“It was under the influence of the Arabs and Moorish revival of culture and not in the 15th century, that a real renaissance took place.” – Robert Briffault, The Making of Humanity
There are over 600 listed monuments in Historic Cairo, and one can enjoy the richness of its history and the diversity of architectural styles that span some one thousand years of history. But beyond the monuments and the markets, the streets of Islamic Cairo conceal yet another realm that only those who know its history can appreciate: in these very same streets and corners, we will trace the footsteps of some of the greatest minds that ever walked this city. The golden age of the Islamic civilization is generally considered to extend over the period from the ninth to the fourteenth century, and Cairo was one of the major destinations for tens of intellectuals from as far to the west as al-Andalus to as far to the east as Central Asia. In this series, we examine their legacy, both in the streets of the old city and in the works that they left.
This is the first story, that of Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen), forming part of a series that I wrote and that is being published in Ahram Online: