The Creation of the City of Baghdad: Striking a Balance Between Religion and Quest for Power (PART THREE)

{jcomments on}Assoc. Prof. Dr. Spahic Omer
Kulliyyah of Architecture and Environmental Design
International Islamic University Malaysia

Building the City and its Main Features

The very site that has been selected for the new city is reported to have been a common field known as al-Mubarakah that was shared by many people – according to al-Tabari, sixty of them.[1] Al-Mansur bought the land from its owners in a manner that satisfied them. There stood various big and small settlements surrounding the city. They, at a later date, became totally soaked up by its rapid development, and as such constituted the city’s immediate suburbs.[2]

No sooner had the survey and selection of the site been accomplished than al-Mansur hired a host of craftsmen, engineers, architects, masons, carpenters and blacksmiths from every province. He wrote to his governors that he needed everyone who had any knowledge or skills in construction and every other related craft. The number of the laborers was around one hundred thousand and they all had a fixed income.[3] Al-Mansur also engaged a group of people endowed with virtue, integrity, intelligence, fidelity and surveying competence from different regions in order to supervise the whole project. Every quarter of the city had its commander assigned to oversee and hurry the completion of the building of that quarter. All the commanders were to report directly to the caliph.

Clearly, at the very outset did al-Mansur desire to demonstrate on the ground to everyone what sort of urban climate he had in mind and was about to translate onto reality and for what reasons, i.e. a truly cosmopolitan and eclectic one bound to assume shortly the role of the center of gravity of virtually all valuable human engagements in the state and if possible abroad. It was but ideal for the caliph to kick off his gigantic and conglomerate project with the most respected classes of the society side by side with him obeying, advising, cooperating, and, most important of all, endorsing the envisaged mission and vision of the city. It is not hard to recall, however, that some visible hints as to the pertinence of this strategy and al-Mansur’s propensity towards its application have been made as early as in the course of surveying and choosing the location for the new city, but the situation was not as serious nor systematized, and its implications did not affect the whole land. This was so perhaps because each notion pertaining to the city plan, form and function did not by that time fully evolve into what it became later, or it was but al-Mansur simply felt that the successful commissioning of the numerous workmen disembarking with diversified political inclinations and from diversified economic, social, religious and educational backgrounds was an extremely difficult task that required a carefully and  intelligently formulated approach, but which he possibly at that point did not completely work out. The practice of avoiding the methods grounded on haste, hustle, indiscretion and rigidity, while embracing those permeated with the spirit of wisdom, gradation, prudence, tolerance, candor and flexibility, was consequently adopted and, as a result, proved the winning formula. In light of such a formula, during the tenure of the work a kind of reconciliation between certain groups, and between some of them and the government, was ostensibly targeted, and the wide and glaring gap separating them was meant to be narrowed. Nevertheless, managing properly the summoned workforce, extremely large and diverse as it was, could only be viewed as a prelude for what the future capital city in a near future will have to put up with in terms of the magnitude of its citizenry, their origins, qualifications, interests, ambitions and ideas. Thus, passing the early tests could but lead to laying the foundation for the new triumphs and successes at a much wider scale, so once the former happened, it gave abundant hope and encouragement to everyone, particularly the political elite with the caliph al-Mansur in vanguard.

Perhaps the most prominent among the caliph’s workmen were Abu Hanifah of al-Kufah, one of the four most illustrious jurists in Islam, and al-Hajjaj b. Artah, a traditionalist and jurist who lived in al-Kufah along with Abu Hanifah and later served as the judge of al-Basrah. The former is reported to have been in charge of making and counting the mud bricks until the construction of the city wall next to the moat – one of the two protective walls that encircled the city – was finished. He used to measure and count the bricks with the reed linear, a practice that proved so effective and feasible that the people emulated it thereafter.[4] One of the city’s streets later bore his name.[5] As for the latter, he was the architect of the Baghdad’s main mosque on the orders of al-Mansur, and he issaid to have laid its foundations. It appears, furthermore, that he also played a prominent role in planning the northern suburbs of the city.[6]

One ought not to hasten and use this and other resembling cases to infer that al-Mansur planned by them only to gain much needed support from and then make use of the intellectual elite in the state, many of whom for different reasons had long been at odds with the government, because there exist many other authentic accounts that attest to the contrary. Actually, the whole issue of the relationship between al-Mansur and the intellectual and religious scholars is indeed an intricate one still shrouded in a number of conundrums, on one hand, and grossly exaggerated adornments or slanders, on the other. The problem is further compounded by the contrasting social, religious and political tendencies of the medieval as well as late students of the subject in question, for which reason of course did they always arrive at contradicting conclusions. It is true, for instance, that Abu Hanifah spent a considerable time in al-Mansur’s prisons in Baghdad, in the wake of his repudiation of the appointment as the chief judge of the new capital city – he even may have died therein -, but then one must look at the matter from a broader perspective and within a wider context, i.e. the historical roots of the rift between the political and intellectual leaderships in the Islamic state and the primary causes of such a phenomenon, plus the subject of the judicature in Islam and the religious scholars’ disparate positions on undertaking or administering it.[7]

After everything had become set, al-Mansur ordered the city to be marked out, its foundations excavated, its mud bricks shaped, and its baked bricks fired. But he wanted to see beforehand what the city would look like, so he commanded that its outline be drawn with ashes. He then proceeded to enter through each gate and to walk among its outside walls, its arched areas, and its courtyards, all of which were outlined in ashes. He made the rounds, looking at the workmen and at the trenches that had been sketched. Having done that, he ordered that cotton seeds be placed on this outline and oil be poured on it. Then he watched as the fire flared up, seeing the city as a whole and recognizing its full plan. Subsequently, he ordered the foundations to be excavated along those lines.[8] Thus the construction commenced. Wells had already been dug for obtaining water from underground sources. Also, a canal from one of the Euphrates arms had been created for causing water flow inside the chosen site for drinking, moistening the clay and making the bricks.[9] Al-Mansur with his own hand placed the first brick while uttering: “In the name of Allah; praise be to Allah; the earth is Allah’s, to give as a heritage to such of His servants as He pleases, and the end is best for those who are righteous.”[10]

When completed, the city of Baghdad was round with its principal mosque in the middle. It is said that its qiblah was not in the right direction -mostprobably because of a slight miscalculation – and that anyone praying in it had to turn a little toward the Basrah Gate, one of the four city gates.[11] Le Strange asserts that the mosque did not exactly face the qiblah, as it should have done, because its plan has only been laid down after the caliph’s residence was completed, so its quadrangle, for the sake of symmetry, had to conform to the already existing lines of the palace walls.[12] This assertion however does not at any rate appear credible, for despising and dishonoring the sanctity of the mosque institution in a said manner is absolutely unacceptable and may even lead to questioning the faith of him who deliberately does it.[13] Even had al-Mansur decided to do what he is alleged to have done, those people of virtue, integrity, intelligence and fidelity, whom he had summoned to supervise and administer the work, would have under no circumstances approved of it.       

The mosque was built with sun-dried bricks and clay, and was 200 by 200 dhira’ (approximately 100 by 100 meters). Thanks to the still-surviving influences of the architecture of Sasanian Persia, it was apparently of the type in which the roof rests directly on piers or wooden columns, without the intermediary of arches – unlike the mosques erected by the Umayyads in Syria under the Hellenistic influences.[14] Because it was initially a simple structure in its form and design built of the materials prone to fast deterioration, the mosque recurrently needed reparation work. It underwent a couple of enlargements on the hands of several ‘Abbasid caliphs due mainly to its inability to accommodate the ever-growing population during the congregational prayers, notably the ‘Id and Jum’ah prayers. The mosque eventually emerged as a solid edifice build of kiln-burnt brick set in mortar. It appears to have passed unhurt during the Mongol invasion of the city, and in the year 727/1327, when Ibn Batutah visited Baghdad, it is mentioned as still standing.[15]

Adjacent  to the mosque was al-Mansur’s official residence, a square whose dimensions and some architectural motifs have been accurately described by al-Baghdadi.[16] It had a tunnel-vaulted hall open at one end with a room at the back covered by a dome. Above this was a second room also covered by a dome – the famous Green Dome – which could be easily spotted from every part of the city. On that account was al-Mansur’s residence known as the Green Dome (al-Qubbah al-Khadra’). Sometimes, however, it was named the Golden  Gate (Bab al-Dhahab), and sometimes the Golden Palace. On top of the Dome was the figure of a mounted man holding a lance which might have served as a weathercock. The whole structure from the bottom to the top was 80 dhira’ (about 40 meters) high.[17]

Advanced and sophisticated as it was, the circular form of Baghdad surely stood as one of the most remarkable examples of town-planning that man has witnessed, so much so that some medieval Muslim historians insisted that such a feature had never been known before.[18] However, their modern western counterparts firmly believe that such is far from being the case.[19] Al-Mansur’s rationale behind planning and building his city in the manner he did was primarily his concern for his subjects, plus the efficient execution of the duties and responsibilities that he as the caliph was entrusted with. Had the city been square, or round but the caliph had not been stationed in the middle of it, he would have been then nearer one place of it than another.[20] Apart from these, there were other advantages in having the city round, which al-Mansur of course was not short of perceiving, such as the military ones exemplified in the avoidance of dead angels, and the practical ones exemplified in economy of walling. Much has already been said about al-Mansur’s exceptional concern about the former, but the latter did not lack in significance either – given the rigorous and parsimonious nature of al-Mansur –[21] for if a given area has to be enclosed, the shape with the shortest, thus cheapest, boundary is the circle.

As for the mosque and its central position, al-Mansur contrived nothing novel, he rather just followed what the Prophet, peace be upon him, and other caliphs afterwards – including the four orthodox ones – had been practicing, as the institution of mosque in Islam serves in every age as the focal point of people’s both religious and social life. As such, its physical stature ought to be made as a guidepost and its philosophy and message an inspiration and guidance in all the development and planning undertakings. Concerning the position of al-Mansur’s official residence, he was the follower and not the innovator as well. The resembling tradition dates back to the Prophet, peace be upon him, himself and his four orthodox caliphs.

It is  quite fitting to construe the city plan and the arrangement of its buildings and sections as a Muslim claim to world dominion, or at any rate as an attempt to present the city proper as the world metropolis that will someday magnetize the center of gravity of world affairs, for the religion of Islam and Islamic state had already in many respects attained that very status among the world religions and world societies respectively, and the things were set only to improve. But to assume that the design of the city conveyed but remoteness, self-sufficiency and iron authority, hence stood as a metaphor of absolute power that was al-Mansur’s sole interest, is but a blunt exaggeration and even a vicious slander against the caliph whose well preserved manifold contributions to Islam, the Muslims and the Islamic state testify in favor of the contrary.

Apart from the mosque and al-Mansur’s official residence, there were in the central area of the city two more edifices: one that housed the chief of the military security forces and some of his troops, and another for the chief of the security police and some of his personnel.[22] The central area was always under the strict security surveillance, and was by no means accessible to everyone who possessed no genuine reason or purpose. No one could enter it except on foot, even the high governmental officials such as Isa b. ‘Ali, al-Mansur’s paternal uncle and one of his influential advisers, who due to his age and health, coupled with the vastness of the area proper, was complaining, albeit to no avail, about the existing rigid regulation.[23]

The city of Baghdad had the impressive outer fortifications: a wide trench kept filled with water and the two protective walls. The outer wall was naturally thinner then the main one, the latter being a massive formation with numerous and elaborate defensive arrangements. Al-Mansur commanded that at its lowest point the main wall should be fifty dhira’ (approximately 25 meters) thick, and at its highest, twenty dhira’.[24] It measured 35 dhira’ in height. Between the two circular walls was an intervallum (fasil).  The walls were made of mud bricks; burnt bricks were employed for the tunnel-vaults and domes. “The upper level of the main wall could be reached from each of the four gatehouses by a gangway, probably rising in gradients, for it is said that a horseman could ride up, and this gangway was carried over the vaultings which formed the roof of the portico in front of the gatehouse.”[25]

The city had four axial gates named after the four territories towards which they led: the Khurasan Gate, the al-Kufah Gate, the al-Basrah Gate and the Syrian Gate. Each gateway had two colossal and massive doors which only a batch of people could open or close. Each gateway had a vaulted hall on which a domed chamber was built. On top of every dome was a statue spun by wind. The four chambers were accessible only by a steep stairway with the lockable doors. They served as al-Mansur’s observation posts: from the chamber on the Khurasan Gateway he observed rivers, waterways and the visitors arriving from the Khurasan direction; he viewed the suburbs from the chamber on the Syrian Gateway; from the chamber on the al-Basrah Gateway he viewed Karkh – the great market suburb outside the city – and the arriving travelers; he observed gardens and country estates from the chamber on the al-Kufah Gateway. In the wall between each gate and the next were twenty eight towers, except between the al-Basrah Gate and the al-Kufah Gate, where there was a tower extra.[26]

If one had passed the vault of any main gate, he would have stepped into a square court. On both the right and left, there was a road which was, as a matter of fact, the same one, as it extended all round the enclosure wall passing by the other three entrances. The gates of the streets from a residential area – that was the next section of the city – opened from this rotary road. From the court one would have entered next towards the arcades which are 53 in number. On both sides of these arcades, between each of them, were rooms reserved for the guard. It was the same for the other gates. After these vaults one would have passed out again into a square court with another circular road – exactly like the first one – which marked the end of what could be described as the outer ring and the beginning of the inner one. Behind the rooms reserved for the guard on both the right and left was the residential zone. The entire zone was divided into four equal quadrants – because of the four gateways – by the vaulted arcades which ran from the main gates. The zone was bounded externally and internally by the ring streets from which opened the gates of the streets of the quarters. The latter, which ran like the spokes of a wheel, was a cul-de-sac street network and had a strong gate at each end, ensuring thereby security, peace and privacy for the residents.[27] The exact names of the streets have been provided by al-Ya’qubi.[28] The erected domiciles, most likely, were of a typical Islamic high-density/low-rise archetype, dictated by the principles of economy (construction, maintenance etc.) and the requirements of the climate, safety and respecting privacy. Our assumption could be well corroborated by the verity that not many of the inner edifices could have been higher than the city wall, especially those adjoining it, as well as by the fact that the caliph’s official residence positioned in the middle, and as high as about 40 meters, could be easily spotted from each part of the city. Most houses had their courtyards and gardens, the latter being presumably decorative gardens since fruits and cereals were grown outside the city walls.[29]

 As for the so-called inner ring, which stood between the central area and the outer residential zone (ring), it was built for the residences of al-Mansur’s younger children, his servants in attendance, the treasury, the military storehouse, the department or bureau (diwan) of the palace personnel, the public kitchen and various other government agencies.[30] If one had wanted to proceed from the square court, flanked by the beginning and the end of the second city’s circular road that marked the end of the outer ring, to the central area, he would have had to go through a long passage consisting of a vault of bricks, which had iron doors. Next, he would have gone out into the central area. The same would have been the case had one wanted to use any other gateway.[31]

It was impossible for everyone to be granted the privilege of permanent residence within the walls, so al-Mansur ordered the city suburbs to be discreetly planned and built. He divided them into four quarters, each one extending from one of the four gateways, and appointed several engineers to spearhead and coordinate the work in every quarter.[32] He instructed the workers to construct a sufficient number of convenient and commodious shops. Every suburb must have had a congregational market, planned according to the nature of the available industries and businesses. Cul-de-sac as well as open streets with sufficient width had to be designed in consonance with both the people’s needs and the types of the flanking residences. The roads were given the names after the chiefs or the nobles who dwelled in the immediate vicinity. In some cases, the names of the roads were based on the origins of the residents. Al-Mansur further ordered that in every suburb, market and street an adequate number  of mosques and public bathrooms be constructed.[33]

At first, the markets were established in the four arcades of the walled city, each one having a market. Later though, in the year 157/773, al-Mansur issued an order to move them from the city to the Karkh area.[34] He directed some of his men to build the markets there making booths and houses for every trade. When the job had been accomplished, the booths and houses were handed to the people and reasonable rents were imposed on them according to size. From then on, in each quarter of the walled city only one vegetable seller selling vinegar and greens alone was allowed tooperate, the rest had to leave. After the number of people had grown, some of the traders in Karkh built markets on sites not sought by the authorities to be built on. They were charged less in rents for they did not operate in the buildings provided by the government.[35] Needless to say that these markets had their designated officers (al-muhtasib) whose principal task was the maintenance of law, order and fair trading in them. The institution of hisbah dates back to the Prophet, peace be upon him, when the first Muslim markets in Madinah were established. 

Two principal reasons appear to have been behind this al-Mansur’s move. Firstly, the city with the crowded, noisy and bustling markets inside was less secure, by the standards set by al-Mansur, as there might have been spies and intelligent agents among the foreigners and others who used to stay inside over night. Among the damages that these people could inflict was the opening of the gates by night to an enemy due to the position of the markets. Al-Mansur became extremely wary of the situation especially in the wake of a commotion caused by some supporters of the Shi’ah cause. To rub salt into the wound, the Shi’ah sympathizers were headed by one of al-Mansur’s men, an officer in charge of the maintenance of law and order in the city markets (al-muhtasib).[36] Even that Byzantine patrician – who had come as an ambassador and had been taken on a tour of the city – is said to have cautioned al-Mansur in his remarks against the markets and its people labeling them as his enemies with him in the city. Al-Mansur respected and heeded the advice, but presumably did not take any serious action until his own investigation, coupled with the aforementioned Shi’ah disturbance, made him wake up to the seriousness of the situation.

The second principle reason for moving the markets outside the city was their fast and hardly controllable augmentation that in a short time started to pose a nuisance to the authorities, as the open spaces inside the walls were limited and governed by a number of strict and rigorous laws. This phenomenon, though, was but a result of the solicited blooming businesses and industries commensurate with the rapid growth of the population in the whole region. The government seems to have always been facing this sort of problem, so it resolved to safeguard its credibility remaining quite consistent and unrelenting in maintaining the law and order. Inasmuch as it constituted a key to unity and the amicable and healthy socialization, the inviolability of the domestic unit, the neighbor’s rights and the rights of the public were honored most by the existing laws. No individual, for example, was permitted to construct a house beneath the main wall[37] lest he might obstruct both the public and security personnel in carrying out various jobs and assignments of theirs. Besides, the owners of such houses could expose themselves and their households to some unpredictable hazards from within and without alike. At one point, some houses extended into the streets of the city violating the right of free movement of the public and the immediate neighbors, so al-Mansur acted promptly and ordered the houses to be destroyed and the prescribed width of the streets kept up.[38]




The creation of the city of Baghdad was necessitated by a bunch of social, political, religious and security reasons. The task was gigantic, but the caliph al-Mansur rose to the challenge producing a seat of his government that soon attained a degree of renown and brilliance seldom rivaled afterwards. During the whole process, the caliph and the whole ‘Abbasid family were able by employing many a wisely designed method to somewhat consolidate themselves at the helm of the Islamic state, something that they had from the very beginning despairingly yearned for.

The process of surveying and choosing the city site was subjected to the stringent standards and criteria set by al-Mansur and his associates who came from all over the vast Muslim empire and represented every then-known branch of knowledge. The geographical and topographical advantages, conjoined with numerous societal, economic and security factors, were first and most considered. The religious scholars, with the jurists (fuqaha’) in forefront, have been evidently granted a prominent role during the process. Such remained the case in the course of the city construction, as well as in the aftermath of it when several jurists were asked to occupy some high governmental positions in the city proper or elsewhere.

After its completion and when the life in it had gotten into full swing, the city had to undergo some slight adjustments in terms of both security and convenience for its populace. This, nonetheless, could not really be branded as a shortcoming in the planning or the construction of the city, because the dazzling pace of its rise, added to the incredibly accelerated general development of the entire neighborhood as a spin-of from the former, was apparently somewhat faster and greater than anticipated. Something concrete, therefore, had to be done in order to encounter the situation on time and avert any subsequent undesirable repercussions.

The creation of the city of Baghdad represents a landmark in the long and abundant history of Islamic general planning, urbanization and even architecture, because it awesomely displayed to the Muslims and non-Muslims alike how and in which manner Islamic glorious values and principles could be successfully applied, no matter how complex and troublesome some prevalent political, social and economic challenges imposed by the time and space factors, could be. The city’s imposing exemplary layout and monuments, its extremely dynamic religious and scientific life, which was elevated to the new heights by the establishment of Bayt al-Hikmah (the House of Wisdom) a couple of decades later, its unmatched dynamism and magnitude of trade and commerce – all these contributed greatly to making Islamic culture and civilization stand head and shoulders for a long time above the numerous defunct as well as extant famed cultures and civilizations in approximately  every field of human constructive engagements.




[1]Al-Tabari, The History, vol. 28 p. 247.

[2]Some Muslim geographers talked at length about such settlements and their initial as well as subsequent positions. See: Al-Baladhuri, Futuh al-Buldan, (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1983), p. 293. Al-Ya’qubi, Kitab al-Buldan, p. 15-23. Ibn al-Faqih, Kitab al-Buldan, p. 292-297. 

[3]Al-Ya’qubi, Kitab al-Buldan, p. 11.

Al-Baghdadi states that the workforce numbered “many thousands.” (Al-Baghdadi al-Khatib, Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 1 p. 67)

[4]Al-Baghdadi al-Khatib, Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 1 p. 71.

[5]Al-Ya’qubi, Kitab al-Buldan, p. 13.

[6]Al-Tabari, The History, vol. 29 p. 6.

[7]See for instance: Mustafa Shakir, Dawlah Bani al-‘Abbas, (Kuwait: Wakalah al-Matbu’at, 1973), vol. 1 p. 563-572. Al-Fudaylat Jabr Mahmud, Al-Qada’ fi al-Islam, (Muscat: Dar ‘Ammar, 1991), p. 9-167.

[8]Al-Tabari, The History, vol. 28 p. 245. Ibn al-Athir, Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, vol. 5 p. 167.

[9]Al-Ya’qubi, Kitab al-Buldan, p. 11. Lassner Jacob, The Shaping of ‘Abasid Rule, p. 165-183.

[10]Ibn al-Faqih, Kitab al-Buldan, p. 282.

[11]Al-Tabari, The History, vol. 29 p. 6.

[12]Le Strange, Baghdad During the Abbasid Caliphate, p. 33. Lassner Jacob, The Shaping of ‘Abasid Rule, p. 165-183.

[13]It is true that al-Tabari says (The History, vol. 29 p. 6) that it happened mainly “because the mosque of the city was built onto the palace”, yet nothing is said about doing it intentionally so that some aesthetic requirements were met.

[14]The Islamic Garden, Edited by Elisabeth B. Macdougall and Richard Ettinghausen, (Washington: Dumbarton Oaks, 1976), p. 73. 

[15]See: Creswell K.A.C., A Short Account of Early Muslim Architecture, (Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 1989), p. 240 and 415. Le Strange, Baghdad During the Abbasid Caliphate, p. 34-37.

[16]See: Al-Baghdadi al-Khatib, Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 1 p. 73.

[17]Ibid., vol. 1 p. 73. Ibn Kathir,Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, vol. 10 p. 101. Lassner Jacob, The Shaping of ‘Abasid Rule, p. 170-183.

[18]Al-Baghdadi al-Khatib, Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 1 p. 67.

[19]See: Lassner Jacob, The Shaping of ‘Abasid Rule, p. 169-183. Creswell K. A. C., A Short Account of Early Muslim Architecture, p. 236. Michell George, Architecture of the Islamic World, (London: Thames and Hudson, 1987), p. 246.

[20]Al-Baghdadi al-Khatib, Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 1 p. 72.

[21]See for example: Al-Tabari, The History, vol. 29 p. 6 and 10.

[22]Al-Ya’qubi, Kitab al-Buldan, p. 13. Lassner Jacob, The Shaping of ‘Abasid Rule, p. 170-183.

[23]Al-Tabari, The History, vol. 29 p. 7. Lassner Jacob, The Shaping of ‘Abasid Rule, p. 170-183.

[24]Ibid., vol. 28 p. 247.

[25]Le Strange, Baghdad During the Abbasid Caliphate, p. 23.

[26]Al-Baghdadi al-Khatib, Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 1 p. 74-75. Al-Ya’qubi, Kitab al-Buldan, p. 11-12. Ibn al-Faqih, Kitab al-Buldan, p. 291-292. Lassner Jacob, The Shaping of ‘Abasid Rule, p. 185-194.

[27]See: Al-Ya’qubi, Kitab al-Buldan, p. 12-14. Al-Baghdadi al-Khatib, Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 1 p. 74. Creswell K.A.C., A Short Account of Early Muslim Architecture, p. 233. Lassner Jacob, The Shaping ofAbbasid Rule, p. 185-194.

[28]Al-Ya’qubi, Kitab al-Buldan, p. 13-14.

[29]The Islamic Garden, Edited by Elisabeth B. Macdougall and Richard Ettinghausen, p. 75.

[30]Al-Ya’qubi, Kitab al-Buldan, p. 13.

[31]Ibid., p. 12-13.

[32]Al-Ya’qubi furnishes us with the full names of the engineers. Ibid., p. 14-15. 

[33]Ibid., p. 15.

[34]The Karkh area served as a local market even before the creation of Baghdad.

[35]Al-Tabari, The History, vol. 29 p. 8, 10.

[36]Ibid., vol. 29 p. 8-9.

[37]Al-Baghdadi al-Khatib, Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 1 p. 73.

[38]Al-Tabari, The History, vol. 29 p. 9.

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