before it attained popularity among the Gothic church builders of Europe. Medieval French, German, English and Italian architects adopted the pointed arch in the form of cusped, trefoil and ogee arches which may be seen today supporting and adorning magnificent European cathedrals, such as those of Chartres and Notre Dame in France and Wells in England. Thus, they provided the model for the Tudor arch and other arches found chiefly in English, French and Italian churches. In the Great Mosque of Cordova (786), the soaring double arches were used springing higher into the horse-shoe forms; later even higher into the gothic.

Ribbed vaults arching high over central spaces, arcades and collonades defining interior spaces in buildings, as well as construction supports, inspired western builders in their church designs and other buildings.


Stone or wood interlacing (mashrabeyya) grilles, an early feature of Arab architecture, were to become one of the greatest ornamental glories of the time. Begun in the Mosque of Ibn Tulun in Cairo, the Blue Mosque in Isfahan and in other monuments in Damascus, the pierced fretted stone window grilles were laid out in complex geometrical schemata. This technique inspired builders of churches in medieval Europe.
The Alhambra, the palace of the Moorish rulers of Granada, built by Muhammad Ibn Al-Ahmar in 1230, is perhaps the most famous example of classical Muslim architecture in Europe. Externally, it resembles an imposing fortress; internally, it displays a most sumptuous design, an unsurpassed conquest of space, light and water. It is laid out with gardens, enclosed courts and luxurious chambers and a mosque.
Islamic techniques of covering walls with breathtaking explosions of brightlycolored patterns, plastered ornaments and stretches of lustered tiles are best exemplified in the Aihambra, whose faience mosaic and tile designs were absorbed into the mainstream of western design.
Finally, the use of water as a landscaping element to create a beautiful environment was introduced by the Muslims in the Alhambra; this technique was later imitated by European architects and landscape designers to form beautiful foundations, reflecting pools and man-made waterfalls adorning many of the open spaces and structures of the western world, such as Villa D'Este in Rome, Italy.
The classical period of Arab art, which began with the advent of Islam in the seventh century and lasted more than a thousand years, was marked by an art form that was essentially abstract and geometric. The artistic movement in Islam has always favored the lacy theorizing of geometry over the realities of nature. Its staunch monotheism discouraged depiction of human or animal forms in any place or object used for religious purposes, so that Muslim artists were forced to limiting them-


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