Great Mosque of Damascus

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Damascus, Syria; 706–15

The earliest mosques, like the earliest churches, were domestic buildings where believers met to pray. With the adoption of Christianity as an official religion of the Roman Empire in 313, it became possible and desirable to have monumental churches with a civic presence.

Roman temples would typically be set up as places for the cult statue to dwell, looking out towards the altar where sacrifices would be made. The crowd of participants would gather outside, around the altar. Churches were different because they demanded people to assemble in a space, and the model that was adopted was the ‘royal ...

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