English 70 TR 1PM
September 19, 2012
Moorish Architecture in Andalusia
Who were the Moors? The Moors were a group of Arabs, Berbers, and Iberian Muslims, who in the 8th century, conquered most of what is now modern day Spain and Portugal. My purpose for writing this paper is to inform the reader of one of many cultural contributions the Moors gave “Andalusia” (modern day Spain, Portugal, and bits of France). Much of Andalusia’s architecture was greatly influenced by Moorish architecture.
The Moors had a history of complex and beautiful architecture. With their highly decorative and geometric style, the Moors were responsible for the architecture of most edifices in NW Africa. One of the more prominent features of Moorish architecture is the arrangement of structures around one central courtyard, into which all other aspects of the building would open (The Columbia Encyclopedia). Great examples of Moorish style can be noticed in their mosques. For example, The Great Mosque at Al Qayrwan in Tunisia, featured a large court surrounded by galleries that opened into a praying room, which took the form of a hypostyle hall. This sacred building is also known for its splendorous tile décor (The Columbia Encyclopedia). The elaborate details of the tiles and arches, combined with the complexity of the structure, built around one central courtyard, make this particular mosque distinctly Moorish.
The Moors’ architectural style also permeated Spanish culture in Andalusia. In 711 A.D. the Moors defeated the Visigoths and conquered Andalusia. During their caliphate, the Moors succeeded in coalesce with the Spanish culture. Although the Islamic Moors tolerated Christians and Jews, they erected many huge mosques (Moorish Portugal). An exemplar would be The Great Mosque of Cordoba. The mosque features many examples of Moorish architecture, among them: a central courtyard, many arches, including the “horseshoe arch,” Islamic calligraphy and inscriptions...
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