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.
The Sultan’s Fountain
An Imperial Story of Cairo, Istanbul, and Amsterdam
15 March 2012
220 color illus.
For sale worldwide
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.
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
Cairo of the Mamluks
A History of the Architecture and Its Culture
A History of the Architecture and Its CultureDoris Behrens-Abouseif
During two and a half centuries of rule by Mamluk sultans, Cairo acquired some of its most impressive medieval architecture, including the historical monuments that today define the city’s architectural heritage. In this comprehensive work of analysis and description, Islamic art historian Doris Behrens-Abouseif highlights the most important factors in the evolution of Mamluk urban architecture, along with the social and political reasons for their patronage as builders of mosques, schools, hospitals, and mausolea. Copiously illustrated with color photographs and architectural plans, Cairo of the Mamluks highlights sixty of the most important Mamluk buildings in Cairo, in chronological order, from the mausoleum built by Shagar al-Durr, in honor of her late husband, the last Ayyubid ruler, to the magnificent madrasa of Sultan Hasan and the funerary complex of al-Ghuri, the last powerful Mamluk sultan. Long a scholar of Cairo’s historic architecture, Doris Behrens-Abouseif draws on Arabic chronicles as well as the latest in contemporary scholarship to offer a remarkably complete history of Cairo’s justly-famous monuments....read more
258 color illus., 63 line drawings and maps
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.