4.611/13 Civil Architecture in Islamic History (HASS)
Instructor: Nasser Rabbat

3- Early Umayyad Architecture:

The Great Umayyad Mosque in Damascus (ca. 706-15):

Built on order of the caliph al-Walid I (705-15), the son of ‘Abd al-Malik.

Mosaics of the Great Mosque: Representations of ideal-types residences.

The Barada Sequence: villas, excedrae (or porticoes), tholoi, bridges over rivers.

Umayyad Desert Palaces, Architecture and Decoration:

How can we explain them? The new economic, geographic and social orders

Villa Rustica: Pleasure and hunting (the notion of the Hayr, the game park):

Estates in agricultural development projects:

Fortified small towns:

The Palaces of al-Walid I (705-15):

Qasr Kharana, Jordan (ca. 705-10):

Small fortified square enclosure with arrow slits and round corner towers

Single monumental gate with a shallow arch

Rough stone and brick construction

Different vaulting techniques

Mosaic floors

Qusayr ‘Amra, Jordan (between 711 and 715):

Part of a larger complex being excavated

Small hall with a magnificent bath

Complex vaulting systems, with the appearance of the first pointed arches

hypocausts under the floor for hot air in the bath

Famous fresco murals, and dome's zodiac representation

The Town of ‘Anjar, Lebanon (714-15):

Large enclosure (1100 ft. to the side) with half-round towers and round corner towers

Cross-axial colonnaded, commercial streets dividing the enclosure into four quarters

Two palaces, a bath, and one mosque excavated

The Architectural Characteristics of Umayyad Palaces:

Square enclosure (castrum type) with four round towers in the corners

Monumental portals

Two-storied, porticoed courtyard structure

Bayt Type units

Confluence of Byzantine and Sasanian construction details and decorative techniques

Figural representations of rulers, courtiers and court scenes (music, dance, drinking, hunting): The survival of pre-Islamic images of the ruler.