Part IV, Chapter XVIII = XCIII: On Monuments and remarkable Buildings.
Introduction dealing with antiquities and monuments as the best proof of the civilization of the times. The well-known couplet is cited in the original Arabic:
“These are our works which prove
what we have done;
Look, therefore, at our works
when we are gone”.
The author’s visit to Samarqand and the inscription written on the edifice erected by the Ṣadr-i-Jahán ‘Abdu’l-‘Azíz [Burhánu’d-Dín], the head of the Ál-i-Burhán, and one of the notables of Bukhárá who lived about 574 A. H., in the caligraphy of the learned Kargas.
ff340 1977 An account of “The Iram of the Columns”, historically the old Damascus (see Le Strange’s Palestine under the Moslems p. 232), and traditionally the Paradise of Shaddád and the Iramu Dhátu’l-‘Imád mentioned in the Qur’án. (This and the next account agree with Qazwíní’s Áthár, pp. 9—11).
f72a f341a 1978 A glimpse of the site and interior of the Paradise of Shaddád, as related by ‘Abdu’llah b. Qilába al-Anṣárí, the efforts of the Caliph Mu‘áwiya to trace it, and the advice of Ka‘bu’l-Aḥbár in the matter. (Cf. Y. M. B. I, pp. 213—5).
f72b 1979 The wondrous tower built by Dhu’l-Qarnayn (see, for the identity of Dhu’l-Qarnayn, the opinion of al-Bírúní, B. A. B. pp. 36—42) at the port of Alexandria, for watching the movements of ships: 300 knots or rope-lengths in height, one solid block of stone, square at the bottom and octagonal in shape, surmounted by a refractive mirror, which is said to have permitted the observation of ships at sea at a distance of one month’s voyage, and which was also used as an effective means of destroying hostile ships by burning them through radiation. Later, the tower having fallen into the hands of ‘Amr b. al-‘Áṣ during the Muslim conquest of Egypt, the monks maliciously advised him to search for the hidden treasures of Dhu’l-Qarnayn which lay beneath the glass dome; when it was opened for this purpose, it could not be restored properly, and since then it lost its magical powers. Our author says that it existed and attracted visitors in his time. (But Yáqút, a contemporary, in his Mu‘jamu’l-Buldán, Vol. I, pp. 261—2, has given a very interesting criticism on this tower, and has proved by personal observation that the exaggerated accounts of it incorporated in most works of geography are false. al-Qazwíní is content to describe it, and says nothing by way of criticism. See Q. A. B. pp. 97—8).
f73a * 1980 A relic of the marble-columned court erected by the Dívs for the prophet Solomon at Alexandria. (Cf. Q. A. B. p. 98).
* 1981 The wonderful column and statue at ‘Aynu’sh-Shams in Egypt. (Cf. Y. M. B. III, p. 762—3).
f341b 1982 The Pyramids of Egypt, and the Caliph al-Ma’mún’s visit, (Cf. Q. A. B. pp. 178—9).
f73b 1983 The Castle of Ba‘labakk (Heliopolis), and its stones, the wonders of Syria. (Cf. D. N. D. p. 199; also Le Strange’s Palestine, pp. 295—8).
f342a 1984 A stone-built fortress city called Naját.
1985 The Aywán-i-Kisrá, the famous palace of the Persian Kings which received a shock at the birth of the Prophet and which al-Manṣúr wanted to demolish.
1986 The foundation of the city of Baghdád by the Caliph al-Manṣúr. (The Ta’ríkh-i-Khulafá-i-Bani’l-‘Abbás as the source. See above, p. 47).
      The chapter ends with an account of the Masjid-i-Alfí or Mosque of 1000 Arches erected by Iltutmish in the old capital of Dihlí, and with a panegyric.