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The Bazaar in the Islamic City

The Bazaar in the Islamic City: Design, Culture, and History

Edited by Mohammad Gharipour
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    The Bazaar in the Islamic City
    Book Description:

    The Middle Eastern bazaar is much more than a context for commerce: the studies in this book illustrate that markets, regardless of their location, scale, and permanency, have also played important cultural roles within their societies, reflecting historical evolution, industrial development, social and political conditions, urban morphology, and architectural functions. This interdisciplinary volume explores the dynamics of the bazaar with a number of case studies from Cairo, Damascus, Aleppo, Nablus, Bursa, Istanbul, Sana’a, Kabul, Tehran, and Yazd. Although they share some contextual and functional characteristics, each bazaar has its own unique and fascinating history, traditions, cultural practices, and structure. One of the most intriguing aspects revealed in this volume is the thread of continuity from past to present exhibited by the bazaar as a forum where a society meets and intermingles in the practice of goods exchange—a social and cultural ritual that is as old as human history.

    eISBN: 978-1-61797-346-8
    Subjects: History, Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. Contributors
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-xx)
  7. 1 Introduction The Culture and Politics of Commerce: Bazaars in the Islamic World
    (pp. 1-50)
    Mohammad Gharipour

    Contemporary debates on Islamic cities emerged from the classic nineteenth-century orientalist model. The Islamic City, praised as an ideal and undiscovered realm by orientalists such as Albert Hourani and Gustave von Grunebaum in the 1960s, served as the subject of paintings, literature, and even music in Europe. The Europeans’ view of the orient was based on an exotic interest in the ‘other,’ the unknown world described in the story ofOne Thousand and One Nights, in the portrayal of Timur’s court by Ruy Gunzales Clavijo, in Johann Strauss II’s “Egyptian March,” and in David Roberts’ sketches of Jordan and the...

  8. 2 Ideal-type and Urban History: The Development of the Suq in Damascus
    (pp. 51-74)
    Nasser Rabbat

    Historians and theorists who postulated ideal-type constructs of the ‘Islamic city’ based their definitions on a set of physical, social, and legal criteria that they attributed to Islam.¹ The legal criteria can be summed up by an adherence to Islamic law (shari‘a) in managing the affairs of the city and its inhabitants, which translated into a set of governing principles of behavior, and of construction and finance, in addition to a number of supporting executive positions and religious and legal offices such as thesahib al-shurta(head of the police),muhtasib(market controller),qadi(judge), and the various offices associated...

  9. 3 The Making of the Old City: Suq al-Hamidiya in Damascus
    (pp. 75-96)
    Faedah M. Totah

    For thousands of years, the suqs in the Old City of Damascus were constructed to represent the importance of commerce to the socioeconomic and political life of the city and to highlight its emerging role as a commercial hub between east and west, north and south. This was evident from the number of suqs built, over the course of centuries, throughout the intramural quarters in prominent and strategic locations that also determined the directions in which urban growth and expansion occurred. These locations were political choices that addressed not only fluctuations in global trade and changes in local commercial activities,...

  10. 4 Commerce in the Emerging Empire: Formation of the Ottoman Trade Center in Bursa
    (pp. 97-114)
    Özlem Köprülü Bağbancý

    Bursa was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire and has always maintained its importance because of its strategic location and its historical and socioeconomic qualities. It has retained its status even during the republican period because of its proximity to major transport hubs and to Istanbul. According to the 2011 official census, Bursa is the fourth-largest city in Turkey. The city, the second-largest city in the region after Istanbul, is located in southern Marmara, which is one of the most economically developed provinces in Turkey. The first Organized Industrial Zone in Turkey was opened in Bursa in the Republican...

  11. 5 The Continuity of Social Space: Khan al-Jumruk within the Bazaars of Aleppo
    (pp. 115-148)
    Janet Starkey

    T.E. Lawrence spoke of the wonder of the bazaars of Aleppo in 1914: “Aleppo is all compart of colour and sense of line: you inhale the Orient in lung-loads, and glut your appetite with silks and dyed fantasies of clothes.”¹ Although Aleppo was designated a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986, there have been few detailed architectural studies or urban geographies of its bazaar. This chapter develops a ‘hardware’ approach that focuses on its urban infrastructure, physical layout, and architecture. Rather than describe the macrocosm of the bazaar of Aleppo, this chapter focuses on one particular building, Khan...

  12. 6 The Suqs of Sanaa: Changing Functions and Symbolic Centrality
    (pp. 149-162)
    Franck Mermier

    Before becoming the capital of Yemen after its reunification on May 22, 1990, Sanaa was the economic and political center of the Zaydi Central Highlands.¹ It is located at the crossroads of seven tribal areas belonging to the Hashid and Bakil confederations.² Its marketplace, in the center of a regional network of weekly markets, is composed of forty specialized suqs with almost two thousand shops.³ It is still an important center for agricultural marketing and of some types of handicraft production. Its thirty-three caravanserais, calledsamasir(sing.samsara), now mostly abandoned, stand witness to the important role played by the...

  13. 7 Crafts and Trade: Public Markets in Nablus
    (pp. 163-184)
    Naseer Arafat

    Public markets form an important part of the city of Nablus in the West Bank, and influence the formation of its character as well as its general planning. Suqs in traditional Arab cities are characterized by their oriental nature and the sociability of commercial dealings within their specialized markets. The old markets of Nablus are considered some of the most beautiful examples of this organizational type, and the function of each is connected with the kind of commercial activities in it. Historically, the commercial activity of Nablus actually extended farther than the local market, since the location of the city...

  14. 8 From Pre-industrial to Industrial Kabul: The Bazaars and the Manufactories
    (pp. 185-202)
    Marcus Schadl

    Kabul, the city at the foot of the Hindu Kush, at the proverbial “crossroads of Asia,” occupied a prominent position for centuries in the web of inner-Asian caravan trading. It greatly profited from its role as a thoroughfare for goods traded between India and Central Asia. The Kabul bazaars were hailed as exceeding “anything the imagination can picture.”¹ They prospered as the marts of the capital of the Mogul Empire’s northwesternmost province, and later, at the end of the eighteenth century, of the Durrani empire. However, the changing geopolitics of the colonial era notably affected the Kabul markets. In the...

  15. 9 Politics and Patronage: The Evolution of the Sara-ye Amir in the Bazaar of Tehran
    (pp. 203-228)
    Fatema Soudavar Farmanfarmaian

    The Sara-ye Amir constitutes a small part of an extensive study on the two Malek al-Tojjar-e Mamalek-e Mahrusa-ye Iran (King of Merchants of the Protected Domains of Iran) of the Qajar era, based on hundreds of Iranian, Russian, and family archives. As information piled up, each of the issues relating to the Malek al-Tojjar gradually acquired a life of its own. The Saraye Amir was no exception, as it came to encompass several layers deserving of independent treatment, in particular within the context of the historical development of Tehran as the political capital of Iran. Tehran’s economic role was delayed...

  16. 10 A Caravanserai on the Route to Modernity: The Case of the Valide Han of Istanbul
    (pp. 229-250)
    Andrea Duranti

    In his travel diaryA Journey through Albania and Other Provinces of Turkey in Europe and Asia to Constantinople, during the Years 1809 and 1810, the English nobleman John Cam Hobhouse wrote:

    The hundred and eighty hans [khans] of Constantinople, are so many immense stone barracks or closed squares, which have, like the baths, every recommendation except architectural elegance. The court of Valide Han, which we visited, and which is reckoned one of the best in Constantinople, is ornamented with a thin grove of trees with two handsome fountains, and the building, besides warehouses and stables on the ground floor,...

  17. 11 Form and Function: On Politics and the Morphology of the Bazaar in Yazd
    (pp. 251-274)
    Ali Modarres

    From its establishment in the medieval era to the twenty-first century, the bazaar in Yazd has witnessed fundamental shifts in both form and function. Morphologically, the bazaar resembles many others in Iran, and its basic locational logic is not dissimilar to many medieval European markets. The major portion of the bazaar typically developed adjacent to a major city gate, with close access to inter-regional road networks. The internal spatial logic of the bazaar suggests that the covered spaces under which stores, caravanserais, and their associated services were located were organized by guilds and functional arrangements that separated market activities from...

  18. 12 New Trinkets in Old Spaces: Cairo’s Khan al-Khalili and the Question of Authenticity
    (pp. 275-296)
    Anna Madoeuf and Marika Snider

    With its cacophony of color, sound, and smells, Khan al-Khalili has inspired visitors for centuries, but it now struggles for definition in contemporary Cairo. A remnant of medieval Cairo, Khan al-Khalili was once the commercial heart of the city and located adjacent to exceptionally important religious monuments. For example, the Mosque of Sayyidna Hussein claims to contain the head of Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad; and al-Azhar Mosque has been a center of Islamic learning since it opened in the tenth century, making it the second-oldest continuously operated university in the world.¹ Today, this area, rich in architectural...

  19. Plates
    (pp. None)