Umayyad and Abbasid Gardens of the Islamic World with Dr. Sabahat Adil

Umayyad and Abbasid Gardens of the Islamic World with Dr. Sabahat Adil


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In this seminar, we will explore the key features of gardens under the Umayyads and Abbasids, which were the first two empires established after the emergence of Islam in the seventh century. Their beautiful gardens accompanied many palaces that were dotted throughout the region. Notable gardens and landscapes in the cities of Damascus, Córdoba, and Baghdad will be considered in vibrant detail.

Learners will visit a number of archaeological sites such as that at Al-Rusafa in Syria. Archaeological research has revealed the existence of a pavilion surrounded by a garden there. Another important site across the Mediterranean Sea on the Iberian Peninsula is that of Madinat al-Zahra, a city that was established by members of the Umayyad family who had fled from the Abbasids. This spectacular site continues to undergo active archeological investigation, which has revealed a terraced landscape with gardens, fountains, and more. Many of these gardens featured elaborate systems to move water throughout their domains and also notable flora such as fragrant orange trees.

Led by an expert on Mediterranean and Islamic history and culture, Dr. Sabahat Adil, this interactive seminar will explore the dynamic history of Umayyad and Abbasid gardens and landscapes. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of gardens of Damascus, Córdoba, and Baghdad after taking this seminar and be able to relate it to their own understandings of gardens in other parts of the world.

This conversation is part of a four-part series on Gardens of the Islamic world by Dr. Sabahat Adil. Each seminar can be joined independently and in any order.

Passionate about the past and its connections with the present, Sabahat Adil, PhD has expertise on the history of the Mediterranean and Islamic worlds, particularly in terms of cultural history. She earned her PhD from the University of Chicago and has taught extensively at a variety of institutions, including the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Newberry Library. Her research and publications focus on the history of North Africa and medieval Iberia. Sabahat has also worked in museum settings, including the Freer and Sackler in Washington, D.C. and the Field Museum in Chicago.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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