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Random House Incorporated, 2004 - Architecture - 320 pages
With over 300 original photographs, as well as charts, architectural plans, and reproductions of engravings and ancient watercolors, Damascus provides a rich and thorough introduction to the architectural and archeological history of one of the world's great cities. Weaving together aspects of history, sociology, religion, and law, Degeorge presents a unique perspective on the sights and monuments, allowing the reader a global view and a tangible sense of the successive civilizations in order to understand their mysteries.

In the introduction, the natural history and geography of the region are explored— elements crucial for a deeper understanding of Damascus's place on the world map and its situation on the major commercial routes. Relations with the West (the Greek and Roman empires, the Crusades, and French Imperialism) are broadly addressed, both in the acts and deeds of the people, as well as the perspective of Western travelers, businessmen, and political figures. Degeorge also includes the impressions and observations of nearby residents of the Mahgreb, Syria, and other members of the Orient, departing from the uniquely ethnocentric point of view that often dominates studies of the region.

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This lush survey of Syria's capital city by a prolific French historian neatly compacts 11,000 years of Damascene history. Strategically located at the juncture of Mediterranean, Asian, and European ... Read full review


The emergence of agriculture and settlements 15 Urban revolution 17 Pawn of the Great EmpiresEgyptian
The centuries of darknessFatimids Crusaders Mongols
The Franks 52 Damascuscenter of resistance
Government by the Turks
The end of the Latin states and the Mongol offensive 105 The century of Tankiz 117 Timurs occupation
Stagnation and demise of the Mameluk state 128 A city of wealth and prosperity 130 Newstyle architecture
Damascus provincial capital of the Ottoman empire
The century of Süleyman the Magnificent 155 Architecture in the Istanbul style 161 The decadence of Ottoman
The return of the FranksBonaparte in Syria 192 Damascus jewel of the empirethe last architectural
The end of the Ottoman empire and the pangs of Westernization
A last gasp for independencea disastrous assessment 283 Damascus on the road to Westernization
The principal monuments in Damascus 298 Notes 300 Chronology 311 Glossary 312 Bibliography

About the author (2004)

Gerard Degeorge is a historian and specialist in the study of Syria and of the Arab world in general. An experienced photographer of the Islamic world, and a civil engineer and architect, he teaches at the ecole d'Architecture de Paris-la-Seine. The author has published several scholarly works, including Ornament and Decoration in Islamic Architecture (Thames & Hudson, 2000), The Art of the Islamic Tile (Flammarion, 2002), and Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva (Flammarion, 2003).

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