The Citadel of Cairo: A New Interpretation of Royal Mamluk Architecture

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This architectural history of the Citadel of Cairo uses indices from maps, photographs, plans of hitherto unstudied structures, and a large array of historical documents to chronologically reconstruct the Citadel's development from its foundation by Salah al-Din until it reached its most monumental form in the middle of the fourteenth century.
The study analyzes the influence of Mamluk socio-political hierarchy on the conceptualization of the Citadel's spaces and forms; assesses its impact on medieval Cairo; proposes a new interpretation for the development of Mamluk royal architecture; and presents new definitions for a number of medieval architectural terms.
By weaving the history of the Citadel together with the history of Cairo and the Mamluk system, this book is relevant to historians of architecture and urbanism and medieval historians.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Far more than just a chronology of architectural remains, Rabbat's book is an exploration into the very fabric of Mamluk culture, written in the best historicist tradition.'
Yasser Tabbaa, ARS Orientalis, 1996.
'The great merit of this book is its approach, which always connects the architecture with its social and historical setting, seeking the function it was created to fulfill and the circumstances that accompanied its evolution, making it intelligible and interesting.'
Doris Behrens-Abouseif, Mamlūk Studies Review, 1997.
'...this book is a significant contribution to the field of military architecture and more generally to our understanding of the Mamluks.'
Nelly Hanna, MESA Bulletin, 1996.
'The meticulous and exhaustive scholarship shows that the author has read and examined everything and forgotten nothing. Specialists in Mamluk history will now be able to localize activities mentioned in their sources, and architectural historians will profit from learned and exhaustive disquisitions on architecture and architectural vocabulary during the early Mamluk period.'
Jonathan M. Bloom, Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1997.
This book does more than meticulously reconstruct an impressive monument over the centuries of its development. It restores a life a bygone age through the evocation of its architectural heritage.
Carl F. Petry, Journal of Economic and Social History of the Orient, 1998.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789004101241
  • Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/1/1995
  • Series: Islamic History and Civilization Series, #14
  • Pages: 339
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 9.74 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Meet the Author

Nasser O. Rabbat, Ph.D. (1991) in Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is Associate Professor of the History of Architecture at MIT. He has published extensively on early and medieval Islamic architecture, institutions, and urbanism. His dissertation, upon which this book is based, received the 1991 Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award.
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Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Plates
List of Short References to Frequently Cited Works
Note on Transcription and Dates
1 Whence the Citadel 1
2 The Citadel Today 18
3 The Ayyubid Sultanate Acquires a New Center 50
4 The Early Mamluk Period 90
5 The Citadel under Qalawun and al-Ashraf Khalil 132
6 The Citadel in al-Nasir Muhammad's Reign: First Construction Period (1310-25) 181
7 The Citadel in al-Nasir Muhammad's Reign: Second Construction Period (1333-41) 229
8 The Citadel and the Mamluk System 283
Glossary 297
A Note on the Primary Sources 305
Bibliography 311
Index 327
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