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.
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
1 March 2017
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.
Messages of Love and Politics
Messages of Love and PoliticsMia Gröndahl
Graffiti began in Gaza in 1987, during the first Intifada, when there was no Palestinian television or radio in the Gaza Strip, and no newspapers: the messages that spread along the walls became an important means of communication. Over the years, all political groups have had their own graffiti artists. Scrawl is not tolerated—it has to look good. Hamas even offers evening classes in graffiti. Documenting the writings on the walls of Gaza over a period of seven years, celebrated Swedish photojournalist Mia Gröndahl lays before us the many roles that they perform, the colorful and surprising range of their artistic expression, and their reflection of the changing political situation. And apart from political slogans, the walls bear witness too to joy and sadness: the wedding celebrations, the many victims of the conflict, and the ever present hope of peace and freedom. For us on the outside, Mia Gröndahl’s photographs offer an exciting and unexpected view of life in Gaza....read more
15 March 2010
150 color 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.