Kairouan

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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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Mosque history – what is a mosque? – medieval Islamic architecture

By |2017-12-29T14:22:06+00:00July 23rd, 2017|Africa, Architecture, Islam, West Asia|

Mosque history - Al-Azhar Mosque, Cairo (Egypt, 900s AD) What is a mosque? A mosque (MAH-SK) is a kind of building where people who follow the Islamic faith pray to God. Mosque history People first built mosques in the 600s AD, when the Arabs conquered Jerusalem and other parts of West Asia. The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem [...]

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. [...]

Kairouan’s Great Mosque – Islamic architecture

By |2017-07-23T07:50:40+00:00July 23rd, 2017|Africa, Architecture, Islam, Religion|

Kairouan mosque's courtyard The Islamic governors of Tunisia built the Great Mosque at Kairouan in the 800s AD, in the time of the Abbasid Empire. This was the same time as the reign of Charlemagne. But the mosque at Kairouan was much grander than anything being built in Europe at this time. It was more on the same [...]

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 [...]

Medieval African Architecture – Mosques and Churches

By |2018-04-21T12:09:38+00:00May 18th, 2017|Africa, Architecture, History, Medieval|

Medieval African architecture: Al-Azhar Mosque, Cairo (Egypt, 900s AD) Africa gets richer The Middle Ages saw a tremendous explosion of architecture all over Africa as Africans became richer than they had ever been before. In Egypt, the Fatimids built mosques and forts, and the new city of Fustat (Cairo). More trade with India made the people [...]