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The Distinctive and Dazzling Parts of Islamic Structure

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Islamic Architecture Islamic Mosque Art

The facade of Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, a masterpiece of the Iranian structure, constructed between 1602 – 1619 throughout the Safavid dynasty (Photograph: Inventory Photographs from Athikhom Saengchai/Shutterstock)

Islamic structure is likely one of the world’s most celebrated constructing traditions. Recognized for its radiant colours, wealthy patterns, and symmetrical silhouettes, this distinctive strategy has been standard within the Muslim world because the Seventh century.

Whereas Islamic structure contains a number of kinds throughout completely different international locations and continents, there are particular traits that stay universally prevalent all through. Recognizing these underlying components—in addition to understanding their geographical prevalence—is essential to greedy the visually sensational and traditionally important model.

What’s Islamic structure?

This architectural custom is predominantly present in two kinds of locations: Muslim-majority international locations and lands conquered by Muslims throughout the Center Ages. Along with Arab states—like Algeria, Egypt, and Iraq—Islamic structure can be prevalent in European areas with Moorish roots, together with components of Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Malta.

Although usually related to the Islamic mosque—Muslims’ place of worship—this strategy to structure can be obvious in different edifices, from palaces and public buildings to tombs and forts. Whether or not non secular or secular, nonetheless, the sumptuous model is outlined by a number of frequent traits.

Islamic Architecture Islamic Mosque Art

Photograph: Lkadi Adil by way of Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)


Distinctive Parts


A minaret is a spire or tower-like construction that includes small home windows and an enclosed staircase. It is likely one of the oldest components of Islamic structure and is discovered subsequent to most mosques. The first perform of the minaret is to permit the muezzin to name worshippers to prayer from an elevated level. This happens 5 instances a day: at daybreak, midday, mid-afternoon, sundown, and evening.

Islamic Architecture Islamic Mosque Art

Mosque at sundown. (Photograph: Inventory Photographs from photo_desig/Shutterstock)

Because the eleventh century, some mosques have been outfitted with multiple minaret, historically indicating that it had been based by a sultan.

Islamic Architecture Islamic Mosque Art

Court docket of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photograph: Inventory Photographs from Pavel Dobrovsky/Shutterstock)



Like many pioneering architectural actions—together with Byzantine and Italian Renaissance constructing traditions—Islamic architects additionally incorporate domes into their designs.

The Dome of the Rock, a Seventh-century shrine in Jerusalem, is the primary Islamic constructing to characteristic this architectural component. Impressed by Byzantine plans, the octagonal edifice is topped with a wood dome, which was plated in gold throughout the sixteenth century. Not like most Islamic domes—which relaxation on pendentives—the dome sits on a drum supported by 16 piers and columns.

Islamic Architecture Islamic Mosque Art

Dome of the Rock within the Temple Mount, Jerusalem, Israel. (Photograph: Inventory Photographs from Bibiana Castagna/Shutterstock)

Pendentives are tapered constructions that permit a round base for a spherical or elliptical dome to be positioned on a sq. or rectangular room. In Islamic structure, pendentives are sometimes embellished with tiles or muqarnas, a sort of sculptural ornament.


Muqarnas Vaulting

As a consequence of their sculptural composition and patterned aesthetic, Muqarnas are sometimes in comparison with stalactites or honeycombs. Along with domes and pendentives, this distinctive ornamentation additionally adorns vaults, culminating in monochromatic, sculptural ceilings that distinction the encircling tiles.



Mihrabs are architectural components present in mosques. They are often recognized as niches within the partitions which mark the course of the Qibla, denoting the course of prayer. Many mihrabs characteristic Islamic ornament within the type of colourful tiles and mosaics.

Mihrab in Islamic Architecture

Mihrab of thirteenth century Eşrefoğlu Mosque in Beyşehir, Turkey (Photograph: Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA)



One other fixture of Islamic structure is the arch. Evident in each entrances and interiors, Islamic arches are categorized into 4 foremost kinds: pointed, ogee, horseshoe, and multifoil. The pointed arch contains a rounded design with a tapered apex. The sort of arch would ultimately change into an vital component of Gothic structure.

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Photograph: LeCaire by way of Wikimedia Commons (Public area)

The ogee arch is much like the pointed arch. Nevertheless, its level consists of two s-shaped traces, culminating in a extra sinuous silhouette.

The horseshoe arch (often known as a keyhole arch) is related to Moorish structure. As its crown will be both rounded or pointed, such a construction is outlined by the dramatic widening and narrowing of its sides.

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Photograph: Citizen59 by way of Wikimedia Commons, GNU Free Documentation License

Just like the horseshoe arch, the multifoil arch is attribute of Moorish structure. This arch options a number of foils, or “leaves,” leading to a scalloped form.

Islamic Architecture Islamic Mosque Art

Photograph: Escarlati by way of Wikimedia Commons (Public area)


Ornamental Particulars

A closing component of Islamic structure is consideration to decorative element. Usually reserved for interiors, this lavish strategy to ornament consists of mosaic tiling, patterned brickwork and kaleidoscopic stones, beautiful calligraphic adornments, and different ornate parts.

Islamic Architecture Islamic Mosque Art

Inside of the Blue Mosque (Photograph: Inventory Photographs from dade72/Shutterstock)

Together with monumental domes, mesmerizing muqarnas vaulting, and distinctive arches, these eye-catching gildings exhibit the transcendent nature of the Islamic constructing follow.


This text has been edited and up to date.

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