iwan

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iwan. In Islamic architecture, a vaulted space used as an entrance, or, if closed at one end, a hall facing a court in a madrasa or mosque. From C11 four iwans disposed on axes on each side of a court became usual in mosques, madrasas, and caravanserais. The vaults could be plain, half-elliptical barrels, or more elaborately decorated with muqarnas. An impressive pre-Islamic precedent was that at the Sassanian Palace, Ctesiphon, Iraq (C4 or C6).

Bibliography

Builder & and Builder (1994);
Cruickshank (ed.) (1996);
Hillenbrand (1994)