Moorish architecture

Moorish architecture, is a style within Islamic architecture which developed in the western Islamic world, which included al-Andalus (Muslim-ruled Spain and Portugal between 711 and 1492), and the Maghreb (now Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia).[1][2][3][4][5] The term "Moorish" comes from the Western European designation of the Muslim inhabitants of these regions as "Moors",[6][7][8] which itself comes from Latin "Mauri", originally a designation of the inhabitants of the Berber kingdom of Mauretania (present-day Morocco).[9] Some scholars also use the term Western Islamic architecture or "architecture of the Islamic west" for this subject.[1][10]

Moorish architecture
Top: Great Mosque of Córdoba, Spain (8th century); Centre: Bab Oudaya in Rabat, Morocco (late 12th century); Bottom: Court of the Lions at the Alhambra in Granada, Spain (14th century)
Years active8th century to present day

This architectural style blended influences from Berber culture in North Africa, pre-Islamic Iberia (Roman, Byzantine, and Visigothic), and contemporary artistic currents in the Islamic Middle East to elaborate a unique style over centuries with recognizable features such as the "Moorish" arch, riad gardens (courtyard gardens with a symmetrical four-part division), and elaborate geometric and arabesque motifs in wood, stucco, and tilework (notably zellij).[1][2][7][11][4] Major centers of this artistic development included the main capitals of the empires and Muslim states in the region's history, such as Cordoba, Kairouan, Fes, Marrakesh, Seville, Granada and Tlemcen.[1]

Even after Muslim rule ended in Spain and Portugal, the traditions of Moorish architecture continued in North Africa as well as in the Mudéjar style in Spain, which made use of Moorish techniques and designs and adapted them to Christian patrons.[12][5] Much later, particularly in the 19th century, the Moorish style was frequently imitated or emulated in the Neo-Moorish or Moorish Revival style which emerged in Europe and America as part of the Romanticist interest in the "Orient" and also, notably, as a recurring choice for new Jewish Synagogue architecture.[13][14]