Sultan Ahmed Mosque

Islamic architecture can be defined by the style of art the civilizations started building with, in result of the spread of Islam. Unlike the other art work at that time Islamic arts were somewhat decorative, colorful, and most of it did not represent any human or living thing. One of the characteristic Islamic decoration is known for is arabesque, where the pattern would fallow a geometric pattern that would fit in with the surrounding patterns. The Mosque, or the prayer area for Muslims, and other related buildings are examples of the result of Islamic architecture; they usually show a similar style with domes, arches or minarets. The new Islamic architecture even used old Christian's architectural elements, such as domes, different type of arches, and mosaics, and included that in their buildings. As Islam spread over the land and became more popular, so did its architecture which then began to develop and expand more.

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, which is also known as the Blue Mosque, is an example of Islamic architecture and is located in the city of Istanbul in Turkey. The original and central part of the building was built by Ahmed I Bakhti, the sultan of the Ottoman Empire, from 1603 to around 1617, and was completely finished after his death. Sedefhar Mehmet Aga, who was the apprentice of the famous architect Mimar Sinan, was the architect of the Muslim mosque. Many people have claimed that the Blue Mosque is one of the last examples of Ottoman classical architecture, and that it does represent the building style that was used back then. You can say that the Mosque is divided into two main parts, the part of the Mosque where the people pray, and the courtyard attached to the mosque. Around the building is a bigger yard with small building attached to its parameter. The front wall of the courtyard or the façade is about 60 meters long has a stairway towards the middle of it, and has arches along the front as well as domes on top of it. The courtyard is about the same size of the mosque itself and is surrounded on all sides by a type of a chain of rib vaults, which includes domes on top of them. The building around the courtyard contains thirty domes in total. The court has facilities for washing up for prayer on both sides, as well as a small six sided fountain in the middle. The main part of the Mosque is basically one big room with a complicated system of domes on top of it. There is one main dome and that dome is combined with many other domes to make a compound dome. The one big dome has four semi-domes connected to it, and each of those four semi-domes has three semi-domes connected to them. There is a combination of thirteen domes in the middle plus four other domes on the corners for a total of seventeen domes just in the prayer area and a total of forty-seven. Inside the prayer area the floor is covered with carpets, which are replaced occasionally, and there are a lot of supporting pillars because of the compound domes. The walls and piers, which are the support for the domes, of the lower level on the inside of the Mosque are lined up with over twenty-thousands handmade tiles, that show more than fifty different designs of colorful flowers a floral patterns. The higher level of the inside was painted blue, but now the paint has become faded, also on the walls includes Arabic calligraphy of verses from the Quran as decoration. There are around two hundred stained glass windows, which helps bring colorful light into the Mosque. The central dome has 26 windows, while each semi-dome has 14 windows, and each exedra (semi-semi-domes) has 5 windows each. Along with the windows, to bring in light the mosque has massive chandeliers. Finally the Mosque has six minarets, four on the corners of the main building, and two on the edge of the façade. The Mosque was made by the sultan of the Ottoman Empire so that it could be used as a place for worship with the Muslim people, as well as shows a symbol of his empire. Currently the Blue Mosque is still being used as a prayer area for the Muslims, who do come and still pray there, and as well serving as a popular tourist attraction

Another good example of Islamic architecture is Al-Masjid Al-Nabawi, also known as the Prophet's Mosque, which is located in Medina in the country of Saudi Arabia. Originally the Mosque used to be Prophet Muhammad's house which he used to have conjugational prayer in. After he had died and was buried there, Caliphs, kings and sultans expanded it over the years. The Mosque has been expanded over nine times, the last one with King Fahd, every time it was expanded in each leader added some sort of beautiful decorations for the entire Mosque Currently the Mosque is a two floored rectangular building, in which the main prater hall takes up the entire first floor. The roof of the Mosque is flat paved, and has twenty four square based domes on top. If the bottom level prayer hall gets filled up people are able to pray on top. Some of the domes are able to slide out on tracts to let natural sunlight to light up the mosque. Outside the building itself, there is a huge tiled areas around it in which people can also pray on. The mosque has porticos, which are like an extended roof supported by columns so that there is a walk way underneath it, around the entire building. The walls are decorated by non-weight-bearing columns, as well as a lot of windows, and pointy arches with black and white voussoirs around it. The Mosque is also decorated with shiny and bright marble and stones. Inside the Mosque is a big open space, with only columns made from white marble and golden brass capitals that support the black and white arches, in the way. As decoration the Mosque has Arabic calligraphy of the holy book, Quran. A person can easily tell the difference between the new expansion and the older more original mosque. The older part of the Mosque is surrounded by the newer expansion, so as you go farther in the white shiny marble is replaced by many colorful decorations. One of the unique aspects of this Mosque is its single green dome. The green dome is one of the most notable features, the green dome is part of the original Mosque and pinpoints where the prophet is buried. Below the dome is a place called ar-Rawdahan-Nabawiyah which is the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad. This place is said to be very beautiful and covered in golden decoration. This Mosque is also used to pray in, Muslims from all over the world come together, mostly at the time of the pilgrimage, and pray in that buildingeven after thousands of years.

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