Israel, satellite image
Israel and surrounding region, satellite image. North is at top. Green areas are vegetated. Yellow areas are arid. Israel and the surrounding region is located in the Middle East at the eastern extreme of the Mediterranean Sea. The north of the country is bordered by Lebanon. In the east are Syria and Jordan and in the southwest is Egypt. The large body of water is the Dead Sea with brightly coloured salt evaporation pans to the south. The area in the southwest and the east is desert. Israel's coast (west) is densely populated (grey area).
© M-sat Ltd/Science Photo Library
Syrian Desert, satellite image
Syrian Desert, satellite image. North is at top. Vegetation is red and dark green, while arid areas of sand and rock are light green and light blue. Water is blue. At centre is Jabal Sis, a huge extinct volcanic crater rising 100 metres above the surrounding plain. This area, part of the Syrian Desert, is in south-western Syria, near the border with Jordan. The water flow patterns on the landscape are evidence of seasonal flooding that supports the sparse vegetation in this area. The area shown in this image is around 100 kilometres wide. The image data includes infrared wavelengths, and was obtained on 6 November 2000, by the Landsat 7 satellite.
© NASA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Peacock-shaped Hand Washing Device (recto); Text Page, Arabic Prose (verso), 1315
Peacock-shaped Hand Washing Device (recto); Text Page, Arabic Prose (verso), 1315. This leaf from a 1315 Syrian copy of Ibn al-Razzaz al-Jazari's The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices , written in 1206, depicts a peacock basin automaton for ritual hand washing. There are 15 surviving manuscript copies of al-Jazari's work, ranging from the early 13th to the late 19th century. An engineer from upper Mesopotamia, al-Jazari was in the service of King Nasri al-Din when he completed his masterwork, an anthology of automated devices including clocks, trick vessels for drinking sessions, devices for washing, fountains, water-raising machines, and measuring instruments. His designs clearly illustrate that automata were not innovations from Western Europe, but they stemmed from a tradition known in the ancient, Islamic, and Byzantine worlds. We do not know with certainty that al-Jazari's device was ever actually constructed.
© Heritage Art/Heritage Images