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Umayyads
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Islamic Architecture of Andalusia

Spain’s Islamic centuries (AD 711-1492) left a particularly rich heritage of exotic and beautiful palaces, mosques, minarets and fortresses in Andalusia, which was always the heartland of Al-Andalus (as the Muslim- ruled areas of the Iberian Peninsula were known). These buildings make Andalusia visually unique in Europe and have to be classed as its greatest architectural glory.

Cordoba (Spain), Prayer hall of the Great Mosque

Al-Andalus: The Orient in the West

In 711 the Arabs (in the Iberian Peninsula, “Arab” and “Muslim” are synonyms) arrived in the western-most territory of Mediterranean Europe. Within a short time, after very few battles and some sieges that were nearly all solved through negotiations, the Arabs provoked the collapse of the Visigothic Kingdom of Toledo, and incorporated what has since then been known as al-Andalus, the political territory under Muslim Arab dominance, into dar al-Islam.

New Coins

Coins of Abd al-Malik

These two dinar coins sum up one of the greatest political and religious upheavals ever – the permanent transformation of the Middle East in the years following the death of the Prophet Muhammad….

Owen Jones and Jules Goury, arched window from the volume Plans, elevations, sections & details of The Alhambra, published 1837.

Illustrations of Islamic Architecture

The Alhambra Granada, Spain Built chiefly in the 13th and 14th centuries The Alhambra (from the Arabic, Al Hamra, meaning The Red) is an ancient mosque, palace and fortress complex built by the…

Woven Tapestry Fragment, 8th century; Umayyad Period, Iran or Iraq, Wool, 12 x 18 3/4 in. (30.5 x 47.6 cm)

8th Century Woven Tapestry

This fragment of tapestry-woven cloth demonstrates the dependence of early Islamic art on traditions that predate the advent of Islam in the Middle East. Here, the influence comes from Sasanian art in Iran….

Science in Al-Andalus

  Written by Paul Lunde Illustrated by Michael Grimsdale The Medieval Christians of Spain had a legend that Roderick, the last king of the Visigoths, was responsible for unleashing the Arab invasion of…

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The Mosque of Cordoba: La Mezquita

The Great Mosque of Córdoba (commonly referred to as La Mezquita) is one of the jewels of Islamic civilisation. It is to Córdoba what the Alhambra Palace is to Granada and the Giralda tower…

Style in Islamic Art (750-1250 AD)

Abbasid Style The Abbasid style emerged in Iraq between 750 and 850, when the Abbasid dynasty was at the height of its power. The Abbasid caliphs constructed huge and lavishly decorated palaces at…

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