Synopses & Reviews
The small sabil-kuttab (a charitable foundation particular to Cairo that combines a public water dispensary with a Quranic school) built in 1760 opposite the venerated Sayida Zeinab Mosque is almost unique in Cairo: it is one of only two dedicated by a reigning Ottoman sultan, and--astonishingly--it is decorated inside with blue-and-white tiles from Amsterdam depicting happy scenes from the Dutch countryside. Why did the sultan, Mustafa III, cloistered in his Istanbul palace, decide to build a sabil in Cairo? Why did he choose this site for it? How did it come to be adorned with Dutch tiles? What were the connections between Cairo, Istanbul, and Amsterdam in the middle of the eighteenth century? The authors answer these questions and many more in this entertaining and beautifully illustrated history of an extraordinary building, describing also the recent conservation efforts to preserve it for posterity.
About the Author
is a conservation architect and the author of Muhammad 'Ali Pasha and His Sabil
(with Khaled Fahmy, AUC Press, 2004) and The Building Crafts of Cairo
(AUC Press, 2005).
Jaroslaw Dobrowolski is an architect and the author of The Living Stones of Cairo (AUC Press, 2001). A husband-and-wife team, they also authored Heliopolis: Rebirth of the City of the Sun (AUC Press, 2006).
Table of Contents
ISTANBUL: THE SULTAN
Along the Nile, and on the Bosphorus
"Do not expect us to save the world which is being ruined"
Mustafa the Builder
CAIRO: THE SABIL
Architecture as a Message
"God has purified you, O Sister of al-Husayn"
One Building, Different Histories
AMSTERDAM: THE TILES
The Delft Blue
Little Holland on a Different Canal
THE TALE OF A MUTE STORYTELLER
The Story of Ninety Thousand Days
Conservation: The Treatment
Conservation: The People