The Arabesque in Cairo’s Islamic Architecture | HBKU
Hamad Bin Khalifa University


The Arabesque in Cairo’s Islamic Architecture

  • 06:30 PM - 09:00 PM
  • College of Islamic Studies
  • Auditorium, Minaretein (College of Islamic Studies building), Education City

The event will be held in English, with simultaneous Arabic interpretation.

The arabesque was a common design used in the architecture of Islamic Cairo. From the early periods of its history, during the Tulunid period, it was used on stucco, being directly inspired by those of Samarra in Iraq. 

Subsequently, after the fall of the Tulunids in the early 10th century, it continued to appear within a range of different trades, and was often inscribed on stone and not as individual patterns. In the centuries that followed, it reached the highest levels of sophistication. 

This lecture will discuss the birth and growth of the arabesque in Cairo's Islamic architecture. It will also follow its unique movements between architectural elements in Islamic Cairo. 

Additionally, the discussion will highlight the arabesque relative to the different styles of decorations – from the Tulunid period, to the Ikhshidid, Fatimid, Ayyubid, Mamluk and early Ottoman periods.


Dr. Tarek Swelim, 
Associate Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture, 
College of Islamic Studies, HBKU