Great Mosque of Cordoba
The mihrab area of the Great Mosque of Cordoba in Spain is beautifully decorated. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Richard Mortel

The Islamic world is home to some incredible pieces of architecture.

Click start to play today’s Crossword and name an ancient fort in 5-Across.

From the UAE’s very own Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque to ancient palaces and structures spread around the world, there’s loads to see. Here, we highlight five amazing sites you can visit:

1. Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

Tourists visit the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News Archives

As one of the world’s largest mosques, the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque is an architectural masterpiece, standing over 100m tall at its highest point. Built with over 1,000 columns, embedded with amethyst and jasper, and 82 white marble domes, the mosque features reflective pools, gold plated Swarovski chandeliers and a courtyard with one of the largest marble mosaic artworks in the world. The mosque’s open-door policy encourages visitors from all over the world, and on average, sees up to 55,000 people walking through its doors on a daily basis.

2. Citadel of Aleppo, Syria

Citadel of Aleppo
Citadel of Aleppo Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

An example of medieval military architecture, Aleppo’s Citadel stands atop a hill in the middle of the city. Archaeologists have found site fortifications dating back to the Roman era and even earlier, but most of the citadel was constructed starting in the 10th century, and later reconstructed and expanded during the Ayyubid era, between 1171 and 1260. The massive structure holds residences, storage areas, wells, mosques and defensive buildings. To enter, you would either have to cross the towering Gate of Serpents or the Gate of Lions.

3. Great Mosque of Cordoba, Spain

The earliest parts of this ancient mosque were built by an Umayyad ruler in about 784. The structure underwent expansion in the ninth century, wherein most of its current features were added, including rich decorations and intricate designs. One of its most striking features is the hypostyle hall, which consists of approximately 850 columns made of jasper, marble and porphyry that supports two-tier horseshoe arches.

4. Great Mosque of Samarra, Iraq

Great Mosque of Samarra
Great Mosque of Samarra Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Mahdi Almasi

Built in the Abbasid reign, around 850, this mosque was once the largest in the world, totally an area of nearly 169,968 square metres. Built out of baked brick, the interiors were decorated with striking blue glass. Although most of the structure was destroyed in a Mongol invasion in 1258, some intriguing features still remain. Most arresting among them is the 170-foot minaret, in the shape of a cone, that wraps a spiral ramp all the way to the top.

Which is your favourite example of Islamic architecture? Play today’s Crossword and tell us at