Friday, September 4, 2009

Islamic architecture

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. the building show the wealth of the person that lives in it. The principal Islamic architectural types are: the Mosque, the Tomb, the Palace and the Fort. From these four types, the vocabulary of Islamic architecture is derived and used for buildings of lesser importance such as public baths, fountains and domestic architecture.

History
In 630C.E. the Islamic prophet Muhammad's army reconquered the city of Mecca from the Banu Quraish tribe. The Kaaba sanctuary was rebuilt and re-dedicated to Islam, the reconstruction being carried out before Muhammad's death in 632C.E. by a shipwrecked Abyssinian carpenter in his native style. This sanctuary was amongst the first major works of Islamic architecture. Later doctrines of Islam dating from the eighth century and originating from the Hadith, forbade the use of humans and animals in architectural design, in order to obey God's command (and thou shalt not make for thyself an image or idol of God) and also (thou shalt have no god before me) from the ten commandments and similar Islamic teachings. For Jews and Muslims veneration violates these commandments. They read these commandments as prohibiting the use of idols and images during worship in any way.
In the 7th century, Muslim armies conquered a huge expanse of land. Once the Muslims had taken control of a region, their first need was for somewhere to worship - a mosque. The simple layout provided elements that were to be incorporated into all mosques and the early Muslims put up simple buildings based on the model of Muhammad's house or adapted existing buildings for their own use.
Recent discoveries have shown that quasicrystal patterns were first employed in the girih tiles found in medieval Islamic architecture dating back over five centuries. In 1998, Professor Peter Lu of Harvard University and Professor Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University published a paper in the journal Science suggesting that girih tilings possessed properties consistent with self-similar fractal quasicrystalline tilings such as the Penrose tilings, predating them by five centuries.

Influences and styles
A specifically recognisable Islamic architectural style emerged soon after Muhammad's time, developing from localized adaptations of Egyptian, Byzantine, and Persian/Sassanid models. An early example may be identified as early as 691 AD with the completion of the Dome of the Rock (Qubbat al-Sakhrah) in Jerusalem. It featured interior vaulted spaces, a circular dome, and the use of stylized repeating decorative patterns (arabesque).
The Great Mosque of Samarra in Iraq, completed in 847 AD, combined the hypostyle architecture of rows of columns supporting a flat base above which a huge spiraling minaret was constructed.
The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul also influenced Islamic architecture. When the Ottomans captured the city from the Byzantines, they converted the basilica to a mosque (now a museum) and incorporated Byzantine architectural elements into their own work (e.g. domes). The Hagia Sophia also served as a model for many Ottoman mosques such as the Shehzade Mosque, the Suleiman Mosque, and the Rüstem Pasha Mosque.
Distinguishing motifs of Islamic architecture have always been ordered repetition, radiating structures, and rhythmic, metric patterns. In this respect, fractal geometry has been a key utility, especially for mosques and palaces. Other significant features employed as motifs include columns, piers and arches, organized and interwoven with alternating sequences of niches and colonnettes. The role of domes in Islamic architecture has been considerable. Its usage spans centuries, first appearing in 691 with the construction of the Dome of the Rock, and recurring even up until the 17th century with the Taj Mahal. As late as the 19th century, Islamic domes had been incorporated into Western architecture.

Elements of Islamic style
Islamic architecture may be identified with the following design elements, which were inherited from the first mosque built byr hall (originally a feature of the Masjid al-Nabawi).
1. Minarets or towers (these were originally used as torch-lit watchtowers, as seen in the Great Mosque of Damascus; hence the derivation of the word from the Arabic nur, meaning "light").
2. A four-iwan plan, with three subordinate halls and one principal one that faces toward Mecca
3. Mihrab or prayer niche on an inside wall indicating the direction to Mecca.
4. Domes and Cupolas.
5. Iwans to intermediate between different pavilions.
6. The use of geometric shapes and repetitive art (arabesque).
7. The use of muqarnas, a unique Arabic/Islamic space-enclosing system, for the decoration of domes, minarets and portals. Used at the Alhambra.(Compare mocárabe.) Modern muqarnas designs
8. The use of decorative Islamic calligraphy instead of pictures which were haram (forbidden) in mosque architecture.
9. Central fountains used for ablutions (once used as a wudu area for Muslims).
10. The use of bright color, if the style is Persian or Indian (Mughal); paler sandstone and grey stones are preferred among Arab buildings. Compare the Registan complex of Uzbekistan to the Al-Azhar University of Cairo.
11. Focus both on the interior space of a building and the exterior

Differences between Islamic architecture and Persian architecture
Like this of other nations that became part of the Islamic realm, Persian Architecture is not to be confused with Islamic Architecture and refers broadly to architectural styles across the Islamic world. Islamic architecture, therefore, does not directly include reference to Persian styles prior to the rise of Islam. Persian architecture, like other nations', predates Islamic architecture and can be correctly understood as an important influence on overall Islamic architecture as well as a branch of Islamic architecture since the introduction of Islam in Persia. Islamic architecture can be classified according to chronology, geography, and building typology.
 
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