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Documenting the City of the Dead, Cairo

Location: Egypt

July 5, 2014 to August 8, 2014

Session dates: 
Single session

Application Deadline: 
Saturday, June 14, 2014

Deadline Type: 

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



ARCHiNOS Architecture & the Institute for Field Research

Project Director:

Agnieszka Dobrowolska, ARCHiNOS Architecture; and Jarosław Dobrowolski, ARCHiNOS Architecture

Project Description

The vast Muslim cemeteries of Cairo – sometimes called the "City of the Dead" – are a unique urban environment that includes valuable medieval architectural monuments and living communities that practice traditional crafts.  As part of the conservation and reconstruction efforts of the hawd mosque – erected by Sultan Qaitbey ca. 1,472 CE – students will participate in the documentation of physical and social aspects of a section of this quarter.  Working side-by-side with Egyptian peers, students will learn about the architectural and urban history of a traditional Middle Eastern city, and about principles of architectural conservation and adaptive reuse.  This field school is ideal for students seeking insights/career in urban planning, architecture, heritage conservation and archaeological preservation.

Period(s) of Occupation: Muslim, Historic Archaeology

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Full program length

Minimum age: 
18 years old

Experience required: 
No previous experience is required

Room and Board Arrangements

Students will live in basic, but comfortable local accommodations on a location on the Zamalek Island on the Nile. This district of Cairo is traditionally preferred by foreigners. It is located near Downtown and the Egyptian Museum. All necessary amenities are available in the district and are within walking distance.
Food will be provide by the project and students will dine in local resturants.

All room and board costs are included in tuition (excluding weekend meals)

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
Connecticut College
Number of credits offered 8 semester credit units (equivalent to 12 quarter units)


Contact Information
Institute for Field Research
1855 Industrial St. #106
Los Angeles
424 226-6130
Recommended Bibliography: 

Abercrombie, Stanley  1992. "Stepping Stones," Historic Preservation, the magazine of The National Trust for Historic Preservation. Washington,DC: NTHP

Antoniou, Jim. 1981. Islamic Cities and Conservation pp 21-30. Paris: The UNESCO Press.

Behrens-Abouseif, Doris. 1989. Islamic Architecture in Cairo: An Introduction, pp XVII-XVIII; 3-44; 144-147 Leiden; New York: E.J. Brill

Bianca, Stefano 2010. “Historic cities in the 21st century: core values for a globalizing world” in: Managing Historic Cities, World Heritage Papers 27, pp 27-34. Paris: UNESCO World Heritage Centre

Feilden, Bernard M. 1994. Conservation of Historic Buildings pp 1-18 and 22 (principles of architectural conservation); pp 185-216 (documentation); pp259-275 (rehabilitation of historic buildings). Oxford: Butterworth Architecture.

Hamza, Hani. 2001. The Northern Cemetery of Cairo, pp 35-51 Cairo: American University in Cairo Press.

Kadi, Galila El- & Bonnamy, Alain. 2007. Architecture for the Dead: Cairo’s Medieval Necropolis, pp 9-18; 171-181; 210-215; 253-268. Cairo & New York: American University in Cairo Press.

Nadim, Nawal al-Messiri. 1979. “The Concept of the Hara: A Historical and Sociological Study of al-Sukkariya” pp313-919. Annales Islamologiques XV.

Siravo, Francesco 2011. “Conservation Planning: The Road Less Traveled” in Historic Cities, Conservation Perspectives: the GCI Newsletter 26/2, Fall 2011 pp 4-9. Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation Institute

UNESCO World Heritage Centre 2010. Managing Historic Cities, World Heritage Papers 27, Annex A: Selection of Key International Instruments, pp 106-109. Paris: UNESCO World Heritage Centre

Williams, Caroline. 2008. Islamic Monuments in Cairo: The Practical Guide, pp 6-24 (Chapters 1, 2). Cairo & New York: American University in Cairo Press.