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   THE MOSQUES OF EGYPT \ THE EVOLUTION OF MUSLIM ARCHITECTURE IN EGYPT
 

THE EVOLUTION OF MUSLIM ARCHITECTURE IN EGYPT AS SOON AS ISLAM HAD APPEARED IN THE ARABIAN PENINSULA, and the period of conquest begun, the Arab advance took place in two directions, one army advancing northwards into Palestine and Syria, the other into 'Iraq and, later on, into Persia. Thus the new Muslim state was subjected to two entirely different artistic and architectural influences, the Hellenistic West and the Sasanian East. It was from the blending of these two influences that Muslim art and architecture was born. The more the Arabs advanced in their conquests and increased their power and renown, the more their flexible principles pressed them to seek the collaboration of the nations they had conquered, adopting, within the limits permitted by their religion, every phase of civilisation and art, and spreading it amongst other nations. This resulted in the birth of a new art, having its own strongly marked characteristics. The most magnificent and progressive branch of this art was architecture, which was represented in the mosque, and which embraced all the features of the new artistic development, in its various aspects, according to the different countries and climates of the new world of Islam. It was so destined that Egypt should play an important part in that field, as a result of which it now possesses a magnificent series of mosques, clearly demonstrating the extent of its participation in the progress and development of architecture, ever since the Arab conquest. Although some parts of this series, which date from the first centuries of that era, are missing, yet the series is unbroken from the time when Egypt began to have a special architecture of her own, which excelled in many aspects the architecture of other countries. These mosques bear witness to the magnificence of the Egyptian style, and to the beauty of the various crafts employed in their construction and decoration. Various periods have succeeded one another since the Arab conquest in 20 H. (640). Each of these periods had its own conditions and its own architectural features. They were as follows:

 THE EVOLUTION OF MUSLIM ARCHITECTURE IN EGYPT


 
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