A first look at the table of contents reveals the unusual shape of the new book by the English journalist and historian Justin Marrowzi: It is about the history of a city in its century of height, starting with Mecca on the seventh and ending in Doha. In the 21st century. In between, the author describes 13 other cities and empires that shaped the history of the Near and Middle East in their era.
From Cordoba through Kabul to Samarkand
This design idea makes the book fun from the start. Of course, the reader encounters legendary capitals such as Damascus, Baghdad and Istanbul. But it also seems that cities did not necessarily think they would have a place in this chain, such as Fez, Kabul, Samarkand or Beirut.
The history of Islamic empires is not well known in Europe because the European and Islamic worlds had little to do with each other for centuries. Often times they were not interested in the other side due to the cultural superiority they claimed for themselves – or they met on a military level. Even more exciting are the discoveries that can be made in the individual classes of work.
The map at the beginning of the book first shows the geographical expansion of the different Islamic empires during their reigns: from Cordoba and Fez in the west to Samarkand and Kabul in the east, Istanbul in the north, Mecca and Dubai in the south – and in some cases, the day and not enough – the influence of the caliphate, empires and states.
Justin Maruzzi knows how to incorporate his own experiences from the cities described in his descriptions. These additions make the reading exciting and help gain a different view of the world of Islam, especially when it comes to understanding today’s political, religious and cultural conditions.
In addition to a sound knowledge of historical events, you can feel the author’s enthusiasm for Islamic culture. Vivid descriptions of mosques, palaces, city walls, squares and parks make you want to visit these places. Also contributing to this is the intertwining of contemporary stories from often centuries-old travel reports.