Architecture of Saudi Arabia
WARNING: Terrorist threats linger in
Saudi Arabia, please read this travel warning
Saudi architecture has few early standing pieces, but
much was constructed prior to the 600s. During this time most structures were houses
built with local materials, including limestone, clay, and coral, depending on the
region. None of these early buildings have lasted though.
After the introduction of Islam in the 600s this began to change. As the home to
Islam some of the world's most impressive and meaningful mosques have been built
in the country, most particularly in Mecca and Medina.
The growth of Islamic architecture in today's Saudi Arabia
began in substantial numbers in the early 700s under the Umayyad rulers and the
buildings of a mosque in Medina. Although this mosque is no longer standing, it
greatly influenced later mosques as it was made in the "hypostyle," which
consists of numerous columns holding up a large roof. It was also one of the first
mosques to have a mihrab, which is now found in every mosque.