Cairo of the Mamluks

Doris Behrens-Abouseif


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During two and a half centuries of rule by Mamluk sultans, Cairo acquired some of its most impressive medieval architecture, including the historical monuments that today define the city’s architectural heritage. In this comprehensive work of analysis and description, Islamic art historian Doris Behrens-Abouseif highlights the most important factors in the evolution of Mamluk urban architecture, along with the social and political reasons for their patronage as builders of mosques, schools, hospitals, and mausolea. Copiously illustrated with color photographs and architectural plans, Cairo of the Mamluks highlights sixty of the most important Mamluk buildings in Cairo, in chronological order, from the mausoleum built by Shagar al-Durr, in honor of her late husband, the last Ayyubid ruler, to the magnificent madrasa of Sultan Hasan and the funerary complex of al-Ghuri, the last powerful Mamluk sultan. Long a scholar of Cairo’s historic architecture, Doris Behrens-Abouseif draws on Arabic chronicles as well as the latest in contemporary scholarship to offer a remarkably complete history of Cairo’s justly-famous monuments. DORIS BEHRENS-ABOUSEIF is professor of Islamic art and architecture at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. She is the author of several books, including Islamic Architecture in Cairo: An Introduction (AUC Press, 1998), and editor of Cairo Heritage: Essays in Honor of Laila Ali Ibrahim (AUC Press, 2001).