Home page   » ARCHITECTURE    » About architecture of Garabagh    » Medieval period   

Medieval period

  


In the late 7th century, the southern part of Azerbaijan was incorporated into the Arab Caliphate, while the northern part was subordinate to it. A new religion – Islam – spread in the country. Most people converted to this religion, while some maintained Christianity. Taking advantage of the situation, Armenian Catholicos Ilya reported to Caliph Abdulmalik that Azerbaijan's Christian Albanians were allegedly conspiring against him, and in 705, the Caliph issued an order to place the Autocephalous Albanian Apostolic Church under the jurisdiction of the Armenian Gregorian Church. After that, the Christian Albanians in the mountainous part of Karabakh started losing their ethnic identity, while Armenians started taking shape.
The adoption of Islam ushered in a new era in Azerbaijan. Karabakh (the city of Barda) was the caliphate's centre in the north. Beginning from the 8th century, the development of Christian architecture stopped here and construction of buildings continued with new Muslim town planning methods.
According to Islamic requirements, the construction of new types of buildings did not create any obstacles to the development of previous architectural traditions.
Studies show that along with mosques, Albanian Christian churches were also maintained in Azerbaijani cities. Medieval Arab and Persian sources contain enough information about this. This was possible due Islam's favorable attitude to monotheistic religions, and therefore, monuments belonging to these religions were not destroyed. Secondly, these monuments were the material and spiritual heritage of the local peoples who converted to Christianity in the 4th century and to Islam in the 7th century. A graphic example of this is Albanian Christian temples that were protected in Karabakh.
As the Caliphate strengthened its hold on the Middle East and Azerbaijan, including Karabakh, new types of cities and mosque complexes were built. The results of archaeological excavations confirm the high artistic design of various buildings.
Karabakh cities such as Agdara, Kalbajar, Khojavand, Shusha, Khankandi, Tartar, Fizuli, Jabrayil, Agjabadi, Lachin, Qubadli and Zangilan emerged in the Islamic period.
Arab sources note that there were beautiful houses and covered bazaars built from red bricks in the city of Barda. It must be noted that such buildings were common in the whole of the Muslim East. As the architectural trends of the Shirvan-Absheron and Nakhchivan-Maraga schools spread in the 11th-12th centuries, the Karabakh architecture school also worked actively. This predetermined the development of medieval Azerbaijani architecture. 
The Sheikh Yaqub sepulchre (12th century), the Friday Mosque in the village of Qoch Ahmad, the Haji Alasgar Mosque in the village of Ahmadallar, Mir Ali Mosque (14th century), 15th century temples, the sepulchres of Sheikh Ibrahim (17th century) and Ahmad Sultan Jalal (19th century), the Friday Mosque in Horadiz in the Fizuli zone; Fort Asgaran, the Khankandi sepulchre and the Maiden's Tower in Jabrayil District in Nagorno-Karabakh; a dodecagonal temple near the village of Khachin-Turbatli, Fort Shahbulaq, Shahbulaq Mosque, Agdam's Friday Mosque, the sepulchre of Panah Ali Khan and his family, a bath (20th century) in the village of Abdal-Gulabli in the Agdam zone; the Ahsadam Baba sepulchre (14th century), the Imamzada Mosque (19th century) and Bahman Mirza sepulchre in Barda District; an octagonal sepulchre, Fort Panahabad (Shusha), Natavan's house, Mamayi Mosque, the Mashadi Shukur Mirsiyab caravanserai mosque, Julfalar Mosque, Haji Yusifli, Saatli, Yukhari Govharaga, Ashagi Govharaga (19th century), the khan's house and a gymnasium in Shusha; the Qarasaqqal building, Soltan Baba, Sheikh Ahmad, Sari Ashiq (15th century), Fort Ushaq and the Great Spring in the villages of Jimli and Qushchu in the Lachin zone; Fort Bayat (18th century) and Khamsa Soltan Palace in Agjabadi are all valuable historical and cultural monuments. Most of these monuments are the main type of memorial buildings. Since most of Karabakh is under Armenian occupation, many of these monuments have been destroyed.
In written sources of medieval ages the data about fortresses, urban fortresses, castles and other architectural monuments in the territory of Karabakh can be found. Yagut al-Hamavi, XIII century Arab traveler in his "Mujam al-Buldan" work informed about the Izz Tower, Shamkhor tower, Kazanj tower around the Barda city and buildings built from baked brick and stone. According to him, "Kazanj" word meaning "place of rescue". Hamdullah Gazvini, XIII century traveler in his work " Nuzhet al-qulub" calls the area between the Kura and Araz rivers as "Aran province". The work states that Barda was founded by Alexander the Great in BC. Later Sassanid shah Gubad ibn Firuz had carried out extensive renovation in the city, construction works. Information on a variety of bridges Khudaferin is particularly interesting. He writes that, near Zangilan on Araz river the bridge (eleven spans width) was built on 15th of Hegira ( 636) by the close people of Prophet Muhammad Berk ibn Abdallah. Therefore, it is called "Khudaferin" i.e, "God created". And the bridge with 15 spans of width near the Karkar shopping center was built by Diya al-Mulk Nakhchivani as charity. Arab traveler of IX century Ibn Khordadbeh in his "On roads and countries" book informs that Barda and Beylagan cities were surrounded with walls built from the raw brick.



Read: 4746