3 Tutorials that teach Architecture
Take your pick:


Author: Ted Fairchild
This lesson will provide information on the role architecture plays in religions.
See More
Approaches to Studying Religions

Believe it!
Our Approaches to Studying Religion Course is only $329.

Sophia's online courses help save you money, while earning credits that are eligible for transfer to over 2,000 colleges and universities.*


Source: Music by Orkestra Keyif; "Sabah Sabah Seyredelim Yaliyi." http://freemusicarchive.org/genre/Middle_East/sort=track_date_published &d=1&page=2

Video Transcription

Download PDF

Hello, and welcome to Architecture. For many cultural traditions, the architecture of a region has historically been very linked to its religion and the construction of its religious places-- places of worship, sacred spaces, and intentional spaces. Throughout the cultural histories of religions, the style of churches, mosques, stupas, synagogues, and temples has developed. And it has great value for the respective faiths.

And while a particular style of architecture might reveal cultural changes, usually the religious significance remains constant. Many cultures devoted considerable resources to their sacred architecture and places of worship. Sacred architecture spans a number of ancient architectural styles, from the ancient architecture of the Mayans in what we now call Latin America, for example, to the ancient classical architecture of Greece and certain examples of Roman architecture, and even the refined classical architecture of Asia, as well. Sacred architecture is also categorized under Byzantine, Gothic, et cetera.

The most important structure in the religion of Islam is the mosque-- for example, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, called the Blue Mosque, in Istanbul, Turkey. Built in the 17th century, it's an example of a combination of styles-- Ottoman mosque and Byzantine church. And this blending of styles is not uncommon and is an interesting way to note the historical moments of religious tolerance, religious overlap, and exchange.

Many forms of mosques have developed in different regions of the world. Notable mosques include the early Abbasid mosques, [INAUDIBLE] mosques, and the central dome mosques of Anatolia.

A common feature in mosques is the minaret, the tall, slender tower that usually is situated at one of the corners of the mosque's structure. If a mosque has a minaret, it is always the highest point of the building. It's also the highest point in the immediate area. One can therefore see and hear the call to prayer, the Adhan, from a long way off.

Prayer halls contain no images of people, animals, and spiritual figures, although they may be decorated with Arabic calligraphy and verses from the Quran on the walls. The first mosques had no minarets. And even nowadays, the most conservative Islamic movements, like Wahhabis, avoid building minarets, seeing them as ostentatious and unnecessary. Domes have been a hallmark of Islamic architecture.

The prayer hall, also known as the musalla, has no furniture, chairs, and pews. They're absent from the prayer hall to avoid distraction. Simplicity of the space allows for a more dedicated worship. And you can find the other extreme, however, for example, in Hinduism, in temples, busy with images and statues of gods, hanging mandalas, incense, candles, et cetera.

So we can review quickly. Sacred architecture spans many different styles and goes back as far as the religions do themselves. And while cultural changes occur, generally the religious significance of sacred architecture remains the same.

We talked a lot about the mosque and the different elements of a mosque-- the minaret being the tall, slender tower that usually is situated at the corner of the mosque and is the highest point on the structure and also the highest point in the immediate area. We also talked about the musalla, which is the prayer room that is in a mosque. It's quite simple to avoid distraction from prayer.

Notes on "Architecture"



Music by Orkestra Keyif; "Sabah Sabah Seyredelim Yaliyi."






Source: Music by Orkestra Keyif; "Sabah Sabah Seyredelim Yaliyi." http://freemusicarchive.org/genre/Middle_East/sort=track_date_published &d=1&page=2