Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Mosques, the name given to Mohammedan places of worship. They were originally built in imitation of the Christian basilicas (q.v.), but in process of time the construction became completely altered. The main building is a square structure surmounted by a dome which rests on pendentives. In front of the chief gate is a rectangular court surrounded by cloisters, with a fountain for ablution in the centre. Within the domed building numerous lamps are hung, and the whitewash which forms the ordinary covering of the walls is relieved by arabesques and sentences from the Koran, but all representation of men and animals is forbidden. In the south-east, stands a pulpit (nuinbar), and a niche (nishrah) indicates the direction of Mecca, towards which the faithful turn when they pray.