This is an illustrated study of the splendour of Mamluk art and architecture. Before the dawn of medieval Europe's Renaissance, the city of Cairo under the Mamluks had become the centre of a powerful empire. The reign of the Mamluk Sultans - descendants of Turkic and Circassian slaves captured by the Ottomans - marked a dramatic flowering of Islamic art and architecture. Having defeated the Mongols in the Middle East and broken the bonds of their former Ottoman overlords, they established themselves as masters of Egypt and Syria and the holy sites of Arabia and Palestine. In the process they established dominion over trade and commerce in the region. The wealth this created enabled the Mamluks to produce art and architecture on a scale and at a level of splendour which had not previously been known in the medieval world.
Henri Stierlin, born in Egypt, is the prize-winning author of a number of books on the history of art and culture. Anne Stierlin is a professional photographer whose pictures have graced a number of art history books and leading publications. They live in France.