Islamic Art History: A Focus on Cairo

Within sight of the ever-growing megalopolis of Cairo rises the world famous Great Pyramid of Giza. Yet, Cairo is so much more than that. Since its founding by the Fatimid Dynasty in 969 AD, it has been the center of the Islamic world and seat of several important medieval dynasties, reaching its apogee in the 14th century under the Mamluks. These empires left behind a staggering plethora of impressive buildings that are representative of this complex and expansive history, lending Cairo the nickname of the “City of 1,000 Minarets.” Today, more than 400 extant historic Islamic monuments survive, tucked away amid the modern urban sprawl. A trail of richly decorated artifacts from this time are found in situ and in museums around the world. They, unfortunately, remain largely overshadowed by their more ancient counterparts. Cairo has served as the cultural, political, and social capital of the Middle East and North Africa; as the seat of a significant 19th-century British colonial enclave; and as a hotbed for revolutionary activity. All of this has influenced the architectural character of this quintessential Islamic city, one that returned to our imagination in the wake of the 2011 uprising that led to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

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You'll Walk Away with

  • Familiarity with important sites and architectural masterpieces in Cairo
  • An understanding of Cairo’s importance in the history and development of Africa and the Middle East

Ideal for

  • Art enthusiasts
  • Prospective and practicing art professionals
NO open sections available for this course at the moment. Please check back next semester.