This paper is going to discuss four religious architectures and the significance of their architecture in regards to the religion they belong to. These include Masjid e Nabwi, the church of Santa Maria, Sistine chapel and the Old New Synagogue…
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The Masjid e Nabwi also known as the Prophet’s Mosque is the second holiest place of worship for Muslims. It is the largest mosque of the world which is also the resting place for Prophet Muhammad and two Caliphs of Islam namely Abu Bakr and Umar. The original mosque was built by the Prophet himself in 622 CE. The mosque was built in a rectangular shape; the walls were made using palm trunks and mud and the ceiling was made using palm fronds. The mosque had a raised platform where the holy book of Islam, the Quran was recited. This place was not only a place of worship but also a court, religious school and a community center where politics and other fundamental issues were discussed. Today this mosque is 100 times larger than the original mosque. The place where Prophet Muhammad used to preach was beside palm tree wood which was replaced by a ‘minbar’ in 628. This was done so the Prophet could be higher than the crowd and it would be easier to lead the prayer or address the crowds. The mosque now has two floors where prayers are offered. The roof is also used during peak times to accommodate the worshippers. The green dome is called ‘Ar-Rawdah’ and is situated above Muhammad’s grave. It is also called the ‘Dome of the Prophet’. The mosque has a total of 27 domes. There are holes in the base of each dome; this is done so the interior is kept illuminated. The mosque has 10 minarets. Minarets and dome are important distinctive architectural elements of a mosque. Minarets are useful because they give a visual focal point and they are also used as a vantage point for ‘adhaan’, the call for prayer. Minarets also provide a natural ventilation system. As the dome gets heated by the sun the air is drawn in from the windows and up and out the minarets. There is a ‘mihrab’ in every mosque to mark the direction of the ‘qibla’ (where the worshippers face towards while offering prayers). The Santa Maria Novella is a church in Florence and the first great basilica there. It was built in the place of the 9th century worship place of Santa Maria delleVigne. In 1221, after the site was assigned to the Dominican Order, a new church was built which was designed by Fra Ristoro da Campi and Fra SistoFiorentino. The church has the basic architectural elements of a church; the basilica, the stained glass windows and the Latin cross. The interior of the church is built based on the basilica plan as a Latin cross. It is separated into a nave and a short transept. The nave which is 100 meters in length is designed this way to give an impression of graveness. Stained glass windows are a common part of a church. They represent religious scenes or figures as well provide sufficient natural light in the church. Some people also associate this entering of light with Christ. The ones in Santa Maria church date back to the 14th and 15th century. The chapels of the church include FilippoStrozzi, Gondi Chapel, Cappella Strozzi di Mantova, Della Pura, Rucellai Chapel, Bardi Chapel, Sacristy and the Spanish Chapel. Chapels are small rooms situated within a church. The Sistine Chapel is of great importance for the Christians as it is the home of the Pope in Vatican City. Known for its architectural designs and decoration done by the Renaissance artists such as Pietro Perugino, Sandro Botticelli, Michelangelo and Pinturicchio the chapel has been a place for functionary papal happenings and religious endeavors. It is also the venue where the new Pope is chosen. The Sistine Chapel is also famed for Papal Conclaves. When a conclave takes place, a chimney is fitted in the chapel’s roof for signaling with smoke. When white smoke is seen rising from the chimney, it is a sign that a new pope has been selected. The smoke results
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