10 Breathtaking Examples Of Islamic Architecture

Over the centuries, Muslim rulers have been responsible for some of the most beautiful buildings on Earth. Here are some of the finest examples.

The Alhambra. Granada, Spain


This sprawling palace in Granada, Spain, was originally designed as a palace by Ibn Al-Ahmar and later converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada.


It features a series of courtyards surrounded by rooms and is a great example of Moorish Islamic architecture. It is remarkable for its slender columnar arcades, fountains and the light reflecting water basins in its courtyards.

Bibi-Heybat Mosque. Baku, Azerbaijan

Islamic Architecture

The Bibi-Heybat Mosque is a historical mosque in Baku, Azerbaijan, locally known as "the mosque of Fatima."

 The mosque includes the tomb of Ukeyma Khanum (a descendant of the last Muslim Prophet Muhammad), and today is the spiritual center for the Muslims of the region and one of the major monuments of Islamic architecture.

Badshahi Mosque. Lahore, Pakistan


The Badshahi Mosque, epitomizing the grandeur of the Mughal era, is inspired by Islamic, Persian and Central Asian influences. Its exterior is decorated with stone carving and marble while its interior is embellished with stucco tracery. It was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1671 and completed in 1673.


The mosque is situated inside the Lahore Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the origins of which are hard to trace, but the existing base structure was built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar between 1556 and1605.  It has been regularly upgraded by subsequent Mughal, Sikh and British rulers. The fort itself is an intricately built and designed beauty.

Taj Mahal. Agra, Uttar Pardesh, India

This white marble mausoleum was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is widely recognized as “the jewel of Muslim art in India” and is one of the most universally admired masterpieces of architecture. Its exterior decorations are among the finest of Mughal times.

The Great Mosque of Xi’an. Shaanxi Province, China

Islamic Architecture

The Great Mosque of Xi’an is the oldest and one of the most famous mosques in China. The original structure was erected in 742 A.D. This mosque is characterized by its Arabic lettering and decorations. Unlike most Islamic mosques, it has neither domes nor traditional style minarets.

Islamic Architecture

The majority of the existing Xi’an Great Mosque was constructed during the Ming Dynasty and further expanded in the Qing Dynasty. It is still used by Chinese Muslims (mainly the Hui people) as a place of worship.

Al-Azhar Mosque. Cairo, Egypt


Al-Mu‘izz li-D?n All?h of the Fatimid Caliphate commissioned the construction of this remarkably beautiful and grandiose mosque for the newly established capital city in 970. It was the first mosque established in Cairo.

It was originally designed to be a prayer hall with five halls and a modest courtyard. Its stucco exterior displays influences from Byzantine architecture.

Siosepol Bridge, Isfahan, Iran

Islamic Architecture

Siosepol or Siose Bridge, meaning the Bridge of 33 Arches, is one of the eleven bridges of Isfahan, Iran. It was constructed by the finances and supervision of Allahverdi Khan Undiladze, the chancellor of Shah Abbas I, an Iranian ethnic Georgian.

Islamic Architecture

As the name suggests, it consists of two rows of 33 arches from either side. The bridge has many names including the “Allah-Verdi Khan Bridge,” "The Bridge of 33 Springs", "The Bridge of Chaharbagh", and "Zayandeh River Bridge".

Great Mosque of Djenne. Mali Djenne, Mali

Islamic Architecture

The Great Mosque of Djenne, considered one of the greatest achievements of Islamic architecture, was the first mosque on the site and is one of the most famous landmarks in Africa today. Its walls are sun-baked earth bricks coated with plaster.

The entire community of Djenné takes an active role in the mosque's maintenance via a unique annual festival. This includes music and food, but has the primary objective is to repair the damage to the mosque in the past year.

Rustem Pasha Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey


The Rustem Pasha Mosque was built on a high terrace over a complex of vaulted shops. Its narrow, twisting steps in the corners are what give access to its spacious courtyard. This mosque is most famous for its large quantities of exquisite Iznic tiles set in floral and geometric designs, which cover not only the façade of the porch, but also the walls and columns.

This is the first example of the great Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan building a mosque to an octagonal plan.

Mehmed Pasha Bridge, Visegrad, Bosnia and Herzegovina


The 179.5m-long Mehmed Mehmed Pasha Bridge of Visegrad, across the Drina River in the east of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a masterpiece of bridge building, was built at the end of the 16th century by the court architect Mimar Koca Sinan. He was one of the greatest architects and engineers of the classical Ottoman period and a contemporary of the Italian Renaissance.


The bridge, part of the UNESCO heritage, was built on the orders of Grand Vizier Mehmed Paša Sokolovi?, has 11 masonry arches with spans of 11m to 15m, and an access ramp at right angles with four arches on the left bank of the river.

Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters

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