Munazzah Akhtar has been a faculty member at the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, since 2003. Currently, she is on study leave as an assistant professor and is a doctoral candidate at the Department of History in Art, University of Victoria, Canada. Her research interests include Islamic funerary architecture, ornamentation in Islamic architecture, cross-cultural issues in Islamic art, and the representation of Muslims in medieval European art. Munazzah’s doctoral research project focuses on the architectural and cultural events taking place at the necropolis of Makli, Pakistan, between the fourteenth and the sixteenth centuries. Her thesis argues that the classification systems in art, based on religious identities, particularly as in case of “Islamic architecture,” fail to acknowledge the complexities of intercultural interactions. She believes that the Makli necropolis presents an opportunity to examine these important classification issues. She was awarded the University of Victoria Doctoral Research Fellowship in 2012–2013 and 2013–2014, the University of Victoria International Graduate Student Award in 2013 and 2012, the UET Lahore Better Incentive Award in 2006, and the UET Lahore Masters Research Scholarship in 2003.
Mahvash Alemi was born in Iran and trained as an architect in Rome. Her projects reflect the importance of gardens in her architectural design. She has been a faculty member at Tehran University, the Pratt Institute Rome Program, and Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. She has been a Garden and Landscape Studies Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks and has lectured at the University of Pennsylvania Middle East Center; Stewart Gardner Museum; Freer and Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian; Faculty of Architecture Bari, Pescara; and Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard and MIT. Her studies on Persian gardens have raised questions on their presumed fourfold layout. Her findings of unedited drawings by Pietro Della Valle and Engelbert Kaempfer have led to the restoration of the urban and natural contexts of the Safavid gardens in Qazvin, Isfahan, Qum, Kashan, Shiraz, and the Caspian hunting resorts, consequently opening new perspectives for their understanding. These studies led beyond the definition of certain types and models to the understanding of the political use of such garden-like spaces as maydān and khiyābān as the theater for the display of kingship. The study of the poems regarding the garden-city in Qazvin led to their understanding as the entire world. She was granted a senior fellowship 2013–2014, at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA), National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., to write her book on Safavid gardens.
Antonio Almagro received his architectural degree from Madrid’s School of Architecture in 1971, his PhD in architecture in 1978, and a diploma for the restoration of monuments from the Facolta di Arquitettura de l’Universita degli Studi “La Sapienza” di Roma and the International Centre for Conservation (ICCROM) in 1975. He is a researcher and former director of the Escuela de Estudios Arabes (1998 to 2005) in Granada, a research center belonging to the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). From 1975 to 1987, he worked at the department for monuments in the Ministry of Culture of Spain and taught the history of architecture at the School of Architecture in Madrid from 1980 to 1981, and a survey of architecture at Granada University from 1997 to 2011. Antonio Almagro carried out archaeological research in the Middle East from 1989 to 1999 at the Umayyad Palace in the Citadel of Amman in Jordan, publishing volumes on Qusayr ‘Amra and the Umayyad Palace of Amman. Later in Granada, he developed new interests in al-Andalus and North Africa and in techniques of documentation and virtual reconstruction of historical architecture and gardens. He is currently a member of the Royal Academies of Fine Arts of Madrid and Granada and a corresponding member of the Deutches Archäeologisches Institut.
Shama Anbrine is a lecturer in the Department of Architecture at the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, where she teaches architectural design, Islamic architecture, and computer applications in architecture. She holds a BArch degree from the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore. Presently she is writing her MArch thesis on advanced technologies for conservation of the built heritage in Pakistan.
Nurhan Atasoy is a renowned scholar of Turkish art and culture. She received her BA, MA, and PhD from the Department of Fine Arts and Art History at Istanbul University. She was a professor at Istanbul University until her retirement in 1999. She still lectures at many international congresses and symposia, and participates in research and international meetings on Turkish and Islamic art throughout the world. She has mounted several important exhibitions, and her book Otag-i Hamayun: the Ottoman Tent Complex won the Textile Society of America’s R. L. Shep Book of the Year Award in 2000. Among other honors, she has also received the Council of Europe’s prestigious Pro Merito Medal and an award from the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in recognition of her outstanding performance in the field of fine arts. Dr. Atasoy has published over seventy articles and more than twenty books including Ibrahim Pasha Palace (1972); Surname-i Humayun: An Imperial Celebration (1997); Dervish Dowry (2000); Garden for the Sultan: Gardens and Flowers in the Ottoman Culture (2002); Harem (2011); İznik with Julian Raby (1989); Ipek: The Crescent & The Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets, with W. Denny, J. Raby, L. W. Mackie, and H. Tezcan (2002); From the Count Ostrorog to Rahmi M. Koç: The Story of a Yali on the Bosphorus (2004); Iznik: The Pottery of Ottoman Turkey (2008); Impressions of Ottoman Culture in Europe: 1453–1699, with Lale Uluç (2012); and Portraits and Caftans of the Ottoman Sultans (2013).
B. Deniz Çalış-Kural is an architect and historian of Ottoman landscape and urban culture. She received a BArch from METU, Ankara, Turkey; an MArch from Pratt Institute; and a PhD from METU. She has received grants from the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (1996–1998) and the Turkish Academy of Sciences (2008), and was a Junior Fellow in Garden and Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks (2003–2004). Her work has been published in TOPOS and Dumbarton Oaks publications, among others. She has taught at Yeditepe and Bahcesehir universities in Istanbul and at the School of Architecture at University of Virginia. She is currently teaching at Istanbul Bilgi University. Her book Sehrengiz, Urban Rituals and Deviant Sufi Mysticism in Ottoman Istanbul, which discusses urban and landscape culture of Ottoman Sufis from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, is being published by Ashgate (2014).
Yücel Dağlı (1963–2009). In 2009, we lost our dear friend and colleague Yücel Dağlı, who offered his technical expertise for the design and implementation of the original website from 2004 to 2009. Dağlı was a lecturer in the Department of Data and Document Management at Marmara University Faculty of Science and Literature from 2001 until 2009. He received his MA in Turkish language and literature from Istanbul University in 1994 for his work on Evliya Çelebi’s travels. From 1987 until 1996, he was the head of the Computer Department at the Ottoman Archive Office, and, from 1996 to 2000, he was a lecturer in the Archiving Department at Faculty of Literature at Istanbul University. Among many publications, Dağlı was the coeditor, with Robert Dankoff and Seyit Ali Kahraman, of the nine-volume edition of Evliya Çelebi Seyahatnâmesi, published by Yapi Kredi Publications from 1999 to 2006. He was one of the editors of the original Middle East Garden Traditions website and the author of the Historical Dictionary of Ottoman Turkish Terms for Gardens and Gardening, and was a member of the Ottoman Garden History Group with Nurhan Atasoy and Seyit Ali Kahraman. Yücel Dağlı is survived by his wife and two daughters.
Mohammed El Faïz, economist and historian of agronomy and Arab gardens, is currently researching and teaching at the Université Cadi Ayyad in Marrakech (Morocco). He is known worldwide for his contribution to the defense of the historic landscape of the city of Marrakech, and for the protection of its gardens and oasis landscapes. His publications range on a variety of topics concerning water, agronomy and gardens in the Arab-Muslim civilization, including Agronomie de la Mésopotamie antique: Analyse de l’Agriculture Nabatéenne de Qûtâmä (1995); Les jardins historiques de Marrakech: Mémoire écologique d’une ville impériale (1996); Les jardins de Marrakech (2000); Ibn al-Awwâm, Livre de l’Agriculture (Kitâb al-Filâha) (2000); Marrakech: Patrimoine en péril (2002); Jardins du Maroc, d’Espagne et du Portugal: Un art de vivre partagé (ouvrage collectif) (2003); and Histoire de l’hydraulique arabe: Conquêtes d’une école oubliée (2004).
Rona Shani Evyasaf received her BA in landscape architecture from the Technion in Haifa in 1991. Between 1991 and 1999, she worked as a landscape architect on different projects. During the last few years she has been studying for her MA in classical archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology in Hebrew University of Jerusalem, focusing on Hellenistic and Roman gardens in the eastern Mediterranean. Since 1998, she has been working as a lecturer in the Institute of Archaeology, and during the last seven years she has been a senior member of the Sepphoris Excavations Expedition, directed by Prof. Z. Weiss of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Expiración García-Sánchez is a researcher at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) in Granada, Spain. She received her PhD in Semitic philology, specializing in Arabic, and she completed graduate studies in geography and history, specializing in medieval history. She was a lecturer in the Islamic history of al-Andalus in the Islamic History Department at the University of Granada from 1978 to 1985, and was the vice-director of the School of Arabic Studies in Granada from 1998 until 2005. She is a member of the editorial board of scientific journals and series, such as Al-Qantara, Suhayl, Ciencias de la Naturaleza en al-Andalus, and Estudios Árabes e Islámicos: Monografías, and is a member of the Union Européenne d’Arabisants et d’Islamisants, the Société Internationale d'Histoire des Sciences et de la Philosophie Arabes et Islamiques (CNRS), and the Commission on History of Science and Technology in Islamic Societies. Dr. García-Sánchez is a specialist on the history of scientific knowledge in al-Andalus, with major publications on alimentation, agriculture, and botany, and related topics such as pharmacology, the history of gardens, and ethnobotany. She is the author of fifteen books and monographs as well as three hundred research articles and scientific contributions, and eight volumes on “The Studies on Nature in Al Andalus” (1990–2008). She has directed seven doctoral theses.
J. Esteban Hernández Bermejo received his PhD in agricultural engineering and is currently a professor of agricultural botany at the University of Córdoba, and chair of the research group on “Wild species with economic potential in Agronomy, Forestry and Gardening.” He is the director of the Andalusian Plant Germplasm Bank and he was director of the Botanic Gardens in Córdoba (1998–2008). Dr. Hernández Bermejo was the general secretary of the International Association of Botanic Gardens (1993–2012) as well as the president of the Ibero-Macaronesian Association of Botanic Gardens (1985–1988, 1990–1992, and 2000–2004); president of the Spanish Committee of the I.U.C.N. (World Conservation Union) (1994–2000); and coordinator of REDBAG (Spanish Network of Seed Banks of Wild Plants) (2002–2013). His research includes studies in biodiversity and wild phytogenetic resources, conservation techniques, germplasm banks, and extinction risk evaluation; ethnobotany, plant species with economic potential, neglected crops, and plant domestication; agronomy and gardening history, especially of the Middle Ages; plant ecology and phytogeography; plant taxonomy; and weed research. He has published over 160 scientific papers, has directed seventeen doctoral theses, participated in over 160 international and national congresses, and given more than 200 lectures.
Yizhar Hirschfeld (1950–2006). We have lost our beloved friend Yizhar Hirschfeld in 2006, one year before the public inauguration of the original website in 2007. Yizhar Hirschfeld received his PhD in 1987 from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. After his postdoctoral studies at Yale University in 1988–1989, he spent two additional years in the United States (1996–1997 and 2003–2004), both at Dumbarton Oaks. He was an associate professor at the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem since 1998, and was previously a senior archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority. He directed excavations at numerous archaeological sites, including Hammat Gader, Ramat Hanadiv, En-Gedi, and Tiberias. His other research interests included the monasteries and churches of the Holy Land and the archaeology of the Dead Sea region. In addition to final reports on his excavation projects, he published five monographs and more than 100 articles. He was engaged in a very innovative line of archaeological research on the role of balsam in ancient Judea. His books include The Judean Desert Monasteries in the Byzantine Period (1992), The Palestinian Dwelling in the Roman-Byzantine Period (1995), The Roman Baths of Hammat Gader (1997), The Early Byzantine Monastery at Khirbet ed-Deir (1999), Ramat Hanadiv Excavations (2000), Qumran in Context: Reassessing the Archaeological Evidence (2004), and Excavations at Tiberias (1989–1994) (2004).
Jennifer Joffee is an assistant professor of art history at the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University. She received her PhD in Asian and Islamic art history from the University of Minnesota in 2005. Her doctoral dissertation, “Art, Architecture, and Politics in Mewar (Rajasthan, India), 1628–1710,” which she is currently revising for publication, focuses on the use of imperially sponsored art and architecture as political propaganda.
Seyit Ali Kahraman has been a prominent researcher at the Ottoman Archives in Istanbul since 1992, where he has served as a department director since 1993. He received a bachelor’s and a master‘s degree in philosophy from the Istanbul University in 1977 and 1980. He taught philosophy at Marmara University before he joined the Ottoman Archives. Kahraman has published a large number of studies of Ottoman texts and of Ottoman archives in Turkey, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Algeria. He was a coeditor, with Robert Dankoff and Yücel Dağlı, of the nine-volume edition of Evliya Çelebi Seyahatnamesi, published by Yapi Kredi Publications from 1999 to 2006.
Luis Ramón-Laca holds a doctorate in architecture from the Polytechnic University of Madrid. He developed his research on historical landscape at the School of Arabic Studies (CSIC) of Granada and the Royal Botanical Garden (CSIC) of Madrid, and has taught at the SEK University of Segovia. He is currently under contract at the University of Alcalá de Henares.
Abdul Rehman is a professor and former director of the School of Architecture and Design, University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore. He earned a national diploma in architecture from National College of Arts, Lahore, in 1975 and a PhD from ‘Ion Mincu’ Institute of Architecture, Bucharest, Romania. He is recipient of Senior Fulbright Award to work at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Starr Foundation fellowship to work at CASVA, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. He is the author of Mapping Lahore: Tracing Historical Geography of a City through Maps (2014), Islamabad: Master Planning and Architecture of a Dynapolis (2014), Earthly Paradise: The Garden in the Times of Great Muslim Empires (2001), and Historic Towns of Punjab (1997). He worked as consultant for Lahore Walled City Conservation and Upgrading Project (1990–1993) and Conservation Khan Tomb for Global Heritage Fund. He is member of ICOMOS and Institute of Architects Pakistan.
D. Fairchild Ruggles is a professor in landscape architecture, art history, and architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She holds two AB degrees with honors from Harvard University and an MA and PhD in art history from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Gardens, Landscape, and Vision in the Palaces of Islamic Spain (2000) and has written extensively on the field of Islamic art and architectural history. Her book, Islamic Gardens and Landscapes (2007), explores the form, symbolism, literature, science, and imagination of garden-making in the Islamic world from the seventh through the twenty-first centuries. She edited Women, Patronage, and Self-Representation in Islamic Societies (2000), and she is coeditor of Sites Unseen: Landscape and Vision (2007).