Ancient Islamic Architecture essay sample

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Ancient Islamic Architecture


The Islamic architecture represents a complex mixture of both religious and the secular styles, starting from the foundation of Islam and up to the present times. Islamic Architecture as a term is understood in a broader context than solely religious constituent of construction of the Muslims since the very concept of "Islamic" characterizes not only the religion, but also the great civilization which presents the complex of cultures, formed through the history of one and a half millenniums. These complexes of cultures have been united in Islam, despite their deep differences. The architecture of Islamic world, as the historic phenomenon and artistic constituent, was born and formed within the first and the greatest Caliphate.

An architectural style that is recognized as Islamic has been born soon after the times of Muhammad, taking the inspiration in the Byzantine and the Sassanid models. An important role in the Islamic architecture is played by the Syrian style (Flood, 2001), and the well known great epigraphic vine frieze also takes roots in Syrian style, the pre-Islamic period. Up to the recent times, the Islamic architecture has been well preserved and the strong architectural and cultural elements play an important value in the research of traditions and the past cultures. Islamic architecture can be seen as an example of the constant transition and the evolution. According to Bourgoin (1867), the Rise of Islam presents the “continuous process of transformation that leads from the times of late Antiquity and up to the Islamic period”. The early researches and the studies conducted, considered the Islamic architecture as the certain cutting of the ties with the past times which has resulted in a mixed and distorted form of expression. Speaking of classification and the distinguishing elements, it is possible to conclude that the principal types of Islamic architecture are: the Mosque, the Palace, the Fort and the Tomb. The conceptualism and the classification of Islamic architecture is built upon the mentioned four types and implemented for the other types of the buildings including the fountains, the domestic types of architecture and the public baths. Numerous architectural objects belonging to Islamic Architecture are listed as the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.


Out of all the art forms that are related to the Muslim culture and the Islamic architecture, the mosques confidently take the primary place. The mosque represents the distillation of the Islamic building. In Islam, the five daily prayers can take place anywhere, but the Friday noon prayer is a time when all the men are required to gather at the mosque. The mosques are not only used for the prayers. They are also used as the place to study, a place for rest and reflection. “The style, the materials used in construction and the techniques of decoration are carrying the information about the time period, the culture of the region and the school of architecture” (Kuban, 1974). The architecture of the mosque is formed by the traditions of the region, …

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