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Architecture 2

The mosque became the major building type in Iranian architecture. The established style of vaulted construction was continued; common features were the pointed arch, the ogee arch, and the dome on a circular drum. Outstanding examples of early Islamic Iranian architecture include the Mosque of Baghdād built in 764, the Great Mosque at Samarra erected in 847, and the early 10th-century mosque at Nayin. The Mongols destroyed much of the early Islamic architecture in Iran, but after their conquest of Baghdād in 1258, building was resumed according to Iranian traditions. Subsequently, a number of the most notable buildings in the history of Iranian architecture were erected. They include the Great Mosque at Veramin, built in 1322; the Mosque of the Imam Reza at Meshad-i-Murghab, erected in 1418; and the Blue Mosque at Tabrīz. Other major structures include the mausoleums of the Turkic conqueror Tamerlane and his family at Samarqand, the Royal Mosque at Meshad-i-Murghab, and the vast madrasas, or mosque schools, at Samarqand, all of them erected during the 15th century.

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Under the Safavid dynasty (1501-1722), a vast number of mosques, palaces, tombs, and other structures were built. Common features in the mosques were onion-shaped domes on drums, barrel-vaulted porches, and pairs of towering minarets. A striking decoration was the corbel, a projection of stone or wood from the face of a wall, used in rows and tiers. These corbels, arranged to appear as series of intersecting miniature arches, are usually called stalactite corbels. Color was an important part of the architecture of this period, and the surfaces of the buildings were covered with ceramic tiles in glowing blue, green, yellow, and red. The most notable Safavid buildings were constructed at Eşfahān (Isfahan), the capital at that period. The city, laid out in broad avenues, gardens, and canals, contained palaces, mosques, baths, bazaars, and caravansaries.

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Since the 18th century, the architectural styles of western Europe have been adopted to an increasing degree in Iran. At the same time, traditional forms have remained vital, and native and imported elements have often been combined in the same building. Recently, unadorned steel and concrete structures, similar to those seen in other parts of the modern world, have been built as dwellings, public buildings, and factories.

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