Byzantine and Islamic Art (476–1453 CE)


About the time

The Byzantine Empire was in what is today modern Turkey.  The capital city was Constantinople (now Istanbul) and the religion of the Byzantine Empire was Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

Islamic art is found all over the Mediterranean including the Middle East, North Africa, and Spain.  Islam spread over a lot of land and was embraced by many different types of people.

The Art

Byzantine Art is mostly in churches because the money in the empire was spent on the church buildings.

Islamic art can be found in the architecture of mosques, which are the place of prayer in the religion of Islam.


Byzantine art uses a lot of glass tiles of different colors.  Islamic art uses stone, wood, and ceramic tiles.



A mosaic is a picture created out of smaller pieces.


Byzantine mosaics are known for having stiff people with large eyes.  The figures have bright, rich colors and the backgrounds are usually gold colored. Most Byzantine mosaics are on the walls or churches, and they show Jesus with dark features and almost an angry expression.








Byzantine Church Architecture is a square with a dome on top.  The design usually also has half circles coming off of a main chamber.











Here are some pictures of the exteriors (outside) of Byzantine churches.

Notice the  middle dome on top and the circles (and sometimes rectangles) that come off of each side.







Here are some pictureChurches265.jpg image by mariacookottawas of what the interior (or inside) or the churches look like. 








      Notice how much artwork they have on the insides!




One of the most famous Byzantine Churches is the Hagia Sophia in Instabul, Turkey. 



One of the most famous Byzantine churches is the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul, Turkey.  Check out this youtube video to see what the Hagia Sofia looks like.


It was first built as a church when the city was called Constantinople.  The city was conquered by Ottoman Turks, was renamed Istanbul, and the building was converted to a mosque. It was the pricipal mosque of Istanbul for 500 years.


Islamic Architecture

Most famous Islamic Buildings are mosques (the Muslim place of worship)

They usually have a dome and minarets, pole like structures on the corners of the building.  This is where the call to prayer is announced so that everyone knows when to pray.      








Islamic Architecture also has pointed arches and designs that are intricate patterns.




 This website has more pictures of common Islamic Design Features:


Go to that website and draw a pointed arch, a beveled arch, and your own pattern that looks like an Islamic pattern.





This website has pictures of Islamic architecture (you’ll notice that the Hagia Sophia is on the list)

Where is the Taj Mahal and why was it built? (hint: look up the definition for mosoleum)

The red and white alternating stone in #5 is famous for being the first kind of its design.  Where is it?

Not many buildings are built like #6.  It’s famous for its shape.

The Blue Mosque #8 is directly across from the Hagia Sophia.  There’s a road and a park between them.  They’re about 200 yards away from each other (Ms. Allekotte was there and she drew a picture of a similar mosque).




Review Test 4


Go to the Review Test Page and click on the fourth link.  FIll in the answer sheet with the answers and turn it in to Ms. Allekotte for a grade.





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