Baku, Caspian Coast
2021 - 2023
While I had a studio in the Buzovnaneft building, I noticed that there were 7 windows in the shape of four-centered arches that opened in 7 different directions of the city. As time went on, I realized that this architectural form was quite common in urban architecture. Over the course of 3 years, I photographed these elements and also thought about their origin and how they became such an important part of urban architecture over time.
Inside of Gasimbey Bath complex, Walled City of Baku
Baku Khans' Palace, Walled City of Baku
Interior element in Gasimbey Bath complex, Walled City of Baku
A four-centered arch,
also known as a depression arch, is a low, wide type of arch with a pointed apex. Its design is achieved by constructing two arcs that rise steeply from each spring point on a small radius and then turn into two arcs with a larger radius and a much lower spring point. This type of arch is structurally good for arranging doorways in low rooms because with the same height of a rectangular door leaf, the height of the arch lock is lower than the two-center lancet.
The Composition of Miniatures. The sample of Eastern Court painting. Paper-mache, pigment, egg white, egg yolk Qajar Dynasty. Tabriz, Azerbaijan XVIII century
In Islamic architecture, the four-centered arch has been used since the time of the Abbasids, but it was most widely used in Persian culture and the architecture of the heirs of Timur and the Great Mughals. In iwans, in particular, the four-centered arch is used almost exclusively. The portals of the octagonal mausoleum of Kubbat al-Sulaibiya and the palace of Qasr al-Ashik (both located in Samarra, one of the capitals of the Abbasids), built in the 9th century, are considered the first cases of using such an arch.
Yard of Miajik, later Karachi karvansaray through the window above main entrance. XIV c [Miəcik]
The Persian arch, also known as the moderate four-centered arch, is a type of lowered lancet arch that is obtained by building two segments of an arch of small radius from the heels and continuing them with arcs of a larger radius converging to the castle. Persian arches can be seen in many examples of Persian architecture, including bridges, mosques, and palaces. The Persian arch has a less depressive form than the Tudor arch in English architecture and is often decorated with intricate tile work and calligraphy. Another type of arch that has been used in architecture is the ogee arch. This type of arch is characterized by an S-curve consisting of two arcs that curve in opposite directions and meet at the same point. The ogee arch was especially popular in late medieval Gothic architecture and can be seen in many examples of Gothic churches and cathedrals throughout Europe. The arch was also used in Islamic architecture, especially Mughal architecture in India where it was used to create elaborate decorative elements such as window screens and jaali work.
Flame tower's model in the Heydar Aliyev center
Facade of the Azerbaijan National Library from Rashid Behbudov Street
Water spring on the square near the metro Icheri Sherer
In Azerbaijani architecture, the four-centered arch is often used in the design of domes and vaults. It is a popular feature in the architecture of the Shirvan-Absheron school, which was prominent in the 15th and 16th centuries in Azerbaijan. This style of architecture is characterized by its use of brick, intricate geometric designs, and the use of the four-centered arch.
One example of Azerbaijani architecture that features the four-centered arch is the Palace of the Shirvanshahs in Baku. The palace complex was built in the 15th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The complex includes several buildings with four-centered arches, including the Divanhane (State Council Room) and the Tomb of Seyid Yahya Bakuvi. The use of the four-centered arch in these buildings gives them a distinct look and contributes to the unique character of Azerbaijani architecture.
Chagane. Wood, metal. Azerbaijan, XX century
In summary, the four-centered arch is an architectural wonder that has been used for centuries to create spaces that are both rational and decorative. Its low, wide structure with a pointed apex, and the use of two arches with different radii, make it a unique design element that has been used in various architectural styles across the world. From Islamic architecture to English Perpendicular Gothic, the four-centered arch has left an indelible mark on the world of architecture.
Palace of the Shirvanshahs, Walled City of Baku
Main entrance of Railway Museum
Gasimbey Bath complex, Walled City of Baku
View to Taza Pir Mosque, Flame towers and TV tower from central park
Nizami Museum of Azerbaijan Literature
Underground pedestrian crossing on Bulbul avenue and Nizami street
Published on BAKU Magazine
"Space and lightness"
December 2023
Published on Dzen
BAKU Magazine

January 2024

Spaciousness and lightness: the arches of Baku in the photo project of Emin Mathers

[RUS] Бакинский фотограф Эмин Мазерс выпустил серию под названием «Восточные порталы» (EasternPortals). Своими работами он доказывает, что...
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