Islamic Architecture Term Paper

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Islamic architecture consists of Shrines and buildings. The first of the three great shrines of Islam, is The Kaba at Mecca. It is considered the holiest spot on earth for Muslims.

The second of the great Islamic shrines is the Mosque of the Prophet Muhammad in Ma dina Saudi Arabia. An interesting fact about this shrine is that the prohpet muhammad himself is buried in the floor of the mosque.

The third of the great shrines, is the Dome of the Rock in Jeruselem. The Dome of the rock was built in 690 A.D. and is brightly colored in ceramic. The top of the dome is covered in gold, and has been recently restored.

A noticable feature that is present through all islamic architecture is the focus on interior space as opposed to the outside or facade.

A typical muslime house is a great example of the focus on “inner space”. A rectangular dwelling, it is normally organized around an inner courtyard. The outside of these kinds of houses have high walls without windows, and allows only a single door, normlly located low on the wall.

These “courtyard homes”, are often clustered together into a walled complex to allow extended families to stay close yet independant.

It is often said that the courtyard house is never really completed. As the family grows in size, rooms are normally added on to these homes. And once the surrounding land is all used up, rooms are built on top of each other in a vertical direction.

The men’s reception room is normally located next to the entrance lobby of a house. This is so when male visitors come, they do not have to converse with the female household or disturb their normal life.

The men’s reception room is also a symbol of how well the family fares economically. Wealthier families furnish the reception rooms with precious possessions. It is generally the most decorated room in the house.

Islamic buildings often have no directional or axial quality. This means that it does not have .

One of the most important elements of islamic architecture is enclosed space. Most decoration in islam is reserved for the intereior, with the sole exception of Dome’s and entrance portals.

Word Count: 371

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