Publication date:25 March 2005
Length of book:272 pages
During the nineteenth century, Cairo witnessed once of its most dramatic periods of transformation. Well on its way to becoming a modern and cosmopolitan city, by the end of the century, a 'medieval' Cairo had somehow come into being. While many Europeans in the nineteenth century viewed Cairo as a fundamentally dual city—physically and psychically split between East/West and modern/medieval—the contributors to the provocative collection demonstrate that, in fact, this process of inscription was the result of restoration practices, museology, and tourism initiated by colonial occupiers. The first edited volume to address nineteenth-century Cairo both in terms of its history and the perception of its achievements, this book will be an essential text for courses in architectural and art history dealing with the Islamic world.
Making Cairo Medieval will fascinate any scholar who cares about cities, their histories, their transformations, and efforts to control them. It was French specialists and amateurs at the 1867 Paris Exposition who first designated a specific area as 'Islamic Cairo,' though Cairenes soon became active agents. While historic preservation was the ostensible goal, artistic classifications, historical knowledge, cultural hierarchies, urban design, property ownership, tourism, and colonial power all played a role, giving a distinct orientalist tone to the enterprise. The essays offer an illuminating variety of perspectives on the cultural, architectural, political, economic, and intellectual intentions and effects of this immense, ongoing urban project.