8 Mind-Boggling Marvels of Islamic Architecture

8 Mind-Boggling Marvels of Islamic Architecture

Islamic architecture, all over the world, varies significantly in its construction styles, the materials used and decorative programs. However, there are certain recurring patterns, themes and paradigms that can be traced in all the buildings. Islamic architecture can be broadly divided into two main categories. The first category consists of those buildings that were intended to serve as places of worship, instruction and commemoration. Mosques, seminaries and mausoleums fall in this category. The second category of Islamic architecture encompasses those buildings and environments that were constructed by the Muslim monarchs and patrons. Palaces, marketplaces, inns and other such buildings can be categorized in this class. Erected as mesmerizing monuments of a grand Islamic heritage, we have shortlisted some of the most enthralling marvels of modern Islamic architecture.


8 – Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse, Iran


Photo by Ali Kord Zadeh

Photo by Ali Kord Zadeh


Known as Qasemi Bathhouse, this Iranian public bathhouse was constructed way back in the seventeenth century. The bathhouse encompasses an area of approximately 1000 square meters and contains a hot bathing hall along with a dressing hall. The roof of the bathhouse consists of multiple domes adorned with lenses that permitting sufficient natural light to illuminate the bathhouse. The bathhouse is decorated with rare turquoise and gold tiles, plasterwork, brickwork as well as brilliant paintings.


7 – Chefchaouen, Morocco


Photo by Mike Schurmann

Photo by Mike Schurmann


Built in the 15th century as a fortress to guard against the Portuguese invasions, Chefchaouen is a city situated in the northwestern part of Morocco and is renowned all over the world for its buildings in shades of blue. The city gets its name from the shape of the mountains above it that look like the horns of two goats. It is a popular holiday destination in the Mediterranean famous for its shopping spots and also its woven blankets and wool garments. The city is also famous for the goat cheese it produces among the tourists.


6 – Burj Al Arab, United Arab Emirates


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With about two-fifths of its total height made up of occupiable space, Burj Al Arab is the world’s third tallest hotel in the world and boasts a design which is a caricature of the sails of a ship. The hotel also features a helipad near its rooftop at a height of about 689 feet. The hotel’s Royal Suite billed at $18,716 per night is one of the world’s most expensive suites.


5 – Jameh Mosque of Isfahan, Iran


Jame Mosque Isfahan

One of the oldest mosques in Iran, the Jameh Mosque of Isfahan is the grand, congregational place of worship situated in the city of Isfahan. The mosque was constructed in the fashion of a vaulted open room placing for gates face to face. Renowned for its two brick domed chambers, this mosque’s history dates back to 8th century.


4 – Hassan II Mosque, Morocco


Photo by Nabil Elminaoui

Photo by Nabil Elminaoui


Situated in Casablanca, this mosque boasts the world’s tallest minaret which is 210 metres high. Its distinct feature is that the seabed can be viewed through the transparent glass floor. It holds the distinction of being the third largest mosque in the world.


3 – The Alhambra, Spain


Alhambra Palace

Literally meaning “The Red One”, The Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex located in Granada, Andalusia, Spain. Majority of the palaces are quadrangular in plan and follow the uniform theme of “Paradise on Earth”. The decoration on the palace walls and ceilings consist of Arabic inscriptions manipulated into geographical patterns.


2 – Selimiye Mosque, Turkey


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Commissioned by Sultan Selim in the 16th century, the mosque was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2011. It stands at the center of a kulliye and features an octagonal support system through eight pillars incised in a square shell of walls. It also has four domes and arches springing from the pillars.


1 – Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi


Sheikh-Zayed-Mosque-Night-View

This splendid mosque is home to the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet which was crafted by 1,200 artisans, and a 12-tonne crystal chandelier. The grandiose shrine literally unites the world: its construction material was brought from various, including non-Islamic, countries.