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Architecture

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

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    Architecture

    The most distinctive form of Islamic architecture is the mosque. The Friday mosque with minaret (tower) indicates the presence of a Muslim community and permits worship and education for both adults and children. Mosques typically include domes and minarets; minarets are used for the call to prayer, and domes signal a place of prayer and Islamic education. Domes and minarets vary in shape, construction materials, and size according to region and political dynasties. The Ottoman use of multiple minarets per mosque symbolized the sultan's patronage, his construction of the mosque, and the expansion of Ottoman rule and power. Prior to the twentieth century, hammams (bathhouses) were often built near mosques to facilitate ritual purity requirements for Friday prayers. Other typical architectural styles include storage spaces for merchants and traders, known as khans and caravanserais, and covered marketplaces with formal entrances. Khans and caravanserais usually had two floors so that animals could be stabled on the ground floor and goods stored and merchants housed on the second floor. Islamic domestic spaces typically include public, male, communal spaces separate from private, female spaces, which are reserved for women, children, and close male relatives. Major twentieth-century architectural developments include the construction of state and national mosques, airports, and university campuses, often combining Western and traditional Islamic architecture.

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