Architecture Adventure: Islamic
Islamic structures, like The Taj Mahal, offer more than just a glimpse into another time. Both Mosques and Tombs alike are sacred and show off magnificent architecture. Plan to visit the Alhambra in Spain, Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, Rustem Pasha Mosque in Instanbul, Taj Mahal in India, Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, and Bibi-Heybat Mosque in Azerbaijan. Whether it is for a love of history, religion, architecture, or travel; a trip to see one or many of these sites should make the travel cut.
The Alhambra in Spain is a World Heritage Site. This palace-fortress complex is visited by as many as 6,000 people each day at the height of summer. The complexity of Islamic geometry is most present in the Patio de los Leones. This courtyard varies column placement so they are symmetrical on multiple axes. The intricate lace-like designs in the stucco is just as impressive. Stay at the luxuriant Alhmabra Palace so you will have ample time to see everything this site has to offer.
Jerusalem's most famous Islamic site is the Dome of the Rock. This Muslim Shrine can be seen from all over Jerusalem. Believed to be the site where Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac and also built over Herod's Temple and Soloman's Temple; Dome of the Rock is a site full of religious mystery and intrigue. The crowning dome on top was once made of Gold, but today is made of aluminum and covered in gold leaf. The mathematics used in the creation of this structure once again call attention to the brilliance of Islamic architecture. The American Colony Hotel is a short ten minute walk to the old city and has a five star rating. Book a trip to stay here while discovering the mystique of Jerusalem.
The Rustem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul is the first example of an octagonally designed mosque. It was designed by Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan. The entire interior is covered in equisitely designed colored tiles. There is no other example in Istanbul of tile use that even comes close to that of the Rustem Pasha. Book a room at the Wyndham Istanbul that is within a safe walking distance of the old city. Relax after a long day of site seeing with an amazing spa and 24 hour room service at the hotel.
It's hard to imagine making a trip to see Islamic architecture without viewing the Taj Mahal. This tomb is one of the Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The marble and jeweled structure hosts between seven and eight million visitors every year. The Shahjahani column type is used throughout the entire structure. Stay at the luxurious Oberoi Amarvilas Agra hotel that is just a mere 600 meters from the Taj Mahal and enjoy five star accommodations.
Islamic Cairo in Egypt is where you can visit the amazing Al-Azhar Mosque. While the Ottoman Empire is mostly represented in the design and architecture of this mosque, other influences of Egypt, Greek, and Roman rule are all evident in this structure. Stay by the river at the Fairmont Nile City Hotel and enjoy 5-star, rooftop views that include the Pyramids.
Last on our list, but certainly not least, is the Bibi-Heybat Mosque in Baku, Azerbaijan. This site was completely destroyed in 1936, but has since been rebuilt. The newly remodeled mosque has three domes. Men and women have separate domes for praying. Stay at the Ramada Baku and stroll the hotel's private beach and use their high speed WI-fi to share your travel pictures online.
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