Under the influence of Islam the architectural importance of the elevated platform was reduced in importance although its importance as symbol both at a religious and secular level was maintained. Thus the Imam, or religious leader, is seated on a special throne within the sanctuary chamber, called the minbar, such as the ones shown which are in the Friday Mosque, while the secular leaders place their audience platforms within a raised area such as is evident from the palace of 'Ali Qapu.
Within the mosque itself a simple raised plinth to which all have access, is placed in the centre of the courtyard, and this symbolically marks a step nearer heaven, just as the prayer mats which may be placed upon it will frequently contain stepped lozenges which mirror the steps of the minbar of the ziggurat and thus bring to the people the concept of mountain.
In domestic architecture too we can find an expression of this in the concept of saku, or a raised platform upon which the guests are seated. Thus, even today, in a traditional tea house, you will be served your tea on a raised plinth or platform across which carpets will be laid to show the honour due to you as a guest of the house.
Last Updated 06 December 1998