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.
Film in the Middle East and North Africa
Edited by Josef Gugler
Creative DissidenceEdited by Josef Gugler
Nine essays presenting the major national cinemas, from Iran to Morocco, are complemented by in-depth discussions of eighteen films that have been selected for both their excellence and their critical engagement with pressing current issues. The introduction provides a comprehensive overview of filmmaking throughout the region, including important films produced outside the national cinemas. The long history of Iranian cinema, its international renown, and the politics of directors confronting the state, earns it a special place in this volume. The other major emphasis is on the Israel/Palestine conflict, featuring films by Palestinian directors, Israelis, and an Egyptian working in Syria. Twenty contributors, from film and literary scholars to film directors and a novelist, bring to this unique volume differences in disciplinary orientation and variation in the perspectives that inform their writing. Together they offer an illuminating range of approaches to the cinemas of the region....read more
55 b/w illus.
Folk Art of the Great Pilgrimage
Ann Parker Avon Neal
Folk Art of the Great PilgrimageAnn Parker
Since the seventh century, the Hajj, or Great Pilgrimage to Mecca, has been a lifelong goal of devout Muslims throughout the world. Egyptian pilgrims traditionally celebrate their sacred journey by commissioning a local artist to depict their religious odyssey on the walls of their homes. Hajj Paintings is the first visual record of the richness and variety of this naive art form. Photographer Ann Parker and writer Avon Neal spent a decade exploring towns, villages, and isolated farm communities along the Nile, across the Delta, down the Red Sea coast, and into Sinai. On the walls of buildings ranging from alabaster factories to mud-brick farmhouses they found brilliant murals illuminated by the desert sun, portraying beloved icons of the pilgrims’ faith and scenes from the Qur’an. Their nearly 150 color photographs and accompanying descriptions record the radiant palette of the mostly self-taught artists....read more
1 March 2009
130 color illus.
Architecture for the Poor
An Experiment in Rural Egypt
An Experiment in Rural EgyptHassan Fathy
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.
Arts of the City Victorious
Islamic Art and Architecture in the Fatimid North Africa and Egypt
Jonathan M. Bloom
Islamic Art and Architecture in the Fatimid North Africa and EgyptJonathan M. Bloom
Arts of the City Victorious is the first book-length study of the art and architecture of the Fatimids, the Shi‘ite dynasty that ruled in North Africa and Egypt from 909 to 1171. The Fatimids are most famous for founding the walled city of Cairo in 969, and their art—particularly textiles and luster ceramics, but also metalwork and carved rock-crystal, ivory, and woodwork—has been admired for nearly a millennium. Fatimid art is known for its strongly figural imagery, and its elegant and inventive use of Arabic calligraphy, particularly the angular Kufic script. Highlighting surviving examples of Fatimid art and architecture, this volume also draws on an unusual wealth of medieval sources that provide written evidence for the rich visual culture shared among the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish inhabitants of the Fatimid realm. Whereas earlier studies treated the two and a half centuries of Fatimid art and architecture as a single category, this book is the first to show how they grew and evolved over time. Written in an engaging and accessible style, this book focuses on key works of art, copiously illustrated with photographs, many in color. With this volume, art historian Jonathan Bloom synthesizes the findings of many scholars in many languages, to offer a rich portrait of a vibrant artistic period in Islamic civilization....read more
150 illus. incl. 50 color