Early Islamic Periods
Medieval and Late Islamic Periods
When the Abbasids rose to power in the Middle East in the mid-8th century and moved the seat of the Caliphate from Damascus to Baghdad, this part of the empire became a remote province. A new phase began around two hundred years later when the Fatimid Dynasty appeared in Egypt and gained control of the Land.
This early stage saw the emergence of the key elements of Islamic art, including rich calligraphic and floral decorations integrated with figurative motifs. Splendid examples of Early Islamic art from the capital cities have been found at local sites.
Christian rule returned in 1099 under the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, an important political entity that endured for two hundred years. This was a prosperous time, thanks to state-supported construction and the promotion of industry and trade in the coastal cities. The Crusaders brought with them a European architectural style, which was to merge with the local, Eastern tradition.
The next chapter opens with the restoration of Islamic rule through the expulsion of the Crusaders by the Ayyubids, whose capital was Cairo. The Mamluks, the successors of the Ayyubids, laid waste to the flourishing coastal cities while developing the inland areas, especially Jerusalem. In 1516 the Land was conquered by the Ottoman Turks, whose capital was Istanbul.
See the department curators on the senior staff list.