Ten mosques testify to the splendor of Islamic architecture
Ten mosques testify to the splendor of Islamic architecture,
as mosques are among the finest examples of Islamic architecture in the world,
and just as the best European architectural styles were perfected in cathedrals where faithful Christians expressed their faith,
the Islamic faith led to the design of equally amazing structures, some of which date back many centuries.
Muslims have a record of the first mosque ever built. Believers consider the Prophet Muhammad’s home in Medina, Saudi Arabia, to be the first mosque ever built.
Some features of Muhammad’s house can still be found in the designs of some mosques.
However, other mosque features are influenced by many different styles, including Arabic, Moroccan, Byzantine and others.
Some common features of mosques include a central courtyard where worshipers can pray,
as well as minarets or tall towers where prayer can be announced. These are by location and architectural influence.
It is a huge building in Istanbul, Turkey,
and it is an example of the Friday Mosque or a congregational place of worship that was designed to accommodate Friday prayers, especially Friday prayers.
The mosque was built at the beginning of the seventeenth century as a symbol of Ottoman power,
and the Sultan Ahmed Mosque includes six tall minarets, five main domes and eight smaller domes.
The project engineer, Sadqar Muhammad Agha, created a mixture of traditional Islamic elements and Byzantine inspiration from the adjacent Hagia Sophia Mosque,
having studied under the supervision of Mimar Sinan, the chief architect of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and others.
He adopted his master’s position in using intricate details to create an overwhelmingly glorious interior,
the clearest example being the 20,000 hand-painted tiles adorning the upper structure of the mosque.
2- The Dome of the Rock
This sacred building that was built around the bedrock,
where Judaism believes that it is the site of the creation of the world and where Islam believes that it is the place where the Prophet Muhammad began his night journey or his ascension to heaven.
The mosque is located on the Temple Mount, a hill in the Old City of Jerusalem that is sacred to Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The Dome of the Rock is one of many buildings considered sacred by many groups for thousands of years.
Before the dome was used as a place of worship for Muslims it was the site of the Jewish Temple of Solomon or the First Temple which was replaced by the Second Temple.
The site was then used as a Roman temple built by Emperor Hadrian and later for the Church of the Resurrection,
which was built with the development of the Christian pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
The octagon that we now know as the Dome of the Rock was probably built under the Umayyad rule in the seventh century,
although some believe that the dome was added to an existing Byzantine building.
This may make sense because the dome’s architecture bears similar characteristics to other nearby Byzantine buildings,
although this may just be a source of inspiration used in a new building.
Architectural inspiration from earlier buildings was certainly part of the design of the Dome of the Rock,
as the dome used the same dimensions as in the previous Christian Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
The Dome of the Rock became a church again when Jerusalem was captured in the Crusades,
which escalated in part due to violence against pilgrims to Jerusalem.
Saladin then regained the city and the Dome of the Rock has remained a place of Islamic worship ever since.
The Dome of the Rock is famous for its unique design that has inspired buildings from various religions around the world.
It has an octagonal shape in plan and is completed by a central dome on a long cylinder, the vertical walls that raise the dome.
The dome is covered with mosaics that vary in age as a result of many renovations.
The most distinctive design element of the Dome of the Rock is the blue glazed tiles that adorn the top of the eight walls of the building.
3- Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
It is a relatively modern mosque in 2007. It is the largest mosque in all of the United Arab Emirates,
and was commissioned by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan to unify the diverse Islamic community in an integrated modern mosque that combines beautiful art and architecture.
It is a mixture of different architectural styles and building elements directly inspired by specific mosques.
Some of the most striking examples include the design taken from the Badshahi Mosque, the Arab minarets, and the Moorish arches.
The mosque is distinguished by its gleaming white structure and beautiful tiled courtyard, in line with the late Sheikh’s intention to unite worshipers with art.
4- Hagia Sophia
One of the best examples of Byzantine architecture,
it was designed by Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles and remained one of the most important landmarks in Turkey for 1500 years.
Hagia Sophia has changed hands many times and served as a place of worship for multiple religions over the years,
standing on the site of what was once a pagan temple during the Roman Empire
. Christian churches were built on the site starting in the fourth century,
but the Byzantine designs that we know of were first commissioned for the site by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the year 532.
Construction began right after the riots in the Nika destroyed the second Christian church that preceded it,
and Justinian I imported exotic materials such as Verdi Antico, which created stunning green columns imported from Greece.
The building was spared no expense and was the largest of the Christian cathedrals grander,
until the completion of St. Peter’s Basilica after several centuries in Rome over the years and many renovations were made to Hagia Sophia,
including repairing the damage caused by earthquakes and other disasters.
The Sultan was inspired by the beauty of Hagia Sophia and decided to convert the church into a mosque,
so the renovation work in the building included the addition of a mihrab opposite Mecca, a platform for religious services and a minaret.
When the Ottoman Empire fell, the Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum and the intricately designed building ceased to be an official place of worship for nearly a century,
then after years of worshipers trying to restore Hagia Sophia’s status as a place of worship, the museum was converted again into a mosque in July 2020.
5- The Sacred Mosque
The Grand Mosque, which is considered the holiest mosque of Islam,
where millions of Muslims around the world travel to it every year to pray and complete the rituals of Hajj in the courtyard of the Great Mosque in Mecca.
The design of the Great Mosque is centered around the Holy Kaaba – the most sacred site in all of Islam.
The current version of the building is made of gray stone and marble and is usually covered with a massive black cloth.
Therefore, it is appropriate for the Grand Mosque in Makkah to be one of the most impressive mosques in the world to house a sacred building such as the Holy Kaaba,
and the mosque itself is the eighth largest building in the world and is part of the same complex that includes the third tallest building in the world, “The Clock Tower Abraj Al Bait” .
Prayer areas covered in the huge courtyard on each side surround the sanctuary after pilgrims complete their seven sessions around the Kaaba and their visits to other holy places within the courtyard,
and the Grand Mosque has witnessed countless expansions and renovations throughout its long history, to accommodate the increasing number of worshipers visiting the site.
6- The Mosque of Cordoba
Cordoba Cathedral, or the Great Mosque of Cordoba, which is technically a mosque,
and the building has been used as a sacred site for multiple religions.
It is said that the first religious building on the site is a Christian Catholic church called Saint Vincent of Zaragoza,
and although there have been claims at one time that a Roman temple may have been there earlier,
the site was divided between Christians and Muslims after the Umayyad conquest of Spain – the conquest that destroyed The Kingdom of the Visigoths and the Bring of Islamic Influences to Western Europe.
The Islamic community grew and the church expanded, then this area was demolished and the Great Mosque of Cordoba started building in 785,
and the architecture recalled its complex history with influences coming from Roman architecture.
Several renovations and expansions were made to the mosque, including a modification to better allow worshipers to face Mecca,
and during all these changes the red and yellow double arches remained the same and helped make this mosque distinct and unique.
The mosque was converted again into a Catholic church when it was occupied by King Ferdinand III in 1236,
and after this conversion the renovations varied widely in architectural styles including the Moorish-style funerary church, nave, Renaissance nave and wing.
The Mosque of Cordoba Cathedral is a mixture of many architectural influences that tell a complex story of faith and history.
7- Hassan II Mosque
The Hassan II Mosque is located in Casablanca, Morocco, and holds some of the world records,
including being the second tallest minaret in the world and being the second largest mosque in Africa, as well as being the seventh largest mosque in the entire world.
There is a laser at the top of the minaret pointing to Mecca, to help the worshipers orient themselves in prayer,
and the placement of this building along the Atlantic Ocean is important to its history, as he commissioned “King Hassan II”,
whose name the mosque was named after, to build it in honor of the late King Muhammad V Hassan II. .
About the mosque, he said: I want to build this mosque on the water because the throne of God is on the water.
”Therefore, the believers who go there to pray, and praise the Creator on solid ground, can contemplate the sky of God and his surroundings.
The French architect Michael Pinseau was chosen to work on the project and designed the building as a mixture of Islamic and Moorish architecture,
in which countless architectural influences can be found throughout the structure, including elements from the Dome of the Rock and the Great Mosque of Córdoba.
Much of the building is handcrafted, with 60,000 Moroccan craftsmen working on handcrafted mosaics,
marble floors, columns, plaster details and wooden ceilings in the mosque, although the total number of workers was over 30,000 workers.
Thanks to all this attention to detail, it is still considered one of the largest architectural projects ever built in Morocco.
8- St. Petersburg Mosque
The design of the Saint Petersburg Mosque was based on the tomb of “Tamerlane” in Samarkand called Gur Amir, which translates to “King’s Tomb”.
This structure is an important piece of architecture that influenced many designers including “Nikolai Vasiliev” who designed the Saint Petersburg Mosque.
The mosque opened in 1913, and was a largely ambitious project as it was able to house almost all of the Muslim population in Russia at the time,
and it was also the tallest European mosque outside of Turkey.
One of the most distinctive features of the Saint Petersburg Mosque is the shiny blue ceramic tiles that decorate the dome and minarets,
and it was also used to create an impressive entrance into one of the gates, using the detailed geometry and calligraphy illustrating verses from the Qur’an.
9- Putra Mosque
The Putra Mosque is an important addition to the area in which it is located from Putrajaya and is elegantly reflected in Putrajaya Lake,
and this governmental district is located only 25 miles from Kuala Lumpur,
Putra Mosque is a unique place of worship and an important tourist destination in part due to its light pink color.
Much of the building, including its wide dome, is made of pink granite. It is not only the most famous pink mosque in the world,
but it is a wonderful example of a mixture of Malay and Middle Eastern design styles.
10- Crystal Mosque
Another mosque in Malaysia, located in One Man Terengganu,
is considered one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.
Crystal Mosque has earned its name and a place on this list for its unique color displays at night made possible thanks to its steel, glass and crystal construction.
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