The biography of a city: Jerusalem

S. Sebag Monefiore, Jerusalem: the biography, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London 2011. Jerusalem: The biography by Simon Sebag Montefiore was one of those books that had been in my reading list for months, literally months, before I decided to read it. This has much to do with the material size of the book: 406 pages with…

The tombstone for Anna: the symbol of a Medieval melting pot

Medieval Sicily has always fascinated me. Not long ago I wrote the review for a short web series, Indictus, that loosely tells the story of the Norman conquest of Islamic Sicily. After the review was published, I got in touch with the director and the screenwriter and we started working on a small project (in Italian) whose…

Waiting for 2018: the books of the future

At the end of the year, I like looking back at what I missed (and should not have), but also checking what to expect next. This is why I’ve decided to devote a post to the forthcoming publications about Islamic art and architecture that will be published in 2018, or at least in the first months…

2017: the books you shouldn’t have missed

End of the year: time to look back and see what you have done this 2017. Among the many things, it’s also good to think about the books that have been published and that you should not have missed. And if you have, it’s not a big deal: there is always time to buy a…

The Friday Mosque of Herat: photos of changes

For seven centuries the people of Herat have prayed in it. They still do so, and its history is their history. On the 25th of November 1933, after nearly two months into his journey in Iran and Afghanistan, Robert Byron finally visited his first Friday Mosque: the Masjid-i Jami’ of Herat. And it happened apparently…

Vikings and Square Kufic?

On the 3rd of October, the University of Uppsala published an article that was to generate much discussion on the social media. The title of the article was pretty sensationalistic, as it claimed that the words Allah and ‘Ali were written in Square Kufic on woven bands of silk in burial costumes found in Viking Age…

“Lost Islamic History”, by F. Alkhateeb

F. Alkhateeb, Lost Islamic History. Reclaiming Muslim Civilization from the Past, Hurst & Company, London 2014. Lost Islamic History is a famous blog, greatly followed by people interested in the history of Islam and of Muslim communities through ages. It is not specialized in one particular topic, and actually it provides information on different subjects, from…