Al-Madaniyya
Online ISSN : 2436-0678
Urban Growth in the Western Outskirts of al-Qāhira around the Turn of the 17th Century
Some New Observations Based on Ibn al-ʻAjamī’s Descriptions
Fumihiko Hasebe
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2024 Volume 3 Pages 99-114

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Abstract

This paper attempts to elucidate urban development in the southern bank of Azbakiyya Pond and Bāb al-Lūq, the western outskirts of al-Qāhira, during the late 16th and early 17th centuries, by examining relevant descriptions of Mabāhij al-ikhwān written by Ibn al-ʻAjamī, a contemporary historian working as a weigher in Ottoman Cairo. According to Ibn al-ʻAjamī, the southern bank of Azbakiyya Pond was characterized as “Kafr al-Azbakiyya,” and construction of residences by wealthy citizens and the civilian elites drove urban growth there, prompting the migration of retailers, craftsmen, and others. Regarding Bāb al-Lūq, the establishment of tanneries by Ottoman court eunuchs deserves attention during this period, although in its initial stage there were efforts of a military officer to obtain an imperial decree for improving his own living conditions. Ibn al-ʻAjamī also portrays the dark side of urban development by the eunuchs, criticizing one of them heavily, which to some extent reflected the views of ordinary residents of Cairo at that time.

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© 2024 Keio University Faculty of Letters, Department of Asian History
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