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Article

Absalon  

John-Paul Stonard

[Eshel, Meir]

(b Tel Aviv, Dec 26, 1964; d Paris, Oct 10, 1993).

Israeli sculptor. He adopted the name Absalon on his arrival in Paris in the late 1980s. During his short career he achieved widespread recognition for the 1:1 scale architectural models that he constructed of idealized living units. These wooden models, painted white, demonstrate an obsession with order, arrangement and containment, and have associations both of protective shelters and monastic cells. They were designed to be placed in several cities and to function as living-pods for the artist as he travelled. Exhibiting a series of six ‘cellules’ in Paris in 1993, he described how they were fitted both to his body and to his mental space, but were also able to condition the movements of his body in line with their idealized architecture. Although he denied their apparent utopianism, the sculptures can be viewed as the reduction of the utopian aims of early modern architecture (as seen in the work of the Constructivists, de Stijl and Le Corbusier) to the level of individual subjectivity. This suggests both the failure of architectural social engineering and its inevitable basis in subjective, anti-social vision. Absalon’s habitational units also have an element of protest. In an interview for the ...

Article

Jaromir Malek

Site of the ancient Egyptian sun temple of King Neuserre (reg c. 2416–c. 2392 bc), on the western bank of the Nile north-west of Abusir, almost opposite the southernmost suburbs of modern Cairo. The temple, called Shesepib re (‘joy of the sun god Re’), is situated at the edge of the Libyan Desert, in the area of the Memphite necropolis.

Six sun temples were built for the state sun god Re-Horakhty by the kings of the 5th Dynasty, but by the late 20th century only two had so far been located. The sun temple of Neuserre was excavated by Friedrich Wilhelm von Bissing in 1898–1901. Nearly all the reliefs were removed, mostly to German collections, and many perished during World War II. The temple was built mainly of limestone. It consists, from east to west, of the valley temple, causeway and upper temple. This arrangement is similar to that of pyramid complexes and suggests a generally accepted concept of a purpose-built temple during the Old Kingdom. A brick-built bark of the sun god was discovered near by....

Article

Peter Grossmann

[Abū Mīnā]

Site of a Christian city and pilgrimage centre in the Maryūt Desert, c. 45 km south-west of Alexandria, Egypt. It grew up around the shrine of St Menas, who was martyred during the persecution of the Christians instigated by Diocletian (reg 285–305). The ancient name of the site is not known, and the position of the saint’s grave had been long forgotten until, according to legend, several miracle cures led to its rediscovery. The place then quickly developed into an increasingly major centre of pilgrimage where, among other things, the so-called Menas ampules were manufactured as pilgrim flasks and achieved particular renown. The first excavations of the site were undertaken by Kaufmann in 1905–7. Further excavations have been directed successively by the Coptic Museum in Cairo (1951), Schläger (1963 and 1964), Wolfgang Müller-Wiener (1965–7) and Peter Grossmann (since 1969).

The earliest archaeological remains date to the late 4th century, although the grave itself was in an older hypogeum. The first martyrium basilica erected over the grave dates to the first half of the 5th century and was rapidly enlarged by various reconstructions and extensions. Around the turn of the 5th and 6th centuries, the Great Basilica was added to the east in the form of a transept-basilica, making it the largest church in Egypt (...

Article

R. G. Morkot

Site in Egypt, on the west bank of the Nile in Lower Nubia, 280 km south of Aswan. With the construction of the Aswan Dam in the early 1960s, the temple complex was one of a number of ancient monuments saved by being moved to a new site. Having been cut into pieces and reassembled, it now stands on the shores of Lake Nasser, 64 m higher and 180 m west of its ancient site. It is not known whether any small rock-cut chapels already existed at Abu Simbel, but inscriptions from the Middle Kingdom show that it was already an ancient sacred site when Ramesses II (reg c. 1279–c. 1213 bc) chose it for his most grandiose, and most famous, Nubian monument.

The construction of the Great and Small Temples of Abu Simbel began in the early years of Ramesses II, and they were completed by around the 25th year of his reign. The Great Temple (...

Article

Abydos  

John Baines

[anc. Egyp. Abdjw]

Egyptian site, c. 50 km south of Sohag, and necropolis of the ancient city of This (perhaps modern Girga), which was briefly the capital of the newly united Egypt in the Late Predynastic period (c. 3000–c. 2925 bc). As the country’s most ancient capital, it remained significant throughout Egyptian history, becoming the principal cult centre of Osiris, a funerary deity who embodied the tradition of kingship. From the later Middle Kingdom (c. 1750 bc), the Early Dynastic period (c. 2925–c. 2575 bc) royal necropolis was believed to contain the tomb of Osiris; because of this, it was visited by pilgrims until Roman times (30 bcad 395). Large cemeteries continued to accumulate, and they were characterized in the latest period by a distinctive Greco-Egyptian type of stele. These merged Egyptian and Classical styles with a largely Egyptian decorative repertory and were increasingly inscribed in Greek. Thus for two millennia Abydos was an important centre of non-royal art, as well as the location of major temples....

Article

Howard Crane

[Esir; ‛Alā’ al-Dīn ‛Alī ibn ‛Abd al-Karīm]

(b ?Tabriz; d Istanbul, c. 1537).

Ottoman architect. His epithets, acemi (Persian) and esir (prisoner), suggest that he was captured in the 1514 campaign against the Safavids of Iran by the Ottoman sultan Selim I (reg 1512–20). He served as chief imperial architect from at least September 1525 until March 1537. Works attributed to him include the mosque of Çoban Mustafa Pasha (1515) in Eskişehir, the complex of Çoban Mustafa Pasha in Gebze (1519–25) and the mosque and tomb of Selim I in Istanbul (1523). He also founded the Mimar Mosque and dervish hostel (Turk. zaviye), near the Mevlevihane Yeni Kapı in Şehremini, Istanbul, where he is buried. His style is marked by sound engineering and extreme eclecticism. The complex in Gebze, for example, was decorated with marble panelling in the style of Mamluk buildings in Egypt, while the mosque of Selim is a direct quotation of the mosque of Bayezid II in ...

Article

Howard Crane

(d Istanbul, Sept 1598).

Ottoman architect. He followed the standard career pattern for architects at the Ottoman court: recruited as a janissary, he studied architecture under Sinan (see Sinan) in the imperial palace in Istanbul, rose to the rank of superintendent of the water supply, the second ranking official in the corps of imperial architects, in 1576 and finally replaced his teacher as chief court architect in 1588. He also participated, presumably as a military engineer, in the campaign against Iran in 1583. He worked on various projects under Sinan’s direction, including the Selimiye Mosque (1569–75) in Edirne, the mosque (and probably the tomb) of Mehmed Ağa (1585) in the Çarşamba district of Istanbul and a hall and bath for the Yeni Saray. Davud Ağa’s own works in Istanbul include the Incili Kiosk (1589), the Septeciler Kiosk (1591), the complex of Sinan Pasha (...

Article

Howard Crane

(b Garmish, Berat, Albania; d Istanbul, c. 1660).

Ottoman architect. He followed the typical career path for an architect at the Ottoman court: recruited as a janissary, he was trained in the imperial palace in Istanbul before his appointment (by 1626–7) as chief court architect. Twice exiled because of court intrigues and the fall of fellow Albanian officials, he always managed to return to the capital. Although Kasım Ağa had general responsibility for all imperial foundations during his tenure as chief court architect (c. 1623–44 and 1645–51) and for many of the projects commissioned by senior members of the Ottoman ruling élite, his exact role in the design and execution of these projects is unclear. Works frequently credited to him personally include the Çinili complex (1640) at Üsküdar in Istanbul and the Revan and Baghdad kiosks (1635 and 1638) in the Tokapı Palace there. He is said to have completed the Sepetciler Kasrı (...

Article

Howard Crane

[Sedefkâr: ‘mother-of-pearl worker’]

(b Kalkandelen, western Macedonia or Ilbasan, Albania, c. 1550; d Istanbul, 1622).

Ottoman architect and worker in mother-of-pearl. He followed the typical career path of architects at the Ottoman court: recruited as a janissary (c. 1562), from 1569 to 1588 he studied architecture in the imperial palace under Sinan (see Sinan) and mother-of-pearl inlay under Usta Muhammed. He was appointed superintendent of the water supply, the second ranking official in the corps of imperial architects, in 1597 or 1598, and finally replaced Ahmed Dalgiç as chief court architect on 11 October 1606. Mehmed Ağa travelled extensively: appointed court gate-keeper in 1589–90, he went to Egypt on official business and returned via Syria and Anatolia, visiting the holy shrines along his route, and as inspector of fortresses and garrisons he was sent to the Balkans, Hungary and the Crimea. From 1593 to 1597 he also worked in the provincial administration of Diyarbakır, Damascus and Hawran.

According to his biographer Ca‛fer Efendi in the ...

Article

Howard Crane

[Meremetçi: ‘the Mender’]

(d Istanbul, c. 1665).

Ottoman architect. Known as the ‘Mender’, owing to his early career as a repairer and restorer, he was appointed chief imperial architect on the removal of Kasım Ağa in 1644, although he reportedly spent so much on building stables at Üsküdar for Ibrahim (reg 1640–48) that he was dismissed the following year. Reappointed in 1651, he was charged with the rebuilding of the Dardanelles fortresses at Çanakkale (1659–61). His major commission, executed between 1660 and 1663, was to complete the Yeni Valide Mosque at Eminönü in Istanbul, begun by Davud Ağa in 1594. Mustafa Ağa added its associated pavilion, public fountains, primary school, Koran school, the tomb of its founder and nearby Mısr Çarşı (Egyptian Bazaar). He supervised construction of the pavilion (Turk. kasr) of Davud Pasha (1665) and was responsible for the construction of the fountain (Turk. sebil) of Mustafa Ağa (...

Article

Lucy Der Manuelian

Island on Lake Van in south-eastern Turkey. It is the site of the church of the Holy Cross (Sourb Khatch), which was built in ad 915–21 as the palatine church of the Ardsruni king Gagik (reg 908–c. 943) of the Armenian kingdom of Vaspurakan. The church is of singular importance for the history of medieval art because of the form, content and iconography of its sculptural reliefs and wall paintings. It is the oldest surviving church almost entirely covered on the exterior with figural relief in stone (see Armenia, fig.).

According to information in a text of the late 18th century or early 19th and an inscription on the building’s façade now hidden by a gavit’ or assembly hall (1793; see Armenia, Republic of, §II), the church was built by the King’s Armenian architect Manuel (Lalayan, 1910). An anonymous continuator of the 10th-century ...

Article

A. V. Ikonnikov

(Ramazanovich)

(b Kurakr, Dagestan, Sept 15, 1929).

Turkmenian architect. He studied from 1948 to 1953 at the Azerbaijan Polytechnical Institute, Baku, with Mikael’ Useynov. His first buildings, in Turkmenia (now Turkmenistan), such as the district Waterworks Building (1954) above an artesian well in Archman and the building of the Ashkhabadstroy Trust (1956) in Ashkhabad, followed the neo-classical trend. In subsequent years he adopted a Rationalist approach, which combined adaptations to the extreme climatic conditions and cultural traditions of the republic. His first significant building, the Hotel Ashkhabad (1969), Ashkhabad, is distinguished by its bulk, which is emphasized by the deep chiaroscuro of its loggias and the powerful sculpting of the non-figurative reliefs on the terrace parapet. In the 1960s Akhmedov directed the planning of the centre of Ashkhabad, the focal point of which is a main square with irrigated flowerbeds. Its sides are defined by the isolated masses of the principal buildings designed by Akhmedov: the headquarters (...

Article

Mary Gough

[Koca Kalesi]

Early Christian monastery on the southern slopes of the Taurus Mountains in Isauria, part of the Roman province of Cilicia in south-western Turkey. It is some 300 m above the main road between Silifke (anc. Seleucia) and Konya (anc. Iconium), 21 km north of Mut (anc. Claudiopolis). From two funerary inscriptions, pottery and coins, the monastery may be securely dated to the reigns of two Isaurian emperors, Leo (reg ad 457–74) and Zeno (reg 474–91).

The monastery was originally founded in a series of caves in a limestone outcrop at the west end of a narrow mountain ledge. The largest of these caves contained two rock-cut churches. The ledge was later enlarged by quarrying to the north and by the construction of a retaining wall to the south. The earliest building, immediately to the east of the caves, was the three-aisled Basilica. It was originally lavishly decorated, both inside and out, with architectural sculpture in a flowing naturalistic style, including plant forms, birds and fishes; figures occur only on the jambs and lintel of the main doorway between the narthex and the central aisle. On the west side of the lintel is a head of Christ set in a circle supported by angels, and at each end of the lintel and on the doorposts are four busts in high relief, possibly of the Evangelists. On the inner faces of the jambs are full-length figures of the archangels Michael and Gabriel in flat relief, while on the underside of the lintel is a remarkable relief of the four ...

Article

Alamut  

Abbas Daneshvari

[Alamūt]

Mountainous valley in Iran, 35 km north-east of Qazvin, and the name of one of the fortresses that defended the valley. From 1090 to 1261 it was the main headquarters of the Nizari branch of the Isma‛ili Shi‛ites, a religious community organized on a military basis. Their rigid hierarchy, esoteric practices and use of terrorism encouraged the development of romantic tales about them. Reputed to use hashish, they became known in the West as ‘Assassins’ (Arab. hashhīshiyyīn). Like all Isma‛ili fortresses, Alamut is strategically located on rocky heights and has an elaborate storage system for water and provisions so that the fortress was never taken by force. It consists of two parts: a higher and larger western fort and an eastern one.

Enc. Iran. F. Stark: The Valley of the Assassins (London, 1934) W. Ivanow: Alamut and Lamasar (Tehran, 1950) P. Willey: The Castles of the Assassins (London, 1963)...

Article

(b Athribis, nr Benha, c. 1440 bc; d c. 1350 bc).

Ancient Egyptian architect and patron. Amenhotpe rose to prominence in his home town during the reign of Amenophis III (reg c. 1391–c. 1353 bc) as a royal scribe and chief of the priests of the local god Khentekhtai. About 1390 bc he moved to the royal court at Thebes and was rapidly promoted by Amenophis III to the position of chief royal architect, responsible for the whole process of temple construction, from quarrying to the sculpting of relief decoration, as well as the commissioning of royal statues. The full list of buildings for which Amenhotpe was architect is not known, but he certainly supervised the construction of a huge temple at Soleb near the second cataract of the Nile in Lower Nubia, where several of the reliefs depict him standing alongside the King during the temple consecration ceremony. He also built two tombs and a mortuary temple for himself on the west bank at Thebes (...

Article

Ian M. E. Shaw

[Nebmaatre]

(reg c. 1391–c. 1353 bc). Egyptian ruler and patron. He reigned in the late 18th Dynasty (c. 1540–c. 1292 bc), a time of great national peace and prosperity. Amenophis III was a prolific builder: it was during his reign that Amenhotpe, the greatest Egyptian architect since Imhotep, rose to a position of power and influence as ‘Overseer of all the King’s Works’.

Although Amenophis III constructed numerous temples, from Memphis and Bubastis in the north of Egypt to Soleb and Sedeinga in the south (see Nubia, §III), only a small number of these have survived. His mortuary temple, built in fine white limestone on the west bank of the Nile at Thebes, must have been one of the most impressive buildings of the time, but it was systematically dismantled in the 19th Dynasty (c. 1292–c. 1190 bc). Only a few items of sculpture and stelae have been preserved from it, notably the celebrated ‘...

Article

Claude Vandersleyen

[Amenemhet III; Nymaatre]

Egyptian ruler. Both architecture and sculpture have survived from his reign in the 12th Dynasty (for chronological chart of Egyptian kings see Egypt, ancient, fig.). He built two pyramids, one at Dahshur and the other at Hawara in the Faiyum region, where is also a small temple, finished by Ammenemes III’s successor, Ammenemes IV; the reliefs in this temple have not been published in detail. Some reliefs of Ammenemes III were also found at Abydos (Philadelphia, U. PA, Mus.); they display little of the quality and interest of the reliefs of his predecessor, Sesostris III.

There are more than 50 statues and heads of Ammenemes III, easily identifiable because of his distinctive physiognomy. As with the statues of Sesostris III, they appear to correspond to various ages of the King; however, this progression is probably complicated by wider variations of style and dimensions. The characteristic traits of these heads are large eyes (always serious and impassive), exceptionally large ears and a nose that is far less prominent than that of Sesostris III and hooks back into the face after the bump of the nasal bone. His mouth has thick, curled lips, the corners of which turn up to end against fleshy protuberances. The cheek-bones are very high and wide and are cut by a wrinkle leaving the inside corner of the eye at an angle of 45°....

Article

Thomas E. Russo

(b Tralles; fl early 6th century ad). Greek architect, scientist and mathematician. Together with Isidoros of Miletus he was engaged by Justinian I (reg ad 527–565) to design Hagia Sophia (see Istanbul, §III, 1, (ii), (a)). Prokopios (Buildings, I.i.24) called him ‘the most learned man in the skilled craft which is known as the art of building’ and described the dome of Hagia Sophia as ‘suspended from heaven’ (...

Article

Apadana  

Michael Roaf

Term from Old Persian used to describe a distinctive type of building, found in the royal Achaemenid Persian palaces at Susa and Persepolis. It has a square columned hall with six rows of six columns and three columned porticos, each with two rows of six columns. Apadanas are thought to have been audience halls for the king and his court and for the reception of foreign vassals and ambassadors. The word is found in inscriptions of Darius II (reg 423–405 bc) and of Artaxerxes II (reg 404–359 bc) from Susa and from Hamadan, the old Median capital city, which was used as a royal residence by the Achaemenid kings. One of the texts from Susa was carved on the column bases of a building of this type constructed by Darius I (reg 521–486 bc) and restored by Artaxerxes II. A building of a similar size and with the same arrangement of stone columns, many of which stand ...

Article

Hasan-Uddin Khan

(b Tehran, March 9, 1939).

Iranian architect, urban planner and writer. He studied architecture at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh (BA, 1961) and at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (March, 1962). He worked in several firms in the USA, including Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, before returning to Iran to work for the National Iranian Oil Company (1964–6). In 1966 he became Design Partner for Iran’s largest archictectural firm, Abdul Aziz Farman Farmaian & Associates, in Tehran, and in 1972 he set up his own practice in Tehran, the Mandala Collaborative. Ardalan, whose work ranges from private residences to master plans for new towns, is one of the most important architects to emerge from Iran in the recent past. His work reflects his particular concern for cultural and ecological aspects of architecture; in Iran it is strongly rooted in an understanding of the traditions and forms of Iranian Islam, although his buildings are in a totally contemporary idiom. Perhaps his best-known work is the Iran Centre for Management Studies (...