The Spread of Islam – Islamic Spain and Morocco

Islam is the new region of the Prophet Muhammed and it spread from Arabia to South west Asia, Persia and North Africa. In Ummayad period, remarkable central plan construction example of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem attack the attention from other faiths. In Islamic architecture, traditional hypostyle hall as the Friday mosques of their cities and its addition is tall minarets for calling to prayers.

Islam spread wide area speedily because of nonhierarchical, easy to grasp and the tolerant of differences. The mosque is the new religious focus of the believers of the Islam and generally, it is constructed  as a multi-columned prayer hall. With mosque minarets, they became the new vertical axis to urban skylines. Damascus and Baghdad which are places of the urban development produced patchworks of neighborhoods, without through streets or open public spaces.

Mecca is a major cult site for nomadic tribes of Arabia, it takes attention to religious pilgrims with the Kaaba. Kaaba is a cubical granite house containing many idols, including a mysterious black meteorite, also black silk drape was explained to shield so Kaaba shows the unity of the faithful. Muhammed transformed his home to the new religion’s first congregational mosque in Medina. Especially, Muhammed advocated aesthetic architectural attitude using vernacular methods for mud-brick walls and a palm-trunk roof. Initial prayer hall faced Jerusalem after the night flight of Muhammed, he determined qibla direction of prayer to Kaaba. Then in Medina, they added the second portico that faces with Kaaba in Prophet’s mosque. Muhammed had a unimposing architectural approach, similarly, the early Christians, the fist Muslims refused the pagan temples, preferring to base their cult buildings on secular structures. Early mosques elapsed the from basilica of the Roman. The first mosques have a simple architecture without side chapels, apses, crypts. The first two generations of Islam requisitioned diverse structures to be transformed into mosques. The three common plans which are the basilica with longitudinal path direct to qibla, a transverse basilica with lateral exposure to the qibla wall and the isotropic hypostyle hall. Abu al-Haiyan, the architect learned the Byzantine towns and he planned city on the grid with two broad cross streets. At the intersection, he placed the governer’s palace and the Friday mosque back to back. The initial Arab foundations demonstrated almost as geometric as those of the ancient Romans.

The Umayyads settled in the Greco-Roman city of Damascus, it had a magnificent urban culture based on the Constantinople. Like other nomadic people, the Arabs had limited observation of masonry architecture. They used Persians, Roman and Byzantine forms and technics. For example, the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem most likely Byzantine architecture and mosaics. Instead of a representation of people and the human figure, they used decorative inscriptions. Two chrasterics things that pointed arches and alternating bands of different-colored masonry became common in Islamic architecture. The dome of the Rock is the most visible monument in the city and its aim is  taking attract the non-Muslims. It differed from the central plan Christian churches with its use of the concentric ambulatories. The major structural elements the interior piers and arcades followed the intersection of two superimposed nine-square grids, one rotated 45 degrees over the other to create an eight-pointed star. Al- Walid I was built three magnificent mosques to celebrate the consolidation of the empire.The first mosque was a the Mosque of the Prophet in medina it had importance with mosaics and the first mihrab. The second one the al-Aqsa Mosque provided a congregational hypostyle hall on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The third project, the Great Mosque of Damascus, the mosque with the palace compound drew upon the Byzantine precedent of combining temporal and religious authority seen at the imperial palace and Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. Its new structure for the prayer hall rose against the southern wall of ancient temenos. It had a large lateral courtyard and articulated with arcades on two levels. This windowless structure rose on eight Corinthian columns, encrusted with mosaics and capped with a small cupola. The columns and the complex come from the Roman temples. Its towers served as first minarets which developed in the most monemantal later mosques. Maksura placed the door next to it on the left led directly into the caliph’s palace, it was used to protect caliph and his court. The maksura replicate the screened area in churches that separated Byzantine emperors from the congregation. Like basilica churhes, to eight side of the central nave streched long three-aisled wings. The colossal Corinthan columns have Byzantine inverted pyramidal imposts supporting stilted horseshoe-shaped arch.

Before the Umayyad’s demise, they located their capital the new town of Harran. The Abbasid like wise created a round city that called Madinah al-Salam but the locais called Baghdad. In Samara, Abbasids built a many grand imperial palaces on a scale that surpassed all precedents, including Roman, Byzantine and Persian. Because of no trace with around city, they used material adobe. Baghdad’s first plan is a perfect circle and including four symmetrically gates. Like Kufah, Baghdad also had two major cross-axial streets but they covered by vaults instead of being lined with arcades. A vast central void framed the the palace and the adjacent Great Mosque in the center. The large geometric enclaves of Abbassid palaces and mosques built in Samarra formed a strip. The Caliph’s Palace surpassed the scale of imperial complex in Constantinople and rivaled with imperial palaces of Tang dynasty China. Great Mosque of Samarra could be the largest mosque in the world, it covered same area with the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. A spiral minaret reminded the ancient ziggurats of the region. The Great Mosque of Koirouan remained high minaret inspired by Lighthouse of Alexandria. In spite of availability of limestone, in Mosque of Ibn Tulun baked brick and plaster used with suggestion the presence of Mesopotamian builders unfamilier with stone construction. The original mosque had sprial shape minaret like at Samarra.

Islamic Spain and Morocco

When Ummayad rule the the Iberian Peninsula and Morocco, they sponsored a vibrant architecture begining with the Great Mosque and royal palaces of Cordoba. After the demise of Umayyad, al- Andalus splintered into smaller states which for briefly produced brilliant urban set pieces modeled on Cordoba.


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