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The Minarets of Cairo: Islamic Architecture from the Arab Conquest to the End of the Ottoman Period

The Minarets of Cairo: Islamic Architecture from the Arab Conquest to the End of the Ottoman Period
Doris Behrens-Abouseif, Nicholas Warner

Illustrated by: Bernard O'Kane

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  • Hardback | In Stock | $85.00

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Minarets have defined Cairo's skyline since its early history: they are one of the most characteristic features of Islamic architecture. In Egypt, where civilizations have manifested themselves through awe-inspiring structures since antiquity, 'a thousand minarets' reveal the impact of Islamic civilization and urban aesthetics. "The Minarets of Cairo" offers an accessible and vivid insight into the religious, historical and architectural significance of the minaret in Cairo from the Arab Conquest, through the Abbasid, Fatimid, Ayyubid, Mamluk and Ottoman periods. Students and scholars will welcome historian and art historian Doris Behrens-Abouseif's excellent new research and analysis as well as over one hundred illustrated entries for individual minarets, brought to life by Nicholas Warner's masterly architectural drawings and reconstructions. With nearly three hundred illustrations, this beautiful book provides depth and color, displaying to full effect historic Cairo's most impressive monuments.

Author Info

Doris Behrens-Abouseif is the Nasser D Khalili Professor of Islamic Art and Archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (SOAS). She is widely acknowledged as the preeminent scholar on the architecture of Cairo, and a leading specialist on the art and archaeology of Turkey, Iran and the Near East. She previously taught at the American University in Cairo, Harvard University, and the universities of Freiburg and Munich in Germany. She has written a number of books on Islamic art and architecture in both English and German including Cairo of the Mamluks: A History of Architecture and its Culture (I.B.Tauris), and Islamic Architecture in Cairo: An Introduction. Nicholas Warner is an architect and architectural historian, trained at Cambridge University and Harvard University who has, since 1992, been involved in a number of projects to preserve sites of historical and archaeological interest in Cairo. His books include Monuments of Historic Cairo: A Map and Descriptive Catalogue and Guide to the Gayer-Anderson Museum.


The first half of the book where she deals with the adhan, muezzin, function and use and evolution of the various styles will be of value to anyone, Muslim or non-Muslim, who is interested in one of the most ubiquitous of all Muslim 'signs' – the minaret. Professor Behrens-Abouseif's wide-ranging scholarship is reflected in these chapters as they carry the discussion of the role, function, symbolism and history of the minaret far beyond that of Cairo. On the other hand, the second half on the specific minarets of Cairo will establish this book as the basic reference for any future work on Cairo’s numerous minarets.
– Jere Bacharach, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Washington

Professor Behren's-Abouseif has  produced a book that combines her encyclopaedic knowledge of the sources with impressive art-historical expertise. In the introductory chapters [she] has been able to add much new information from the contemporary chronicles that expand the social and political context of the monuments and of those who used them and the way in which they were used. The analysis of the monuments here is sharpened  by the extra material she has added in the form of minarets that have disappeared but which are represented in earlier drawings or photography, pinpointing their location and patrons. Equally useful has been her careful combing of the Comité publications for evidence of what is original and what is later restoration.
– Bernard O’Kane, Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture at the American University in Cairo

Professor Behrens-Abouseif’s The Minarets of Cairo…is a remarkable work, combining architectural history, cultural history, religious history and ethnography to explain the unique importance of the minarets of pre-Ottoman Cairo. It is lucidly written and, although addressed to specialists, will appeal to students or the non-specialist reader. It is copiously illustrated and since quite a few minarets have disappeared in the past century, its use of archival photographs to document these makes it particularly valuable. These are supplemented by its drawings of each minaret (many of them isometric), which are an historic document in themselves, for they clearly indicate restorations to the original fabric. It will become a standard work of reference.
– Professor J.M. Rogers, Honorary Curator of the Khalili Collection, formerly of the British Museum and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.

ISBN: 9781848855397
Publication Date: 29 Oct 2010
Number of Pages: 448
Height: 325
Width: 215
Illustrations: 220 colour, 80 bw integrated illustrations

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