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The Travelers of Al-Andalus, Ibn al-Shaykh and the lighthouse of Alexandria


Written by Maria Jesús Viguera Molins and Louis Werner Art by Belén Esturla Yusuf Ibn al-Shaykh al-Balawi was born in Málaga, on the southern coast of what is now Spain, in 1132, during the last years of the Almoravid dynasty’s rule in what was then Al-Andalus. He is known to have made only one trip outside his homeland, a pilgrimage …

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The Travelers of Al-Andalus, Ibn Hamid Al-garnati’s


Muhammad ibn Abd al-Rahman ibn Suleiman ibn Rabi al-Qaysi, known more conveniently to posterity as Abu Hamid Al-Garnati and so named after his hometown of Granada (“Garnata”), sailed, caravanned, traded and trekked from the Arab West to the northern- and easternmost reaches of the Islamic world and beyond. Born in the year 1080 under the last of the Zirid kings, …

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A Man of Two World


Written By Tom Verde In the “Northern Italian” room of Washington’s National Gallery of Art hangs a somber, dark-toned likeness of a young scholar entitled “Portrait of a Humanist.” Painted in Rome about 1520, the bearded, black-robed figure stands partially illuminated in a three-quarters pose. His dark eyes are fixed, his posture self-assured. His long, elegant hands seem well-suited to …

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Flights of Fantasy – Hezarafen Ahmed Celebi conquers Bosphorus strait, lives on 400 years later


The idea of human flight has always been fascinating. We’ve always looked at the birds, gazed upon the sky, been taken by the stars; never has a physical activity personified human ambition so perfectly. With modern context, it’s a little difficult to imagine the dreams and aspirations of aviation pioneers – their struggles, their failed experiments, their sacrifices, all for …

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