IntroductionIslam is one of the world religions, which has impacted the development of the European counties during the Medieval. The favorable circumstances for such influence were created by the numerous crusades, which hit Muslim countries during the 11th – 13th centuries (Duke). The Middle East with its rich cultural and spiritual experience has played an important role in the development of the European civilization. Much attention in the history of Europe is paid to Islamicization, the process, which usually reflects the diffusion and assimilation of Islamic culture on the West. The process started in the Middle Ages, when the number of crusades increased and was one of the main source of new cultural elements. The place of the cultural and scientific development in Europe can be considered only from the position of the interaction of two cultures, Western Christianity and Eastern Islam with their fundamentally different socio-cultural references. Multifaceted and versatile influence of Islam on Medieval Europe affected different aspects of social life, including cultural perspective, scientific achievements, trade, political and economic relations, technical tools, literary, philosophical, and religious visions. During the period of extensive crusades, Europe was amazed at luxury and expansion of Muslim art. Graceful palaces, embroidered clothing, refined tablecloths, drapes and carpets astonished European with their beauty and elegance. All these issues were absent in Europe and being brought from the crusades, all these items influenced the development of European art significantly. The development of European visual art was conducted under the influence of Eastern culture. The development of science and particularly mathematics was promoted by knowledge received on the East. The development of European architecture, literature, science, and mathematics was conducted under the influence of Islamic tradition, which was brought to Europe during the medieval crusades, which were aimed to conquest new lands, but resulted into the acquisition of new knowledge and experiences.
Islamic Architecture in the Evolution of European Cultures through the Middle AgesGothic architecture was predominant in the Medieval Europe. A deep analysis of the trends in the Medieval Europe and in the Islamic architecture can help understand the similarities, if any, and support the discussion of the possibility of the assimilation of Islamic art in the European countries. For example, the pointed arch appeared in Europe during the time of the Norman conquest of Islamic Sicily in 1090. It substituted the previously popular rounded Roman arch. Another example that Gothic architecture takes roots from Islamic tradition can be referred to the Cathedral of St. Paul. Many elements in this church are referred to the Eastern common building elements. For example, the Islamic signs are seen in the combination of dome and tower in one architectural element. Moreover, the dome is constructed in the style of the corner squinches. Also, the structure of the domes in the aisles refers to the Eastern tradition. Europeans did not use this technique until the crusaders took place and they managed to see how Islamic countries resolved architectural issues. The contrast between dome and minaret was effectively used in the Easters building tradition. However, during the Medieval times, European countries also referred to this strategy having noticed how effectively this contrast highlighted the strength and power of the building. The towers of St. Mary-le-Bow are often referred to Islamic architectural design due to their similarity to Muslim minarets, the constructions inherent to Islam only. Their appearance in the Medieval Europe during the time of crusades confirms the source of knowledge and the way how Islamic architectural designs appeared in the European countries. Other examples of the signs of Muslim architectural knowledge are Monastery of San Miguel de Escalada and Santo Tomas de las Ollas, the buildings, which were constructed in Spain during the period of its rebuilding. The fact that the constructions have a close connection to Muslim tradition is confirmed by two aspects. First of all, the connection to Muslim architecture was confirmed by visual signs, such as vault arches. Second, the increased amount of Muslim architects and crafts, which fulfilled Europe during the crusades, also confirmed the insertion of Muslim architecture knowledge into the community. The reference to the three-dimensional elements was predominantly Muslim tradition. Moreover, Al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock are two buildings, which may serve as the prototypes of Islamic architecture for such European buildings as London Temple Church, San Bernardo alle Terme, and St. Vitus Cathedral. All these examples show a close relation to the Islamic architecture, which impacted the development of the architecture of the Medieval Europe. Islamic arabesque development did not leave Europeans indifferent and they borrowed the technique called western arabesque . This type of decorative art appeared later in Europe. This small piece of architectural knowledge borrowed from Islamic tradition promoted the development of building techniques, which allowed constructing higher and stronger buildings.
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