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Earlier Islam

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Chapter Summary

This chapter first discusses the parameters of Islamic building, outlining why little is known about the veritable explosion of sometimes large projects from c.700. It then examines what has survived, some almost as-built, other buildings radically altered because of earthquakes, dynastic change, and/or megalomania. The context is often the whole Mediterranean, and events in European culture should be borne in mind when discussing developments in Islam. The chapter discusses the three general problems predominate in investigating early Islamic architecture. The first problem is the lack of consistent evidence about what effect the transition to Islam had on architectural survival. The second problem is the deliberate destruction by Moslems of Islamic monuments built by rival dynasties or even forbears. The third problem is that there are too few archaeologists and often poor or non-existent publication records (although the situation is perhaps improving).

Keywords: European culture; Islamic architecture; Islamic building; Islamic monuments; Moslems



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