In recent years, the Middle East has often been seen as a place of conflict and overlooked as a place of art and culture.
However, hidden amidst these turbulent states are many beautiful buldings that deserve recognition for their architectural achievements.
Home to photography and visual arts exhibitions and an Israeli Architecture Archive, the Hearta and Paul Amir Building (2011) is an exciting deviation from traditional art gallery architecture. The faceted structure, like crystalline stone, is an assortment of rectangular and triangular planes and windows. The building rises out of the earth in the same stone as the main museum building and the surrounding square, uniting the whole site. The angular structure has the unanticipated affect of framing the dramatic skies and cloud formations that hand over the city. The geometric complexity, both inside and out, is captivating and unusually calming.
Carved from the cone-like Tufa Rock Formations of Cappadocia, the Fairy Chimney Inn is a building of pure fantasy. Part of a 1,500 year old Byzantine monastery the interior resonates with the whispers of the monks who once lived there.
Designed by Magma Architecture in 2012 the redevelopment of Masrah Al Qasba Theatre has transformed the building. Like a pearl hidden within an oyster, the plain exterior of Masrah Al Qasba Theatre hides an true architectural gem. The theatre is a hugely functional space, but also one of intrigue.
On the silk road, Isfahan was once one of the largest, most important cities in Asia, renowned for its beauty. Nestled amongst the busy streets of Isfahan is the Aliqoli Agha Bath. is a traditional bath house that looks just a beautiful today as it did in the 17th century. The 19th century jewel-like tiles and the dreaming arcades of geometric stone vaulting are precious architectural treasures, glittering, glowing, enthralling.
Golestan Palace is a complex of lavish buildings amongst delicately manicured gardens. Amongst these opulent halls is the Karim Khani Nook built in 1759. The terraced nook once resonated with trickling water from a subterranean stream running through the fountain. It was designed as a place of ‘rest and repose’ and quiet contemplation.
Located atop Mount Zion, place of biblical resonance and highest point in Jerusalem the Domition Abbey overlooks the beautiful ancient city. The church is believed to be the site where the virgin departed her earthly life, not through death, but through sleep. This may explain the peaceful repetition of curved arches and chapels around the main vault of the building.
The mud-brick architecture of Yemen is unique and unexpectedly beguiling. The city of Sana’a takes this heritage style further building on top of the local rock formations. Built in the 1930s, the Residence of the Imam Yahya Muhamamd is one of such buildings perched upon a vast rock overlooking the city. The brown bricks of the tower emphasize the lace-like details picked out in white. The Imam’s Palace is a building of contrasts, robust, yet delicate; squat, yet towering; mud, yet beautiful