Moorish architecture is a variation of Islamic architecture. There are many motifs, or repeated patterns, in Moorish architecture. This photo gallery illustrates just a few. The first slide gives an overview of the motifs: different styles of arches, calligraphy, vegetative design, and decorative tiles.
Moorish architecture is named after the Moors, North African people who conquered the Iberian Peninsula and many islands in the Western Mediterranean beginning in the 700s. The Moors controlled what is now Spain, Portugal, and the Pyrenees region of France for hundreds of years.
The Moors were Muslim and influenced by the Islamic architecture that developed in the Middle East. Although mosques are the most common examples of Moorish architecture, motifs spread to the design of homes and places of businesses. One of the most famous examples of Moorish architecture, the Mezquita or Grand Mosque of Cordoba, Spain, is today the region's Catholic cathedral.
Read the captions associated with the photo gallery and review the relevant vocabulary words in the "Vocabulary" tab. Then answer the questions in the "Questions" tab.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry arch Noun
shape that looks like an upside-down "U."
style and design of buildings or open spaces.
decorative handwriting or script.
important regional church.
cusped arch Noun
arch with circular shapes cut into its interior.
Dome of the Rock Noun
Islamic shrine in Jerusalem, Israel.
state or territory under the authority of an emir, or Islamic leader.
faience adjective, noun
type of painted pottery that has a tin glaze.
natural or artificial cave.
interior (smaller) part of an arch.
religion based on the words and philosophy of the prophet Mohammed.
keyhole arch Noun
arch that has a generally rounded shape, although it can be pointed or lobed. Also called a Moorish arch or horseshoe arch.
school where Muslim theology is taught.
construction made of stone or brick.
Middle East Noun
region of southwest Asia and northeast Africa.
tower used to call Muslim worshippers to prayer.
Moor adjective, noun
people and culture native to North Africa, blending Arab and Berber cultures, who established a major civilization on the Iberian Peninsula between 756-1492.
place of worship in the Muslim or Islamic religion.
theme or subject that reappears in a work of art.
decorative stone or brickwork jutting out from a wall, used in Islamic architecture.
holy book of the Islamic religion.
narrow, thread-like part of some plants that usually winds around something to help support the stem or main part of the plant.
having to do with plants, or the non-reproductive parts of plants, such as vines and tendrils.