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A 19th century drawing by Pascal Coste of the Chahar Bagh Madrassah in Isfahan.

Architectural sketches by Pascal Coste

Xavier Pascal Coste (26 November 1787 – 8 February 1879) was a French architect, born in Marseille, France. Showing intellectual and artistic promise, Pascal began his studies in the studio of Penchaud, architect of the département…

Spiral minaret of Ibn Tulun Mosque.

Spiral Minaret of Ibn Tulun Mosque

The Mosque of Ahmad Ibn Ţūlūn (Arabic: مسجد أحمد بن طولون‎) is located in Cairo, Egypt. It is arguably the oldest mosque in the city surviving in its original form, and is the…

The intricate marble and stone facade of Qa'it Bay sabil.

Qa’it Bay Sabil in Cairo

The splendor of Cairo’s sabils probably reached its height with that of the illustrious Sultan Ashraf Sayf al-Din Qa’it Bay, who ruled from 1468 to 1496. Very large for a sabil, Qa’it Bay’s…

Gouache of the mosque at New Gourna.

Elegant Solutions

It was during a dinner party in 1972 that I heard my host announce the completion of a film on “the greatest architect of the century, Hassan Fathy.” All I could think was,…

Mihrab محراب -at Madrasa Al.Nassir Mohammed Ibn Qalawun

Qalawun complex in Cairo, Egypt

The Qalawun complex (Arabic: مجمع قلاون‎) in Cairo, Egypt includes a madrasa, a hospital and a mausoleum. It was built by the Sultan Al-Nasir Muhammad Ibn Qalawun in the 1280s; some thirty surviving mosques were built during his time. The Qalawun Complex was built over the…

Photo by ben oït (http://www.flickr.com/photos/29713277@N02/4823605456/in/gallery-islamicheritage-72157629699521587/)

The Enamelled Glass, Mosque Lamps

Mosque lamps of glass, enamelled and often with gilding, survive in considerable numbers from the Islamic art of the Middle Ages, especially the 13th and 14th centuries, with Cairo in Egypt and Aleppo and Damascus in Syria as the most important centres of production. These are oil…

The House of Wisdom Baghdad

From Cuneiform to Topkapi

In the Islamic world, where reading and literacy have always been highly prized for the access they provide to the word of God and the world of knowledge, books were objects of both…

Al-Azhar mosque, main courtyard, 10th-18th centuries.

Architecture of the Fatimid

The long period of Fatimid rule, lasting almost three centuries, and the dynasty’s political and ideological principles brought with them a major architectural revival. Clear evidence of change is provided by the monuments…

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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…

Prisse

Prisse d’Avennes – A Portrait

Prisse d’Avennes: British by blood, French by birth, Muslim by choice, scholar by avocation.  Emile Prisse d’Avennes (1807–1879), a French Orientalist, author and artist, was one of the greatest pre-20th century Egyptologists. An…

Darb al-Ahmar, Cairo

Darb al-Ahmar, Cairo

This masterly drawing represents a view looking north along part of the Darb al-Ahmar (now Sharia Bab al-Wazir). On the right is a corner of the Palace of Alin Aq (now almost destroyed);…

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