Islamic architecture encompasses a variety of both secular and religious techniques that were made basing on the Islamic foundation. The design as well as the construction of the mosque buildings influences the Islamic culture. The types of the architecture include the mosque, Fort, tomb as well as the palace. The Dome of the Rock is one of the most significant buildings of all the Islamic art. The building has a gold foundation and the central part of the building resembles the holy sepulcher church although the mosque itself was renovated a long time ago during the Islamic era. The mosque has a bearing of Islamic features such as a circular dome, and the interior part has vaulted spaces as well as decorative arabesque patterns. Thus, the Dome of the Rock has been used for many years as a religious site.
I learnt many historical buildings of the Islamic period and the way these buildings were used for religious purposes. The videos show both secular and religious architecture of the Islamic period. In the first series of the three palaces such as the Alhambra, Topkai and Palace complex, the videos reveal out the surviving residents of the Spain, Turkey and Iran. From these videos, I learnt that the buildings especially in Spain have a decoration of hamper adorned in different styles. The second gate of the palace building in Iran has a curved stones of lions. Additionally, I discovered that the walls of both palaces are constructed using marble. In the second series of the three mosques such as Umayyad, Masjid-I Imam and Suleymaniye Mosques, the videos show the places of worship in Damascus, Syria, Iran and Egypt. From this series, I learnt that the Topkai palace is located in the hill and high walls surround the palace. It has paintings of time and the visitors enter using the first gate and the second gate. The second gate leading to the courtyard has medieval curve. The Suleymaniye Mosque has walls that are covered with decorative tile work and has different colors of blue, red and white on the background. In the last series of the Friday prayers, I learnt that prayers are carried out in the mosque of Sultan Hasan Cairo in Egypt and they are considered the most important prayers of the week. Women and men pray in different rooms. However, they wash their head, hands as well as remove their shoes before entering the mosque, which is considered as the holy place.
My favorite part of the tour was in the second series of the three mosques. I liked the way the buildings were well-constructed using tiles and decorative colors. In the Suleymaniye Mosque, I liked the way the interior and exterior parts are constructed. The exterior part of the mosque in Istanbul has monumental courtyard in the western side. The courtyard is of exceptional splendor with columns of marble and granite rocks. The interior part has a single vast space. It has tympana filled windows to the North and South arches which are supported by huge porphyry monoliths (Carboni 71).The inside part has a decoration of subtle and Iznik tiles making it to appear well pleasing.
Masjid-I Imam mosque is another Islamic art, which was my favorite. The structure of the mosque is huge with many bricks and mosaic tiles. The Iranian mosque is made of faience mosaic with tiny pieces of monochrome tiles assembled in order to create intricate designs. The artisans used different colors in creating good patterns, which are attractive when viewing the structure. Rippin (88) points out that, the tile work of this mosques and the use of marble is the great work of the artisans of the Islamic era. The lower part, which is two meters away from the walls are enclosed with beige marble and beautiful curved poles from each side. The entrance of the building is decorated with the finest tiles and tile mosaics are combined using seven colors. The northwards are coated with beaming tiles glittering with a blue light extraordinary intensity.
Umayyad Mosque is the greatest mosque in Damascus and the largest in the world. It was my favorite part, which attracted me because of the unique design used. The ground part is in a rectangular form. It has a large courtyard that occupies Southern and Northern parts. There are four interior walls of the courtyard supported by alternating stone columns and piers (Schulze 52). It has three arcades supported by stones and each arcade has two levels. The middle part divides the arcades into two parts and each with eleven arches.
The Dome of the Rock is a shrine, which is situated in the temple mount of Jerusalem city. This site evolved from the religious traditions concerning the rock termed as the foundation stone. The structure of the dome is an octagon mounted on the elevated drum containing circles of piers. The exterior walls are made of porcelain and the walls consists many windows. The architectural inspiration, which the artisans referenced while they were building the dome, was the religious significance. The Muslims regarded the dome as the holy place where they went to pray while facing Mecca. Non-Muslims were not allowed to enter inside the site of the dome because they regarded the site as a Muslim miracle site.
The purpose of the Dome of the Rock was meant for religious purposes. It has been used for many years as a religious site. The four religions who have used at least the Temple Mount site are the Christians, Judaists, Muslims and the Roman pagans. Historically, the Dome of the Rock was used by the Judaists who regarded it as the significant palace where God selected the divine presence to rest (Rippin 34). The Judaists believed that it was from the Temple Mount that the world stretched into its present shape and it is where God assembled dust in creating human beings. The Muslims considered the Dome of the Rock as a holy place where Abraham took Isaac to offer sacrifices to God. In addition, the Dome of the Rock was meant for economical purposes because many people around the world moved to this site to tour the place and make special prayers to God since it was regarded as the holy place. The Muslims regarded it as the third holiest place in the world.
The Dome of the Rock especially the Cupola is one of the artwork of Islamic work. The Cupola has been covered with gold ever since it was built by master builders. The Cupola had been compared by tourists and pilgrims as the mountain made of the supernatural light. It creates endless variations in the intensity of shades when the sun strikes on the glittering gold. The Cupola marks the site where the Muslim leader, Prophet Mohammad is believed to have made the night journey to heavens and eventually back to Makkah. This work of art presents the ideas of the Islamic worldview towards the rock. According to Rippin (132), the Dome of the Rock reflects on the faith of Muslims and it is a simple of oneness as well as the continuity of Abraham. The atmosphere and the beauty of the Cupola are regarded as the destiny of paradise. The monument has the inner spiritual meaning containing the major themes in the Islamic religious world.
In conclusion, Islamic architecture covers a variety of both secular and religious techniques. The Islamic architectures were constructed during the Islamic era. The mosques and palaces are well decorated with marble rocks and different colors. The Dome of the Rock has been used for many years as a religious site. Many religious believers have different beliefs towards the Dome of the Rock. The Muslims regard the dome as the holy place for worshiping. The Islamic architectures are well attracting thus a part from religious purposes,, they are used for economic purposes. This is because they act as a centre for tourists from different parts of the world.
Carboni, Stefano. Venice and the Islamic World, 828-1797. New York, NY: Metropolitan
Museum of Art, 2007. Print.
Rippin, Andrew. The Islamic World. London: Routledge publishers, 2008. Print.
Schulze, Reinhard. A Modern History of the Islamic World. New York, NY: New York
University Press, 2000. Print.
V&A. Islamic architecture of the Middle East videos.
Web. November 2, 2011.