Congratulations to one of our 2022 grantees!

We are thrilled to fund Museum With No Frontiers. So what is the project?

About the project:

An exciting new addition to the Islamic Art in the Mediterranean series is coming. So far the series has taken readers to Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, Portugal, Spain, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, and to Italy and Sicily; each book combines the thorough research of an academic text with the engaging exploration of a travel guide.  This new volume will take readers to a country rich in beautiful heritage: Algeria.

This book will be the first ever dedicated to Algeria’s Islamic heritage that spans all parts of the country as its focus. Written by Algerian historians and cultural heritage experts (including Lakhdar Drias, Houria Cherid, Farida Benouis and Amine Semar), the book is detailed with beautiful images of the archaeological sites, monuments and museums taken by local photographers.

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:

Itinerary I
The Sahara, Ibadite Refuge
Locations: Biskra, Touggourt, Ouargla, Sedrata, El Arteuf, Ghardaïa, beni Isguen

Itinerary II
The Hammadids and the Birth of Fortified Cities in the Central Maghreb
Locations: M’sla, La Qalaa des Beni Hammad, Achir, Sétif, Bejaia, Constantine

Itinerary III
Algiers: from the Medina of the Beni Mazghenna to the Capital of the Ottoman Regency
Locations: Algiers

Itinerary IV
Tlemcen, Nedroma, Zyanid and Almohad Foundations
Locations: Mansourah, Tlemcen, El-Eubad, Tafessera, Tleta, El-Khemis, Nédroma, Aïn Al-Kabira, Honaïne

Itinerary V
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.

About the grantee:

Museum With No Frontiers (MWNF) is an international non-profit organisation founded in 1995. MWNF provides a platform that helps to extend the reach of museums and to impact lives without having to move any of their objects. This is accomplished by approaching art history through the lens of modern technology and digital tools. The MWNF Virtual Museums comprise the largest online museum in the world, the result of multinational collaboration between numerous scholars and institutions. The Islamic wing of this (‘Discover Islamic Art‘) hosts hundreds of artefacts and monuments for people to engage with without having to travel across the world.

Their work also includes publishing, and their Islamic Art in the Mediterranean series of travel and reference books are a valuable addition to the scholarship of Islamic art. Thanks to rigorous research and documentation and the authors home-grown knowledge of each country, these MWNF travel books are at the same time academic reference books as well as valuable guides for travellers with specific interest in that country’s Islamic heritage.