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
Gardens of a Sacred Landscape
Bedouin Heritage and Natural History in the High Mountains of Sinai
Samy Zalat Francis Gilbert Illustrations by Ahmed Gheith
Bedouin Heritage and Natural History in the High Mountains of SinaiSamy Zalat
Illustrations byAhmed Gheith
This beautifully illustrated book describes the unique environment and the natural history of St. Katherine in Sinai from the perspective of its inhabitants—the Gabaliya Bedouin. The Gabaliya live in the high and rugged mountain massif of South Sinai, enclosed within the St. Katherine Protectorate in an area now declared as a World Heritage Site. St. Katherine is one of the world’s most important protected areas for its special historical, cultural, religious, and environmental heritage. It contains Egypt’s highest mountain—Mount Katherine—and one of the world’s most sacred: Mount Sinai. The Gabaliya have a unique history, and their intimate relationship with their harsh environment is equally unique. In the arid landscape within the great Ring Dyke they have created their own orchard agriculture, growing fruit and vegetables in irrigated walled gardens that seem to grow out of the rock on remote wadi floors or on the steep mountainsides themselves. This book introduces—from their own observations—the gardens and the unique culture and heritage of the Gabaliya, the vegetables and fruits they grow, and the mammals, birds, lizards, and insects associated with their gardens and environment in this remarkable landscape. The book is fully illustrated with photographs and watercolor paintings....read more
Egypt 1250 BC
A Traveler’s Companion
Donald P. Ryan
A Traveler’s CompanionDonald P. Ryan
Strap on your sturdiest sandals and start planning your trip to Egypt in 1250 BC. You may have heard the rumors: the language is perplexing, there are no tourist facilities, and an aggressive, egocentric pharaoh rules the land. But Egypt will be a must-see vacation destination for millennia to come! So don’t delay—visit now, before the Roman tourist hordes arrive. Drawing on contemporary sources and years of experience excavating in Egypt, archaeologist Donald P. Ryan guides the time-traveling tourist on a journey up the Nile, taking in the sights of Memphis, the pyramids, Thebes, and beyond. En route he offers useful advice on everything from deciphering hieroglyphs to deciding which god to petition in the event of a scorpion sting. So leave the protective amulets at home and banish all fear of being sold as a galley slave. This imaginative guide is all you need to survive and enjoy your visit to Egypt in its glorious age of empire....read more
88 illus. incl. 12 color illus.
City of SandMaria Golia
Cairo is a 1,400-year old metropolis whose streets are inscribed with sagas, a place where the pressures of life test people’s equanimity to the limit. Virtually surrounded by desert, sixteen million Cairenes cling to the Nile and each other, proximities that color and shape lives. Packed with incident and anecdote, Cairo: City of Sand describes the city’s given circumstances and people’s attitudes of response. Apart from a brisk historical overview, this book focuses on the present moment of one of the world’s most illustrious and irreducible cities. Cairo steps inside the interactions between Cairenes, examining the roles of family, tradition, and bureaucracy in everyday life. The book explores Cairo’s relationship with its ‘others,’ from the French and British occupations to modern influences like tourism and consumerism. Cairo also discusses characteristic styles of communication, and linguistic memes, including slang, grandiloquence, curses, and jokes. Cairo exists by virtue of these interactions, synergies of necessity, creativity, and the presence or absence of power. Cairo, City of Sand reveals a peerless urban balancing act, and transmits the city’s overriding message: the breadth of the human capacity for loss, astonishment, and delight....read more
Past, Present and Future
Past, Present and FutureJean-Yves Empereur
During the 1990s the French archaeologist Jean-Yves Empereur has conducted a series of remarkable excavations in the ancient city of Alexandria. His discoveries—both under water and on dry land—have considerably increased our knowledge of a city whose splendors and vast population amazed ancient travelers to the eastern Mediterranean. Founded in 331 bc by Alexander the Great, after whom it is named, Alexandria equaled Athens in its sphere of influence and rivaled Rome politically. A major center of Hellenistic, Jewish, and Christian culture, it was famed for its Library, its Mouseion and its magnificent palaces (home to Cleopatra and her ancestors), of which, sadly, no traces remain. However, Jean-Yves Empereur’s underwater excavations have recovered several thousand blocks from the famous lighthouse, which watched over the port from the third century bc until the fourteenth century and was known as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Meanwhile, the excavations of six further sites on land, including the catacombs at Kom el-Shuqafa and the necropolis at Gabbari, have provided much new information on the architecture, living conditions, religious practices, and artistic life of the city of Alexander and Cleopatra. In this book Empereur describes the methods he used to unearth these exciting and spectacular finds—often under very difficult conditions—and assesses the information they reveal about the life of the ancient city. The book is richly illustrated with dramatic photographs, most of them by Stéphane Compoint....read more
128 color photographs, 28 b/w illus.