Lecture in Cairo: Mystery Night (14 Jul. 2016)‎

This is to announce my coming lecture in Cairo on the 14th of July 2016:‎

Course Title: Mystery Night (Unsolved Ancient Mysteries)

Course Language: Arabic (slides in English) ‎

Venue: 33 A Meqias al-Roda Street, 4th floor apt. 9.

Date: Thursday, 14 July 2016

Duration: 2 hours (8:00pm – 10:00pm)‎

Course Description: Since the dawn of time, mystery has always fueled our imagination. From the Nazca Lines to the Nebra Sky Disc, there are many mysteries yet to be solved, and this lecture presents some of the most mind-blowing cases. We will not talk about UFOs or paranormal activity; we will only discuss tangible objects and visible landmarks: the flying men of Tassili n’Ajjer, the Diquís Spheres of Costa Rica, the Cart Ruts of Malta, the Ubaid Lizard Men, and many other fascinating mysteries.

Speaker: Mohammed Elrazzaz holds an MA in Arts & Cultural Management from the Universitat ‎Internacional de Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain). He is Professor of Tools for Cultural ‎Management (since 2010) and Mediterranean Heritage (since 2015) at the same university. ‎He participated as speaker/lecturer in several international cultural conferences in Spain, Italy, ‎Denmark and Egypt. ‎

Course Fees: EGP 250 / person. ‎ The fee includes access to the PowerPoint ‎presentation (in pdf format). ‎ Voice and video recording not permitted.‎

Deadline for Reservation/Cancellation: ‎1 July 2016 (or as soon as the course is fully booked).‎

Please contact me for any further enquiries and for reservations:‎ vrazzaz@yahoo.com

Mystery night poster


Lecture Review: Al-Andalus as a Civilizing Bridge

It is always an incredible feeling to lecture at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina where once, in its original version, students and scholars gathered around the likes of Euclid, Ptolemy and Hypatia! Am I not, after all, a distant heir to their legacy?

“An orchard is a treasure if the gardener is a moor.” – Spanish Proverb

This phrase is a proper metaphor of the civilizing effect that the Muslim presence had on the Iberian Peninsula and beyond after they had conquered that part of the world in the VIII century, referring to it ever after as ‘al-Andalus’.

More than just a geographical denomination, al-Andalus eventually became synonymous with an extraordinary human condition, as people from different cultures and creeds came to forge a golden age whose zeitgeist was the coexistence and whose epitome was the Library of Cordoba.

From the introduction of new crops and irrigation techniques to the establishment of libraries, universities and observatories, one can hardly perceive the scale and scope of the unparalleled body of knowledge developed and bequeathed to us by generation after generation of Andalusi philosophers, mathematicians, physicians, botanists, astronomers, poets, and the list goes on. The names include Al-Majriti, Ibn Rushd (Averroes), al-Zarqali (Arzachel), al-Zahrawi (Albucasis), Ibn Zuhr, Ibn al-Baitar, Ibn Ammar, and countless other figures. It was in al-Andalus that Ziryab founded the first proper musical institute in Western Europe, the Umayyads founded Europe’s first paper mill in Xativa and its first silk workshop in Almeria, while Cordoba’s Library became the world’s second largest under the enlightened rule of al-Hakam II in the tenth century (second only to the House of Wisdom in Baghdad).

The cultural imprint of al-Andalus can still be seen today, not only in the Iberian Peninsula and the Maghreb, but also in some of the most unexpected parts of the world, like Latin America (where the Islamic mudejar style was introduced by the Spanish invaders) and Basin of the River Niger (which hosts one of the biggest collections of Andalusi manuscripts in the whole world).


Mediterranean Heritage Course Review

“Heritage distills the past into icons of identity.” – David Lowenthal

Our Mediterranean identity is inconceivable without our sea, and this was the starting point for today’s course on ‘Mediterranean Cultural Heritage’ that I gave at my place in Cairo.

Following an introduction to the Mediterranean from geographical, historical and cultural perspectives, we discussed the concept of cultural heritage and its typology (tangible and intangible, mobile and immobile), and then proceeded to talk about the Mediterranean Cultural Heritage with a focus on six areas, namely:

  1. Thought, Learning and Spirituality;
  2. Artistic and Literary Expression;
  3. Architecture and Urban Models;
  4. Intangible Heritage Domains;
  5. Industrial and Scientific Heritage;
  6. Documentary Heritage.

Epic poems, masterpieces of art and architecture, unique urban models, traditional crafts, extraordinary monuments, exotic elements of the folklore, cultural landscapes and heritage routes, rare books and illuminated manuscripts; the course covered so many aspects and elements of heritage from all 22 Mediterranean counties and their hinterland.

Logically, special emphasis was given to elements of the Egyptian heritage that appear on different UNESCO Heritage Lists (List of World Heritage Sites, List of Intangible Heritage, and Memory of the World Register). We ended the course with an overview of the main challenges, the key trends and the most heated debates related to cultural heritage in our part of the world.

Below are some slides from the PowerPoint presentation, many thanks to all those who joined and looking forward to the next course.


Intangible Heritage DomainsHeritage TypologyHeritage in Dangerffsw