The Bazaar: Markets and Merchants of the Islamic World

Overview

This sumptuously illustrated journey through the bazaars in the old Islamic cities of the Orient shows how little they have changed since the Middle Ages. First the origins of the bazaar, its roots in the markets of ancient times, and the early Islamic fortresses and caravanserais are examined. Then the path of goods, carried by the trader's indispensable companion, the camel, is traced along legendary caravan routes like the Silk, Incense, and Amber Roads. After describing the everyday workings of the bazaar, ...
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Overview

This sumptuously illustrated journey through the bazaars in the old Islamic cities of the Orient shows how little they have changed since the Middle Ages. First the origins of the bazaar, its roots in the markets of ancient times, and the early Islamic fortresses and caravanserais are examined. Then the path of goods, carried by the trader's indispensable companion, the camel, is traced along legendary caravan routes like the Silk, Incense, and Amber Roads. After describing the everyday workings of the bazaar, the book focuses on traditional trades and crafts, including gold and sugar traders' markets, and the workshops of lute makers, fabric painters, glassblowers, and coppersmiths. We watch Persian carpet makers, perfumers, miniature painters, and calligraphers at work and meet people whose exotic trades are now dying out: sword, dagger, and fire makers, water sellers, magicians, storytellers, and silk weavers. More than a dozen of the finest and most important bazaars—including Marrakesh, Fez, Damascus, Aleppo, Cairo, Istanbul, Isfahan, Sanaa, and Samarkand—are described in full and illustrated. With its detailed maps and plans, this book is an invaluable source of information for travelers to the Islamic world as well as for anyone intrigued by the "city within a city," one of the most mysterious and enduring forms of Islamic life.

Author Biography: Walter M. Weiss has been editor of Ikarus, Skylines, and Diners Club Magazine. He has written for many other publications and is the author of several cultural and travel guides. Kurt-Michael Westermann's photographs have been featured in magazines, books, and numerous international exhibitions.

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Editorial Reviews

Raymond Sokolov
Evocative portraits of Middle Eastern centers. —Wall Street Journal
Carlin Romano
[A] truly spectacular tour through the markets of Marrakech, Fez, Aleppo, Istanbul, and more. —Philadelphia Inquirer
Library Journal
Travel writer Weiss and photographer Westermann combine their talents to produce a stunning tour of the bazaars of the old Islamic cities. The uniquely Islamic bazaar, explains Weiss, is "a city within a city, with its own economy and way of life and a spiritual background from which western society has a great deal to learn." The philosophy of the bazaar affects and is affected by religion, social customs, architecture, and the availability of water. To understand the concept of the bazaar, Weiss begins with a brief history of trade, its existence from earliest times, the effects of Mohammed's teachings, the four major trade routes, and a history of the camel and its place in Arab society. A section on shopkeepers and their goods covers history, their techniques, and the effects of modern life on their livelihood. Finally, brief visits to 15 of the great bazaars point out the qualities that makes each unique. A beautiful book without any real competition that will be of use for most collections.--Mary Morgan Smith, Northland P.L., Pittsburgh
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780500018392
  • Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc
  • Publication date: 4/28/2001
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 9.70 (w) x 12.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword 7
In the Empire of the Senses 8
Impressions from the Heart of the Medina
The Endless Caravan - A Brief History of Trade 23
The Major Routes: Incense, Amber, Silk and Gold 24
The Camel: God's Greatest Gift 32
Holy Place and Market Place - How the Bazaar Works 37
Philosophy of Life: Rational Feeling 39
Society: Imams, Kadis and Market Overseers 47
Buildings and Layout: Mosques, Shops and Caravanserais 54
The Elixir of Life: The Importance and Use of Water 63
Craftsmen and Shopkeepers - Their Work and Goods 69
Carpets: From Loom to Living Room 71
Clothing: Chadors, Veils and Kaftans 76
Chechias: The Cap Makers of Tunis 83
Jewelry: Wealth and Protection 88
Perfume: Fragrances from the Thousand and One Nights 93
Coffee, Tobacco and Sweetmeats: Life's Little Pleasures 97
Medicine and Magic: Healing through Faith 103
Calligraphy and Painting: Letters and Pictures 108
Wood: Turners and Carvers 115
Glass: The Last Glass-blowers 120
Metal: Smiths and Sword Makers 125
Ceramics: Potters and Tile Makers 131
Leather: The Tanners and Dyers of Fez 137
The Heart of the City - Portraits of the Finest Bazaars 141
Map: The World of the Bazaars 142
Cairo 145
Damascus 155
Aleppo 163
Istanbul 171
Sanaa 179
Dubai 185
Kairouan 192
Tunis 199
Marrakesh 207
Fez 215
Shiraz 220
Isfahan 225
Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva 234
Epilogue - The Light of the Bazaars 249
Glossary 250
Chronological Table 252
Bibliography 253
Index 254
Acknowledgments 256
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