The origins of the Monastery of Saint Catherine at the foot of Mount Sinai date to A.D. 324, when a community of monks requested Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, to build a chapel on the spot where they believed the Burning Bush had stood. Two centuries later, Emperor Justinian had the building enlarged and massive walls built, and thus the Monastery remained for centuries—an oasis of peace, shrouded in mystery and sacredness. Not even the Crusades left a trace of their passing, except for some graffiti carved in the refectory. Today St. Catherine’s has become a place of pilgrimage and international tourism. Visitors are attracted by the route—which crosses the colorful Sinai Desert to reach Jebel Musa, the Mount Sinai of the Old Testament—and, above all, by the charm of the monastery itself, rich in artistic and historical treasures and deep in serenity. This book takes the reader inside one of the most important places in the Christian landscape, through stunning pictures taken by renowned photographers. The text gives an account of the history of the holy site, as well as of recent investigations and discoveries. The exceptional quality of the illustrations and text make this very affordable book a worthy tribute to one of the Christian world’s most famous monasteries.
The Treasures of the Monastery of Saint Catherine
Photographs byAraldo De Luca
With a foreword byArchbishop Damianos of Sinai
Over 200 color photographs
For sale only in the Middle East
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
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.
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.