…

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Architectural Links between East and West in Early Modern Times

by The Editorial Team Published on: 19th February 2010

In a programme broadcasted on BBC Radio 3 on Sunday 14 February 2010, the work and influence of the great Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan was highlighted, through the description of his magnificent buildings in Istanbul…

New Discoveries in the Islamic Complex of Mathematics, Architecture and Art

by Salim Al-Hassani Published on: 13th August 2009

The complex of disciplines composed of mathematics, architecture and art in Islamic civilisation has been an important field of recent research. The scholars showed the interaction between mathematical reflexion and procedures and their implementation in…

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Islamic Art in Poland: The Kornik Castle

by Malgorzata de Latour-Abdalla Published on: 14th May 2008

The article is about the famous Kornik Castle near Poznan, in Poland which has many features inspired by Islamic art and architecture. Outlining the reasons of this influence, Mrs Latour-Abdalla describes the many aspects of…

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The Seljuk Face of Anatolia: Aspects of the Social and Intellectual History of Seljuk Architecture

by Semra Ogel Published on: 15th January 2008

This article deals with the Seljuk Anatolian architecture and art. The art of the Seljuk sultans showed much interest in public buildings such as caravanserais, schools and hospitals. This architecture was based on strong religious…

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When Ridhwan al-Sa’ati Anteceded Big Ben by More than Six Centuries

by Published on: 11th April 2007

The following article by Abdel Aziz al-Jaraki, a scholar from Damascus, describes the context of the investigation carried on since several decades on a famous clock built by Fakhr al-Din Ridhwan al-Sa'ati at the beginning…

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A Discovery in Architecture: 15th Century Islamic Architecture Presages 20th Century Mathematics

by The Editorial Team Published on: 26th February 2007

This article relates the discovery by two American scholars, Paul J. Steinhardt and Peter J. Lu (respectively from the department of physics at Princeton and Harvard universities) that medieval Islamic artists produced intricate decorative patterns…

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The Minaret, Symbol of a Civilization

by Cherif Jah Abderrahmán Published on: 17th January 2007

The minaret is the architectural shape which best indicates the presence of mosque. Over the centuries the mosque assumed a number of roles including a social centre, place for prayer, teaching institute, court of justice,…

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Aleppo Citadel: Glimpses of the Past

by FSTC Published on: 13th January 2007

The Citadel of Aleppo is one of the oldest monuments in the world. It is the most famous historic architectural site in Syria and is built on top of a huge, partially artificial mound rising…

West African Mosque Architecture – A Brief Introduction

by Cleo Cantone Published on: 31st March 2006

Mosques built in parts of the Muslim world where Arabs migrated or took control of through wars developed a distinct tradition of domes and minarets. In areas where Islam spread mostly by returning traders, traditions…

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A Treasure House on the Hudson

by Louis Werner Published on: 16th March 2006

Olana is a remarkable galley of exquisite works of art collected by Fredric Edwin Church during his travels in the Muslim World. In fact, the actual design of Olana was inspired by the architecture of…

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Sana’a Rising

by Eric Hansen Published on: 16th March 2006

Sana'a is one of the oldest cities of Yemen, indeed one of the oldest in the World, dating back to the Sabean dynasty. Earliest references to its existance date back to the 1st Century AD…

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Cosmic Motifs & Elements in Seljuk and Ottoman Architecture

by Nakis Akgul Published on: 29th September 2005

The structure of Mosques and other buildings draw inspiration from descriptions in the Qur'an as well as pre-Islamic motifs. Here we look at how some of the resulting motifs and elements reflect the idea of…

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The Scholars of Seville – Artists, Architecture and Government

by Salah Zaimeche Published on: 15th August 2005

Seville was a key centre of Islamic Civilisation in Spain. Here you can read about the architect of the famous Giralda tower of Seville's cathedral, which is originally the main tower of the mosque. Also…

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Influence of Acoustic Data in Architectural Design

by Mutbul Kayili Published on: 25th May 2005

Sinan's is renowned for its success in the acoustic design of mosques is. Read further to discover the development of applications and technology covering acoustic knowledge within two great Mosques in Sinan.

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Masjid-i-Jami: the Friday Mosque of Isfahan

by FSTC Published on: 25th May 2005

Iran has made great contributions to Muslim architecture culminating in the introduction of the cylindrical minaret form and the four-iwan plan. The most momentous work that survives in Iran is the Masjid-i-Jami at Isfahan.

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The Scholars of Cairo

by Salah Zaimeche Published on: 24th May 2005

The scholarship within Cairo was one which flourished with great vibrancy. The schoalrs contributed to the fields of mathematics, science, astronomy, philosophy, medicine and numerous other areas which are notable and worthy of study.

Jerusalem: Thriving Trade, Scholars and Magnificant Architectural Works

by Salah Zaimeche Published on: 27th April 2005

Jerusalem prior to the crusades was a place filled with a thriving trade, scholars and magnificant architectural works. This is notably significant in any study of Muslims contribution to the advancement of Jerusalem.

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Mshatta Palace, Jordan; 743-744 CE

by FSTC Published on: 20th April 2005

Msatta is a renowned Ummayad palace with spectacular architectural and artistic details that continues to attract many. The decorative aspects of the Palace are of immense detail and splendour and thus has become an important…

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Karatay Madrasa, Konya 1252

by FSTC Published on: 13th April 2005

Karatay Madrasa can be considered as the apex of Seljuk architectural small space design. Major features of the madarasa are the great dome and the inclusion of elaborate decoration schemes, essentially from mosaics of glazed…

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Damascus

by Salah Zaimeche Published on: 12th April 2005

Hospitals, grand public buildings and numerous public endowment based charities characterised the generosity of Damascus. These institutions inspired the innovations and new learning which developed there.

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Ince Minare Madrasa

by The Editorial Team Published on: 11th March 2005

Ince Minare Madrasa is one of the most impressive structures introduced by the Seljuks to endorse the central plan scheme that was to dominate much of their late architecture and that of their Ottoman successors.

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Ukhaidir Palace (720-800 CE)

by The Editorial Team Published on: 27th January 2005

About 100 miles south-west of Baghdad is Ukhaidar palace, one of the most preserved palaces of the Muslim world. It is unique in its architectural wealth and incorporated some of the key innovations that greatly…

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Atala Mosque, Jaunpur 1408

by The Editorial Team Published on: 21st January 2005

Being the first mosque to be build after the independence of Jaunpur from the Islamic caliphate in India, the Atala Mosque was given royal treatment setting up a new monumentality to the traditional jami'.

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Architecture of Al-Azhar

by FSTC Published on: 30th December 2004

Of the many splendours of Egypt, the Al-Azhar stands as a landmark in its architectural and cultural history, marking the beginning of the Fatimid rule and the foundation of its capital Cairo (Al-Qahira, "The Victorious").

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Granada: The Last Refuge of Muslims in Spain

by Salah Zaimeche Published on: 20th December 2004

Granada on the southern coast of Spain was to stay in Muslim hands until 1492. Its fall came centuries after other Muslim areas fell to the Christians. This article highlights some of the important legacies…

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The Great Mosque of Tlemcen

by FSTC Published on: 8th December 2004

The Great Mosque of Tlemcen as a whole is an architectural masterpiece however, the techniques introduced in the construction of the mihrab dome are the most innovative. It is one of the oldest and best…

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Taj Mahal : The Architecture of Love

by FSTC Published on: 4th November 2004

"The whole together appears like a most perfect pearl on an azure ground. The effect is such as, I confess, I never experienced from any work of art. The fine materials, the beautiful forms, and…

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Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque and University

by FSTC Published on: 20th October 2004

For well over twelve hundred years Al-Qarawiyyin has been one of the leading spiritual and educational centres of the Muslim World, a typical institution, of many, underlining how learning constituted the heart of the religion…

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Khirbat Al-Mafjar, Palace (740 -750)

by FSTC Published on: 12th September 2004

Khirbat Palace remains a unique example of Umayyad luxury and their developed taste for art. The palace gained particular reputation due to the well-preserved floor mosaics.

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Ottoman Palace Architecture: The Topkapi Palace

by Rabah Saoud Published on: 8th July 2004

Construction of a palace to accommodate the Ottoman administration and royal household began in 1459, lasting most of the reign of Sultan Mehmed II. The palace included gardens reflecting the Muslim traditional love of nature…

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Sultan Ahmet Cami or Blue Mosque

by Rabah Saoud Published on: 8th July 2004

Commissioned by Sultan Ahmed (1606-1617), the mosque was built by Mehmet Agha who is said to have toured key Ottoman monuments before he drew the plan of the blue mosque. This can be affirmed by…

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The Ottoman Madrassa

by Rabah Saoud Published on: 8th July 2004

The Madrassa was one of the main venues of education in the Muslim World under the Ottoman Caliphate until 1924 when Ataturks' law abolished it in favour of modern schools and universities. In planning terms…

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The Ottoman Han (Caravanserai) and Bazaars

by Rabah Saoud Published on: 7th July 2004

The expansion of commerce in the Ottoman world necessitated the introduction of new types of buildings to accommodate various trade types. The han or caravanserai consisted of cells arranged around a courtyard, providing all the…

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Umayyad Mosques and Palaces

by Rabah Saoud Published on: 6th May 2004

The Umayyad architectural splendour is experienced in both religious and domestic buildings. At the core of their religious heritage we find the Dome of the Rock, the architectural jewel of Islam and Damascus Mosque, its…

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Spain’s Islamic Legacy

by S. M. Ghazanfar Published on: 15th March 2004

Muslims ruled in Spain and Portugal over a period of 800 years. When the Christians finally forced out the Muslims and instituted the inquisition they encountered some of the great achievements of Islamic science and…

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Christopher Wren and the Muslim Origin of Gothic Architecture

by The Editorial Team Published on: 11th August 2003

Christopher Wren's respect for Muslim architecture is displayed in his adoption of numerous Muslim architectural solutions within his designs. In his greatest ever project, the Cathedral of St. Paul, London, the Muslim influence can be…

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Tunis in the Islamic Period

by The Editorial Team Published on: 25th July 2003

Tunis was rebuilt under the Roman Emperor Augustus in the first century AD, but without the importance of Carthage. The Muslims re-fortified it in 720 AD, and built the Zaytouna Mosque.

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The Seljuk Mausoleum

by Rabah Saoud Published on: 15th April 2003

Under the Seljuk patronage the mausoleum saw considerable development. This type of building evolved from early funerary monuments which were first erected to honour the Umayyad rulers in the 8th century.

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The Seljuk Caravanserai (the Khan)

by Rabah Saoud Published on: 14th April 2003

The Seljuk's developed the caravanserais or khans (Anatolia) or Ribat. These were charitable foundations providing travellers with three days of free shelter, food and entertainment (in some cases) as part of the charitable work emphasised…

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The Seljuk Madrassa

by Rabah Saoud Published on: 14th April 2003

Seljuk's made developments in the form, function and character of the mosque and expanded the use of Madrassa which, according to Van Berchem, first appeared in Kurassan early 10th century as an adaptation of the…

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The Seljuk Minarets

by Rabah Saoud Published on: 14th April 2003

The Seljuk mosques took a form of minaret which was substantially different from that of North Africa. The adoption of the cylindrical form, instead of the usual square, with tapered shafts often broken by balconies…

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The Seljuk Kiosk Mosque and General Plan

by Rabah Saoud Published on: 14th April 2003

Another Seljuk innovation in the plan of the mosque appeared in what Andre Godard called the Mosque Kiosque. This usually small edifice is characterised by its unusual plan which consists of a domed hall, standing…

The Seljuk Iwan

The Seljuk Iwan

by Rabah Saoud Published on: 13th April 2003

According to Scerrato (1980) the Iwans plans of Seljuk Mosques were mainly developed for multi-functions including, prayer, teaching, lodging of teachers and students, libraries and charitable activities like stopping stations on the road of pilgrims.

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Architecture Under Seljuk Patronage (1038-1327)

by Rabah Saoud Published on: 13th April 2003

The Seljuks were the first Turkish dynasty to rule the Muslim World reviving the dying Caliphate. Their arrival marked the introduction of the four Iwan mosque concept, the Caravanserais (Khans) and baroque art that spread…

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The Great Umayyad Mosque

by FSTC Published on: 9th March 2003

The Great Umayyad Mosque remains one of the great symbols of the glorious period of Muslim civilisation and its pride. It is a master piece of architectural ingenuity having a decisive influence on the maturity…

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The Role of the Crusades in the transfer of Islamic science to the West

by Salah Zaimeche Published on: 4th March 2003

Local builders employed by the Crusaders revealed the solutions to the problems of construction orally or by demonstration. Talbot Rice points out that in the area dominated by the Seljuk Turks during the Crusades there…

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Ibn Tulun Mosque

by FSTC Published on: 18th February 2003

Ibn Tulun Mosque is a rare example where Europeans openly admitted its influence on the development of many features of their architecture. Elements such as the pointed arch, the pier, and wall battlements formed the…

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Interior Architecture of Desert Climate

by Hadi Ali Shateh Published on: 28th October 2002

Mr. Hadi Ali Shateh discusses design solutions adopted in regions of desert climate and analyses the arrangements made in the interior architecture of houses of Gadames city, Libya.

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Qarawiyin Mosque

by R. Landau Published on: 21st July 2002

Almost entirely enclosed by narrow alleyways, the mosque of Qarawiyin, [in Fes] like many an ancient European cathedral hemmed in by barrack like houses, is well-nigh unnoticeable from the outside.

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Terminological issues of Islamic Architecture

by FSTC Published on: 17th January 2002

Terminological issues are connected with the use of "Muslim" and "Islamic" architecture. The two words are theoretically interconnected but conceptually different. Muslim is a general word referring to religious and geographical setting of Islam.

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Theoretical issues of Islamic Architechture

by FSTC Published on: 17th January 2002

Although Muslim architecture has been investigated by both Muslims and non Muslims, it still remains omitted from main stream architecture theories and much of existing works are no more than curiosities undertaken by a group…

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Morphological and functional categories of the Mosque

by Rabah Saoud Published on: 17th January 2002

The mosque plan was developed through a process of change and modification resulting in the emergence of four main forms reflecting the main periods of Islamic attainment.

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The Arch That Never Sleeps

by Rabah Saoud Published on: 17th January 2002

Perhaps no culture mastered the design and use of the arch more than the Muslims. Inheriting earlier arch forms from the Greeks and the Romans, Muslims developed a variety of new shapes including the horseshoe,…

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Introduction to Islamic Architecture

by Rabah Saoud Published on: 17th January 2002

Islamic architecture encompasses a wide range of both secular and religious styles from the foundation of Islam to the present day, influencing the design and construction of buildings and structures in Islamic culture and beyond.…

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Architecture under Umayyad Patronage (661-750)

by Rabah Saoud Published on: 15th January 2002

Under the Umayyads, Islam spread to various lands, generating considerable prosperity and wealth. In that period, the mosque developed its main structural and functional elements such as Minaret, Mihrab, Maksurah and dome.

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The Palaces of Ukhaidir

by Rabah Saoud Published on: 14th January 2002

The architects of Ukhaidir first introduced a new elaborate technique based on the construction of elliptical (pointed) barrel vaults with bricks in similar technique to building a wall and therefore considerably eased the way vaults…

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The Abbassid Mosques

by Rabah Saoud Published on: 14th January 2002

Building enthusiasm of the Abbassids took a new dimension in the construction of mosques as reflected in their size and character. They adopted the tradition of mud and baked brick construction in moulded with geometric…

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Ceremonial Gates of the Abbassids

by Rabah Saoud Published on: 14th January 2002

Among the features of the Abbassids elaborate lifestyle that had a great impact on the architecture of this period was the ceremonial attitudes of the Abbassid Emirs which led to the spread of monumental gates…

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Bab Mardum Mosque – An inspiration for Gothic?

by Rabah Saoud Published on: 13th January 2002

Bab Mardum Mosque was built in Toledo Spain between 999 and 1000 according to an inscription found on its façade. It was believed by Lambert (1958) to be the inspiration for the ribs used in…

Al-Zahra – City of Andalus

by Rabah Saoud Published on: 13th January 2002

Al-Zahra became renowned for its high advanced civilisation, style and protocol in addition to the extensively decorated walls, floors and ceilings of its buildings. Venue for the legendary reception of King Ordono IV of Leon,…

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Architecture of Muslim Spain and North Africa

by FSTC Published on: 13th January 2002

First in a series of articles on the Architecture of Muslim Spain and North Africa (756-1500AD). A brief historical background on the Muslim architectural achievement concentrating on important historical and architectural monuments.

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Introduction to the Islamic City

by Rabah Saoud Published on: 14th October 2001

Islam is seen by many scholars as an urban religion, which favours communal practice on individual worship. Although, piety is the only source of appraisal, it is widely accepted that most of Islam's teaching is…

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Education in Islam – The Role of the Mosque

by Salah Zaimeche Published on: 12th August 2001

...leading by example, the Prophet made the first institution of Islam, the first mosque he built in Madinah, into an institution of learning.