Damascus: Hidden Treasures of the Old City

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9780500282991: Damascus: Hidden Treasures of the Old City

Damascus, reputed to be the world's oldest continually inhabited city, has enjoyed a history of immense grandeur, enormous political and mercantile power, and great cultural and artistic achievement. In addition to some of Islam's most magnificent architecture, such as the Umayyad Mosque, the city boasts a heritage of fairy-tale palaces and sumptuous private houses. Sadly, many of them are in urgent need of restoration. Brigid Keenan and Tim Beddow have set out to record these priceless architectural gems and to reveal them to the world at large. They were given unprecedented access to the inner, "hidden" city, which has resulted in a book that will be of immense importance to all concerned with the heritage of architecture in the Islamic world. The text first sets the historical scene, describing the growth and fortunes of Damascus through the ages. It continues with an account of its architecture and way of life, and concludes with descriptions of individual houses and of the people who built and lived in them. The superb photographs include facades, courtyards, alleyways, and fountains, and the breathtaking interiors that often lie behind the unassuming walls of the old town, with exquisite details in stone, wood, paint, marble, plaster, glass, and mother-of-pearl. The whole forms a convincing and elegiac plea for the preservation of the heart of this historic ancient capital. 214 illustrations, 171 in color.

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About the Author:

Brigid Keenan is a freelance journalist who lived in Damascus for over five years. Tim Beddow is the photographer for Safari Style, also published by Thames & Hudson.

From Library Journal:

Damascus, considered by some scholars to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, was at times a renowned and wealthy capital and at times an occupied city. Each era brought changes in architecture, resulting in a city filled with magnificent palaces and luxurious homes. In 1979, UNESCO designated the Old City of Damascus a World Heritage site. However, the beauty is fading rapidly, and many buildings are in dire need of restoration. Keenan, a freelance journalist and longtime resident of Damascus, combined forces with photographer Beddow to provide this visual record of the ancient town and plead for the preservation of the heart of the city. They explore both public buildings and rarely seen private houses. Beddow's photographs are an eloquent homage to the varying architectural styles of old Damascus, and Keenan's accompanying text explores the history of Damascus as a city as well as the individual histories of its mosques, palaces, and private homes. Recommended for both academic and public libraries with either Middle Eastern or architecture collections.
-Mary Morgan Smith, Northland P.L., Pittsburgh
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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