Diana Darke is an Arabist and cultural expert who has lived and worked in the Middle East for over thirty years. She is the author of the acclaimed 'My House in Damascus' and 'The Merchant of Syria'. She tweets as @dianadarke.
'As exhilarating as it is learned, this splendidly illustrated book shows how our cultures--including our religious cultures--interact and interweave in ways that challenge all kinds of assumptions we might make about our history. By studying our past, Darke poses essential questions about the possibility of a shared and humane civilisation in the future.' -- Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury 'Diana Darke writes about Syria and its cultural heritage with love, clarity and authority.' -- Sir Michael Palin 'In this original and enlightening book, Darke takes us on a journey of discovery. From the churches of the Dead Cities of Syria to Notre-Dame de Paris, she guides us while sharing her passion for the connections between the cultures of the Middle East and those of Europe.' -- Venetia Porter, Curator of Islamic and Contemporary Middle East Art, British Museum 'Lively and provocative, this book takes us from Christopher Wren through an exploration of how ideas from the Islamic Middle East profoundly influenced the architecture of Western Europe. Darke's enthusiasm and love for all things Syrian is apparent on every page. A great read for anyone seeking an alternative viewpoint.' -- Hugh Kennedy, Professor of Arabic, SOAS University of London 'A fascinating account of the way in which architectural techniques, ideas and aesthetics are actively and explicitly shared between people, indifferently as to whether they happen to be friends or enemies. Darke's book reveals much that is surprising about the canon of European architecture, telling us how human relations are inevitably shared and forgotten only at their mutual peril.' -- Faisal Devji, Professor of Indian History, University of Oxford