A first glance at the table of contents reveals the extraordinary layout of the new book by the English journalist and historian Justin Marozzi: It is about the history of a city in the century of its succession, starting from Mecca in the 7th and with Doha It ends. in the 21st century. In between, the author describes 13 other cities and empires that shaped the history of the Near and Middle East of his time.
From Cordoba to Kabul to Samarkand
This design idea makes the book interesting from the start. Of course, the reader encounters great metropolises such as Damascus, Baghdad and Istanbul. But cities also show that there will not necessarily be a place in this series, such as Fez, Kabul, Samarkand or Beirut.
The history of Islamic empires is not very well known in Europe because the European and Islamic worlds had little connection with each other for many centuries. Often they were not interested in the other side because of the claimed cultural superiority – or they met on a war footing. All the more exciting are discoveries that can be made in different chapters of the work.
The map at the beginning of the book first shows the geographical spread of the various Islamic kingdoms in their period: from Cordoba and Fez in the west to Samarkand and Kabul in the east, Istanbul in the north and Mecca and Dubai in the south – and in some cases today is sufficient and Nor – the influence of the Khilafat, empires and kingdoms.
Justin Maroji is known to include his own experiences from the cities described in his descriptions. These assemblages make reading exciting and help to get a different view of the world of Islam, especially when it comes to understanding the political, religious and cultural conditions of today.
Apart from a sound knowledge of historical events, you can feel the author’s enthusiasm for Islamic culture. A vivid description of mosques, palaces, city walls, squares and gardens makes you want to visit these places. Contemporary stories from travelogues to contemporary stories that are often centuries old also contribute to this.