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Islamic Architecture
 
Multiple story mosques?
Has there been mosques that have more than one storey?

Traditionally the 'shan' appears to be always on one single main level. I mean are there mosques with the prayer court or hall, whatever you call it, ever built multilevel? One level on top of the other anywhere ? In the old or more modern times ?
Rajat Ray
Responses
 
Multiple story mosques?
There are numerous multi-floor-level mosques all around the world. A mosque is a place for prayer and does not hold any particular restriction on its art and design untill its sanctity as a Muslim worship place is kept in accordance with the Islamic religion.
Shahbaz Sarwar Chaudhry
Multiple story mosques?
Speaking only of Egypt, I know of so-called 'suspended mosques', where the actual mosque (prayer hall and addenda) is located on the second floor, the first/ground floor being used as shops (the rent for which goes into the waqf). Eg. Salih Tala'i mosque, Aqmar mosque. Is that perhaps what the previous respondent is referring to? I know of no mosque where the congregation is seated on more than one level (except in Mekka, perhaps?), which may have to do with the desire not to visually break with the religious tenet that all Muslims are equal during prayers. It may also be that multistory prayerhalls are shunned because it is already found in Jewish places of worship, where the women section is often on the vide/balcony. (Then again, that innovation may be of rather recent origin in which case it would be a less likely explanation).
Robbert Woltering
Multiple story mosques?
Multiple story mosques in Saudi Arabia:
most mosques are multi level and the level be it second floor or underground is usually a small section for women to pray, or in densly populated areas such as in my neighborhood, our second floor is open to men all year except in Ramadan Taraweeh prayers where women pray, and the same for many mosques.
Mishal Al-Maimani
Multiple story mosques?
Multi-story mosques do not exist in the history of Islamic architecture. However there are few mosques where the daily prayers are performed not in the main prayer hall but in other secondary prayer halls either in a basement floor or in a mezanine level. Of course, the Grand Mosque of Mecca -- with three floors -- is an exception.

But this might change. In Saudi Arabia, for example, mosques now are built with mezzanine levels to accomodate women worshippers. As the number of people going to mosques multiply, there always will be a need to expand vertically. This may not produce more outstanding buildings, but functionally it might be acceptable.
Hani Alqahtani
Multiple story mosques?
Well here's one with a mezzanine, in the Caribbean, and I pray that my house won't get affected by little Katrina coming our way (the wind is hitting hard, right now). I have a picture and the place even has a peacock roaming in the courtyard. Quite nice once it is finished being restored.

Casa del Arabe | House of the Arab People
Oficios 8 entre Obispo y Obrapía, La Habana Vieja, La Habana, 10100 Cuba. Tel: +53 7 615868

This is the only place in the country that offers somewhere for Muslims to pray, and is open to all believers in Allah, whether they be Cuban or from abroad. It also houses a collection of religious objects, along with studies of the Koran. Each room is beautifully lined in wood, which has been decoratively inlaid with mother-of-pearl; and the centre includes an exhibition of elaborately decorated, gold and silver-plated Islamic weapons from the 18th and 19th centuries. However, the museum's star exhibit is the so-called "Desert Rose," a rare calcareous formation that resembles a flower, and is found on sand formations once all humidity has evaporated.
Maria Ayub
Multiple story mosques?
YES. I have seen at least two mosques in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates which have two levels. One mosque had the upper level for womens and the below was for men. Off course the bottom level was full wall to wall. the upper level had a open area, through which the women can see down. But the whole area was covered with glass (the ones where people can only see from one side. So there will be no problem for women.
Ali Abbas
Multiple story mosques?
YES. I have seen at least two mosques in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates which have two levels. One mosque had the upper level for womens and the below was for men. Off course the bottom level was full wall to wall. the upper level had a open area, through which the women can see down. But the whole area was covered with glass (the ones where people can only see from one side. So there will be no problem for women.
Ali Abbas
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