The earliest type of palace
was a simply audience hall for Caliph where followers lived in tents and surrounded him.
The whole surrounding area was gardens and hunting preserves which were enclose in walls.
As their nomadic habits died out, they decided to build separate apartments, bayts. The
building was basically an iwan with rooms on either side. The ayts were placed around the
courtyard, which had only one entrance gate with a domed chamber overhead. |
As court proceedings developed, so did the palace. One example would be
down at Ukaidir. A fortified palace was built around a great Court of Honor. On the south
side was an iwan-hall with an arched opening framed by a pishtaq. Statues were placed all
around the palace and some even spat out water.
When the Islamic people were nomads, they all lived in tents and moved
around a lot. As they started to settle down, they started to build houses. Like a mosque,
Muslim houses were built to suit the clime and take every possible advantage of building
materials. In some houses of the richer people, it could have been two to three stories
high with a guard protecting the front gate. These guards sat on stone benches -mastaba-
and were set so they could block passer-byers from seeing into the house. A passage then
led into an open courtyard -hosh- which was surrounded by the kitchen, quarters for the
servants and the stables for the animals. Ka'ah was the principal room where the master
would receive his guests. The central floor area was known as the durka'ah and would have
been paved with marble and tiles.
As for the private rooms, they were located upstairs and the windows
were projected about one and a half feet out over the ground floor and were fitted with
lattice work, also known as musharabiya. Thus, the women of the house was able to see the
outside, but people outside could not see her. There was a bathroom and latrine but no
fire place. The bedrooms had carpets on the floor, and had mattresses which could be
1. Leacroft, Helen and Richard, The Buildings of Early Islam, London,
Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1976