great mosque of damascus 709-15 AD, syria, easter 2004

    Newer Older

    interior of the great mosque, containing the shrine of st. john the baptist.

    the muslim builders of the early mosques may at first seem to have learnt and borrowed everything from rome and persia but at a closer look reveals a quality entirely new and unique to islamic architecture: the mosques are spaces without hierarchy.

    this is something that could not be imagined in the catholic church, in imperial rome or at the court in iran. the core meaning of the word islam is submission. this call for submission to God includes all muslims without exception. thus, the mosques became the successful translation into space of this central islamic tenet, that the true hierarchy exists not between man and man but between man and God.

    the generous, not to say enormous, prayer hall of the umayyad mosque in damascus is in constant use thoughout the day - which is somewhat surprising when you are used to the empty churches of northern europe. groups of people are scattered on the floor, reading, listening, talking. a young married couple are receiving counseling in a quiet area near the back wall. children are looked after...

    ...most of the interior and all of the columns are part of a reconstruction after the fire in 1893. the ottoman capitals are very clumsy. I haven't yet found out if the original columns were spolia as in the courtyard or if they were made for the house by the greek roman artisans who built it (in which case they would/could have looked much like this:

    more words, yada, yada, yada.

    this photo was uploaded with a CC license and may be used free of charge and in any way you see fit.
    if possible, please name photographer "SEIER+SEIER".
    if not, don't.

    ZhengHe, jmtp, dianavieira, Merjeh, and 37 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. khalid 91 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Muslim Cultures, and we'd love to have your photo added to the group.

    2. seier+seier 91 months ago | reply

      thanks for the invite, khalid!

      we have stopped posting to groups altogether, so its a no thanks, but, I must say, what a great group you have. amazing photos. hereby recommended to anyone stopping by:

    3. All*Sensations [deleted] 91 months ago | reply


    4. gamalmorisi 81 months ago | reply

      nice photos ... really nice

    5. Lú_ 78 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Architecture, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

    6. seier+seier 78 months ago | reply

      thanks for the invite, lú, but we don't post to groups.

    7. seier+seier 72 months ago | reply

      it is a great building :)

    8. Zeek111 59 months ago | reply

      Hey there,

      We've used your photo in the following blog post:

      Thanks for using creative commons!

    9. seier+seier 59 months ago | reply

      you are welcome

    10. Hector Hurtado 38 months ago | reply

      I usually do not like much reading under a photograph's caption, for I believe an image should suffice itself. This one does. Moreover, your words are both educational and superlative in their wisdom. So thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us, beyond the fleeting moment captured then.

    11. seier+seier 37 months ago | reply

      thanks hector, that is very generous. as you may have gathered, the buildings are my real love here, rather than photography.

      (I am also unable to shut up!)

    12. 32 months ago | reply

      so nice, can i copy this to make book? How the rule? Your brother in indonesia

    13. seier+seier 32 months ago | reply

      you may indeed copy and use this, it comes with a CC license.

    14. seier+seier 31 months ago | reply

      you are welcome!

    keyboard shortcuts: previous photo next photo L view in light box F favorite < scroll film strip left > scroll film strip right ? show all shortcuts