Lecture Architecture

A History of Fatimid Military Architecture: Ifriqiya, Misr and Bilad al-Sham

Public Lecture by Dr Stéphane Pradines (AKU-ISMC)

When we talk about Fatimid military architecture, we think of the monumental gates of Cairo. But is Cairo representative of Fatimid fortifications? How has our knowledge been built around this single example? The first part of the lecture looks at Fatimid architectural remains in North Africa: al-Mahdiya, Sabra al-Mansûriya and Syrte.Dr Pradine will then examine the Middle Eastern fortifications attributed to the Fatimid period: Tur, Ascalon, Kafr Lam and Minat al-Qal’a. Finally, he will complete this inventory on the borders of Egypt: Alexandria and Aswan. 

The second part of the lecture will focus on the fortifications of Cairo, with a detailed study of the walls of Gawhar (969-971), Badr al-Gamali (1087-1092) and Saladin (1169-1171). Dr Pradine will show how that the Fatimids and the Seljuks shared the same architectural traditions with flanking quadrangular towers, as in Damascus, Bosra and Baalbek. Such research, it is hoped, will allow scholars to define a Fatimid military architecture which has too long been forgotten or confined simply to the gates of Cairo. 

Dr Stéphane Pradines is an Associate Professor at AKU-ISMC and received his PhD in Islamic Archaeology from the Sorbonne University, France. Since 2000, he has been the Director of the Excavations of the Fatimid and Ayyubid Walls of Cairo, Egypt. He has previously worked in Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Senegal, Lebanon and Syria.

His research focuses on Islamisation and trade on the Swahili Coast and on war and fortifications in Islamic Egypt.

The lecture will take place in room 2.3, Level 2 (13.00-14.00)

For more information please contact ismc.shortcourses@aku.edu​​