A large area charge-coupled device (CCD) based fiber optic taper array detector (APS-1) is installed at the insertion-device beamline of the Structural Biology Center at the Argonne Advanced Photon Source x-ray synchrotron. The detector is used in protein crystallography diffraction experiments, where the objective is to measure the position and intensity of x-ray Bragg peaks in diffraction images. Large imaging area, very high spatial resolution, high x-ray sensitivity, good detective quantum efficiency, low noise, wide dynamic range, excellent stability and short readout time are all fundamental requirements in this application. The APS-1 detector converts the 2-D x-ray patterns to visible light images by a thin layer of x-ray sensitive phosphor. The phosphor coating is directly deposited on the large ends of nine fiber optic tapers arranged in a 3x3 array. Nine, thermoelectrically cooled 1024x 1024 pixel CCDs image the patterns, demagnified by the tapers. After geometrical and uniformity corrections, the nine areas give a continuous image of the detector face with virtually no gaps between the individual tapers. The 18 parallel analog signal-processing channels and analog-to-digital converters ensure short readout time and low readout noise. We discuss the design and measured performance of the detector.