Beirut has seen many armies and empires come and go, but the legacy of this long history is not so much in surviving monuments as in the quintessential Levantine spirit of the people. A commercial hub since the days of the Phoenicians, it was a center of learning under the Romans, its law school pre-eminent in the Empire. Both currents are discernible today, with vibrant Arab, French, and American universities and more publishing houses than the rest of the Arab world coexisting with the most dynamic financial center in the Middle East. Beirut was the point of entry to the Levant for many Europeans and Americans undertaking a Grand Tour or a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and visitors (whether their focus was piously Biblical or more prosaic) recorded their impressions of this effervescent port city where East rubs against West. A Beirut Anthology gathers the choicest of these, from writers as diverse as Alphonse de Lamartine and Mark Twain, providing a surprising and vivid glimpse behind the veil of this elusive and alluring city.
A Beirut Anthology
Travel Writing through the Centuries
1 August 2015
20 b/w illus.
For sale worldwide
Cairo’s Street Stories
Exploring the City’s Statues, Squares, Bridges, Gardens, and Sidewalk Cafés
Exploring the City’s Statues, Squares, Bridges, Gardens, and Sidewalk CafésLesley Lababidi
In 1872, Ismail Pasha, the khedive of Egypt, was the first to adopt the European custom of positioning heroic statues on public display as a symbolic message of the continuing authority of the ruling Muhammad Ali dynasty to which he belonged, but it was not until the early twentieth century and the determination of sculptor Mahmoud Mukhtar that such public art gained general acceptance, and today statues stand, ride, or sit in the streets, squares, and gardens of Cairo. Each sculpture adds a piece to the jigsaw of history spanning personalities and events that shaped the city and wider Egypt from 1805 to 1970, and here Cairo-based author Lesley Lababidi provides a unique perspective on Egyptian history through looking at more than thirty statues and monumental sculptures and the stories behind them. Between statues, she explores Cairo’s growth and its multidimensional identity, as manifested in the development and changing use of city space over the centuries, and examines the relationship of Cairo’s modern denizens with the landscapes, districts, palaces, archaeological sites, cafés, bridges, and gardens of their great and maddening city, the Mother of the World. Illustrated throughout with color photographs and archival pictures, Cairo’s Street Stories presents a unique and lively view of the history that fashioned the city’s streets and open spaces, and of the many and often unexpected uses to which its inventive inhabitants put them....read more
15 April 2008
Over 100 color illus.
Cairo is an exploding modern metropolis of eighteen million people that nevertheless preserves within its heart the finest medieval city in the world, its alleys, mosques, and caravanserais the original setting for the Arabian Nights, whose atmosphere is palpable still for the visitor wandering through its bazaars, while at sunset the Pyramids glow gold against the Western Desert as they have done for one million seven hundred thousand evenings past. The monuments of pharaohs and sultans lie within the city’s reach, making Cairo and its environs an unequaled storehouse of human achievement. In this guide to the largest city in Africa and the political and cultural fulcrum of the Arab world, Michael Haag explores Cairo’s past and present in word and picture, from Saqqara to the Citadel of Saladin, from the ancient synagogue and churches of Old Cairo to the skyscrapers along the Nile, from Khan al-Khalili, the vast bazaar as intricate as inlay work, to the Belle Epoque façades of the downtown streets, and introduces you to the treasures of three great civilizations at the Islamic, Coptic, and Egyptian Antiquities museums. Beautifully illustrated with 150 color photographs, this is a fascinating armchair tour of Cairo in all its variety....read more
1 January 2006
200 color illus.
Egypt and the Nile
Through Writers’ Eyes
Edited by Deborah Manley Sahar Abdel-Hakim
Through Writers’ EyesEdited by Deborah Manley
No land on earth has been so comprehensively observed as Egypt, which was attracting awestruck travelers back in the days of Herodotus and Julius Caesar. This rich and varied collection brings the diversity and the continuity of Egypt together to give a picture of this country, its many places, its long history, and its people: the pharoahs, sultans, pilgrims to Sinai, Crusaders, and Napoleon, followed by the Grand Tourists of the eighteenth century and those less grand with Thomas Cook in the nineteenth. The range of voices gathered here is dazzling: an ancient myth from a papyrus next to Naguib Mahfouz’s account of Alexandria, Florence Nightingale describing Abu Simbel side by side with Ahdaf Soueif’s description of Sinai. A description of medieval Cairo by Ibn Jubayr walks hand in hand with one of the modern city by the Egyptian thinker Taha Hussein. Lucie Duff-Gordon sails up the Nile, Edward Lane crawls through a sand-filled temple, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel struggles up the cataract above Aswan....read more
A Photographer on the Hajj
The Travels of Muhammad ‘Ali Effendi Sa‘udi (1904/1908)
Farid Kioumgi Robert Graham
The Travels of Muhammad ‘Ali Effendi Sa‘udi (1904/1908)Farid Kioumgi
The diaries of Muhammad ‘Ali Effendi Sa‘udi, a civil servant and accomplished photographer, offer a rare glimpse of the Hajj through Egyptian eyes at the beginning of the twentieth century when the Ottoman Empire was on the wane and the advance of the Hijaz railway threatened to upset vested interests in the old pattern of pilgrimage.
Sa‘udi twice accompanied the Amir al-Hajj, Ibrahim Rif‘at Pasha, attached to the official Egyptian caravan. His story of these journeys combines the thoughts of a devout Muslim with fine detail on the hardships and health hazards facing pilgrims, the high-level intrigues, and the ever-present dangers of taking photographs.
The authors have compressed the diaries into a highly readable narrative with selected quotations, lavishly illustrated with Sa‘udi’s remarkable photographs....read more
15 November 2009
80 b/w photographs