Sacred Precincts

The Religious Architecture of Non-Muslim Communities Across the Islamic World


This book examines non-Muslim religious sites, structures and spaces in the Islamic world. It reveals a vibrant portrait of life in the religious sites by illustrating how architecture responds to contextual issues and traditions. Sacred Precincts explores urban context; issues of identity; design; construction; transformation and the history of sacred sites and architecture in Europe, the Middle East and Africa from the advent of Islam to the 20th century. It includes case studies on churches and synagogues in Iran, Turkey, Cyprus, Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia, Morocco and Malta, and on sacred sites in Nigeria, Mali, and the Gambia.

With contributions by Clara Alvarez, Angela Andersen, Karen Britt, Karla Britton, Jorge Manuel Simão Alves Correia, Elvan Cobb, Daniel Coslett, Mohammad Gharipour, Mattia Guidetti, Suna Güven, Esther Kühn, Amy Landau, Ayla Lepine, Theo Maarten van Lint, David Mallia, Erin Maglaque, Susan Miller, A.A. Muhammad-Oumar, Meltem Özkan Altınöz, Jennifer Pruitt, Rafael Sedighpour, Ann Shafer, Jorge Manuel Simão Alves Correia, Ebru Özeke Tökmeci, Steven Thomson, Heghnar Watenpaugh, Alyson Wharton and Ethel S. Wolper.

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Mohammad Gharipour, Ph.D. (2009), Georgia Institute of Technology, is Associate Professor of Architecture at Morgan State University. He is the author and editor of several books including Persian Gardens and Pavilions: Reflections in History, Poetry and the Arts (I.B.Tauris, 2013), Calligraphy in the Muslim World (Edinburgh University Press, 2013), and The Bazaar in the Islamic City (American University Press, 2012). He is the founding editor of the International Journal of Islamic Architecture.
"... a timely and sorely needed compilation of essays that accounts for the long-standing history and complexity of pluralism within many Muslim-majority cities and contexts throughout the world... Without question, texts from this vitally important volume should not only be read by specialists, but assigned in every introductory art historical, theological, historical, or anthropological course that even touches on Islam, for these essays are the interlocutors that can simultaneously dismantle the logic of both Islamophobia and radicalism through innumerable historical exemplars of coexistence. Within the existing body of scholarship in architectural history and urban studies, this volume expands our knowledge of the vibrant pluralism and religious and ethnic diversity of cities throughout the Islamic world, while productively obliterating the Orientalist, monolithic conception of the "Islamic city." - Nancy Demerdash-Fatemi, in: H-AMCA, H-Net Reviews, April (2017)
"... a volume beautiful enough to adorn my coffee table, yet useful enough to merit a place on my office book-shelf... [...] a fascinating volume for potential courses on World-Christianity, Christian-Muslim relations, or anthropology of religion, among other possibilities." - Lucina Allen Mosher, in: Anglican Theological Review 99/1

List of Figures


Preface: Non-Muslim Sacred Sites in the Muslim World
Mohammad Gharipour



1. Churches Attracting Mosques: The Architecture of Mosques in Early Islamic Syria
Mattia Guidetti

2. To Condone or To Contest? Ethnic Identity and Religious Architecture in The Gambia
Steven Thomson

3. Jigo: The Essence of the Non-Tangible Architecture of Hausa Traditional Religion
A.A. Muhammad-Oumar

4. Muslims Viewed as ‘Non-Muslims’: The Alevi Precincts of Anatolia
Angela Andersen

5. Identity and Style: Armenian-Ottoman Churches in the Nineteenth Century
Alyson Wharton

6. Apportioning Sacred Space in a Moroccan City: The Case of Tangier, 1860–1912
Susan Gilson Miller

7. Politics of Place in the Middle East and World Heritage Status for Jerusalem
Elvan Cobb


8. Devotional and Artistic Responses to Contested Space in Old Cairo: The Case of
Erin Maglaque

9. Sacred Geometries: The Dynamics of ‘Islamic’ Ornament in Jewish and
Coptic Old Cairo
Ann Shafer

10. Synagogues of Isfahan: The Architecture of Resignation and Integration
Mohammad Gharipour and Rafael Sedighpour

11. Gothic Portability: The Crimean Memorial Church, Istanbul, and the
Threshold of Empire
Ayla Lepine

12. A Catholic Church in an Islamic Capital: Historicism and Modernity in the
St Antoine Church
Ebru Özeke Tökmeci

13. Cultural Horizontality: Auguste Perret in the Middle East
Karla Britton


14. Through a Glass Brightly: Christian Communities in Palestine and Arabia
During the Early Islamic Period
Karen C. Britt

15. The Miracle of Muqattam: Moving a Mountain to Build a Church in
Fatimid Egypt
Jennifer Pruitt

16. The Catholic Consecration of an Islamic House: The St John de Matha
Trinitarian Hospital in Tunis
Clara Ilham Álvarez Dopico

17. Armenian Merchant Patronage of New Julfa’s Sacred Spaces
Amy Landau and Theo Maarten van Lint

18. The Tofre Begadim Synagogue and the Non-Muslim Policy of the Late
Ottoman Empire
Meltem Özkan Altınöz

19. (Re)Creating a Christian Image Abroad: The Catholic Cathedrals of
Protectorate-Era Tunis
Daniel Coslett


20. Khidr and the Politics of Translation in Mosul: Mar Behnam, St George and
Khidr Ilyas
Ethel Sara Wolper

21. Muslim Influences in Post-Muslim Malta: The Hal Millieri Church
David Mallia

22. St Sophia in Nicosia, Cyprus: From a Lusignan Cathedral to an Ottoman
Suna Güven

23. Maribayasa: Negotiating Gold, Spirits, and Islamic Renewal in a Malian
Islamic Borderland
Esther Kühn

24. Building as Propaganda: A Palimpsest of Faith and Power in the Maghreb
Jorge Correia

25. The Cathedral of Ani, Turkey: From Church to Monument
Heghnar Watenpaugh


Appendix 1: Glossary

Appendix 2: Bibliographies

Appendix 3: About the Contributors

Recommended for architectural historians and art historians, area specialists, and religious studies scholars.
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