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The Architect of 9/11

The Al Quds (Jerusalem) Mosque in Hamburg where Mohamed Atta prayed and taught religion classes. It is located in a storefront in the red-light district near Hamburg's central train station. (Dispatch 1)

Professor Dittmar Machule in his office at the Hamburg University of Technology. The office is decorated with images of Syrian archaeological sites. (Dispatch 1)

The dedication of Mohamed Atta's thesis is a passage from the Quran rendered in German—"My prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death belong to Allah, Lord of the worlds." (Dispatch 1)

The title page of Mohamed Atta's thesis pairs his own photos of Aleppo with "before" and "after" maps of the neighborhood's transformation by 20th-century French city planners. The thesis is signed "Mohamed el-Amir." While the author's full name was Mohamed el-Amir Awad el-Sayed Atta, he went by "Mohamed El-Amir" most of his life, only using "Mohamed Atta" in the United States, possibly as a self-styled nom de guerre. (Dispatch 1)

The middle-class Cairo neighborhood where Atta grew up. The green space at the end of the alley is the grounds of the sumptuous Abdin Palace, designed by a French architect in the 19th century for Egyptian royalty. (Dispatch 2)

One of Cairo's many Parisian-style buildings in disrepair. (Dispatch 2)

This Islamic Quarter mosque, part of a larger complex that includes a hospital and madrassah, was built in the late 13th century by a Mamluk sultan famed for keeping the crusaders at bay. The interior integrates a gothic gate shipped back to Cairo from a conquered crusader church in Acre, in modern-day Israel. (Dispatch 2)

A modernist slab apartment building in the middle of the Islamic Quarter. These shoddily built high-rises undermine the historic feel of the district. (Dispatch 2)

A highway overpass at the edge of the Islamic Quarter. These poorly placed expressways contribute to making Cairo one of the world's least livable cities. (Dispatch 2)

Cairo's Islamic Quarter, as seen from one of the district's medieval gate towers. The trash-strewn roofs testify to the city's inadequate sanitation system. (Dispatch 2)

The textile section of the Aleppo souq, with stone vaulted ceilings. (Dispatch 3)

A purveyor of olives, dates, fresh cheese, and honey in the Aleppo souq. A mild climate, cosmopolitan history, and lots of French tourists conspire to make Aleppo's food some of the best in the Middle East. (Dispatch 3)

A van squeezes down an alleyway in the old city of Aleppo. The automobile's place in the city remains a point of contention today, just as it was for mid-20th-century city planners. (Dispatch 3)

An example of the high-rise, modernist office buildings Atta objected to in Aleppo. Note the ubiquitous images of the ruling Assad family. (Dispatch 3)

An alley with typical stone walls and wooden bay windows. The windows allow residents to keep an eye on the street and catch the breeze without giving up privacy. (Dispatch 3)

The imposing door of a caravansary built in the late 1600s. The stall inside sells mobile phones. (Dispatch 3)

An old man leaves a caravansary and enters an alleyway. (Dispatch 3)

While the architects of this high-rise thought residents would enjoy the view, many Allepines create privacy by hanging tarps across their balconies. (Dispatch 3)

The locked, abandoned synagogue in the Bab al-Nasr neighborhood of Aleppo. (Dispatch 3)

The photographs above correspond to Brook's three pieces published by Slate. The items labeled "Dispatch 1" are associated to his 9/08 piece, "Dispatch 2" to 9/09, and "Dispatch 3" to 9/10.