historical islamic architecture

Stone Town, Zanzibar - Tanzania

Stone Town is a city rich in East African history, culture, and the arts. Its architecture, mostly dating back to the 19th century, reflects the diverse influences underlying the Swahili culture, with the East African culture being preeminent, there is a unique mixture of Arab, Persian, Indian and European elements. The name Stone Town comes from the ubiquitous use of coral stone to construct many of the buildings.


The famous Ortaköy Mosque, located on the coastal pier square, was originally built in the 18th century. Later, in the 19th century, the current mosque, ordered by Sultan Abdülmecid I and designed by architects (father and son) Garabet Amira Balyan and Nigogayos Balyan in Neo-Baroque style, was edificed between 1854 and 1856.

Boatmen in Eminonu, near Galata Bridge, the New Mosque in background. Istanbul. 1888-1910.The New Mosque in Istanbul is not that new, it was built in the 1600s.  It is situated on the Golden Horn at the southern end of the Galata Bridge.The beautiful exterior consists of a great courtyard, two slender minarets, and a cascade of domes tumbling down from a central dome.The interior is decorated with Iznik tile, gold and marble.

DAY 2539

Jalsa, Mumbai              Mar 28/29,  2015            Sat/Sun  12:40 am

A wedding in the family. An excursion across the seas. A revisit to a land that gave me so much love, I could not find space enough to store it. Back to homeland, another wedding for a sports well wisher and then working for Hepatitis B for the country for its awareness and detection and cure. A pause. Then to be decorated by the head of state, and the very next day a colleague, a gentle and simple lady, wishes presence at her region of religious importance. That over back home and prepare for a formal event on the nation and its ambassadorship. But wait there is another wedding celebration in the family, in between all this …

The schedule is endless, and many that consider for me, guide me to just stop and get off .. wipe out all the commitments and learn to say ‘NO’ .. means a lot when you se it in writing … means absolutely nothing when practiced .. Its a disaster ..

But that which keeps you still and guided and in constant involved state, is this .. is this … is this …

Turn to Twitter and the moment you wish to write your eyes travel to tha comment just before yours and then it enters your brain puts in in thought, and before you know it you have scrolled down to the next and the next and the next ..  

That really is a ‘bummer’ .. err .. right word to use ? I see it being bandied about often. I wonder if it is unparliamentary .. guide please ??

You know what it is ..? Its a desperate desire to be up with the Jones’s .. that, what is being made popular and succinct and ‘with it’, needs to be emulated and in a most desirable manner. Its not something that needs reprimand or correction, its something that you hear so often, that were you not to use it, you would possibly be slaved and bound out from common society.

So when your speed of expression is not commensurate with that of the others, when your thought process has delay written or spoken all over it, when the obvious is delivered with disdainful time lapse, when others in company would suddenly begin to seek messages and conversations on their smart phones, and not be listening to what you may have wanted reaction to … then … its time to realise the bracket that kept your inners in tact, needs to get out of the city to take in a few deep breathes … 

What may seem dismissive and curt and perhaps objectionable to a generation not in step with the young, is indeed the acceptance by this young brigade of conservation .. 

They need to conserve their energies for matters that require greater depth of intense involvement .. like … getting your brain to me haemorrhaged by the strains, if they can be addressed thus, of their latest mobile to ear phone device .. in MUSIC ..

What seems like a great amount of ‘head banging’ … right word ? … is more ‘in’ than a melody or a strain that emotionally moves those hairs, if any, on your forearms … you know the one that has something to do with a goose !!

Oh dear … some high end, high cc bike just went passed, blasting the society and the neighbourhood .. must be 1:10 am …!! Right is it not ? Yaaa .. its exactly that and its exactly that time of the night when MR Mobike rides past, thundering its exhausts to oblivion and beyond .. but have to say .. that thrust when on it, that thrust when in the Lamborghini or the Ferrari, is the biggest adrenalin kick in the entire world … that and the steed you ride in full gallop, either on a flat plain or better, when it energises itself over a slope to climb .. goodness .. its like you get off the seat and almost proclaim war on any kind of adversity …

Signed 80 copies of the grand edition of ‘Madhushala’ for one of my clients, even as we adhered to the call by the nation for the Earth Hour - a one hour electricity shut down voluntarily in the home … conservation again … !!! 

Its come to pass these difficult days, when multitasking is taking its toll .. on the mind, on the thinking, on the planning, on virtually everything that one gets involved in … so … the cure .. write it down, and act on whatever happens for the immediate .. put it aside and mentally decide to take care of it later … LATER !! and its gone .. you could revisit it quite by accident after a month or more … and by then its relevance has disappeared , or worse … some IMPORTANT DATES HAVE BEEN FORGOTTEN and curse and anger rides us all .. !! 

( hehehe .. love the reference to ‘ride’ again .. having talked of horses and steed and … ya )

Have been in the company of some friends and relatives who have been speaking endlessly of the beauty of Israel, of Georgia and the mountains, of Spain and some of the most historic monuments built in Islamic architectural genius, and the vast plains of Russia and the cold beyond cold of those regions, of the wonders of isolated islands in Bora Bora and Maldives and the Seychelles … tempting is it not … ??

But tomorrow its more south towards our own beaches in Goa for a wedding, and then the next day to the Pyramids of Giza and the historic cultural history of Egypt …

O … and the Ef that wants the details of Cairo .. do not fear, I remember .. will give it tomorrow ..

BUT for tomorrow to come one needs to negotiate the night first .. so good night  …

Pity there are no pictures yet so .. a wait ..

Thats like tremendous amount of work put in by the Ef in its structure .. the facial expression certainly certifies it … !! Thank you Ef and thank you for all the pains you take to make an unpresentable person presentable …

Amitabh Bachchan