Dome of the Rock

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First Crusade – Middle Ages

By |2018-04-24T08:21:17+00:00August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

A Viking ship Throughout the 1000s AD, Viking mercenary soldiers, some coming down the Volga river through Russia, and others sailing around through the Straits of Gibraltar, had been fighting for the Byzantine Empire. Many of these men fought along the Mediterranean coast of West Asia, so they knew that this was a very rich area, and that the Abbasid [...]

Pisa – the Duomo – medieval Italy

By |2017-07-31T09:36:31+00:00July 31st, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

Cathedral of Pisa (the Duomo) This is the cathedral of medieval Pisa, in Italy. The architects built the cathedral in the Romanesque style around 1064 AD. The rounded arches are typical of the Romanesque style. So is the floor plan of the building, with many little bits sticking out all over. Façade of Pisa's Duomo The outside of the [...]

Florence Baptistery – Romanesque architecture in Italy

By |2018-05-13T18:25:01+00:00July 30th, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

Florence baptistery: the Romanesque baptistery in Florence, Italy Earlier Florence baptistery (700 AD) Probably people had built an earlier, smaller octagonal baptistery here around 700 AD.  This is where Catholic priests baptized Christian babies in medieval Florence. It's also called San Giovanni, the Baptistery of St. John. That's because Christians believed John the Baptist was the holy [...]

Early Gothic architecture

By |2018-04-10T22:59:12+00:00July 30th, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

Early Gothic architecture: Notre Dame of Paris (1160s AD) What came after Romanesque? After the Romanesque period in architecture, around 1100 AD, architects in western Europe gradually started to build Christian churches and palaces in the Gothic style. The easiest difference to see between the two styles is that while Romanesque churches have round arches, Gothic churches have pointed arches. [...]

Aachen – Palatine Chapel – Charlemagne

By |2017-07-29T18:08:15+00:00July 29th, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

Aachen cathedral (begun 792 AD) One of the first ambitious buildings in Western Europe after the fall of Rome was Charlemagne's chapel at his capital of Aachen (now in northern Germany) about 792 AD. Charlemagne thought of himself as re-creating the Roman Empire. He wanted to build an impressive church that would show that he was a very [...]

The Umayyads – Early Islamic History

By |2017-07-25T17:04:54+00:00July 25th, 2017|History, Islam|

Tomb of Ali, the first Imam and the fourth caliph, in Iraq (it was rebuilt about 1500 AD by the Safavids) Mohammed died in 632 AD. His second wife's father, a rich man named Abu Bakr, took over as caliph. He became the leader of the new religion of Islam, and of the newly united Arab [...]

Umayyad architecture – Islam

By |2017-07-23T08:21:29+00:00July 23rd, 2017|Africa, Architecture, Islam, West Asia|

Dome of the Rock mosque, Jerusalem People didn't build a lot of new buildings during the Umayyad period. They were busy getting organized after the Islamic conquests, and the Umayyad dynasty didn't rule very long. But what they did build was new and exciting. The Umayyads, who were conquering everything, had pots of money to [...]

Islamic architecture – History of architecture

By |2017-07-22T07:15:27+00:00July 22nd, 2017|Africa, Architecture, Islam, West Asia|

Kairouan (about 800 AD) Greek architects designed the first buildings in the new Islamic Empire. They had already been living in the area when the Arabs conquered it. Because Greek architects designed them, these buildings look a lot like earlier buildings in West Asia - Late Roman Empire buildings like Hagia Sophia. But now they were building [...]