The ancient Aksumite Kingdom, now a part of Ethiopia, was among the first in the world to adopt Christianity as the official state religion. In AD 340 King Ezana commissioned the construction of the imposing basilica of St. Mary of Tsion. It was here, the Ethiopians say, that Menelik, son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, brought the Ark of the Covenant containing the Ten Commandments. By the fifth century, nine saints from Byzantium were spreading the faith deep into the mountainous countryside, and over the next ten centuries a series of spectacular churches were either built or excavated out of solid rock, all of them in regular use to this day. Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has the best known cluster, but the northern region of Tigray, less well known and more remote, has many churches that are architectural masterpieces of the basilical type. Ethiopia: The Living Churches of an Ancient Kingdom traces the broad sweep of ecclesiastic history, legend, art, and faith in this sub-Saharan African kingdom as seen through the prism of sixty-six breathtaking churches, unveiling the secrets of their medieval murals, their colorful history, and the rich panoply of their religious festivals, all illustrated with more than eight hundred superb color photographs by some of the most celebrated international photographers of traditional cultures. This magnificent, large-format, full-color volume is the most comprehensive celebration yet published of Ethiopia’s extraordinary Christian heritage. Ethiopia is the third book on iconic places of worship published by Ludwig Publishing and the American University in Cairo Press, following the bestselling success of The Churches of Egypt and The History and Religious Heritage of Old Cairo.
The Living Churches of an Ancient Kingdom
Mary Anne Fitzgerald
15 October 2017
875 color illus.
For sale worldwide
This book is currently not available for purchase.
His Lost City and Great Mosque
His Lost City and Great MosqueTarek Swelim
Ahmad Ibn Tulun (835–84), the son of a Turkic slave in the Abbasid court of Baghdad, became the founder of the first independent state in Egypt since antiquity, and builder of Egypt’s short-lived third capital of the Islamic era, al-Qata’i‘ and its great congregational mosque. After recounting the story of Ibn Tulun and his successors, architectural historian Tarek Swelim presents a topographic survey of al-Qata’i‘, a city lost since its complete destruction in 905. He then provides a detailed architectural analysis of the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, which was spared the destruction and is now the oldest surviving mosque in Egypt and Africa, from the time of its completion until today. Rare archival illustrations and early photographs document the changing appearance and uses of the mosque in modern times, while extraordinary 3D computer renderings take us back in time to recreate its architectural development through its early centuries. Plans, drawings, and maps complement the history, while striking modern color photographs showcase the elegant simplicity of the building’s architecture and decoration. This definitive and generously illustrated book will appeal to scholars and students of Islamic art history, as well as to anyone interested in or inspired by the beauty of early mosque architecture....read more
13 December 2015
120 illus., including color photos, computer drawings, archival prints
Architecture for the Dead
Cairo’s Medieval Necropolis
Galila El Kadi Alain Bonnamy
Cairo’s Medieval NecropolisGalila El Kadi
The great medieval necropolis of Cairo, comprising two main areas that together stretch twelve kilometers from north to south, constitutes a major feature of the city’s urban landscape. With monumental and smaller-scale mausolea dating from all eras since early medieval times, and boasting some of the finest examples of Mamluk architecture not just in the city but in the region, the necropolis is an unparalleled—and until now largely undocumented—architectural treasure trove. In Architecture for the Dead, architect Galila El Kadi and photographer Alain Bonnamy have produced a comprehensive and visually stunning survey of all areas of the necropolis. Through detailed and painstaking research and remarkable photography, in text, maps, plans, and pictures, they describe and illustrate the astonishing variety of architectural styles in the necropolis: from Mamluk to neo-Mamluk via baroque and neo-pharaonic, from the grandest stone buildings with their decorative domes and minarets to the humblest—but elaborately decorated—wooden structures. The book also documents the modern settlement of the necropolis by families creating a space for the living in and among the tombs and architecture for the dead....read more
7 September 2007
320 b/w illus., 105 maps and plans
The History and Religious Heritage of Old Cairo
Its Fortress, Churches, Synagogue, and Mosque
Edited by Carolyn Ludwig Morris Jackson Photographs by Sherif Sonbol
Its Fortress, Churches, Synagogue, and MosqueEdited by Carolyn Ludwig
Photographs by Sherif Sonbol
Just to the south of modern Cairo stands the historic enclave known as Old Cairo, which grew up in and around the Roman fortress of Babylon, and which today hosts a unique collection of monuments that attest to the shared cultural heritage of ancient Egyptians, Christians, Jews, and Muslims. In this lavishly illustrated celebration of a very special place, renowned photographer Sherif Sonbol’s remarkable images of the fortress, churches, synagogue, and mosque illuminate the living fabric of the ancient and medieval stones, while the text describes the history of Old Cairo from the time of the ancient Egyptians and the Romans to the founding of the first Muslim city of al-Fustat, focusing on the Jewish history of the area (exploring the famous Genizah documents found in the Ben Ezra Synagogue that tell so much about everyday life in medieval Egypt), the early Coptic Christian churches, some of the oldest in the world, and the arrival of the Muslims in the seventh century, their establishment of al-Fustat on the edge of Old Cairo, and the building of the oldest mosque in Africa....read more
29 April 2013
370 color illus.
Early Persian Painting
Kalila and Dimna Manuscripts of the Late 14th Century
Kalila and Dimna Manuscripts of the Late 14th CenturyBernard O’Kane
Kalila wa Dimna (or The Fables of Bidpai) is one of the gems of world culture, having been translated through the centuries everywhere from China to Spain. The stories of Kalila wa Dimna, like the Fables of Aesop or Lafontaine, are subtle and suggestive moral tales—a kind of repository of wisdom and understanding about the human condition. It was the most commonly illustrated medieval Islamic text. This book focuses on the group of seven Persian manuscripts from the second half of the fourteenth century, which contain several of the finest masterpieces of Persian painting. It is a work of enormous erudition and scholarly importance, a huge contribution for art historians and students interested in Persian painting and early Islamic art. In a world now besotted with images, these superb early paintings can give us a glimpse of the power and delight that they must have given their original viewers, and help explain the work’s attractiveness throughout the ages. “These pages will remain forever as a basic tool for all further work on this particular text and as a model for the study of illustrated manuscripts in general”—Oleg Grabar, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton...read more
50 b/w, 91 color illus.