Dr. Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis


About Dr. Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis

Dr. Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis is Contributing Editor for the Arts of the Islamic World. She brings her expertise in Islamic and Roman architecture, art and archaeology, as well as in digital scholarship and pedagogy to the Smarthistory Board. She has served on the Governing Board of the Archaeological Institute of America and of the American Schools of Oriental Research. Her books include Bayt Farhi and the Sephardic Palaces of Ottoman Damascus in the Late 18th and 19th Centuries (2018), Classical New York: Discovering Greece and Rome in Gotham (2018), and Housing the New Romans: Classical Style and the Housing the New Romans: Architectural Reception and Classical Style in the Modern World (2017). She is currently an Associate Professor at The Graduate Center, The City University of New York and the Executive Officer of the M.A. in Liberal Studies.


Gold dinar of caliph Abd al-Malik, © The Trustees of the British Museum
The Dome of the Rock. The Great Mosque in Damascus. The Great Mosque in Córdoba. These remarkable achievements are all Umayyad.

The Umayyads (661–749 C.E.)


View of the Courtyard of the Great Mosque of Damascus, photo: Eric Shin, CC BY-NC 2.0
Once a temple to Zeus, the Great Mosque of Damascus, has survived the Syrian Civil War, and stands as one of the world's most important historic structures.

The Great Mosque of Damascus



The Hagia Sophia as a mosque
The Ottoman Turks turned this Byzantine church into a mosque, but a few adaptations to the space were necessary.

Hagia Sophia as a mosque




Kaaba
Located in Mecca, this square shrine is the holiest site in Islam. Muslims direct their prayers toward it.

The Kaaba



Dome of the Rock
One of the world’s main monotheistic faiths, Islam was founded by Muhammad, a merchant from Mecca.

Introduction to Islam



The Hagia Sophia as a mosque
After the Ottomans conquered Constantinople, the sultan repurposed this church, adding slender “pencil” minarets.

Hagia Sophia as a mosque



Sinan, Rüstem Paşa Mosque, exterior niche Mimar Sinan, Rüstem Pasha Mosque, 1561-63 (Istanbul)
One of the world’s main monotheistic faiths, Islam was founded by Muhammad, a merchant from Mecca.

Introduction to Islam


The Damascus Room (detail)
The sound of the fountain led guests into this 18th-century house, where a vibrant interior stimulated ear and eye.

Qa’a (The Damascus room)




Alexander Sarcophagus
Alexander the Great conquered the known world, but who was this monument for and what does it symbolize?

The Alexander Sarcophagus


The Hagia Sophia as a mosque
After the Ottomans conquered Constantinople, the sultan repurposed this church, adding slender “pencil” minarets.

Hagia Sophia as a mosque




Mihrab from Isfahan (Iran) (detail)
This prayer niche once pointed students towards Mecca. Its blue and white patterns comprise verses from the Qur’an.

Mihrab from Isfahan (Iran)



The Ardabil carpet
This wool carpet was woven for a shrine. Its dense design contains geometric patterns, floral motifs—and two lamps.

The Ardabil Carpet