Arabic Calligraphy
Monumental Calligraphy
‘A variety of calligraphic styles were developed for purely aesthetic reasons too.’
Calligraphic inscriptions on architecture had two main roles: in the religious context, to assert the authority of Islam and, in the political arena, to help establish a new state according to the ethos of the prevailing religious school. From the 3rd / 9th century, the use of architectural inscriptions spread across the Islamic world where they were used to complement the building’s function. Qur’anic verses, prayers in praise of God, as well as construction dates and patronage inscriptions appeared on mosques and other religious buildings for posterity and perhaps for pious and/or political reasons. On civic buildings, the date of construction and other details about the architect and artisans involved in construction may well appear, but the inscriptions referring to a particular caliph, ruler or wealthy benefactor’s patronage often take on particular importance because they seek to actively demonstrate the patron’s power and benevolence. A variety of calligraphic styles were developed for purely aesthetic reasons too, which became a particular feature of Arabic calligraphy. Nevertheless, the legibility of inscriptions has always been as important as their aesthetic value.
Diyarbakır Citadel

Originally built during the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine in AD 349. Additions and repairs made in the Byzantine, Abbasid
Marwanid, Artuqid and Seljuq periods
Diyarbakır, Turkey
The Ulu Beden tower is embellished with inscription bands that are surrounded by a double-headed eagle, two human-headed lions and two bulls.