MOORISH STYLE (9th – 15th Century)

Moorish style is the architectural tradition that appeared in the Maghreb region and the Iberian peninsula during the Islamic period, between the end of the 9th century and the end of the fifteenth.

Medina Azahara, Cordoba, Spain
Medina Azahara, Cordoba, Spain

image source: http://www.spainisculture.com/en/monumentos/cordoba/medina_azahara.html

 

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF “MOORISH” ?

Moorish architecture is a variation of Islamic architecture. The name comes from the term “Moros” with which you showed in Spain Muslim invaders from Africa (also known as “Moors”), who conquered the Iberian Peninsula and many islands in the Western Mediterranean beginning in the 700s. The Moors controlled what is now Spain, Portugal, and the Pyrenees region of France for hundreds of years.


Info source: http://nationalgeographic.org/media/moorish-art/

Characteristics of the Moorish style:

From an architectural point of view, it is characterized by its severe and essential lines, with clear volumes and simple plants.

Characteristic elements of Moorish style include:

  • muqarnas,
  • horseshoe arches,
  • voussoirs,
  • domes,
  • crenellated arches,
  • lancet arches,
  • ogee arches,
  • courtyards,
  • islamic calligraphy
  • and decorative tiles.
Decorative tiles
Decorative tiles

Image source: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Alhambra-fortress-Granada-Spain

Islamic calligraphy
Islamic calligraphy

image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alhambra#/media/File:Detalle_de_la_pared_de_la_Sala_del_Mexuar._La_Alhambra,_Granada. JPG

 

WHERE THIS STYLE CAN BE FOUND?

One of the most famous examples of Moorish architecture, the Mezquita or Grand Mosque of Cordoba, Spain, is today the region’s Catholic cathedral.

The double arches were a new introduction to architecture, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch. The famous alternating red and white voussoirs of the arches were inspired by those in the Dome of the Rock. Marbles of spotless white were chosen for the columns.

Info source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moorish_architecture

Columns and double arches, Mosque-Cathedral, Cordoba, Spain.
Columns and double arches, Mosque-Cathedral, Cordoba, Spain.

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosque–Cathedral_of_Córdoba#/media/File:Spain_Andalusia_Cordoba.jpg

Another example of Moorish style is the Alhambra of Granada, the fortress was the Moors last stronghold in Spain. A fortress complex of Alhambra was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984.

The Alhambra, Granada, Spain.
The Alhambra, Granada, Spain.
The Patio de la Acequia at the Generalife, the summer palace of the Moorish sultans, in Granada, Spain.
The Patio de la Acequia at the Generalife, the summer palace of the Moorish sultans, in Granada, Spain.
Gardens of the Partal Palace and the Torre de las Damas (Tower of the Ladies), the Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Gardens of the Partal Palace and the Torre de las Damas (Tower of the Ladies), the Alhambra, Granada, Spain

images source: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Alhambra-fortress-Granada-Spain

The architectural decoration of the Alhambra was mostly of stucco. Some of it is flat, but the extraordinarily complex cupolas of muqarnas, as in the Hall of the Two Sisters, appear as huge multifaceted diadems. The decoration of the Alhambra becomes a sort of paradox as well as a tour de force. Weighty, elaborately decorated ceilings, for example, are supported by frail columns or by walls pierced with many windows (light permeates almost every part of the large, domed halls). Much of the design and decoration of the Alhambra is symbolically oriented.

Info source: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Islamic-arts/Visual-arts

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