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The Bazaar: Markets and Merchants of the Islamic World

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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, story-tellers, 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.

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Walter M. Weiss , Kurt-Michael Westermann
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