Hypostyle Mosques and Soaring Minarets (A World History of Architecture)

In Islamic cities and structures there is a special kind of order. The prayers, mosques and tombs are chosen to face Mecca and this affects the plans of the cities and the positioning of both buildings and their parts. Also because Islam avoids pagan believes and monument-related things this approach is observed in their architecture too.

The mosques are quite similar to early christian structures. They are hypostylic structures like previous examples. The first ones usually had large halls. The most common plan were the basilica with longitudinal aisles directed to the qıbla which transformed lateral qıbla wall and hypostyle hall.

As it was in Kufah, in the cities they used grids and on the intersection points of the grids would be palace and mosques positioned usually back to back. Just like the palaces and public or religious spaces taking place in the Roman cities. Abd al-Malik was the architect of Kufah.

The Great Mosque of Kufah, Iraq, 7th century

Abd al-Malik’s son assembled 3 of the most holiest mosques of Islam religion: Prophet’s Mosque, al-Aqsa Mosque and the great Mosque of Damascus.

Especially in the great mosque of damascus, the resemblence to basilicas and early christian buildings of Byzantine is quite striking to me. If you still can’t be sure check out the interior!



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