Minarets have defined Cairo’s skyline since its early history: they are one of the most characteristic features of Islamic architecture. In Egypt, where civilizations have manifested themselves through awe-inspiring structures since antiquity, "a thousand minarets" reveal the impact of Islamic civilization and urban aesthetics. The Minarets of Cairo offers an accessible and vivid insight into the religious, historical and architectural significance of the minaret in Cairo from the Arab Conquest, through the Abbasid, Fatimid, Mamluk and Ottoman periods. Students and scholars will welcome historian and art historian Doris Behrens-Abouseif’s excellent new research and analysis as well as over one hundred illustrated entries for individual minarets, brought to life by Nicholas Warner’s masterly architectural drawings and reconstructions. With nearly three hundred illustrations, this beautiful book provides depth and colour, displaying to full effect historic Cairo’s most impressive monuments.
'The first half of the book where she deals with the adhan, muezzin, function and use and evolution of the various styles will be of value to anyone, Muslim or non-Muslim, who is interested in one of the most ubiquitous of all Muslim 'signs' - the minaret. Professor Behrens-Abouseif's wide-ranging scholarship is reflected in these chapters as they carry the discussion of the role, function, symbolism and history of the minaret far beyond that of Cairo. On the other hand, the second half on the specific minarets of Cairo will establish this book as the basic reference for any future work on Cairo's numerous minarets.' - Jere Bacharach, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Washington; 'Professor Behren's-Abouseif has produced a book that combines her encyclopaedic knowledge of the sources with impressive art-historical expertise. In the introductory chapters [she] has been able to add much new information from the contemporary chronicles that expand the social and political context of the monuments and of those who used them and the way in which they were used. The analysis of the monuments here is sharpened by the extra material she has added in the form of minarets that have disappeared but which are represented in earlier drawings or photography, pinpointing their location and patrons. Equally useful has been her careful combing of the Comite publications for evidence of what is original and what is later restoration.' - Bernard O'Kane, Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture at the American University in Cairo; 'Professor Behrens-Abouseif's The Minarets of Cairo - is a remarkable work, combining architectural history, cultural history, religious history and ethnography to explain the unique importance of the minarets of pre-Ottoman Cairo. It is lucidly written and, although addressed to specialists, will appeal to students of the non-specialist reader. It is copiously illustrated and since quite a few minarets have disappeared in the past century, its use of archival photographs to document these makes it particularly valuable. These are supplemented by its drawings of each minaret (many of them isometric), which are an historic document in themselves, for they clearly indicate restorations to the original fabric. It will become a standard work of reference.' - Professor J.M. Rogers, Honorary Curator of the Khalili Collection, formerly of the British Museum and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London