Cities in the Pre-Modern Islamic World : The Urban Impact of Religion, State and Society book cover
1st Edition

Cities in the Pre-Modern Islamic World
The Urban Impact of Religion, State and Society

ISBN 9780415553810
Published July 24, 2009 by Routledge
248 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $56.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

This volume is an inter-disciplinary endeavour which brings together recent research on aspects of urban life and structure by architectural and textual historians and archaeologists, engendering exciting new perspectives on urban life in the pre-modern Islamic world. Its objective is to move beyond the long-standing debate on whether an ‘Islamic city’ existed in the pre-modern era and focus instead upon the ways in which religion may (or may not) have influenced the physical structure of cities and the daily lives of their inhabitants. It approaches this topic from three different but inter-related perspectives: the genesis of ‘Islamic cities’ in fact and fiction; the impact of Muslim rulers upon urban planning and development; and the degree to which a religious ethos affected the provision of public services.

Chronologically and geographically wide-ranging, the volume examines thought-provoking case studies from seventh-century Syria to seventeenth-century Mughal India by established and new scholars in the field, in addition to chapters on urban sites in Spain, Morocco, Egypt and Central Asia.

Cities in the Pre-Modern Islamic World will be of considerable interest to academics and students working on the archaeology, history and urbanism of the Middle East as well as those with more general interests in urban archaeology and urbanism.

Table of Contents


Section One: The Genesis of the Islamic City

Chapter 1. "An Urban Structure for the Early Islamic City: An Archaeological Hypothesis" – Donald Whitcomb, University of Chicago.

Chapter 2. "The City of Sultan Kala, Merv, Turkmenistan" – Tim Williams, UCL

Chapter 3. "Sef: Legendary Ruinof Medieval Fes" – Simon O’Meara, Leeds University

Section two: Ceremonial and State Power

Chapter 4. "Ceremonial and Social Space in early Fatimid Cairo" – Jonathan Bloom, Boston College.

Chapter 5. "From Madinat al-Zahra to Marrakesh: The Royal City and Ceremonial in the Islamic West" – Amira K. Bennison, Cambridge University.

Section three: The Symbolism of Social Space

Chapter 6. "The Water Supply of Tinnis: Public Amenitiesand Private Investments" – Alison Gascoigne, Cambridge University

Chapter 7. "The Maristan and the City of Granada" – Athena Syrakoy, Cambridge University

Chapter 8. "The Complex of Radwan Bey: Commerce and Spirituality n Seventeenth Century Cairo" – Nicolas J. Warner, American University Cairo.

View More



Amira K. Bennison is Senior Lecturer in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge. She has worked extensively on the history of the Maghrib and Islamic Spain. Her list of publications includes Jihad and Its Interpretations in Pre-Colonial Morocco (London: Routledge, 2002).

Alison L. Gascoigne is the holder of a British Academy post-doctoral fellowship in Islamic archaeology at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge University. She has worked extensively in the field on the archaeology of urbanism in Egypt and Afghanistan.


'This useful, carefully researched volume takes a nuanced site-specific approach to understanding institutional Islam as one of many factors influencing the shape of a city and its history.'- Stewart Gordon- Center for South Asian Studies, University of Michigan