WIT Press


The Riḥla: A Trip To Arab–Norman Palermo – A Story Of A Mediterranean Koine By Way Of Two Buildings

Price

Free (open access)

Paper DOI

10.2495/IHA160161

Volume

159

Pages

13

Page Range

183 - 195

Published

2016

Size

1,193 kb

Author(s)

Luisa Fernández Rodríguez

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to take an architectural journey analogous to the real geographical journey narrated by Ibn Ŷubayr, a writer from Al-Andalus, in his book The Riḥla. A journey that takes him from Granada to Mecca stopping at Altavilla in Sicily in 1185.

The Riḥla is a milestone and a time capsule, of Saladin, the Crusades and the Mediterranean paradise of the four cultures, with its own narrative and expository style.

The translation to architecture is made from the same open-minded point of view as that of the Valencian Ibn Ŷubayr, looking for architectural styles and motifs and discovering them in the court of Guglielmo II, where four cultures coexisted: Arab, Norman, Latin and Byzantine.

In this architecture a harmonious synthesis is formed. The knowledge of Muslim artists naturally translated to new buildings with echoes from Cairo and Ifriqiya resounding in types and tectonics, going far beyond the surface decoration or the methods of construction.

Keywords

Arab-Norman architecture, Palermo, hajj, Ibn Ŷubayr, Riḥla