Religion has always played an important role in the development of art and architecture.
They serve as a bridge between the real world and the divine world, and mirror religious views
of people and the major beliefs of the society. Hagia Sophia and the Dome of the Rock are two
of the greatest and the most important architectural monuments in the world. Even though two of
the most historical mosques, Hagia Sophia and the Dome of the Rock, are built for different
religions, but due to a sharing purpose, which being praying to God, the difference can barely be
noticed. By sharing a purpose, both structures act as a shrine for different religions to reach God.
Hagia Sophia is one of the greatest surviving examples of…show more content… 1 Groupico
Another important architectural monument, the Dome of the Rock, is not only the third
most important shrine of Islam, but also the most magnificent architectural monument of the
Middle East. It is a mosque located in Jerusalem built between 691 and 692 by Umayyad caliph
Abd al-Malik. The place this mosque is built on is sacred to both, Muslims and Jews. According
to Muslims, Muhammad ascended into heaven from here and the Jews believe that Abraham
prepared to sacrifice Isaac here. Both inside and outside of the mosque holds magnificent beauty,
elegance, and color. The structure is an octagonal exterior wall placed under a golden dome. The
bright arabesque patterning that decorates the exterior of the building, not only catches the eye,
but also greatly contrasts the plain exteriors of Christian Basilicas. “The surface decoration of the
interior of the Dome of the Rock has 240 metres of inscription — mainly verses from the Qur’an
— just below the ceiling on both faces of the inner octagon. The main bulk of the interior
decoration of the Dome of the Rock, however, is the mosaic work.” 2 Once inside, the rock that
the pilgrims’ have come to see, sits directly in the center of the structure with mosaics and
Arabic calligraphy decorating the walls surrounding.
To understand the differences between these two architectural monuments, we need to
understand some basic key values of Islamic Art and