When in the early years of the twentieth century the Belgian businessman Edouard Empain began to turn his dream of building an entirely new satellite city in the desert outside Cairo into a reality, he followed the then novel urban-planning concept of the “garden city.” But in naming his creation, he turned back to one of the most ancient sites in Egypt, the solar temple of Heliopolis, the biblical On, and in its architecture he sought inspiration in the heritage of Cairo’s Islamic tradition. When the city, known as “New Egypt” in Arabic, was completed, a half-hour tram ride through the desert was needed to reach it. Today, Heliopolis has been enveloped within the huge and ever-growing metropolis of Cairo. However, despite rapid development, overpopulation, and increasing traffic, Heliopolis has retained much of its original character and charm, and the captivating atmosphere of Egypt’s Belle Epoque is still tangible. Its houses, mosques, and churches, designed to imitate various styles of the past, have become historic buildings in their own right. This fully illustrated book introduces the reader to the history and development of Heliopolis through its architecture and its inhabitants past and present.
Rebirth of the City of the Sun
1 November 2006
150 illus. incl. 100 in color
For sale worldwide
Also available by this author
An Imperial Story of Cairo, Istanbul, and AmsterdamAgnieszka Dobrowolska
The small sabil–kuttab (a charitable foundation particular to Cairo that combines a public water dispensary with a Quranic school) built in 1760 opposite the venerated Sayida Zeinab Mosque is almost unique in Cairo: it is one of only two dedicated by a reigning Ottoman sultan, and—astonishingly—it is decorated inside with blue-and-white tiles from Amsterdam depicting happy scenes from the Dutch countryside. Why did the sultan, Mustafa III, cloistered in his Istanbul palace, decide to build a sabil in Cairo? Why did he choose this site for it? How did it come to be adorned with Dutch tiles? What were the connections between Cairo, Istanbul, and Amsterdam in the middle of the eighteenth century? The authors answer these questions and many more in this entertaining and beautifully illustrated history of an extraordinary building, describing also the recent conservation efforts to preserve it for posterity....read more
15 March 2012
220 color illus.
Baghdad Arts Deco
Architectural Brickwork, 1920–1950
Architectural Brickwork, 1920–1950Caecilia Pieri
Despite dictatorship, international sanctions, and the ravages of war, Baghdad endures with a surprisingly exceptional modern architectural heritage. This beautifully illustrated study reveals the splendors of early twentieth-century architecture that still stand on the streets of Iraq’s capital. Caecilia Pieri’s documentation foregrounds the physical reality of modern Baghdad, very different from the image that we normally receive from the media. She draws on a number of unpublished sources and documents to present Baghdad’s architecture in a historical perspective, and her striking photographs taken between 2003 and 2006 document the residential areas of the twentieth-century city, providing an unprecedented resource for historians, urban planners, and general readers interested in discovering a new face of a world capital. With essays by Rifat Chadirji, Ihsan Fethi, and Naïm Kattan....read more
1 March 2011
Early Persian Painting
Kalila and Dimna Manuscripts of the Late 14th Century
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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.
Architecture for the Poor
An Experiment in Rural Egypt
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In this now classic work, Hassan Fathy, Egypt’s greatest twentieth-century architect, describes in detail his plan for building the village of New Gourna on the west bank of the Nile at Luxor, employing both the traditional building material, mud brick, and such traditional Egyptian architectural features as enclosed courtyards and domed and vaulted roofing. Fathy worked closely with the people to tailor his designs to their needs; he taught them how to work with the mud bricks, supervised the erection of the buildings, and encouraged the revival of ancient techniques, such as the use of claustra (mud-brick latticework) to adorn the buildings. Although bureaucratic red tape and other problems prevented the completion of New Gourna, Fathy’s ideas have since commanded widespread attention both inside and outside Egypt, and Architecture for the Poor remains a testament to his vision as an architect of conscience. “Fathy demonstrates very powerfully that it is possible to build for the poor … cheaply and humanly by the use of earth for building and by teaching people to build for themselves. There is no other book quite like this.” —Choice...read more
132 b/w illus.
Hassan Fathy and Continuity in Islamic Arts and Architecture
The Birth of a New Modern
The Birth of a New ModernAhmad Hamid
Hassan Fathy, the Egyptian architect known for his recognition of the potential of vernacular forms as a vital force in contemporary architectural design, sought to integrate the traditions of Islamic art with his modern visions for living. Guided by Fathy’s principles, Ahmad Hamid, an architect who collaborated with Hassan Fathy in the Institute for Appropriate Technology, identifies questions about the nature of Islamic art and its building culture, as well as the origins of modern architecture. This richly illustrated book provides new insights into Hassan Fathy’s profuse, pathbreaking design documents and built projects, while exploring the socioeconomic, environmental, psychological, and esthetic components of Fathy’s work in the light of a quest for a new universal modernity for the twenty-first century....read more
15 December 2010
100 b/w photographs and drawings