Cities and Saints: Sufism and the Transformation of Urban Space in Medieval Anatolia

Cities and Saints: Sufism and the Transformation of Urban Space in Medieval Anatolia

by Ethel Sara Wolper
Pub. Date:
Penn State University Press

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Cities and Saints: Sufism and the Transformation of Urban Space in Medieval Anatolia

In recent years, Sufism has become all but synonymous with the mystic poetry of Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī (d. 1273) and the ritual "whirling" of dervishes from Turkey. This branch of Islam does, however, have a long, complex history, and spiritual retreat was only one aspect of its significance. In medieval Anatolia, Cities and Saints contends, Sufis made alliances that gave dervish lodges powers so vast that they were able to alter the layout of cities and serve as the means of forging new social bonds.

Through close examination of the design and function of medieval Sufi buildings in several Anatolian cities, Ethel Sara Wolper shows that dervish lodges became sites where a new ruling elite promoted the cult of Sufi saints. Wolper's discussion, enriched by the use of a wide range of primary sources, goes on to chart the role Sufis and their patrons played in the establishment of a new urban order anchored in dervish lodges built near city gates, markets, and along major thoroughfares.

Highly original, Cities and Saints unites architectural history with the study of urban space and the spread of Islam. It will be an important reference for students of community formation in the Middle East as well as historians of art, architecture, and religion.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780271022567
Publisher: Penn State University Press
Publication date: 12/28/2003
Series: Buildings, Landscapes, and Societies , #3
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 152
Product dimensions: 9.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.67(d)

Table of Contents




Glossary of Essential Terms

A Note on Usage and Transliteration

List of Illustrations


Part I Buildings and Religious Authority in Pre-Ottoman Anatolia

1. Visual Authority and Sufi Sanctification: Negotiating Elite Survival After the Mongol Conquest

2. The Patron and the Sufi: Mediating Religious Authority Through Dervish Lodges

Part II Dervish Lodges and Urban Spaces: Sivas, Tokat, and Amasya

3. Dervish Lodges and the Transformation of City Spaces

4. City Streets and Dervish Lodges: Constructing Spiritual Authority in Sivas, Tokat, and Amasya

Part III Audiences and Dervish Lodges: Proclamations and Interpretations

5. Dervish Lodges and the Transformation of Resident Populations: Christians, Craftsmen, and Akhīs

6. Women as Guarantors of Familial Lines: Dervish Lodges and Gender Representation in Pre-Ottoman Anatolia

7. Islamization and Building Conversion: Epic Heroes After the Bābā Rasūl Revolt



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