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post written by Emma Filbrun

Title: Mosque
Author: David Macaulay
Major Themes: Architecture, Engineering, Moslems, Mosques, Ottoman Empire, Picture Books, 16th Century
Synopsis: Wonderful, colored line drawings and descriptive text show all the stages in the building of a mosque in the late 1500s.

We’ve been enjoying reading through David Macaulay’s books about various forms of architecture through the ages. One that we finished reading not too long ago was Mosque. This is the first one that I’ve read that is illustrated in color. It still has his wonderful line drawings—but in this book, they are tinted, which makes them even better!

Mosque describes the building of a fictitious mosque by a retired admiral of the Ottoman Empire. He began his project in 1595 as a charitable program; it was to include not only a mosque but also a college, a soup kitchen, a bath house, and a fountain for drinking water. After several months of hard work, the admiral’s architect came up with the perfect design, and planning began.

Six months after the planning began, work was started on the complex of buildings. The details of construction are absolutely fascinating, as the various features were completed over the next four years. So many different techniques were needed! We enjoyed seeing how the domes and spires were built, and the way the complex was decorated.

Anyone who is interested in architecture or engineering will enjoy this book. Even if you are not particularly interested in Moslem history, the building techniques are shown in such detail that you can spend hours with this book. It’s the kind of book I like to leave lay around for people to pick up and look at.

WARNING: Pages 56 and 57 show men bathing in the bath house.

Age Levels:

Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, 12 – 15


Links to buy Mosque:

Amazon: Paperback | Hardcover

AbeBooks: View Choices on

Book Depository: Paperback


Architecture, Engineering, Moslems, Mosques, Ottoman Empire, Picture Books, 16th Century

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