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Toulouse – St. Sernin – Romanesque

By |2018-04-15T16:50:51+00:00July 31st, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

Church of St. Sernin, Toulouse, France In 1080 AD, the church of St. Sernin in Toulouse was a busy place. Charlemagne had given the church some saints' relics, and many people stopped to pray there when they were on pilgrimage to St. Jacques de Compostela in Spain. But the little old church, built in the 300s AD under Roman rule, was too [...]

St. Germain des Pres – Paris

By |2018-04-15T16:50:50+00:00July 31st, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

St. Germain des Pres (Paris, 1000 AD) In 542 AD, the Merovingian king Childebert (Clovis' son) was fighting the Visigoths in Spain when he heard that the people of Saragossa were praying to St. Vincent to save them. Childebert decided not to fight people under the protection of a Christian saint, and the people were so grateful to be [...]

What is a minaret? Islamic architecture

By |2017-07-23T07:55:20+00:00July 23rd, 2017|Africa, Architecture, Islam, West Asia|

Kairouan's minaret - the oldest minaret still standing today. A minaret was a tower that Islamic holy men called muezzins climbed in order to call out the call to prayer, five times a day. It was a tall thin building with stairs inside it (or sometimes outside) and small windows to let in daylight. [...]

Almohad architecture

By |2018-04-23T15:20:54+00:00July 22nd, 2017|Africa, Architecture, Islam|

Minaret of Koutoubia mosque, Marrakesh (Morocco, 1100s AD) When the Almohads first conquered Morocco and Spain from the Almovarids in the 1100s AD, they showed their strength by building monuments in the cities of their new empire. They built this mosque right over the top of the old Almovarid palace in Marrakesh! Also, the Almoravids had not allowed [...]