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Al-Azhar Mosque

The al-Azhar Mosque (970)

Al-Azhar is today the most celebrated of all Cairo’s medieval mosques, more because of its historic and reli­gious importance than its aesthetic value. It was the first mosque built in Fatimid Cairo and…

Cairo (Arabic: al-Qahira)

Capital of Egypt and one of the most prominent cities of the Islamic world. The English name for the city derives from the French, Le Caire, which in turn is derived from the…

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Ibn Tulun Mosque

Ibn Tulun Mosque is the oldest best preserved mosque in Egypt. It is named after the Emir Ahmed Ibn Tulun, a soldier among the troops of Samara who was promoted to rule Egypt…

Minarets of Cairo

The Minarets of Cairo

Nowhere in the Muslim world can you find such a profusion of domes and minarets as in Cairo. Rising from the haze of crowded, crumbling streets in the old, chaotic, yet picturesque medieval…

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Islamic Art Belongs As Much To The Present As To The Past

by Titus Burckhardt For the contemplative man a lesson can be learned from everything. (Sufyan al-Thawri) The art of Islam is essentially a contemplative art, which aims to express above all, an encounter…

Style in Islamic Art (1250 – 1500 A.D)

Ilkhanid style The Ilkhanid style flourished in Iran. It was formed from three traditions, Chinese, Iranian and Islamic, under rulers descended from the Mongol conqueror Chingiz Khan. Chinese porcelain and silks were imported…

Style in Islamic Art (750-1250 AD)

Abbasid Style The Abbasid style emerged in Iraq between 750 and 850, when the Abbasid dynasty was at the height of its power. The Abbasid caliphs constructed huge and lavishly decorated palaces at…

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Islamic Calligraphy 1450-1925 – West

Calligraphy from the Ottoman empire and other places in the western Muslim world. This single panel praises Prophet Muhammad’s son-in-law ‘Ali and his famous double-edged sword Dhu al-Fiqar. This calligraphic sheet states that…

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Islamic Architecture – Abbasid Period

Under theAbbasid caliphate (750–1258), which succeeded the Umayyads (661–750) in 750, the focal point of Islamic political and cultural life shifted eastward from Syria to Iraq, where, in 762, Baghdad, the circular City of Peace…

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A Global Guide to Islamic Art

Written by Jonathan M. Bloom and Sheila S. Blair This article appeared on pages 32-43 of the January/February 2009 print edition of Saudi Aramco World. Visiting an exhibition of Islamic art for the…

Early Medieval Dynasties in The West: Fatimids, Ayyubids

As Abbasid authority weakened, the Shi’ite Fatimid dynasty (909−1171)—claiming descent from Fatima, daughter of the Prophet and wife of Ali—rose to power in North Africa. They expanded into Egypt and Syria, and in…

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