chapter  2
10 Pages

Medina; the “Islamic,” “Arab,” “Middle Eastern” City: Reflections on an Urban Concept

The idea of the “Islamic” city, the “Arab” city, the “Middle Eastern” city, often referred to in both Western and Arab literature as the “Medina,” has been with us now for almost a century. Indeed, in the second half of the twentieth century, the term has received its fair share of attention from scholars in numerous disciplines from architectural history to urban geography. The evolution of the concept seems to have paralleled the development of scholarship on the urban form of the cities of Islam culminating in the conceptualization of the Medina as the “Islamic city” (AlSayyad 1998: 1).1