Sunday, December 05, 2010

New Book: Heliopolis

Al Masry Al Youm (Louise Sarant)

The Fond Mercator, a renowned Belgium publishing house specializing in art books, has recently published “Heliopolis,” a 240-page richly illustrated coffee table book that studies the different historic stages of Cairo’s northeastern neighborhood.

Edited by Marie-Cecile Bruwier, a Belgian archaeologist, Egyptologist and art historian, and Anne Van Loo, architect and urban planner, the book presents a number of research papers by contributors from France, Belgium and Egypt to illustrate the evolution of Heliopolis through three main stages of its history: ancient times, the Middle Ages and the beginning of the 20th century’s new Heliopolis.

Bruwier explained at a press conference last month that she envisioned this publication as “a global and coherent presentation of Heliopolis, which since time immemorial, has been a place for cultural exchange and meeting.”

In Pharaonic times, Heliopolis, which was called “Iounou,” had religious importance as it housed the country’s largest sun temple. The city’s major god was Re, the sun god. This later gave birth to the Greek appellation of the city as Heliopolis, the “City of the Sun.”

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