all taken from ancient buildings, are 22 ft. high in the central aisle and 15 ft. in all the others. They carry horse-shoe arches, which, as in the mosque of ‘Amr, are all tied together by wood beams inserted at the springing of the arches.
The mosque of Cordova was built by Abdarrahman (Abd-ar-Rahman) in 786-789 in imitation of the mosque of Kairawan. There were eleven aisles of twenty-one bays, the centre one slightly wider than the other. The materials were taken from earlier buildings, and, as the columns and caps were not considered high enough, above the horse-shoe arches are built a second row of arches which carry the barrel vaults. To this mosque Hakim added twelve more bays in depth at the Mecca end (962), and in 985 Mansur added eight more aisles of thirty-three bays on the east side. Part of the open court on the north side dates from Abdarrahman’s foundation (690) and part from Mansur.
Fig. 60.—Capital and Springing of Arch,
In the mosque of Cordova we find the earliest example of the cusped arch, in the additions made by Hakim in 961; in order to obtain a greater height above the columns, it became necessary to employ the expedient of raising arch above arch in order to obtain the height they required for the ceilings; and as these arches formed purely decorative features, which might otherwise have become monotonous, variety was given by introducing the cusped form of arch and interlacing them one within the other. It is probably this elaborate design which suggested the plaster decorations of the screens above the arches in the court of the Alhambra. Though commenced in 1245, the existing palace of the Alhambra was built in the first half of the 14th century, at a time when the style was fully developed. There are two great courts at right angles to one another, the most important of which was the Court of the Lions, so called from the fountain in the centre, with twelve conventional representations of that animal carrying the basins. This court is surrounded by an arcade with stilted arches carried on slender marble columns with extremely rich decoration above, partly in stucco painted and gilt. The hall of the Abencerrages (35 ft. square) has a polygonal dome covered with arabesque (fig. 60). Two other halls are roofed with lofty stalactite vaults of great intricacy, richly gilded and of remarkable effect (fig. 61), but the employment of stucco instead of stone, as in Egypt, has led to an abuse in the wealth of enrichment, which is only partly redeemed by the plain masonry of the towers and walls enclosing the palace. The Giralda at Seville is the only example of a tower, but it does not seem to have served the purpose of a minaret.
With the exception of the tombs of Zobeide and Ezekiel near Bagdad, and a hospital at Erzerum of the 12th century, built by the Seljukian dynasty, the Mahommedan style in Persia dates from the 13th century, i. e. if Ghazan Khan built the mosque at Tabriz in 1294. The plan is that of a Byzantine church with a central dome, aisles and sanctuary. The portal consists of a lofty niche vaulted with semi-domes and stalactite pendentives, similar in many respects to the well-known example of Sultan Hasan in Cairo, built sixty years later. It is built in brick and covered internally and externally with glazed bricks of various colours, wrought into most intricate patterns with interlacing ornament and with Cufic inscriptions. The dazzling and perfect beauty in point of colour is not to be surpassed, but from the architectural point of view it possesses the fatal sin of not showing its construction. The bricks and tiles are only a veneer, and though in certain features (such as the portal and the dome) the construction is at least suggested, the tendency is to trust to decoration alone to produce architectural effects. (But see Tabriz.)
The great mosque at Isfahan (1585) is a good illustration of the danger attending a too free use of surface decoration. Strip the walls of their tiles, and nothing is left except square box-like forms with pointed arched openings of different form. The interior, however, owing to the variety of its features, and the varied play of light and shade given in the hemispherical vaults of its transepts and niches and the vaulted aisles, constitutes one of the most beautiful monuments of Mahommedan art.
Apart from the great development of Mahommedan architecture in India (see Indian Architecture), there remains now to be described only one other phase of the style, that found in Constantinople.
Prior to the conquest of Constantinople in 1445, two mosques were built by the Turks at Brusa in Asia Minor. The plan of Ulu Jami, the great mosque, follows the original courtyard type. Yeshil Jami, the Green mosque (1430), built on the site of a Byzantine church, is cruciform on plan. In both of them the Persian influence is shown, in the magnificent towers with which they are covered, the marble casing and the stalactite vaults.
Fig. 61.—Pendentive, from the Court of the Lions, Alhambra.
After the conquest of Constantinople, the supreme beauty of St Sophia, and the adaptability of its plan to the requirements of the Mahommedan faith, caused it to be accepted as the model on which all the new mosques were based. The first two erected were the Bayezid (1497-1515) and the Selim mosques (1520-1526). In the former the dome and its pendentives are carried on octagonal piers, and the dome, 108 ft. in diameter, is greater than in any subsequent example. The finest mosque, and the example in which we find the complete development of the Turkish style, is that erected by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1550-1555. This mosque, designed by Sinan, an Armenian architect, is still quite perfect. The plan follows very closely its model, St Sophia, and consists of a central dome, 86 ft. in diameter and 156 ft. high, carried on pendentives, resting on great arches which are slightly pointed, with great apses on the east and west sides, and three smaller apses in each, the arches of which are all circular. The principal change in design is that found in the north and south walls, under the arches carrying the dome; in St Sophia they were subdivided into two storeys with galleries overlooking the church, but in the Suleimanic mosque the galleries are set back in the outer aisles, and the screen walls consist of a wide central and two side pointed arches, and voussoirs alternately of black and white marble. The tympana above this is pierced with eighteen windows filled with geometric tracery. Stalactite work is employed in the pendentive of the smaller apses and in the capitals of the columns carrying the pointed arches. The columns are of porphyry, the shafts, 28 ft. high, being taken from the Hippodrome and probably brought originally from Egypt. The walls are cased with marble up to the springing of the dome, but the magnificent mosaics of St Sophia are here replaced by vulgar colouring and plaster decoration of a rococo style, due probably to recent restorations. The mosque is preceded by a forecourt, surrounded by an arcade on all sides and containing a fountain, and in the garden in the rear is the tomb of the founder and his wife.
The Shah-Zadeh mosque, known as the prince’s mosque, was also built by Sultan Suleiman, from the designs of Sinan, the same