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Moorish architecture is the articulated Islamic architecture of North Africa and parts of Spain and Portugal (Al Andalus), where the Andalusians (Moors) were dominant between 711 and 1492. The best surviving examples are La Mezquita in Córdoba and the Alhambra palace in Granada (mainly 1338–1390), as well as the Giralda in Seville (1184). Other notable examples include the ruined palace city of Medina Azahara (936–1010), the church (former mosque) San Cristo de la Luz in Toledo, the Aljafería in Saragossa and baths at for example Ronda and Alhama de Granada.
Characteristic elements of Moorish architecture include muqarnas, horseshoe arches, voussoirs, domes, crenellated arches, lancet arches, ogee arches, courtyards, and decorative tile work known as zellij in Arabic or azulejo in Spanish and Portuguese. The architectural tradition is exemplified by mosques, fortifications, and other edifices such as the Mezquita in Córdoba (784–987, in four phases); the Alhambra (mainly 1338–1390) and Generalife (1302–9 and 1313–24) in Granada and the Giralda in Seville in 1184; Paderne Castle in the Algarve, Portugal; the mosque of Koutoubia, Hassan Mosque, Andalusian Mosque, and University of Al-Karaouine in Morocco; the Great Mosque of Algiers and the Great Mosque of Tlemcen in Algeria; and the Mosque of Uqba in Kairouan, Tunisia. Other notable buildings include the ruined palace city of Medina Azahara (936-1010), the church (former mosque) San Cristo de la Luz in Toledo, the Aljafería in Zaragoza and baths at for example Ronda and Alhama de Granada.
Caliphate of Córdoba (929-1031):
Period of Taifas (11th-13th century):
There is a high concentration of Moorish architecture in the Maghrebi states of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia mainly in the cities of Marrakesh, Rabat, Fez, Tlemcen, Algiers, Tunis, and Testour.
Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, Spain - Horseshoe Arch
Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, Spain - Double horseshoe arches allowing for greater ceiling height
Court of the lions, Alhambra Spain
Alhambra, Granada, Spain - central court and gardens were a feature uniquely Moorish
Muqarnas in the Alhambra, Granada, Spain - muqarnas allowed for 2 dimensional patterns to be used in 3 dimensions to embellish the transition between the square base to a dome.
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