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Marcella Frangipane

Site in eastern Turkey, in the Malatya Plain on the right bank of the River Euphrates. It is a large artificial mound (h. c. 30 m) formed by the superposition of successive dwellings from about the 5th millennium bc to the Islamic period, c. 12th century...

Article

N. N. Negmatov

Site near the town of Shakhristan (Shahristan) in northern Tajikistan. Capital of the medieval state of Ustrushana, which occupied the region between the Syr River and the Hisar Range from Samarkand to Khodzhent, Bundzhikat was described in 10th to 12th-century sources as a large and densely populated town in a beautiful location with plenty of water and gardens. The city proper was surrounded by a special wall with two gates, while the nearby citadel had its own fortifications and the suburb its own wall with four gates. All three parts of the city, as well as the country palaces, houses, gardens and vineyards, were surrounded by an enceinte. Among the largest buildings were the central mosque in the city, the prison in the citadel and the king’s palace in the suburb. The town got its water from the small Sarin River and six canals leading from it, along which there were over ten mills....

Article

Ye. V. Zeymal’

Site in Tajikistan, 25 km west of Dushanbe above the confluence of the Khanaka River and the Kafirnigan River. The pisé walls of the fortress, arched gateways and flanking towers of fired brick, two madrasas and the nearby mosque date from the 16th–19th century, when the fortress was the residence of the Hissar bek. Excavations (...

Article

Kufa  

Site on the Euphrates in south-east Iraq. Founded in ad 638 by the general Sa‛d ibn Abi Wakkas a year after the Muslims captured the Sasanian capital at Ktesiphon, Kufa developed in the 7th century from a military encampment into a major city, with a strong intellectual and religious life. In 655 it became the first city to support the claims of the Prophet’s son-in-law ‛Ali against the third caliph ‛Uthman (...

Article

Site in Turkmenistan on one of the channels of the lower Amu River (Oxus), 150 km south of the Aral Sea. Kunya-Urgench was the main capital of Khwarazm, a prosperous agricultural region in antiquity and the Middle Ages. The city was conquered by the Arabs in 712 and ruled by governors, who later adopted the traditional title of Khwarazmshah (King of Khwarazm). Under the Ma’munid line (...

Article

David Whitehouse

Site on the Helmand River in southern Afghanistan near the modern town of Lashkargah. In medieval times it was known as al-‛Askar and served as the winter retreat of the rulers of the Ghaznavid dynasty (reg 977–1186). It was a royal suburb of Bust, a site overlooking the confluence of the Helmand and Arghandab rivers. ...

Article

Antonio Fernández-Puertas

Site in southern Spain, 6 km west of Córdoba, founded as a palace–city in 936 by the Umayyad caliph ‛Abd al-Rahman III (reg 912–61). His son, the future al-Hakam II (reg 961–76), supervised the work of the architects Maslama ibn ‛Abdallah and others. Sacked and destroyed by the Berbers in ...

Article

Otrar  

K. M. Baipakov

Site and region on the right bank of the Syr River 10 km west of Timur, Kazakhstan. Otrar has been identified with the region of Farab (Barab, Parab) mentioned by medieval Arabic and Persian historians and geographers. The area was controlled by the Samanids (...

Article

Lucien Golvin

Site in central Algeria, 25 km north-east of M’Sila. It was the capital of the Hammadid branch of the Zirid dynasty. In 1007 Hammad ibn Buluggin founded a qal‛a (Arab.: ‘fortress‘) in the Maadid Mountains; its strong ramparts (950×500 m) protected it several times against the attacks of the Zirids of Ifriqiyya (Tunisia). The site was rapidly populated by the forced transfer of neighbouring inhabitants, who built the Manar Palace, several mosques, caravanserais and other public buildings. The Qal‛a reached its apogee during the reigns of al-Nasir (...

Article

Rupbas  

Jeffrey A. Hughes

Site of a 17th-century palace in Bharatpur District, Rajasthan, India. The village of Rupbas is situated at the end of a long range of red sandstone hills in the Chambal Valley, which had strategic military and commercial importance for the Mughal family rulers. The area was one of numerous hunting locations visited by the emperors during their annual tours and was frequently visited by Jahangir (...

Article

Rusafa  

Thilo Ulbert

Site of an ancient city in northern Syria c. 200 km east of Aleppo and 30 km south of the River Euphrates, with both Byzantine and Islamic remains. Although it was known from earlier travellers’ reports, full descriptions of the monuments were not published until the early ...

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Sarkhej  

Jutta Jain-Neubauer

Site about 8 km west of Ahmadabad, India. The extensive complex was begun by the second ruler of the Gujarat Sultanate, Muhammad Shah (reg ad 1442–51), who constructed a mausoleum and mosque in honour of his adviser, the famous saint Sheykh Ahmad Khattu (...

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Sedrata  

Margaret Graves

Site of a settlement in the Sahara in the early Islamic period, near the modern-day Algerian city of Ouargla. Sedrata was briefly the capital of the Khariji sect in North Africa until it was destroyed in the 11th century.

In the 7th century, the Kharijites, a highly conservative opposition party that rejected both the succession of ‛Ali b. Abu Talib as well as that of his rivals, fled from persecution to the Maghrib. The Rustamid dynasty of Kharijites established their capital at Tahart (now in western Algeria), but fled from there to Sedrata in 909 when the Fatimids invaded. The Kharijites remained at Sedrata until it was destroyed in ...

Article

R. Nath

Site 8 km from Agra in Uttar Pradesh, India. It was apparently first developed in the reign of Sultan Sikandar Lodi (reg 1489–1527), after whom it was named. Although a number of ruined structures from the Lodi period are reputed to survive in the area, the site is known principally for the tomb of the Mughal emperor ...

Article

M. Kramarovsky

Site in the Crimea 85 km east of Symferopol’. Lying at the foot of Mt Agarmysh, which marks the north-east end of the second Crimean Ridge, the town was the administrative centre of the Mongols in the Crimean peninsula (Taurica). It reached its apogee in the late 13th century and first half of the 14th and until the 16th century controlled the steppe route from the east coast of the Crimea into the heart of the continent. Its convenient geographical position, combined with its function as a regional capital that minted its own coinage from the 1260s to the 1420s, made the town part of the extensive trade carried on by the Golden Horde with southern Europe, the Levant, Anatolia, Central Asia, Iran and the Delhi sultanate....