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Volume 48, Number 4 July/August 1997

In This Issue

July/August 1997
City of the Sultan
Written by Caroline Stone and David H. Wells

Ahmad Shah, the first independent sultan of Gujarat, built Ahmadabad as his capital more than 500 years ago. His successors were builders too. So were their wives, and so, even, were some of their retainers. And the Mughal viceroys who succeeded Ahmad's line built just as busily. The result of their labors was a city some compared with London, one rich with caravanserais, gates, gardens, water systems and, above all, beautiful mosques.

Diving in the Desert
Written by Erik Bjurström
Photographed by Tom McNeff

Under 30 meters of water and 300 meters of rock, in total darkness, agitation—or even panic—would be understandable. It could also kill you. Careful planning, thoughtful caution and a lively sense of the risks you are taking are essential if you're going to go cavediving deep below central Arabia's desert.

Dos Passos in the Desert
Written by Robert W. Lebling Jr.
Photographed by Norman MacDonald

One of this century's great American novelists traveled three times to the Middle East, and crossed the Syrian desert from Baghdad to Damascus in a camel caravan. He found peace there, "all the wrinkles planed out of my mind by the great cold purple flint flatiron of the desert," and much to admire in the life of his Agail hosts and traveling companions.

Hotels With a History
Written and photographed by Arthur Clark

Comfort, calm and character distinguish a handful of famous hotels around the Middle East. Statesmen, stars and spies stayed there once—and stay there still—as well as ordinary travelers with a liking for the rich patina of the past.

Seeing Deeper: Reappreciating Miniatures
Written by Lee Adair Lawrence

Illustrated manuscripts from the Islamic world are getting another look from some scholars: Still appreciated for the beauty and craftsmanship of their miniatures, they are also being examined in excruciating detail for the information they can yield about the people, places and times that produced them, and for new understanding of their own "post-production lives."

Spin Doctor
Written by Penny Parsekian
Photographed by Paul Horton

Too short for basketball, too light for football and too nervous for baseball, young Larry Sayegh took up the fad from the Philippines, the yo-yo. It still serves the nine-time world champion well.