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Article

Judith McKenzie, Gordon Campbell, R. R. R. Smith, Wiktor A. Daszewski, A. H. Enklaar, Dominic Montserrat, C. Walters and Wladyslaw B. Kubiak

Reviser Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

Egyptian city situated on the Mediterranean coast west of the delta of the River Nile, capital of Egypt from c. 320 bc to ad 642, seaport and centre of ancient Greek culture.

Alexandria was founded in 331 bc by Alexander, on the site of the small Egyptian settlement of Rhakotis. Its location, with access by canal to the River Nile, enabled it to become an important and highly prosperous trading centre, and by ...

Article

Amman  

Adnan Hadidi, Alastair Northedge, Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

Capital of the kingdom of Jordan and site of a city that flourished between the 2nd millennium bc and the 14th century ad. The site lies in a fertile, well-watered area in the tableland to the east of the River Jordan, on the biblical King’s Highway (the ancient Roman Via Nova Traiana), which ran from Bosra in the north to the Red Sea in the south....

Article

Anjar  

Hafez K. Chehab

Late Antique and early Islamic settlement in the Beqa‛a Valley of Lebanon, 56 km east of Beirut. Excavations since 1953 have revealed a cardinally orientated rectangular enclosure (370×310 m) with dressed stone walls. Each side has regularly spaced half-round towers and a central gate. Two colonnaded avenues intersecting at right angles under a tetrapylon link the gates, a plan recalling that of Roman foundations in the Levant and in North Africa. Within the enclosure are the remains of two palaces and the foundations of three others in stone and hard mortar, as well as a mosque, two baths (one paved with mosaics) and a well. The western area has streets intersecting at right angles and housing units with private courts, and the eastern area has open fields beyond the palaces and mosque. The construction of the greater palace in alternating courses of stone and brick is a technique well known in Byzantine architecture. Reused architectural elements from the Roman and early Christian periods, some bearing Greek inscriptions, are found all over the site. A large quantity of archivolts and mouldings, carved with vegetal, geometrical and figural motifs, was found among the ruined palaces. Texts suggest that Anjar was founded in the time of the Umayyad caliph al-Walid (...

Article

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

Aswan  

Edda Bresciani

Egyptian city at the northern end of the first Nile cataract, c. 900 km south of Cairo. The modern town chiefly stretches along the eastern bank of a sandstone valley, which also contains numerous islands formed by the granite outcrops of the cataract; its ancient monuments are found on both the east and west banks and on some of the islands....

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

Iranian scholar of Persian art. After graduating from the Dar al-Moallemin in Tehran in 1931, he worked at the court of Riza Pahlavi (r. 1925–41) until 1934, when he was sent to study art and archaeology in Europe. There, he studied at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris and under ...

Article

A platform projecting from a wall, above ground level, enclosed by a railing or balustrade, supported on brackets or columns or cantilevered from the wall. Balconies merge interior and exterior spaces and they are naturally a common architectural feature of warmer countries, many of them Islamic. Wooden balconies projecting at upper levels and constructed with latticed screens to ensure privacy but allow air circulation were a feature of Islamic domestic architecture in many countries, and specific types developed in particular areas over time, such as the wooden screen known as ...

Article

Balkh  

City in northern Afghanistan, believed to be the site of Bactra, capital of ancient Bactria, and a major city in the province of Khurasan during the Islamic period. Located on a fertile plain, Balkh commanded trade routes between India, China, Turkestan and Iran. It was already a wealthy city under the Achaemenid dynasty (...

Article

Kirk Ambrose

Lithuanian art historian, scholar of folklore and Egyptology, and diplomat of Russian birth. Son of the celebrated Lithuanian Symbolist poet of the same name, Jurgis Baltrušaitis II studied under Henri(-Joseph) Focillon at the Sorbonne and earned the PhD in 1931. The concerns of his mentor are evident in ...

Article

Bam  

Abbas Daneshvari

Town in the province of Kirman, southern Iran, on an important route skirting the southern fringes of the Dasht-i Lut Desert. The old walled city was founded in the Sasanian period (ad 224–632) and flourished until the 18th century; its ruins stand 0.5 km east of the present town of Bam, founded in ...

Article

Stephen Hill

English archaeologist and architectural historian. The first woman to achieve a first-class honours in modern history at Oxford University, she travelled widely in Europe, Japan and especially the Middle East in the 1890s, achieving fluency in a number of European languages as well as in Persian, Turkish and Arabic. She developed an interest in archaeology and architecture that was reflected in an authoritative set of articles on the Early Byzantine churches of Syria and southern Turkey, based on her travels in ...

Article

Oleg Grabar

Epigrapher and historian of Islamic art and archaeology. Born to a well-to-do and intellectually active Genevan family of bankers (the scholar of linguistics Ferdinand de Saussure (1857–1913) was a cousin), van Berchem was educated as a philologist and historian in Geneva, Germany and France. He combined the intellectual traditions of France and Germany and belonged to a supranational brotherhood of wealthy scholars independent of political or other contingencies. In ...

Article

Bosra  

K. Freyberger and Solange Ory

Town in southern Syria, 110 km south-east of Damascus. Originally an Arab settlement, it came under Nabataean rule after 144 bc. After being annexed by the emperor Trajan in ad 106 it became the capital city of the Roman province of Arabia; most of its ancient remains date from this period. Bosra was an important Christian city in the Late Byzantine period; it was captured by the Muslim Arabs in ...

Article

Bukhara  

N. B. Nemtseva

City in Uzbekistan.

The development of irrigation on the lower reaches of the Zarafshan River in the 1st millennium bc allowed the population of the region to expand, and the earliest settlement levels at the site of Bukhara are datable to the 5th–2nd century bc...

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

Burana  

V. D. Goryacheva

Medieval site 12 km south of Tokmak and 6 km from Ak-Beshim in the eastern part of the Chu Valley in northern Kyrgyzstan. Identified with Balasaghun, the capital of the Qarakhanid dynasty (reg 940–1211), Burana takes its name from the surviving minaret (10th–11th century) called ...

Article

Chach  

Yu. F. Buryakov

Ancient state centred on the Tashkent Oasis on the north bank of the Syr River in Uzbekistan. From medieval times its chief city has been known increasingly as Tashkent. Although the small domain of Chach was assimilated by a semi-nomadic state in the first centuries ...

Article

A. G. Gertsen

Medieval site 3 km south-east of Bakhchisaray in the Crimea, Ukraine. The site was probably founded in the 6th century ad. The Alan burial ground (6th–9th century) is located in the Mar’yam-dere gorge outside the site. The settlement was first mentioned at the end of the 13th century under the name Kirk-yer (‘Forty fortifications’). Set on the top of a sheer promontory, the site covers 38 ha, of which 16 ha were once occupied. It is divided into three parts: Burunchak, the western part of the plateau that remains unbuilt; the Old Town, which grew up in the second half of the 14th century beside the medieval Middle Wall that cut across the plateau at its narrowest point; and the New Town, which sprang up in front of the Middle Wall in the 15th century and was protected by another wall with three towers and a deep ditch in front. In ...

Article

Damghan  

Chahryar Adle

Town on the road to Mashhad in northern Iran, 344 km east of Tehran. On the southern edge of the modern town are the ruins of the prehistoric site of Hissar, Tepe. Of the numerous Parthian and Sasanian sites near Damghan, the most important is ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

Austrian historian of Byzantine, Islamic and Indian art. He studied art history and archaeology at the universities of Vienna and Graz and in 1902 completed his doctorate at Graz under Josef Strzygowski and Wilhelm Gurlitt, a study of the paintings in a manuscript of Dioskurides’ ...