In this video, Diana Darke, author of the award-winning book, Stealing from the Saracens: How Islamic Architecture Shaped Europe, takes you on a quick architectural journey to see how architectural styles and ideas passed from vibrant Middle Eastern centres, such as Damascus, Baghdad, and Cairo, and entered Europe via gateways including Muslim Spain, Sicily, and Venice through the movement of pilgrims, bishops, merchants, and medieval Crusaders. It’s a rich tale of cultural exchange that will help you see some of Europe’s – and even America’s – iconic landmarks with new eyes.
Diana Darke is a Middle East cultural expert with a special focus on Syria. With degrees in Arabic from Oxford University and in Islamic Art & Architecture from SOAS, London, she has spent over 30 years specializing in the region, working for both government and commercial sectors.
She is frequently invited to speak at international events and media networks, such as the BBC, PBS, TRT, Al-Jazeera, and France24. Her work on Syria has been published by the BBC website, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, and The Financial Times. She is a Non-Resident Scholar at Washington’s think-tank MEI (the Middle East Institute).
Diana is also the author of the highly acclaimed My House in Damascus: An Inside View of the Syrian Crisis (2016), The Merchant of Syria (2018), and The Last Sanctuary in Aleppo (2019).