Stealing from the Saracens

Diana Darke
23 Nov 2021 6:00pm - 7:00pm
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How Islamic architecture shaped Europe

This fully illustrated talk will explain the little-known backstory of Gothic architecture, starting from historic Syria and Palestine, and moving westwards into Europe via Islamic Spain, Sicily and Venice. From Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock and the churches of the ‘Dead Cities’ of Syria, it will trace ideas and styles from vibrant Middle Eastern Cities like Damascus and Cairo to reveal the eastern roots of what Sir Christopher Wren called ‘the Saracen style.’

Diana Darke is a Middle East cultural expert with special focus on Syria.  A graduate in Arabic from Oxford University, she has spent over thirty years specialising in the Middle East and Turkey, working for both government and commercial sectors. Her previous book is the highly acclaimed My House in Damascus: An Inside View of the Syrian Crisis (third edition 2016). Her work on Syria has been published by the BBC website, The Sunday Times, The Guardian and The Financial Times and she regularly broadcasts on BBC Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent. 

Mezquita de Cordoba

With her Damascus house in use since 2012 as a refuge for displaced friends, her links with Syria are deep and ongoing.  She has been back seven times since the current uprising began in March 2011, most recently in April 2018, and remains actively committed to helping Syrians achieve a better future. She is currently a Non-resident Scholar at the top Washington think-tank MEI (the Middle East Institute). 

Please book  by 1pm on the day of the lecture.
Members: Free
Guests: £5