An Architecture of Light opens with an introduction to Algeria’s history compiled by Farida Benouis: a short summary of main events from prehistorical periods until the Arab conquest, followed by the history and artistic patronage programme of the Islamic dynasties that shaped the country from the Kharijite period until the end of the Ottoman Empire.
Beyond that the book takes readers to they key sites of Islamic Algeria through five itineraries which can be followed from the comfort of an armchair or on foot in Algeria itself. The main corpus of the book is dedicated to the description of five Itineraries, covering the overall geography of the country:
The Sahara, Ibadite Refuge
Locations: Biskra, Touggourt, Ouargla, Sedrata, El Arteuf, Ghardaïa, beni Isguen
The Hammadids and the Birth of Fortified Cities in the Central Maghreb
Locations: M’sla, La Qalaa des Beni Hammad, Achir, Sétif, Bejaia, Constantine
Algiers: from the Medina of the Beni Mazghenna to the Capital of the Ottoman Regency
Tlemcen, Nedroma, Zyanid and Almohad Foundations
Locations: Mansourah, Tlemcen, El-Eubad, Tafessera, Tleta, El-Khemis, Nédroma, Aïn Al-Kabira, Honaïne
The Touat-Gourara, Intangible Legacy of Maghrebi Islam
Locations: Timimoun, Adrar, Tamentit, Les Ksours
Each itinerary includes an introduction, the descriptions of the selected monuments, as well as other information of particular relevance to the sites. The pages are filled with images of the monuments, floor plans of most, and schematic maps of each itinerary. Each site also has some key information for the intrepid visitor, such as opening times and tips on how to reach the place.
A total of 68 sites are explored through the book.