Timeline: The History of Islamic Art and Architecture

by Muslim Pro

For the past 1,400 years, artistic treasures of the Islamic world have only been growing. The period between the 8th to 10th centuries is considered a golden era for Islamic arts.  

Lets take a look at some of the major works in the history of Islamic arts, design, and architecture from the advent of the 7th century until the dawn of the 20th century.

610 – 632 CE | The Quran was revealed to the Prophet ﷺ.

654 CE | A standardised version of the Quran was issued and sent across the four cities of Madinah, Damascus, Kufa, and Basra. 

691 CE | Umayyad Caliph Abd al -Malik oversaw the building of the Dome of Rock in Jerusalem. 

762 CE | Abbasid Caliph Al -Mansur founded Madinat Al-Salaam (The City of Peace), later known as Baghdad by the Tigris river in Iraq.

775 CE | Abbasid Caliph Al-Mahdi became the first ruler to put his name on official coinage.

805 CE| Abbasid Caliph Harun Al Rashid established the first public hospital in Baghdad. Multiple Bimaristans (place of the sick) were built-in major cities of the Abbasid Empire.

830 CE | Abbasid Caliph Al- Mamun established the Bayt Al-Hikma (House of Wisdom) – a library and center for translation of texts in Baghdad.

848 CE | Abbasid Caliph Al- Mutawakkkil built the Great Mosque of Samarra with its Spiral Minaret.

850 CE| Muhammed Al Bukhari compiled the Sahih Bukhari. It is considered the most authentic of all existent book of hadiths. 

859 CE| The oldest known Madrasa, the Qarawiyyin Madrasa was established in Fez, Morocco.

886 CE | Abbasid vizier Ibn Muqla identified the ‘Six Pens’ or classic scripts of calligraphy.

936 CE | Umayyad Caliph Abd Al-Rahman III built the city of Madinat Al-Zahra near Cordoba, Spain.

959 CE | A madrasa was set up alongside the Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, today known as one of the most prestigious Al-Azhar University.

1009 CE| Iranian poet Firdawsi compiled his 60,000 couplets, Shahnama (Book of Kings).

1078 CE| The Ribat-i Malik caravanserai was built by the Qarankhanid Sultan Nasr.

1088 CE | The Friday Mosque of Isfahan was originally built in 771 under the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mansur and has been extended and rebuilt throughout the centuries, The South and North Iwans were added much later and has been recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site since 2012.

1096 CE |  Famitid vizier Badr Al-Jamali rebuilt Cairo’s city walls and constructed the gates of Bab Al-Nasr and Bab Al-Futuh.

1135 CE | One of the earliest surviving mosques, The Grand Mosque of Zavareh, was built with four iwans.

1154 CE | Moroccan geographer Muhammed Al- Idrisi completed his celebrated world map during the medieval period called the Tabula Rogerina.

1172 CE | The Almohads built the Great Mosque in Seville, Spain, which later became a Christian Cathedral.

1190 CE | Ghurid Sultan Ghiyath al-Din Muhammed built the Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan.

1193 CE | The construction of the Qutub Minar in Delhi, marked the triumph of Islam in India.

1199 CE | The Kitab Al-Diryaq (Book of Antidotes) was made for the Zangid rulers of Mosul (Iraq).

1269 CE | The oldest Mosque of East Africa, the Mosque of Fakhr al-Din, was built by the first Sultan of Mogadishu.

1306 CE | An exquisite stucco mihrab is added to the winter iwan of the Friday Mosque in Isfahan.

1333 CE | The Nasrid sultans of Granada expanded the Alhambra Palace, building the Comres Palace and the Palace of the Lions.

1463 CE | Mehmit II built the Mehmet Faith Kuliye in Istanbul. It contained a mosque, mausolea, hospital, caravanserai, bathhouse, two madrasas, library, and a soup kitchen.

1567 CE | Young Emperor Akbar commissioned a manuscript of romance, Hamzanama, with 1,400 paintings.

1565 CE | Mughal ruler Akbar rebuilt the Red Fort of Agra.

1609 CE | Ottoman Sultan Ahmet I built the Blue Mosque of Istanbul.

1632 CE | Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal as a memorial shrine for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

1656 CE | Building of the Jama Masjid in Delhi was completed.

1855 CE | Architects Garabet Amira Balyan and Nigogayas Balyan completed the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul for Ottoman Sultan Abdulmecid I.

1971 CE | The Shayad Tower (Memorial of Kings) was built in Tehran. After the Islamic revolution of 1979, it was renamed Azadi Tower.

1984 CE | The Freedom Mosque in Jakarta was completed by Indonesian architect Frederick Silaban.

1986 CE| The King Faisal Mosque was completed in Islamabad, Pakistan by Turkish architect.

1999 CE | The Burj Al Arab tower was completed in Dubai.

2018 CE | Gevora Hotel, the world’s tallest hotel was built in Dubai.

2019 CE | The tallest minaret was attached to the Djamaa el Djazaïr (The Great Mosque of Algiers) in Algeria.

Indeed, it may not be possible to include all the treasures in one article. However, this glimpse does show the vast impact of Islamic arts through the centuries. 

Reference:
An Illustrated History of Islamic Art and Design, curated by Moya Carey