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Building as Propaganda: A Palimpsest of Faith and Power in the Maghreb

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Chapter Summary

This chapter's interest lies in the effective imposition of European and Christian models over an Islamic matrix that the new Portuguese overlords carried out in cities now empty of their native population, and the effects observed in the urban space, religious and civic architecture in the Maghreb. It analyses the interpretation of the Christian basilica profile, in dialogue with or opposition to Muslim religious space, and the adaptation of mosques to churches. The chapter explores the overall urban image of the conquered and new-settled cities for an interpretation of its religious message, wishing to address Mazagão as an ultimate Christian creation by the Portuguese in North Africa. New buildings and urban spaces established by the Portuguese on North African soil were as strong as a weapon. Levels of propaganda ranged from symbolic statements, whenever a Christian consecration of a former mosque took place, to a more explicit and visual apparatus.

Keywords: Christian consecration; churches; Islamic matrix; Maghreb; Mazagão; mosques; Muslim religious space; Portuguese



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