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Cairo’s Islamic Architecture – 7th to 18th Centuries

  Mosque of Ali mad ibn Tulun, interior of the maqsura, 9th century. Gypsum and ash pillars accentuate the domed mihrab. The mosque, inspired by the great mosque of Samarra in the patron’s…

Mosque of Ibn Tulun

Cairo – A City Adorned

From the late ninth century well into the 15th, mosques built as prestige projects were the most spectacular buildings in Cairo. Locals, pilgrims on their way to Makkah and even Christian pilgrims were…

Ramparts of the Aleppo Citadel

Aleppo – Architecture and History

“The city is as old as eternity, but still young, and it has never ceased to exist. Its days and nights have been long; it has survived its rulers and commoners. These are…

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Through the lens of Peter Sanders

All Photographs by Peter Sanders © 2012 PETER SANDERS PHOTOGRAPHY LTD  Makkah Madinah   Saudi Arabia   Jerusalem   Turkey   Spain   Morocco   Iran   China   Japan   Malaysia  …

Figure 1: A tracing of the Panr relief, an architectural fragment from Lower Swat, carved between the first and third centuries.

The Tenacity of Tradition: Art From the Valley of Swat

High in the rugged mountains of northwest Pakistan lies the Valley of Swat. The river of the same name runs through it. In ancient texts, the Swat River is called Suvastu, meaning “good dwelling…

Reflection of Shibam - "Manhattan of the desert"

Old Walled City of Shibam

Surrounded by a fortified wall, the 16th-century city of Shibam is one of the oldest and best examples of urban planning based on the principle of vertical construction. Its impressive tower-like structures rise…

Mud Brick Skyscappers Shibam, Hadramawt

Manhattan in the Hadramaut

At the end of December 1984, UNESCO – the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization – issued a plea to the world to save another national treasure from disintegration: the mud-brick “skyscrapers”…

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Sana’a Rising – “a Venice built on sand.”

In mid-February 1978, on my first morning in Sana‘a, I woke up before first light. Illuminated by the flame of a single bedside candle, the undulating overhead ceiling beams, plastered in white gypsum,…

Cairo, street and mosque near the citadel. Count Atnadeo Preziosi,C1850

Domestic Culture of Cities in the Middle East (16th to 19th century)

This article invites the reader to enter and enjoy wealthy urban homes in Turkey, Egypt and Iran between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. This was a period of flourishing traditional culture and also of…

The 3 minarets of the Great Mosque of Damascus: Qaitbay (built 1488), Bride (~9–12th c.) & Jesus (9–13th c.)

Damascus – history, arts and architecture

Capital city of Syria and one of the chief cities of the Middle East. Damascus is located in southern Syria on the banks of the Barada river. The area of Damascus forms an…

Bukhara – History and Architecture

Oasis city in the Republic of Uzbekistan, Central Asia. Bukhara is located in the valley of the Zeravshan river 200 km west of Samarkand. The city was first mentioned by its present name…

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Samarra – the Abbasid Capital in Iraq

Samarra is now recognized as the largest archaeological site in the world and stretches for over 40 km along the banks of the Tigris. Although there were settlements in the area of Samarra…

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