This weekend marks the time of the Hajj
, a core pillar of Islam in which great tides of humanity
venture to the ancient city of Mecca to honor God.
Predating Mohammed's birth by centuries, the pilgrimage comprises several days of rites
, from congregation like snow on Mount Arafat
and the ritual stoning of Shaitan
to the circling of the sacred Kaaba
cubical monolith Muslims pray toward daily
) and kissing the Black Stone
(colored by the absorption of myriad sins, and believed by some to be a fallen meteorite
While the city has modernized
to handle this largest of annual gatherings -- building highway-scale ramps, gaudy skyscrapers for the ultra-rich
, and tent cities the size of Seattle
-- it remains mysterious, as unbelievers are forbidden from entering its borders
Richard Francis Burton became famous for touring the city in disguise
to write a rare travelogue
, but contemporary viewers have a more immediate guide: Vice Magazine
journalist Suroosh Alvi, who smuggled a minicam into the city to record The Mecca Diaries [alt]
, a 14-minute documentary of his own Hajj journey.
Browse the manual
to see what goes into a Hajj trip, or watch the YouTube livestream
to see the Grand Mosque crowds in real time.
Pattern in Islamic Art
- thousands of high quality, free pictures
of various motifs, patterns and architectural elements of mosques and other structures from Asia to West Africa. [more inside]
The Islamic art collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
has beautiful objects to delight every fancy, whether you seek manuscript illustration
), archetectural elements
) and much, yes, more
! If you want some knowledge to go with the beauty then you are in luck because on the site there is an overview of Islamic art history
from inception to the now.
, take a ride
at some of the Islamic Art
of the past. Or, you could call it Art
of the Islamic World
if you're so inclined. If not, then how about taking into account some of the major milestones
throughout the centuries
, from past
(more examples here
), including the art
. Not to mention the Arab
world's contribution to music
, both old
, and here
, with a wonderful
comment from nickyskye
"This is a story of how the impossible became possible. How, for centuries, scientists were absolutely sure that solids (as well as decorative patterns like tiling and quilts) could only have certain symmetries - such as square, hexagonal and triangular - and that most symmetries, including five-fold symmetry in the plane and icosahedral symmetry in three dimensions (the symmetry of a soccer ball), were strictly forbidden. Then, about twenty years ago, a new kind of pattern, known as a "quasicrystal," was envisaged that shatters the symmetry restrictions and allows for an infinite number of new patterns and structures that had never been seen before, suggesting a whole new class of materials...."
Physicist Paul J. Steinhardt delivers a fascinating lecture
(WMV) on tilings
. However, it turns out science was beaten to the punch: a recent paper
Islamic architecture developed similar tilings centuries earlier.
is home to the Blue Mosque
and other buildings with their unique blue tiles
which are beautifully shown in photographs
by flickr's horizon
Esfahan is a world heritage site and is home to many examples of traditional Persian Architecture which is made up of eight traditional forms
which taken together form the foundation on which it was based in the same way that music
was once based on a finite number of notes.
An amazing piece of animation made all the better by its magical subject:
the lovely architecture of Persia and its storybook capital for some 200 years, Isfahan
. Cristobal Vila, principle of Eterea Studios, shares behind the scenes
information... and you can even purchase a print from the movie
, if you're so inclined.
Be sure to check out his other works
Via Times & Seasons
Funny, I walked daily to work past the World Trade Center, and have been in the Middle East more than once, but it never occured to me to connect the WTC with Islamic architecture until I read this.