Saturday, April 12, 2014

How I Mine For Craft: The al-Ramadi Mosque and Mokattam Gardens

Welcome back! Last time, we saw the start of an Egyptian city, with ancient and medieval Egyptian characteristics.

Well, there's more.

Starting at the entrance to the bazaar and port under Mokattam Mountain, we will explore the al-Ramadi Mosque and Mokattam Gardens.

Let's head on out that door and check out the ground floor of al-Ramadi Mosque. (The name means "grey"; I named it that because it's colored that way.)

Like any fancy mosque, it's got minarets, as well as a courtyard with trees and intricately-patterned walls, arches, domes and floors. While I was browsing around in here taking pictures, the sun decided to rise so I got a nice picture of the moon in the west with the minarets in the foreground, as well as a similar picture facing the sunrise:

Anyway, entering the grand hall of the mosque, it faces east and has a huge interior dome:

But that's not all. Just to the west of the grand hall is the stairs to get up to the roof. Of course we need roof access; how are we going to perform the call to prayer from the minarets if we don't have roof access? Don't be silly, imaginary person I'm talking to.

Up top, we can see the top of the dome of the great hall, as well as the main minaret. It's the thicker one with the crescent moon on top; the other three are thinner. Let's go inside, climb up and look around.

There's a door there, and a stairway to climb. Once we're at the top, to the east we can see Mokattam Gardens; to the south we can see the ancient Egyptian temple and two of the other minarets, and to the west we can see the mosque as well as the barren desert.

The other minarets are similar, but they don't have stairs, just a ladder:

Here's the view to the north. Rumor has it that there's an oasis out there, far beyond the horizon... it might be worth it to build a road. Maybe even a railroad. But not until the city's complete.

On to Mokattam Gardens! There's an archway opening onto Bazaar Street, so let's go through it and look around:

To the left of us is a patch that seems to have been specifically tended to have semi-arid plants. There's cactus and pine trees. Seems oddly reminiscent of some kind of ridge I dreamt about... but nevermind that.

The rest of the gardens looks similar to the patch of garden on the right, and then let's check out the fountains in the middle:

I'm gonna come clean: the fountain at the center of the park (as well as the walls' designs in the background) are inspired by this picture, and the last picture in the previous set is inspired by this picture.

Anyway, speaking of the walls, yes, let's check them out, because to the sides of the large dome are stairs providing wall access. I put trees on them! Trees with vines, so it kinda feels like a hanging garden:

The whole walls are done up like this, so you've got a representative sample. There's two small arches on the north wall, and they have stairs going down. Let's go down:

We're spat out at the bottom of the stairs, and there's a path going left. It goes under the walls, interestingly enough, so we can see the detail of the walls up close. The fountain under the southern dome apparently feeds into two ponds to each side of it, and we're skirting one as we walk the wall path. At the very end, on the southern end of the southeastern pond, we see a door leading UNDER the southern fountain. Well, that's interesting, let's check it out:

It's a subway station! The Mokattam Gardens stop, evidently, with service to al-Ramadi Mosque station, and others as soon as I get done building them. We're going to have a sprawling, bustling city, and it'll be a while before I get done with it, but we'll need subways to navigate it. And since we're on the subject... I made the Blue Line go through the western wall of the Gardens. It just barely fit.

And while we're talking about the city, I need a name for it. I'm thinking "al-Iskandariya" because it's not immediately familiar to American ears, but it's the Arabic word for "Alexandria," or what actual modern Egyptians call that city. It's mildly relevant to what I'll make here, but I'm also wanting a name because I had a brainstorm: using my Minecraft world to make adventures for D&D. Like, instead of just describing what they see, I'll show them my computer screen.

Anyway, yeah. That's everything I've built thus far.

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