The San Vitale in Ravenna and The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem

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Monuments such as the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and San Vitale in Ravenna, perform a great importance in Byzantine and Islamic architecture. Both of these structures did not exclusively represent the main place of worship, but most importantly as a symbol of achievement and growth within the current times of construction. Starting in 524, under the influence of Orthodox bishop Ecclesius, the development of San Vitale was to represent the achievements of the emperor Justinian. Julius Argentarius was the sponsor for this structure and it was dedicated by Bishop Maximian in 547. The Dome of the Rock is built on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in 692 with the help of Abd al-Malik with the suspected intention to symbolize Islams influence in Jerusalem and its involvement in a highly Jewish and Christian supremacy. Although separated by over 100 yrs, both of these domes share multiple similarity's including a projected confidence of their originating culture. The San Vitale is primarily built of brick with a marble and mosaic interior. The ground plan consists of a octagonal organization with a central dome supported by a tall cylindrical drum. Separated by clerestory windows, is a dome in a concentric form of clay tubed rings and seven curved exedras connected to vaulted semi domes. At the main entrance of this chapel is a narthax making it off access from the adjustment apsidal chapels. On either side of the narthax is two projecting towers, one being a spiral stair tower and the other a bell tower. Connecting the central dome area and the ambulatory is 8 strong masonry pillars. The outer prism incorporates two levels of galleries with eccentric mosaics from floor to ceiling. Whether marble or mosaic stone, the monument fills t... ... middle of paper ... ...tures are built in the attempt to be noticed for their cultural significance but not as a main religious gathering place, and they both have spacious ambulatories for flow of spectators. Now in contrast of the two monuments, the pair have differences in their imagery, exterior as well as added spacing. The Dome of the Rock has mosaics on its exterior and interior and the mosaics are non representational. The overall shape of the temple is simply a dome on a octagonal base. However, San Vitale has multiple images of figures and animals but excludes it to only its interior. In addition, unlike the Dome of the Rock, its floor plan consists of a narthax, two towers, an apse and two chapels. By studying these monuments, it is possible to understand the importance of religious or cultural imagery as well as limiting materials for construction in these distinctive areas.

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