Southern India & Islamic Spain and Morocco

South East Asia and Southern India

Societies of Asia reflected their social hierarchy to their architecture and built monumental buildings for sacred spaces and palaces.
In India architects used mandala as a geometrical diagram for the basis of structures. Mandala is a Buddhist Hindu cosmic model influenced many of architectural subtractions of Indian inhabitants to built temples and sanctuaries. Mandala mostly is used to show the religious connection of political order. For instance,the plan of the Buddhist shrine of Borobudur was taking its references directly from mandala. It is an important sample as a successful realization of a 2D geometry on a 3D construct. The terrace of the temple was covered with statues and stupas (relatively small sacred spaces) so that it makes the men feel enclosed even if it is an open space.
Angkor is a very large monumental setting with its temples, sculptures and large artificial canals. It has references from Hindu and Buddhist beliefs and Chinese’s social structure. Inhabitants of Angkor used mandala as plan and pyramidal masses carved out from earth.

Islamic Spain and Morocco 

After the exile of Umayyads to al-Andalus (Spain) Islam spread through Morocco and al-Andalus peninsula. As the most noticeable newness of the architecture interlacing forms of arches became an essential pattern of mosques in this region. They placed arches over arches making laced motifs. The Great Mosque of Cordoba so-called waves of sea has an orthogonal order made of numerous repeating arched columns creating eleven aisles. Unlike the Great Mosque of Damascus the aisles placed perpendicular to the qibla wall. In time there had been attempts to extend the mosque since its form let the reproducibility. The sahn was extended, new aisles were added and a square based minaret was adjoined to the mosque. In decades the mosque became unlikely of modest ones in Arabic peninsula due to the additions of a decorated mihrab, domes over the maksura and mihrab and luxurious arches enclosing the maksura. An intelligent innovation of star-shaped cupolas resulted in lowered structural weight besides enlarging the area for clerestory windows. After the city’s  surrender to the Christians the Great mosque transferred to a cathedral, the minaret became a bell tower and some of interior columns were removed however the large amounts of columns and their dominance could not be diminished.

After the end of Umayyads regime new districts have occurred in Maghreb, as one of those Fez appeared to be a significant one with its thousands of houses, hundreds of mosques and a university and several madrasa for religious education. City’s leading mosque, the Qarawiyin Mosque which was founded in the area has altered with the additions of Almoravids, green tiled roof, star shaped ribs- like those of Umayyads-  and a mihrab again like those used in the mosques of Umayyads. Aside from the inspired additions Almoravids decorated the mosque with muqarnas which has not been used by Umayyads. Further more the houses in Fez, riads, were centered with geometrically precise courtyardsThey formed to be oriented from inside to out. The cupolas with clerestory windows both provided a diffused lightning and protected the court from the excessive amount heat of direct sunlight. Also it was meticulously arranged that the rooms belongs to family do not see the rooms of other. This feature was ensured by side corridors and changing directions.
The next territory of Almohads ruined the mosques and palaces of Almoravids since they were luxurious and they built the Koutoubia Mosque which doesn’t really differ from the previous ones. Later on they commissioned a minaret for Koutoubia which also had decorations ensured by interlacing arches. Another structure that they started but couldn’t finish is the Hassan Mosque with a minaret of lacey motifs was planned to be the biggest mosque in the world, so the columns remained from the construction cover a huge area.



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