Islamic Architecture Through The Ages


Islamic architecture is not a simple science

Islamic architecture is one of architecture engineering field. It is not just buildings and mosques built in various Islamic eras but it is complex science in architecture.

Islamic architecture developed significantly from the early days of Islam. It is also necessary to distinguish between different types of the architecture according to different periods and Islamic regions in order to achieve a simplification of complex Islamic architecture.

There are a variety of different styles of Islamic architecture and vary according to the date and area of appearance.

The most popular models are

1- Old Islamic style:

Islam is characterized by its simplicity and strictness. These two characteristics have been reflected in Islamic architecture at this time. If we look at the mosque of Quba, the Mosque with the Qibla and the Prophet’s Mosque in its first form, we find examples of this simple style in architecture.

                                                                 The Prophet’s Mosque

2- Umayyad style:

Syria, Palestine and all the Levants were a Christian province and part of the Byzantine Empire. The early Umayyads were influenced by the style of Christian architecture, which was clearly influenced by the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus.

At that time, the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock were rebuilt in a way that referred to the Christian influence and introduced some of the characteristics of the new Islamic architecture. The domes, beacons and the style of Arab decoration were added to the Christian architecture to be the Umayyad style of architecture. The addition of Arabic script to parts of the Holy Quran or modern Arabic.

                                                                       The Al-Aqsa mosque
                                                                          The mosque of Quba

3- Abbasid style:

The Abbasids formed their own style of domes and developed Islamic and Umayyad lighthouses. The Abbasid style also has a unique form of columns, pillars, and motifs between domes in the form of domes in large mosques.

The best example of the Abbasid model in mosques is the mosque in Samarra, the mosque of al-Riqa and the mosque of Abu Dhulf, all in Iraq, Ibn Tulun Mosque in Cairo Ibn Tulun Mosque was built in 256 AH / 878 AD during the reign of Ahmed Ibn Tulun, who was appointed governor of Abasia and then declared the establishment of the Tulunian state.

                                                                  Ibn Tulun Mosque
                                                                The mosque in Samarra

4- Marrakesh and Andalusian style:

The Andalusian style in architecture is similar to the Umayyad style in Damascus and the Levant in general. After the fall of the Umayyad state in Andalusia, Andalusia became under the Morawi rule, then the Mahdi in Morocco and then the Nazarene who moved the capital from the Mediterranean to Andalusia. In those three eras, the architecture flourished greatly and influenced the style of Umayyad, Andalusian and Moroccan architecture.

This rich mix resulted in the appearance of the Marrakesh style, which appeared, grew and thrived on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea in Andalusia and Morocco. A unique example of Marrakech architecture is the Hambra Palace.

                                                                    The Hambra Palace
                                                                  The Hambra Palace

5- Fatimid style “Obaidi”:

In the first Fatimid period, the Fatimids were in North Africa, and architecture was characterized by the simplicity with great influence on local Berber architecture, Marrakesh architecture and neighbouring Andalusian architecture. The best example of architecture in this era is the Mahdia Mosque in the Fatimid capital of Mahdia (now Tunisia).

After the transition of the Fatimid capital to Egypt and the establishment of Cairo, the architecture differed considerably. The influence of the Berber tribes of North Africa has disappeared with their simple local tribal mosques, and the influence of Egyptians accustomed to large mosques.

The Fatimids built larger mosques, the first of which was the Al-Azhar Mosque, the Al-Hakim Bamr  Allah  Mosque and the Mosque of the Elsaleh. All these mosques show the social aspect that characterized the Fatimid mosques.

                                                                           The Al-Azhar Mosque
                                                                       The Mahdia Mosque

6- Ayyubid style:

The Ayyubid style was influenced by the war and its preparations. Most of the installations in the Ayyubid period were highly fortified and prepared for war. The richness of the Ayyubid era was evident in the battlefields, the construction of fortified palaces and castles, city walls, fortifications, renovations and the rebuilding of mosques and shrines destroyed by the Crusaders.

Some of the architectural designs of the Ayyubid era include Salah al-Din Citadel in Cairo, Alep Citadel, and the Castle of the Mountain in Cairo, and the schools spread in Egypt that was built to spread Sunni Islam.

                                                               Salah al-Din Citadel
                                                             Salah al-Din Citadel

7- Safavian Style:

It is characterized by fine decoration works and was influenced by the Persian-Mongolian style in the work of domes and lighthouses with the addition of colours and decorations. It is unique in interior decoration, especially in the decoration of ceilings, cornices and marble columns. The most important example of Safavid architecture is the Shah School in Isfahan and the Imam Mosque (the Shah Mosque) in Isfahan.

                                                               The Shah Mosque
                                                                   The Shah Mosque

8- Pashto style:

It is a simple architectural style characterized by the artistic gift that God has given to Afghans, especially Pashtu tribes. Pashtuns and Afghans are adept at the art of mosaics and ornaments. Examples of this architectural art are Al-Harat Mosque and the Blue Mosque of Mazar-e-Sharif. The Pashto lighthouses are similar to those of the Indian-Mongol style, and the entrances resemble the entrances of the Persian-Mongolian style.

                                            The Blue Mosque of Mazar-e-Sharif
                                               The Blue Mosque of Mazar-e-Sharif

 9- Ottoman style:

Ottoman architecture was influenced by the Seljuks until the domes and lighthouses in the Ottoman and Seljuk styles were identical, but the Ottoman architecture was more charming and rich in the diversity of sources. While the difference was in the interior shape of the mosques.

The Ottomans were moving in the rich regions of Europe and in the meantime they adopted some different Christian arts and even we can see the similarity between the Ottoman mosques and the churches and cathedrals in Christian Europe.

The Ottomans excelled in woodworking, metalworking, and carpet industry. The best example of the Ottoman mosques in Turkey is the Sultan Ahmed Mosque and the Sulaymaniyah Mosque, while the Adza Mosque in Foca (Bosnia) is a good example of the Ottoman mosques in the Balkans.

                                                       The Sulaymaniyah Mosque

The most Beautiful Islamic architecture around the world 

Related topic:

Conservation of Architectural Heritage (CAH) – Regeneration & Management – 3rd Edition

CAH major topics:

1. Cultural Heritage Protection
2. Conservation Strategies
3. Technology And Development
4. Materials And Restoration
5. Reuse Of Cultural Heritage
6. Historic Urban Landscape
7. Site Management Of The Archaeological Site
8. Sustainability Of Heritage
9. Historic Conservation And Economy
10. Ecological Approach Of Conservation Projects
11. Identity And Heritage
12. International Efforts In Heritage Conservation
13. Public Regulations And Heritage

Conservation of Architectural Heritage (CAH) – Regeneration & Management - 3rd Edition

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