What was the most influential Islamic dynasty

Umayyads (661-750)

The Umayyads formed the first Islamic dynasty after the death of the Prophet Muhammad and the four caliphs who followed him. Due to the success of important military leaders, the caliphate reached its greatest extent during this epoch and spread from Spain in the west to Central Asia and northern India in the east. Under the Umayyads, the center of the Islamic world empire was moved from the city of Medina on the Arabian Peninsula to Damascus in Syria.

Important administrative reforms were made during this period and Arabic was introduced as the language of the office. Social tensions related to the economic integration of non-Arabs led to the gradual decline of the dynasty, which was replaced by the Abbasids in 750.

The starting point of the artistic development were the late antique Byzantine traditions of Syria as well as the influences from the conquered empire of the Sasanids in Iraq and Iran.

The Umayyad rulers were active as builders in many areas. The most important religious buildings include the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, built under 'Abd al-Malik 691-92, and the Great Mosque in Damascus, completed under Caliph al-Walid I. 714-15. Numerous palace buildings are of particular importance. In the Berlin museums, the most important monument of the Umayyad era is the facade of the Palace of Mshatta exhibited in the Mshatta Hall.

(Text in the Museum of Islamic Art)

See also in UiU:

Mshatta facade
Special presentation with large photos

Desert castles tour
Umayyad palaces, bathhouses and hunting lodges in Jordan

© Photo: Haupt & Binder


Museum of Islamic Art - Photos

Photos and information on a selection of exhibits that are shown in the Museum of Islamic Art in the Pergamon Museum on Berlin's Museum Island.