God is beautiful and He loves beauty

Technical Glossary


A room with the following plan: two elevated areas (iwans) opposing each other and overlooking a lower area called the durqa‘a. The plan was inspired from the four-iwan plan or cruciform plan of the religious buildings. They were found in houses on ground floors and first floors alike. The source of light and air in the qa‘a was the shukhshaykha or a wooden hexagonal skylight. For extra ventilation a badhahanj was usually found on top of one of the iwans. In Cairene architecture the size of the qa‘as was reduced as time went by, Burji Mamluk qa‘as being smaller than Bahri Mamluk ones. Mashrabiyyas were used inside the qa‘as to cover the recesses on the side walls of the two iwans; these were called aghani. The area inside the aghani was reached by a small staircase.  


Sport based on target practice. 




An Arabic term meaning 'to make something in the shape of a dome'. In architecture in means a vault. Vaults are of many shapes, including barrel, crossed and fan.  


Arabic for judge.  

Qajars (1796-1925 A.D.) 

This dynasty, of Turkic tribal origins, originated as a tribal federation established by Muhammad Khan (d. 1797 A.D.), and took power over Iran in 1796 A.D. The eighteenth century A.D. saw civil conflicts which ended Qajar unity, and by 1919 A.D. Reza Khan led a coup ending Qajar rule, leading to the establishment of the Pahlavi dynasty in 1925 A.D. Qajar art was heavily influenced by European art, and marks the beginning of artistic decadence. 


A citadel.  


Pointed turban for men.  


A type of opening in the form of a stucco grille. There is no one single shape associated with a qamariyya, it could be round, rectangular or squarish. In Mamluk documents they have been described in different ways; including stone carved, with stained glass.  


Short tunic or shirt. 



Qaraqoyunlus (1380/90 -1469 A.D.) 

Literally meaning the 'Tribes of the Black Sheep', this Turcoman dynasty named after their original totem animal, ruled parts of eastern Anatolia, Azerbaijan, the Caucasus, Iraq and most of Iran from 1380/90 -1469 A.D. Originally Jalayrid allies, Qara Muhammad (r. 1380-1390 A.D.) ruled the territories from eastern Anatolia through Azerbaijan and Armenia, until his successor Qara Yusuf (r. 1390-1420 A.D.) gained independence and took over northwest Iran with Tabriz. Battling against the Timurids and the Jalayrids, he took over Baghdad in 1411 A.D., Diyarbakir, parts of Georgia and Shirvan by 1419 A.D. Their zenith was under Jahanshah (1435-1467 A.D.) who deposed the Timurids in 1447 A.D., took over southern and central Iran with Isfahan in 1452 A.D., Fars and Kerman in 1453 A.D., and Herat in 1458 A.D. The Qaraqoyunlus were defeated by the Aqqoyunlus in 1467 A.D., and their last ruler was unseated in 1469 A.D. Their contribution to architecture can be seen in their capital Tabriz, where their blue mosque stands with its distinct style. 


A small basin to which water flows from the shadirwan.  


Central part or avenue of town or citadel. It usually comprises the main axial area. Can also refer to the citadel, capital or metropolis. 


Glazed tiles. The name is derived from the city Kashan in Iran, which was a major centere of tile production. Tiles adorned buildings in Iran since the pre-Islamic period. In Egypt their use to decorate buildings was only introduced during the Mamluk period.  




A type of caravanserai that lodges craftsmen on its upper floors and housed their goods on the ground floor around a sahn.  


In Egypt, it was the space in a house that overlooked water. Most of the houses overlooking the ponds in Cairo (birkat al-fil or al-azbakiyya) had a qaytun as its basement.  


The direction to Ka‘ba in Mecca. For example, the mihrab is found in the qibla wall of a mosque.  


Quarters used in winter, often by an army.  


Literally means 'piece', and is used to refer to a calligraphic panel. 


Literally means 'red-head' and refers to Turkomen who followed the Safavids and were part of their court. They wore the red head gear known as taj-i Haydari.  


Clay water jug. Architecturally can refer to a minaret finial that resembles the upper part of such a water jug. 


Literally means dome. It is also used to mean a mausoleum.  


The Word of God revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.