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The Garden Culture of Damascus: New Observations Based on the Accounts of ʻAbd Allāh al-Badrī (d. 894/1489) and Ibn Kannān al-Ṣāliḥī (d. 1135/1740)

La « Culture du Jardin » à Damas : nouvelles observations d’après les récits de ʿAbd Allāh al-Badrī (894/1489) et Ibn Kannān al-Ṣāliḥī (d. 1135/1740)
«ثقافة الحديقة» في دمشق: ملاحظات جديدة وفق روايات عبد الله البدري (م. ٨٩٤ هـ/١٤89 م) وابن كنعان الصالحي (م. ١١٣٥ هـ/١٧٤٠ م)
Georgina Hafteh
p. 297-325

Résumés

Les jardins ont joué un rôle important dans le développement urbain de Damas et dans l’émergence d’une culture de loisir unique à la fin de la période mamelouke et au cours de la période ottomane. À cette époque, la vie sociale damascène se déroulait dans les espaces récréatifs : cantines (maqāṣif mameloukes), cafés (maqāhī ottoman), bain publics, théâtres d’ombre et fêtes de pèlerins. Cet article examine le rôle des jardins et de la campagne dans le développement urbain de Damas en s’appuyant essentiellement sur deux sources principales écrites par ʿAbd Allāh al-Badrī (894/1498) et Ibn Kannān al-Ṣāliḥī (1135/1740), choisies pour la pertinence avec laquelle elles évoquent l’histoire urbaine et culturelle de la ville.

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Texte intégral

  • 1 I would like to express my gratitude towards Associate Professor Samer Akkach for our fruitful disc (...)

1Gardens played an important role in the urban development of Damascus and in the emergence of a unique culture of recreation.1 In the late Mamluk (15th century) and continuing into the Ottoman period (16th-18th centuries), Damascene urban life was manifest in many places including canteens (Mamluk maqāṣif), coffeehouses (Ottoman maqāhī), public baths, shadow theatres, and pilgrim feasts, all of which shaped Damascus’ recreational culture. During “the days of roses” (ayyām al-ward) at the beginning of spring people also strolled beyond the city walls into al-Ġūṭa, the rich agricultural land surrounding Damascus, in order to enjoy a picturesque terrain characterised by a mixture of plains, rivers and valleys bordered to the north by steep mountains.

2This paper examines the role of gardens and the surrounding landscape in the urban development of Damascus, based primarily on two main sources written by ʻAbd Allāh al-Badrī (d. 894/1489) and Ibn Kannān al-Ṣāliḥī, (d. 1135/1740), chosen for their insights into urban and intellectual history, linked by the genre in which they write, maḥāsin al-Šām and their shared admiration of the city of Damascus and its beauty. The comparisons that Ibn Kannān al-Ṣāliḥī offers are based on the earlier text of ʻAbd Allāh al-Badrī, both provide insights into the intellectual and recreational activities related to open spaces within the city of Damascus to shed light on the evolution of the Damascene urban environment. Considered together, these sources enable a partial reconstruction of the gardens that were the setting for the urban life of Damascus.

3By the time of Ibn Kannān’s account, al-Ġūṭa was increasingly developed to offer spaces for social interaction and leisure activities. However, the area set aside for recreation within al-Ġūṭa seems to have been reduced and concentrated in two suburbs: al-Ṣāliḥiyya and al-Ǧisr, with the remainder returned to agricultural purposes. This paper argues that as a result of this concentration it is possible to identify two distinct types of landscape: the natural environment of al-Ġūṭa which was increasingly used for agricultural purposes; and the urban recreational gardens (mutanazzahāt) of al-Ṣāliḥiyya and al-Ǧisr which were dominated by public facilities and developed to offer places for social interaction. Both spaces enhanced the intellectual activities associated with the Damascene urban environment and led to the emergence of a unique garden culture.

Recent Scholarship on Damascene Gardens

  • 2 MacDougall & Ettinghausen 1976.
  • 3 Petruccioli 1997.
  • 4 Ruggles 2000 et 2008.
  • 5 Conan 2007.

4The garden culture of Damascus should be interpreted in the light of the broader discourse on gardens in the Islamic world and studies of the culture of recreation. Firstly, there is a significant body of scholarship that examines gardens in the Islamic world. This scholarship was primarily inspired by a collection of papers presented to the Dumbarton Oaks Trustees and edited by Elisabeth B. MacDougall and Richard Ettinghausen in 1976.2 Another ten papers were prepared for a conference on the Islamic Garden held at M.I.T and edited by Attilio Petruccioli in 1997.3 In this category one should also include the studies written by Fairchild D. Ruggles in 2000 and 2008,4 in addition to Emma Clark’s work in 2004 and another edition of Dumbarton Oaks edited by Michel Conan in 2007.5 These numerous studies offer insight into gardens from Morocco and Moorish Spain to India drawing on geographical, economic, climatic and archaeological data. However, while these publications explore important themes ranging from religious and spiritual interpretations of the paradise garden to practical studies of hydraulics and water reticulation, little attention has been paid to the use of gardens by their occupants or to Damascene gardens specifically.

  • 6 Hamadeh 2007 et 2008.
  • 7 Sajdi 2007.
  • 8 Andrews 2008.

5Secondly, a review of literature focusing on the culture of recreation in the early modern Ottoman Istanbul period shows that there is a recently burgeoning interest in Ottoman garden culture. In 2007 and 2008, Shirine Hamadeh addressed the question as to whether the landscape in 18th century Istanbul served as the site for the rise of an intellectual culture.6 Meanwhile in 2007, the coffeehouse, the rise of secular print culture, public celebration, and the use of an urban space were addressed in the series of papers exploring the cultural phenomena of the Ottoman Tulip period, which was edited by Dana Sajdi.7 One of the most recent contributions to the literature on the 18th century Istanbul garden is an article by Walter Andrews published in 2008.8 These studies have greatly enhanced our understanding of Ottoman urban space in Istanbul. The Tulip period is presented as a dynamic and vibrant era during which secular recreational activities increased in the gardens, coffeehouses, and other public spaces in Istanbul. These studies are based on chronicles, manuscripts, poetry and other 18th century texts.

  • 9 Akkach 2007 et 2010.
  • 10 Al-Nābulusī, Burǧ.
  • 11 Grehan 2007.
  • 12 Mubaiḍīn 2009.

6There is also a number of significant studies focusing on the recreational culture of Ottoman Damascus. All these studies use the sources of al-Badrī and Ibn Kannān, however each one interprets them for different purposes. Samer Akkach offers a significant insight into the period of early modernity (17th and 18th centuries) in Damascus. His articles published in 2007 and 20109 explore Damascus’ culture of entertainment with a focus on the Wine of Babel anthology,10 written by the 17th-18th century historian and Sufi Master ‘Abd al-Ġanī al-Nābulusī. By analysing al-Nābulusī poems and other primary sources from the Ottoman period in Damascus, Akkach provided a point of departure to examine the social and urban history of Damascene recreational gardens (muntazahāt). One further but important example written by James Grehan in 2007,11 shows an in-depth exploration of the link between consumption and cultural transformation across the early modern period in Damascus. Furthermore, Muhannad Mubaiḍīn offered a further contribution to scholarship on Ottoman Damascus in 2009. His study constitutes a general survey of the variety of entertainment activities that typically took place in Damascus‑including singing, dancing, smoking, drinking coffee, and promenading. This study drew on primarily Arabic sources and the Law-Court Records from Ottoman Damascus.12

7Despite the available scholarship on gardens in the Islamic world generally, and Damascene gardens in particular, several questions remain unanswered. For instance, how were the Damascene gardens and landscapes divided between natural environments and urban gardens between the late Mamlūk and the Ottoman period in Damascus? How were gardens used in the urban development of Damascus and how did this create a unique culture of recreation? What urban facilities and amenities were coupled with gardens and other open spaces?

  • 13 Al-Badrī, Nuzha; Ibn Kannān al-Ṣāliḥī, Mawākib.

8This paper seeks to address these questions in order to shed light on this period in Damascus through a comparative study of two accounts: Nuzhat al-anām from the late Mamlūk period; and al-Mawākib al-islāmiyya from the Ottoman period.13 The latter (account) cites many descriptions of urban gardens based on Nuzhat al-anām two hundered years earlier, allowing us to compare the breadth of this period of interest in the context of urban development by using the genre of maḥāsin al-Šām (the beauties of Damascus). This comparison allows us to present a starting point to better understand Damascus’ unique culture of entertainment as it was manifest in the gardens within and beyond the city walls.

Definition of Terms

  • 14 Al-Zubaydī, Tāǧ.

9In the accounts of Ibn Kannān and al-Badrī, Damascene recreational gathering and picnics occurred in a specific natural or urban landscape which was identified by different Arabic terms: bustān, ḥadīqa, rawḍa, ǧunayna and muntazah or mutanazzah. A brief clarification of these terms from various Arabic dictionaries is necessary before the main argument commences. According to the lexicographer Ibn Manẓūr and al-Farāhīdī,14 the original meanings of ḥadīqā, bustān, rawḍa and ǧunayna are similar with minor differences.

  • 15 Ibn Manẓūr, Līsān, the root ḥadaq.
  • 16 Al-Zubaydī, Tāǧ, I; Ibn Manẓūr, Līsān, the root basta.
  • 17 Al-Zubaydī, Tāǧ, XVIII; Ibn Manẓūr, Līsān, the root rawḍ.
  • 18 Ibn Manẓūr, Līsān, the root ǧanan; Law-Court Records, Damascus, vol. 88, document no153.
  • 19 Sūrat al-Baqara, 266.
  • 20 Sūrat al-Rūm, 15.

10The use of ḥadīqa (pl. ḥadā’iq) encompasses both bustān and rawḍa, but ḥadīqa must be surrounded by a fence.15 The term bustān (pl. basātīn) refers to the same meaning as ḥadīqa or rawḍa; however bustān is mostly associated with fruit; for instance, “there are quince and apple in my bustān.16 In this regard, we might say that bustān is specified for agriculture purpose. On the other hand, rawḍa (pl. rawḍ or riyāḍ) indicate “a land that had water, trees and flowers,”17 and ǧunayna (pl. ǧanā’in) had the same meaning as bustān, but was a smaller space, for example the Ottoman Law-Court Record mentions that a number of ǧunayna form one bustān.18 In addition, ǧunayna should have both palms and grapes according to both lexicographers. The mention of these two varieties fruits also links the meaning of ǧunayna to a spiritual religious symbol mentioned in the Quran and that refers to the garden of paradise: “Would one of you like to have a garden of palms trees and grapevines underneath which rivers flow in which he has from every fruit?”19 The same symbolic meaning applied to rawḍa: “And as for those who had believed and done righteous deeds, they will be in a garden [of Paradise], delighted.”20

  • 21 Al-Zubaydī, Tāǧ, XXXVI ; Ibn Manẓūr, Līsān, the root nazah.
  • 22 Ibn Manẓūr, Līsān, the root nazah.

11On the other hand, the term mutanazzah (pl. mutanazzahāt) comes from the root nazah and the verb tanazzah. Tanazzah originally refers to a person who went by himself to a place with no water or grass, like a desert.21 However, as Ibn Manẓūr said that “the public commonly used these words incorrectly: they use tanazzah when they go on a picnic to basātīn and riyāḍ,”22 and this meaning was and still is used among Damascene people. Subsequently, from this review of different Arabic terms, here in the text the use of the word garden covers the meaning of the words bustān, ḥadīqā, rawḍa and ǧunayna. The term mutanazzah refers to the recreational garden equipped with a variety of urban and commercial enterprises where the people of Damascus gathered for leisure, entertainment and social interaction.

The Geography of Damascus

  • 23 Burns 2005, p. xvii-xviii.
  • 24 For detailed information about the Baradā River, see Ibn al-Rāʻī, Barq, p. 159-169; Ḫayr 1982, p. 8 (...)

12To understand the role of gardens in the urban transformation of Damascus it is necessary to begin with a short description of the local geography including the Baradā River which, as the historian Ross Burns states, “If there were no Baradā River, there could be no Damascus.”23 The Baradā River rises from the eastern Anti-Lebanon Mountain at the height of 1100m, in al-Zabadānī plain, then narrows to descend steeply with the river southward which approximately doubles its volume at al-Fīǧa Spring. The river continues in a narrow gorge named al-Rabwa valley, where its waters spread out fan-like and divide into six branches: Yazīd and Ṯawrā in the north, are responsible for irrigating al-Ṣāliḥiyya; Baradā, Bānyās and al-Qanawāt in the south, provide water for Kīwān land, the Old City, then the eastern land outside of the walled city (al-Marǧ land); the last two branches are al-Mazzāwī and al-Dārānī, which flow into al-Mazza and Dārayyā villages in the south. After the river divides, it flows southward through Damascus to end in al-ʿUtayba Lake24 (fig. 1-2).

  • 25 Ibn Kannān, Yawmiyyāt, I, p. 340.
  • 26 According to the lexicographer Ibn Manẓūr, the original meaning of Ġūṭa or al-Ġūṭa derives from the (...)

13The Baradā River is the scene of urban life in Damascus for inhabitants from different social realms, and it is the main source of water for agricultural purposes as well as providing the provision of vitality for the landscape more generally. The river also enhanced the amenity of the city, and the physical and emotional well-being of the citizens. In 1134/1722, Ibn Kannān al-Ṣāliḥī recorded an emotional connection between peasants and ordinary people, and the river in his Damascene chronicle Yawmiyyāt Šāmiyya when Baradā suffered from water scarcity. He records the maintenance of the river by the citizens who took their tools and tents and went happily to the spring in al-Zabadānī to spend a week or more until the river flowed again.25 One should not forget that centuries of human works resulted in the appearance of the branches, which in their turn became fundamental in the creation of a fertile green belt around the walled city of Damascus named Ġūṭat Dimašq.26

  • 27 Kurd ʻalī 1949, p. 16-17 ; Reilly 1990, p. 91.
  • 28 Kurd ʿalī 1949, p. 18.

14Al-Ġūṭa is bound on three sides: by the gorge of al-Rabwa to the west, Qāsyūn Mountain and Sannīr/al-Qalamūn Mountain (one of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains) to the north, al-Aswad and al-Māniʻ Mountain to the south, while in the east there is the pasture land of al-Marǧ, which is cultivated mostly with grains and it is three times as big as al-Ġūṭa.27 In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Muḥammad Kurd ʻAlī, a notable Syrian scholar and historian, identified the size of al-Ġūṭa area as approximately 40,600 hectares (20km long and 10-15km wide), taking into account the urban space of Damascus city within this area.28

  • 29 Waterwheels were frequently used for irrigation, and were linked to palaces, houses, religious scho (...)
  • 30 Ḫayr 1982, p. 128 ; Bianquis et alii 2010.
  • 31 Sīrān, in Damascene dialect comes from the root sayr which means stroll and walk, see Ibn Manẓūr, L (...)
  • 32 Al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 309-310. The editor Ibrāhīm Ṣāliḥ mentioned that Suġd Samarqand, Šiʻb Bawwān an (...)

15The topographical phenomenon of “Ġūṭat Dimašq,” irrigated by the Baradā River,29 has been well-known over the centuries as an intensely cultivated land,30 and is considered to be an important part of Damascus’ economic prosperity. It provides the city with fruits, vegetables and raw materials for artisanal production and represents an important dimension of economic exchange. In addition to its economic importance, al-Ġūṭa was the aesthetic backdrop of the Damascene recreational gatherings (tanazzuh/sīrān),31 where visitors could experience the beauty of Damascus. Throughout history, it was recognized as one of the most famous places to visit in the world. For example, in his text on the beauty of Damascus, Nuzhat al-anām fī maḥāsin al-Šām, al-Badrī cites that “Visitors from around the world unanimously agreed that the best four gardens on earth are: Suġd Samarqand, Šiʿb Bawwān, Nahr al-Ubulla, and Ġūṭat Dimašq… I visited them all and found the most virtuous one to be Ġūṭat Dimašq… It is like paradise that has been adorned and presented on earth.”32

Representations of the Landscape: the accounts of al-Badrī and Ibn Kannān

  • 33 The British traveler and artist William Henry Bartlett, visited Damascus in 1840 and represented th (...)

16Pictorial representations of Damascus’ landscape were not famous among Arab historians during the Mamluk and the Ottoman periods. The social life of the city as well as the natural environment tended to be represented through poetry, chronicles, diaries and other texts. This period (Mamluk and the Ottoman) of historiography was enhanced in the 19th century by European travelers visiting Damascus, whose sketches depicted lively impressions of many geographical sites, some of which illustrated people strolling, smoking, chatting, drinking coffee, singing and entertaining in the recreational gardens (mutanazzahāt).33 Moreover, travelers’ illustrations of Damascene gardens do not tend to portray daily-urban life, and are confined to the 19th century onwards. Therefore, the main descriptions of the city’s urban life from the 15th to the 18th centuries can only be traced through the remnant accounts of historians who lived and experienced Damascus during that period. In this article, my interpretation is drawn from two main sources as a point of departure to describe and imagine the Damascene gardens and to provide a basis for further research on the topic.

  • 34 See Al-Saḫāwī, Ḍaw’, XI, p. 40; al-Ziriklī, Aʿlām, II, p. 66.

17The first is a 15th-century account from the late Mamluk period, which is an exposition of Damascus’ beauties (maḥāsin al-Šām). The author is ʻAbd Allāh Ibn Muḥammad Ibn al-Ǧamāl al-Dimašqī al-Qāhirī al-Šāfiʻī, known as al-Badrī or Abū al-Taqā (d. 894/1489), a scholar, poet and historian. Al-Badrī was born in 847/1443 in Damascus and, in his early years, he worked with his father in trade, later moving to Cairo.34 Life in Cairo made him nostalgic of Damascus, which led him to write Nuzhat al-anām fī maḥāsin al-Šām, a work of praise and admiration of the beauty of Damascus in which he described the city’s urban features, architecture, agriculture and recreational gardens (with details about flowers and other plants) as well as representing many aspects of the socio-cultural activities associated with these places.

  • 35 Al-Murādī, Silk, IV, p. 85.

18Years later, during the late 17th to 18th centuries, al-Badrī’s account Nuzhat al-anām gained him recognition by the scholar and intellectual sufi šayḫ Ibn Kannān al-Ṣāliḥī (d. 1135/1740), who was born in a Damascene elite family in al-Ṣāliḥiyya and grew up under the care of his father, a notable Muslim šayḫ, and other prominent šayḫ-s in Damascus.35 Like al-Badrī, he engaged with the theme of the beauties of Damascus (maḥāsin al-Šām), and wrote al-Mawākib al-islāmiyya, which is the second main source on the gardens of Damascus, on which I rely and dated from the period of the Ottoman Empire.

  • 36 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 222.

19In al-Mawākib al-islāmiyya, Ibn Kannān depicted Damascus’ horticulture and the cultivation of trees and flowers. He also cited several descriptions of gardens from al-Badrī’s account in the chapter on the beauties of Damascene recreational gardens (maḥāsin Dimašq al-mutanazahiyya). 36 At the end of this chapter, he offered considerable information about gardens and landscapes in Damascus and presented the changes and alteration that took place in the gardens’ cited in al-Badrī’s account of the city in his period.

  • 37 There are numerous amounts of the Damascene beauties which are “difficult to count”, al-Badrī said. (...)
  • 38 Ibn Manẓūr, Līsān, the root ḥusn.
  • 39 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 176.

20Subsequently, both these sources enable a partial reconstruction of the gardens that were the setting for the urban life of Damascus. They both used the discourse of maḥāsin to exude admiration of the city’s beauties—including gardens, landscape, and architectural marvels in addition to the description of the flowers and their medicinal and physical benefits. 37 The word maḥāsin comes from al-ḥusn, beauty and good, and it is the opposite of ugliness.”38 Al-Maḥāsin is a writing style used by historians, scholars, and poets—who lived in or visited Damascus, experienced its beauty, strolled in its gardens and experienced moments of joy and pleasure. For example, Ibn Kannān declared that his love and attachment to Damascus motivated him to write al-Mawākib al-islāmiyya.39 In both their accounts al-Badrī and Ibn Kannān mention approximately thirty gardens, but they only give details about a limited number of them. In order to describe and create an image of the gardens’ evolution throughout the centuries, a textual analysis has been undertaken for the most famous gardens in this paper, namely al-Rabwa, Qaṭya, al-Ǧabha, al-Nayrab, and Bayn al-Nahrayn.

Mutanazzah al-Rabwa

21Without a doubt, there were many more recreational gardens than those mentioned in the two historians’ texts, and their presence in Damascus can be dated to well before the Mamluk period. As a proof of this, Nuzhat al-anām and al-Mawākib al-islāmiyya both cite numerous poems written by famous scholars prior to the Mamluk period; poems that invariably represented the garden as a social gathering place for leisure and recreation, and were frequented by people from all walks of life—from the general public to the upper class citizen. One example was written by Tāǧ al-Dīn al-Kindī (d. 613/1217) praising the zankid prince Nūr al-Dīn for bestowing the gift of al-Rabwa to the public:

  • 40 Al-Badrī, Nuzha, 85. The translation is done from the original text in Arabic by author Samer Akkac (...)

Surely when Nūr al-Dīn saw that
in the gardens there are palaces for the rich.
He built the Rabwa as a lofty palace,
an absolute recreational place for the poor.”
40

  • 41 Al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 83-89.

22Later, al-Badrī also described al-Rabwa suburb (maḥalla) as one of the Damascene beauties (maḥāsin) that overlooks al-Ġūṭa and located far from the walled city to the west. Al-Rabwa suburb was an urban centre containing a mosque, religious schools, a public bath (ḥammām), halls (qāʻāt) with rooms above (ṭibāq) and canteens (maqāṣif). There is also a proof of the existence of a small bazaar (suwayqa) which was filled with a wide selection of daily goods and different food shops. Because of its location on the Baradā River Bank, it was also a popular place for young children to swim and play.41

  • 42 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 301.
  • 43 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 289, footnote n° 7. See also, Aḥmad Duhmān introduction in Ibn Ṭūlūn, Qa (...)
  • 44 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 295; al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 86.
  • 45 The term tuḫūt is still used in other cities in Syria such as Ḥamā. According to a Ḥamā citizen it (...)

23Ibn Kannān, quoting an anonymous historian, claimed that al-Rabwa, had a hundred structures named tuḫūt.42 According to the historian Aḥmad Duhmān, these tuḫūt were built above ground level in the al-Rabwa valley, and had a hall (qāʻa) surrounded by rooms, similar to īwān.43 Duhmān added, as an example based on Ibn Ṭūlūn, that tuḫūt is similar to the wooden hall built by Nūr al-Dīn high in al-Rabwa valley for the recreational activities of poor people.44 Yet, it is not quite clear what the term tuḫūt means, and the statement by Ibn Kannān that al-Rabwa consisted of one-hundred structures seem to be an exaggeration in such a small urban area. It is possible that the term tuḫūt refers to benches that in Arabic dialect means beds raised above the ground (fig. 3-4). 45

  • 46 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 307, footnote n° 2.
  • 47 Michaud & Poujoulat 1833, p. 201-202.
  • 48 Ḥusayn Afandī Ibn Muṣṭafā Ibn Ḥasan, known as Ibn Qarnaq al-Dimašqī (d. 1090/1679), was famous for (...)
  • 49 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 307.
  • 50 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 307.

24Additionally, Ibn Kannān referred to a new structure in al-Rabwa called maqʻad (pl. maqāʻid), which had “wooden planks without leather mats (anṭāʿ),” maqʻad al-Nawfara, for instance, has also “wooden windows overlooking Banyās River.”46 From his description, these maqāʻid might be the kiosks that Michaud and Poujoulat—French historians and travelers—described. On the 23rd of May 1831, they observed that Damascene people were spending the whole day in their kiosks in the gardens along the Baradā River. These kiosks were similar to the ones which existed in Istanbul and were spread along the Bosphorus.47 Ibn Kannān also noted that there were private maqāʻid such as maqʻad Ḥusayn Afandī Ibn Qarnaq on al-Qanawāt River and others for the public,48 where they brought their own quilts, leather mats and even plates, spoons and other eating utensils for recreational days.49 It may be assumed that some of those maqāʻid could be rented by public strollers, while others were privately owned. Also, it seems that the recreational gathering of the elites in maqāʻid was segregated from the lower classes, as Ibn Kannān mentioned that there were “maqāʻid for elites (akābir) in western al-Rabwa.”50

  • 51 Unfortunately Ibn Kannān did not state the reason for the destruction of the maqāʻid. In the same y (...)
  • 52 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 291-307. At the beginning of the 17th century around 1011/1602, most of (...)

25Compared to the description of al-Rabwa in the Mamlūk period, Ibn Kannān describes the changes that took place in the late 17th century. He recorded that the maqāʻid were destroyed in 1080/1669 and he pointed out that all buildings in al-Rabwa which dated from the Mamluk period—were neglected (ḫurriba) and vanished (zāla).51 The site was transformed into a place devoid of buildings, and “the only remnants being meadows and basātīn on the river bank, owned by people in Dummar and al-Mazza.”52 In other words, al-Rabwa was developed from an urban landscape in the Mamluk period, with gardens and public facilities, to a natural landscape without any structures.

From Canteens (maqṣaf pl. maqāṣif) to Coffeehouses (maqhā pl. maqāhī)

  • 53 Ibn Manẓūr, Līsān, the root qaṣab. Ibn Manẓūr mentioned many definitions of qaṣaba: a recently exca (...)
  • 54 In Arabic dictionaries the word ḥāna pl. ḥānūt means a place for drinking wine or a winery. See Ibn (...)
  • 55 Aṭbāq or ṭibāq according to Ibn Manẓūr, means layers situated above each other. See Ibn Manẓūr, Līs (...)
  • 56 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 229-230.
  • 57 See for information about the emergence of coffee: Pascual 1995-96, p. 141-156.

26Ibn Kannān’s account seems to contain the only historical description of the Qaṭya garden, which played a pivotal role in the function of the canteens between the Mamlūk and the Ottoman period. Qaṭya was located near Zāwiya al-Ḥarīrī, south of al-Šaraf and east of al-Rabwā, along al-Qanawāt River and adjacent to the Baradā River. It had a small village (qaṣaba),53 with a boutique (ḥānūt pl. ḥawānīt).54 This ḥānūt had an upper floor (ṭibāq) with four rooms.55 The canteen in Qaṭya was an urban public facility which served as a space mostly for the idle/unemployed people (baṭṭālīn) to gather, spend time and relax.56 Under Ottoman rule, and after the significant introduction of coffee to Damascus in the middle of the 16th century (940/1534), canteens were turned into coffeehouses,57 which began to proliferate both inside and outside the walled city of Damascus, all along the banks of the Baradā River.

  • 58 De Monconys 1665, p. 345. “Ils sont tout couverts, avec des vitres au milieu ; il y a une belle fon (...)

27One of the earliest descriptions of a maqhā is that by Balthasar de Monconys, a French diplomat, physician and magistrate. In his diary, written while visiting Damascus on the 13th of May 1647, he described the coffeehouses as follows: “they are all covered, with panels of glass in the middle; there is a beautiful fountain with several jets of water falling into a large square basin; all the benches are covered with rugs and there are theatres where divert drinkers are entertained by cantors and players of instruments.”58 Later, an engraving by British traveller William Henry Bartlett depicts a variety of coffeehouses on the bank of the Baradā River, opened from all sides, and populated by groups of people sitting beneath shading trellises. These roofs, which block out the sun, are built from light materials such as thatch, and are supported by slender columns of wood. It also shows people sipping coffee and smoking hookahs, whilst appreciating the breeze (fig. 5).

Garden Furniture, Features, and Facilities

  • 59 For instance: Ḥammām al-Nuzha in al-Ǧabha: al-Badrī, Nuzha, 80; Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 227-228.
  • 60 Sāḥat Taḥt al-Qalʿa–the square under the citadel- was famous for its various types of markets: fur, (...)
  • 61 Al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 86.
  • 62 See al-Ǧabha: al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 79; Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 222-223. See also Qaṭya garden in (...)

28The gardens (al-basātīn/al-muntazahāt), as mentioned, were predominantly places for cultivation and agriculture. However, they also provided opportunities for recreation, some of which were more extravagant than others. They served as urban centres in which were located facilities for leisure, commerce and religion. Al-Rabwa, al-Ǧabha, al-Nayrab, Qaṭya and Bayn al-Nahrayn were the most famous and well equipped recreational gardens according to the descriptions of al-Badrī and Ibn Kannān. In each one of them, there was a mosque, a religious school (madrasa), a public bath (ḥammām),59 places for livestock, a market (suwayqa),60 and canteens. The canteens were equipped with lamps and chandeliers, and furnished to meet all visitors’ needs from food to accommodation.61 There were cooks, beverage and fruit sellers, as well as waiters prepared to assist guests with all their needs: leather mats/tablecloths (anṭā‘), plates, and eating utensils, also pillows, quilts, blankets and cloaks for overnight visitors.62

  • 63 A ḫān was only mentioned in al-Ǧabha garden. See Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 222-28.
  • 64 Al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 79. There is scant information about the building materials used for the struct (...)
  • 65 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 254.
  • 66 Al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 83-89.
  • 67 Al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 80-81.
  • 68 It could be assumed that the famous gardens equipped with all facilities were intended for rich peo (...)

29In addition, there was also a lodge (ḫān),63 “shading trellises built without mud” in al-Ǧabha,64 and a mill in al-Šaqrā.65 Al-Rabwa was also well-known for its bazaars, with shops offering fried fish, tannūrī bread, cooks and ovens. It also had a wide range of fresh produce that was available at cheap prices and fifteen sheep were slaughtered at the site daily in addition to the meats that were brought from the city.66 All these necessities encouraged visitors to stay for as long as a month. “This does not exist in any other country in the world,” al-Badrī said.67 It was all these services that added to the cultural significance of a few gardens as a place of leisure and entertainment.68

Gardens and Urban Development

The Development of the Bayn al-Nahrayn Garden

  • 69 Al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 69; Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 244-246.
  • 70 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 247. Ḥikmat Ismāʻīl in the footnote identified Muḥammād Bāšā Ibn Bayram, (...)

30The evolution of a garden culture and the emergence of the coffeehouses, accompanied remarkable changes in the urban fabric of Damascus. According to Ibn Kannān, citing al-Badrī, the recreational garden Bayn al-Nahrayn—which was located in a unique spot at the entrance of the valley on diverging branches of the Baradā River, was an urban compound filled with venues (required) for recreation: houses, palaces (quṣūr), maqā‘id, various types of markets, public baths, and water basins. This site was connected by a bridge (qanṭara) to another site full of canteens with plenty of waterwheels. Nearby was al-Farrāyīn alley that had halls (qā‘āt) with single storey (ṭibāq), rooms and corridors (mamarrāt). 69 He concludes that this urban centre was completely destroyed in the Ottoman period, and the only remnants are two waterwheels, namely al-Mawlawiyya and Bāb al-Hawā. Even so, in 1117/1705, the site seems to have been restored and the buildings refurbished when the vizier Muḥammād Bāšā Ibn Bayram initiated the construction of a public religious school.70

The Alteration of the al-Nayrabayn: The Emergence of Maqāṣīr

  • 71 Al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 82-83. Al-Nayrabayn was divided into al-Nayrab al-a‘lā—situated between Yazīd a (...)
  • 72 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 231. See also: Ibn Kannān, Murūǧ, p. 66.
  • 73 The location of al-Bahnasiyya was in the east of al-Rabwā and neighbouring al-Dahša and the bridge (...)
  • 74 Al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 81-82; Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 230-231; See also Ibn Manẓūr, Līsān, the root (...)

31Another indication of the urban-natural development was the change that occurred to the recreational garden al-Nayrabayn. This was a popular Mamlūk quarter full of many elites’ and leaders’ houses, and was located east of al-Rabwa on the slope of Mount Qasiyūn.71 This suburb endured changes during the Ottoman period; some gardens with their urban facilities were neglected. Al-Zumurrud public bath and an unidentified garden were destroyed and abandoned in 1115/1703.72 On the other hand, a new construction, namely maqṣūra (pl. maqāṣīr) emerged in al-Bahnasiyya, a section of al-Nayrab, overlooking Marǧat Ǧisr Ibn Šawwāš.73 These maqāṣīr are often assumed to have been small houses for people’s recreational assembling and they were interspersed with trees, fruits, flowers and water basins.74 The existence of these small buildings in al-Nayrab contributed to the shaping of the urban fabric of the city during the Ottoman period.

The Alteration of Other Gardens: Ibn Kannān’s Observation

  • 75 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 274.
  • 76 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 307.
  • 77 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 289-290.
  • 78 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 285.
  • 79 Al-Munaybiʻ was irrigated by the Bānyās River and paralleled by al-Qanawāt to the south.
  • 80 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 270. Al-Zuhrabiyya location has the al-Barāmka cemetery for elite’ (a‘yā (...)
  • 81 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 275.

32Ibn Kannān description of the recreational sites differs to that of al-Badrī. The number of agricultural gardens (natural environment) seems to have increased, whereas the urban facilities for strollers—maqāʻid for instance—which were common in the Mamluk period appeared to have reduced. Ibn Kannān recorded that open spaces (including Damascene urban public gardens and the surrounding landscape) which were accompanied by commercial and public services were reduced to only two suburbs: al-Ṣāliḥiyya and al-Ǧisr. Both were full of public recreational places, coffeehouses, palaces of recreation (quṣūr al-nuzha), mosques, religious schools and public baths during the Ottoman period. Where the remnant gardens were turned into basātīn (natural landscape), it was rare to find a “maq‘ad for strollers.”75 Furthermore, al-Rabwa recreational suburb was destroyed and turned into basatīn and meadows (murūǧ) by private owners from Dummar and al-Mazza.76 Al-Sahm, al-Mayṭūr, al-Lubbād, al-Dahša, al-Ǧabha and al-Ḫalḫāl were merely “ruins and names.”77 Al-Ṣaṭrā, as well, was a public space full of buildings (‘amā’ir), which was transformed into numerous gardens (basātīn and ḥadā’iq) “without buildings.”78 Similarly, the al-Sahm suburb transitioned from a place full of connected houses to a garden with abundant trees and fruits. Another Mamluk garden named al-Munaybi‘,79 vanished in the Ottoman period, and Ibn Kannān assumed this garden to be the same as al-Zuhrabiyya.80 Ibn Kannān added that the surrounding villages of al-Mazza, Dummar, Ḥarastā, Mnīn, and Barza became lands full of trees, plants and peach.81 That is to say, the changes not only happened in the city itself but extended to the surrounding villages.

The Classification of the Gardens’ Development

  • 82 Ḥusayn Bāšā (d. 1094/1682), a famous vizier in Damascus, built his palace in al-Ḫātūniyya, in al-Ša (...)

33According to the information from Ibn Kannān, we can divide Damascene gardens in the 17th and 18th centuries into two types: the gardens which continued to serve as urban centres, these being al-Ṣāliḥiyya and al-Ǧisr (urban landscape); and the remnant gardens without buildings (‘amā’ir), which were used for agricultural purposes (natural landscape). While mostly agricultural, these remnants contained a few private gardens in al-Šarafayn and Ṣadr al-Bāz (al-Marǧa) that housed palaces (quṣūr).82 These changes reshaped the map of Damascus landscape. Furthermore, this classification was drawn from Ibn Kannān observations, but the reason for the gardens’ transformations remains relatively obscure and needs further research.

The Status of the Gardener

  • 83 Hamadeh 2007, p. 287.
  • 84 Necipoglu1997, p. 3.
  • 85 Al-Qāsimī et alii, Qāmūs, see the letter b, bustānī.

34In contrast to Damascus, 18th century Ottoman Istanbul had many royal gardens that were left to the public after the court lost interest in them. The number of public gardens in Istanbul started to increase due to a political agenda: “the state sometimes sought the opening or partial opening of an imperial garden to the public as a solution to repeated instances of public disorder.”83 In Istanbul the gardener (al-bustanǧī) was a state official, an employee responsible for the royal gardens, which involved harvesting the crops and rowing the Sultan’s imperial barge along Bosphorus River.84 Royal gardens did not exist in Damascus, where the land property varied between pious endowment (waqf), private property (milk), and state-owned land (mīrī). The gardener (al-bustānī) of private property was the owner or renter of the garden, and had the responsibility to plant and harvest the crops each year, and to exploit the profitability of garden (bustān);85 whereas, if the garden was assigned as a pious endowment, the gardener not only planted and benefitted from the land but also had to transfer a percentage of the generated income towards the waqf.

The Culture of Recreation

  • 86 For the recreational gathering in the days of roses in spring, see al-Ṣālihī, Yawmiyyāt, p. 301, 46 (...)

35Although transformations such as those described above occurred in many recreational gardens (muntazahāt), one might argue that the continuity of the recreational gathering during the Ottoman period might reflect a response for Damascene urban society’s demand for leisure activities. Such gatherings used to be associated with roses blossoming in spring (ayyām al-ward),86 mostly on Saturday and Tuesday. On these days, Damascene citizens of all ranks were ready to burst the boundary of the walled city and go into the vast plain of gardens. Recreational gatherings became a significant pastime due to the opportunities for entertainment and communication. Furthermore, these assembling offered an escape from the daily commitments, as well as an opportunity for the enjoyment of the natural environment.

  • 87 Al-Nābulusī, Burǧ.
  • 88 For information about the Damascene beauties, public recreation, secularity and fame derived from ʻ (...)

36The recreational urban landscape centre that emerged in al-Ṣāliḥiyya and al-Ǧisr might be a result of the growing consciousness among the public toward a sensual life. This tendency can be noticed in Burǧ Bābil wa šadū al-balābil,87 a compilation of poems about recreational gatherings in Damascene gardens by ‘Abd al-Ġanī al-Nabulusī (d. 1143/1731). ‘Abd al-Ġanī was a Sufi master and historian, who was accompanied by Ibn Kannān in the 17th and 18th centuries. He recorded the names of the gardens where he and his friends used to gather and enjoy the beauty of Damascene nature.88 These gatherings, mentioned in Burǧ Bābil, tended toward sensuality and entertainment life rather than a spiritual experience. One of the poems cited in al-Nabulusī account begins as follows:

  • 89 Al-Nābulusī, Burǧ, 21. The translation from the original text in Arabic was done by author Samer Ak (...)

Respond to the callers for youthful pleasure and stay with the group,
and replace abstention from love with impious recreation.
And adhere to excessive desires and burning passion, and leave
behind the words of guidance, and stop listening to them.
Only the brave wins the pleasure, while fail
to reach it the coward and the hesitant.
Don’t think that happiness will last, nor
will sadness, endless as it may seem, it will come to an end. 89

The Recreational Gatherings of the Elites

  • 90 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 249-253.
  • 91 See the architectural description of the palace in: Law-Court Records, Damascus, vol. 60, document (...)
  • 92 Law-Court Records, Damascus, vol. 62, document n° 114, case dated to 1141/1728.
  • 93 D’Arvieux 1735 : II, p. 458.
  • 94 De Monconys, Journal, 343. The translation from the original text in French was done by the author (...)

37Moreover, it seems that for the elite, the garden culture satisfied both entertainment and educational purposes. Firstly, it was documented by Ibn Kannān, in al-Šarafayn garden in al-Ṣāliḥiyya, that palaces of recreation (quṣūr al-nuzha) were owned by the elite patrons.”90 These new types of buildings might indicate the new aspirations of the elite to create leisure gardens within their palaces. For instance, Qaṣr Sīnān in al-Ṣāliḥiyya which assigned for a pious endowment of al-Ḥaramayn al-Šarīfayn,91 and Qaṣr al-Turkumān in al-Ǧisr Quarter.92 We can also assume from Ibn Kannān, a member of the al-Ṣāliḥiyya elite, that the word ‘palaces’ (quṣūr) was merely a glorification of the al-Ṣāliḥiyya setting. It is likely that those palaces were the same houses that Laurent d’Arvieux, a French traveller and diplomat who visited Damascus in the 17th century, noticed. He said: “Most of the elites in al-Ṣāliḥiyya own houses for recreation practices.”93 The same houses are mentioned by Monconys as follows: “We went with our hosts to a village called Salaié, on the slope of the mountain close to Damascus […] where we have an excellent view of the city and the whole countryside. We were in a delightful garden with trees, streams and beautiful view. In fact, this village has country houses of the most of important people in the city.”94

  • 95 Ibn Kannān’s diary indicates that mostof these elite gatherings were held on Saturdays and Tuesdays
  • 96 Ibn Kannān, Yawmīyyāt, p. 367.
  • 97 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 248.

38Secondly, Ibn Kannān mentioned in his diary that the elite came to the gardens not only for socializing activities but also for intellectual pursuits.95 Ibn Kannān himself attended many of these meetings, one of which was on a Saturday in 1138/1726, and took place in the garden of a retired member of the city’s elite, near al-Rabwa on a piece of land inherited by Kīwān. The first aim of the gathering was to attend a lecture and to read religious texts; they then ended up citing poems from the work of a notable šayḫ. After the session had finished there was an opportunity for strolling, for joy and play in the garden at sunset.96 We don’t have information about whether there were educational gatherings within the public realm (common people). Nonetheless, the anticipation of leisure by the lower classes and elites extended toward sacred places such as shrines and mosques. These places constituted an important aspect of the Damascene urban life, and were mentioned by Ibn Kannān who called them the mosques’ promenades (mutanazzahāt al-ǧawāmiʿ).97

An Ottoman Dynamic: The Appearance of Women

  • 98 Ibn Kannān, Yawmīyyāt, p. 103.

39It can be argued that recreational practices in the Ottoman period—especially in the 18th century—seem to have been more socially dynamic than what had been previously believed. For example, Ibn Kannān draws attention to the appearance of women in public, who expressed their individuality in public spaces such as streets, markets (aswāq) and gardens. He indicated in his diary in 1125/1713 that legislation banned women from smoking in the markets.98 Another example comes from a barber and Damascene chronicler, al-Budayrī al-Ḥallāq who describes a normal picnic with his friends, which took place on 26th of February (1163/1750) in one of the Damascene gardens:

  • 99 Al-Budayrī, Ḥawādiṯ, p. 193-194. The translation from the origin in Arabic is done by author.

We went out with our lovely friends on an excursion to al-Šaraf al-aʿlā that overlookes al-Marǧa, on Thursday, the 18th of Rabiʿ I, when the flowers began to bloom. We sat overlooking al-Marǧa and Takiyya al-Salīmiyya, and we were surprised by the number of women, more than men, sitting on the river bank, eating, sipping coffee and smoking just as men do. And this was something we had never heard of or seen until we witnessed it ourselves.”99

40This description can be considered as a clue to that the recreational culture of Damascus, was appreciated by both genders in the Ottoman period. At the same period in Istanbul, an illustration (fig. 6) shows women enjoying an excursion in the garden of Kağıthane, outside the private courtyards of their houses. These illustrations, along with al-Budayrī’s description, indicate that women appeared in public gardens alongside men for their leisure activities in this period.

Is there a quadripartite garden style in Damascus?

  • 100 For information on the Islamic garden, see MacDougall & Ettinghausen 1976; Ruggles 2000; Clark 2004 (...)
  • 101 Al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 79.

41The historical records of Islamic gardens in Spain, India, Istanbul and south-Asia give many perspectives of the quadripartite garden style, a well-known Persian landscape legacy called chārbāgh.100 Chārbāgh design refers to a garden divided into four parts by water canals and pedestrian walkways. Unfortunately, the visual representation of the Damascene gardens by travellers, as well as the historical descriptions in diaries, poems and texts from the late Mamlūk-Ottoman period, do not provide adequate information on Damascene gardens and the design of surrounding landscapes. However, beyond the Takiyya al-Sulaymāniyya was a famous Mamlūk recreational garden named al-Ǧabha, and overlooking two branches of the Baradā River, the Banyās and al-Qanawāt, that could possibly have had a quadripartite layout. Al-Badrī described al-Ǧabha as a square site, located on the Barada river side, with willows, poplars, and walnut trees, “divided into cultivated areas (maġras) surrounded by water canals from the four directions with fountains, ponds, water-jets, and waterwheels.”101 Yet, this is just one indication of its shape and we do not have much definitive information about the design of the Damascene gardens, which might also have involved natural and spontaneously grown green spaces which were divided between owners. This point, however, requires further research and study.

Conclusion

  • 102 Michaud & Poujoulat 1833, p. 206. The translation from the original text in French was done by the (...)
  • 103 Al-Qaṣāṭilī, Rawḍa, p. 115-116.

42In the 19th century, al-Ṣāliḥiyya continued to be a famous place for promenading which was enlivened by a rich leisure ritual. Travellers Michaud and Poujoulat illustrated al-Ṣāliḥiyya as “one of the most delightful places on the Earth, where we find the most charming gardens, the most amiable nature of the land of Damascus; the rich habitants of the holy city have chosen these preferred areas to build their kiosks.”102 At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, Damascene recreational gatherings continued vigorously and the garden culture seems to have proliferated to cover specific places on certain days annually. The historian Nuʻmān al-Qaṣāṭilī reported that the recreational assembling which began in March was associated with ‘the days of roses’, as mentioned before, and lasted for seven Tuesdays, seven Saturdays and five Thursdays. The mixed gender was again perceived at that time, since he mentioned that the recreational places were used by “thousands of men and women.”103

  • 104 Pascual 2001, p. 184.
  • 105 Al-Qaṣāṭilī, Rawḍa, p. 109. In 1890, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Bik Sāmī mentioned 122 coffeehouses which vari (...)

43Regarding the coffee houses, a census which had been done in 1820 mentioned 122 coffeehouses in the city.104 While according to al-Qaṣāṭilī, at the end of the 19th century, there were 110 coffeehouses scattered in different places throughout Damascus. New urban facilities called kāzīnāt emerged at the same time. These kāzīnāt referred to luxurious coffeehouses, located in Sūq al-Ḫayl, al-Marǧa and al-Ṣūfāniyya, where a cup of coffee could cost up to twenty bāra, which was almost three times the price charged at the other coffeehouses in the city.105 The main entertainment coffeehouses for all inhabitants were: al-Manāḫliyya, al-Ǧunayna, al-‘Amāra, al-Ǧāwīš and al-Raṭl, where the price of the coffee was around five bārāt.

  • 106 Baedeker 1893, p. 309. The translation from the original text in French was done by the author and (...)
  • 107 Baedeker 1893, p. 319.

44The proliferation of the coffeehouses along the Baradā River bears witness of an increasing demand for recreational activities. In Karl Baedeker’s guide, the Damascene coffeehouses are described as follows: “The coffeehouses in Damascus are the largest in the east... Most are located near the river bank. They contain large rooms with small tables and even smaller chairs, or benches on which the inhabitants of Damascus sit cross-legged near to his hookah smoking while playing backgammon.”106 The Damascene sense of beauty is reflected in the urban facilities of the landscape, Baedeker mentioned that the design of al-Manāḫliyya includes trees and plants illuminated by multicoloured light, which became a beautiful view at night.107

  • 108 For information about which days and which places that were used for recreational practices, see al (...)
  • 109 Al-ʿAllāf, Dimašq, p. 208-210. For information about the games that were famous among public and yo (...)

45Later, al-ʿAllāf, a historian active at the beginning of the 20th century, described the Damascene recreational demand. The garden culture expanded to cover every single day of the week beginning in March and varied between gardens, villages and sacred places.108 People played different kinds of games for amusement, fun and pleasure. Whereas the educational gatherings among elite did not follow any specific time, šayḫ-s used to carry their breakfast and tea and bring books to read and discuss. 109

  • 110 Weber 2009.
  • 111 Al-ʿAllāf, Dimašq, p. 35.

46During the second half of 19th century, especially in the period of Reforms (Tanẓīmāt) there were several signs for a movement towards modernisation in the city. Some of these new developments were to partly strengthen the Baradā River banks to prevent destruction from flooding, and to cover a part of the river to create al-Marǧa square. Important streets were paved and extended, gas powered street lights were added, and new buildings such as the town hall and a hotel were constructed. These developments were added to the already recognised changes such as the creation of the Damascus-Beirut road, the establishment of the railway station at the end of the century, and the emergence of carriages. 110 These carriages (ʿarabāt) began to appear in the last quarter of the 19th century, as mentioned by al-ʿAllāf, pulled by horses that were stationed in al-Marǧa square in order to wait for wealthy and foreign clientele who came to stroll in the city and the country. These carriages were not that essential among the villagers who used their livestock to commute. Later on the elites and rich people had their own carriages for transportation between the city and the surrounding villages for promenades and other purposes. 111

47In conclusion, Nuzhat al-anām fī maḥāsin al-Šām and al-Mawākib al-islāmiyya fī-l-mamālik wa-l-maḥāsin al-šāmiyya were both examples of the literary genre prainsing Damascene beauty, and both were considering the intellectual, cultural and aesthetic values of Damascus. The examination and comparison of the two texts shows the role of the Damascene gardens in the urban development, where the city landscape was divided into natural environment and urban gardens. Here, the blossoming of a unique garden culture was manifested in a heightened social commitment towards entertainment, leisure, and intellectual pursuits. This cultural emergence was enhanced by the urban facilities that accompanied gardens, which themselves were established to fulfill social demand.

List of the gardens mentioned in al-Badrī and Ibn Kannān accounts

Garden name

Al-Badrī

Ibn Kannān

1

Baġā (al-)

cite

2

Bāšā (al-)

cite

3

Bahnasiyya (al-)

cite

cite

4

Bahrān

cite

5

Barza

cite

cite

6

Baṣṣārū

cite

7

Bayn al-Nahrayn

cite

cite

8

Bayt al-Abyāt

cite

9

Bayt Lahyā

cite

10

Burǧ al-Rūs

cite

11

Dahša (al-)

cite

12

Dārayā

cite

cite

13

Dayr Murrān

cite

14

Dummār

cite

15

Ḥāǧib (al-)

cite

16

Ḫalḫāl (al-)

cite

cite

17

Ḥarastā

cite

18J

Ǧabha (al-)

cite

cite

19

Ǧarīf (al-)

cite

20

Ǧisr al-abyaḍ (al-)

cite

21

Kafarsūsiyya

cite

22

Kīwān

cite

cite

23

Laylakī (al-)

cite

24

Maqrā

cite

cite

25

Marǧat Dimašq

cite

26

Marǧ (al-)

cite

27

Marǧ al-Daḥdāḥ

cite

28

Marǧ al-šayḫ Arslān

cite

29

Marǧ al-Sulṭān

cite

30

Mayṭūr (al-)

cite

cite

31

Mazza (al-)

cite

32

Mnīn village

cite

33

Munaybi‘ (al-)

cite

cite

34

Našwa (al-)

cite

35

Nayrab al-adnā/al-A‛lā (al-)

cite

cite

36

Qaṭya

cite

cite

37

Rabwa (al-)

cite

cite

38

Ṣadr al-Bāz

cite

39

Sahm (al-)

cite

cite

40

Šaraf (al-)

cite

cite

41

Ṣaṭrā (al-)

cite

42

Saylūn (al-)

cite

43

Sitt al-Šām

cite

44

Taḥt al-Qal‘a

cite

45

Ušnān Mill (al-)

cite

46

Wādī al-taḥtānī (al-)

cite

47

Yaldā

cite

49

Zabadānī (al-)

cite

50

Zuhrābiyya (al-)

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Gardens in Nuzhat al-Anām and al-Mawākib al-Islāmiyya Texts

Gardens in Nuzhat al-Anām and al-Mawākib al-Islāmiyya Texts

Fig. 1 - The branches of Baradā (Burns 2005)

Fig. 1 - The branches of Baradā (Burns 2005)

Fig. 2 - The main branches of the Baradā upstream from al-Rabwa

Fig. 2 - The main branches of the Baradā upstream from al-Rabwa

Ḫayr 1982

Fig. 3 - The northeast tower of the Damascene citadel in the late 19th century engraving. One could assume that the bench in the middle of the photo is taḫt

Fig. 3 - The northeast tower of the Damascene citadel in the late 19th century engraving. One could assume that the bench in the middle of the photo is taḫt

Degeorge 2004

Fig. 4 - The Takiyya al-Sulaymāniyya and the Baradā River seen from the west in a late 19th century print. One could assume that the bench/seat in the photo is what we we called taḫt

Fig. 4 - The Takiyya al-Sulaymāniyya and the Baradā River seen from the west in a late 19th century print. One could assume that the bench/seat in the photo is what we we called taḫt

Degeorge 2004

Fig. 5 - William Henry Bartlett, Cafés in Damascus, engraved on steel by S. Smith. 1836

Fig. 5 - William Henry Bartlett, Cafés in Damascus, engraved on steel by S. Smith. 1836

www.antique-prints.de

Fig. 6 - A. The imperial palace of Saʻdabad and the garden of Kağıthane

Fig. 6 - A. The imperial palace of Saʻdabad and the garden of Kağıthane

Hamadeh 2008

Fig. 6 - B. An anonymous garden scene (1720s?)

Fig. 6 - B. An anonymous garden scene (1720s?)

Hamadeh 2008
 

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Bibliographie

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Badrī (al-), Nuzhat al-anām fī maḥāsin al-Šām, ed. Ibrāhīm Ṣāliḥ, Damascus, Dār al-Bašā’ir, 2006.

Budayrī (al-), Ḥawādiṯ Dimašq al-yawmiyya 1154-1175h/1741-1762ce. ed. Muḥammad Saʻīd al-Qāsimī & Aḥmad ʻIzzat ʻAbd al-Karīm, Damascus, Dār al-ṭabbāʻ li-l-ṭibāʻa wa-al-Našr wa-l-tawzīʻ, 1997.

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Ibn Ṭūlūn, al-Qalāʾid al-ǧawharīyya fī tārīḫ al-Ṣāliḥiyya, ed. Muḥammad Aḥmad Duhmān, 2 vol., Damascus, Matbūʿāt maǧmaʿ al-luġa al-ʿarabiyya, 1949-1956.

Ibn al-Rāʻī, al-barq al-mutʿalliq fī maḥāsin ǧilliq, ed. Muḥammad Adīb al-Ǧābir, Damascus, Maǧmaʻ al-luġa al-ʻarabiyya bi-Dimašq, 2006.

Ibn Ǧumʻa, “al-Bāšāt wa al-quḍāt fī Dimašq” in Wulāt Dimašq fī al-ʻahd al-ʻuthmānī, ed. Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn al-Munaǧǧid, Damascus, 1949.

Ibn Kannān, al-Murūǧ al-sundusiyya al-fasīḥa fī talḫīṣ tārīḫ al-Ṣāliḥiyya, ed. Muḥammad Aḥmad Duhmān. Damascus, Maṭbaʻat al-taraqī, 1947.

Ibn Kannān, al-Mawākib al-islāmiyya fī-l-mamālik wa-l-maḥāsin al-šāmīyya, ed. Ḥikmat Ismāʻīl. 2 vol., Damascus, Wizārat al-ṯaqāfa, 1992.

Ibn Kannān, Yawmīyyāt šāmīyya: al-tārīḫ al-musammā bi-l-ḥawādiṯ al-yawmiyya min tārīḫ aḥad ʻašar wa-alf wa-mi’a, ed. Akram Ḥasan al-ʻUlabī, Damascus, Dār al-Diyā’, 1994.

Ibn Manẓūr, Līsān al-ʻarab, 7 vol., Beirut, Dār ṣādir li-l-ṭibāʻa wa-al-našr, 1997.

Muḥibbī (al-), Ḫulāṣat al-aṯar fī aʻyān al-qarn al-ḥādī ʻašar, ed. Muḥammad Ḥasan Ismāʻīl, Beirut, Dār al-kutub al-ʻilmiyya, 2006.

Murādī (al-), Silk al-durar fī aʻyān al-qarn al-ṯānī ʻašar, ed. Muḥammad ʻAbd al-Qādir Šāhīn, 4 vol. Beirut, Dār al-kutub al-ʻilmiyya, 1997.

Nābulusī (al-), Burǧ Bābil wa šadū al-balābil, ed. Aḥmad al-Ǧundī, Damascus, Dār al-ma‘rifa, 1988.

Qaṣāṭilī (al-), al-Rawḍa al-ġannāʼ fī Dimašq al-Fayḥāʼ, Beirut, Dār al-rā’id al-ʻarabī, 1982.

Qāsimī (al-), Muḥammad Saʻīd, ʻAẓim (al-), Ḫalīl & Qāsimī (al-), Ǧamāl al-Dīn, Qāmūs al-ṣināʻāt al-šāmīyya, ed. Ẓāfir al-Qāsimī, Damascus, Dār Ṭalās, 1988.

Saḫāwī (al-), al-Ḍawʾ al-lāmiʻ li-ahl al-qarn al-tāsiʻ, 12 vol., Beirut, Dār al-Ǧīl, 1992.

Ziriklī (al-), al-Aʻlām: Qāmūs tarāǧim li-ašar al-riǧāl wa-l-nisā’ min al-ʻarab wa-al-mustaʻribīn wa-al-Mustašriqīn, 8 vol., Beirut, Dār al-ʻilm li-l-malāyīn, 1979.

European Sources
D’Arvieux, Laurent, 1735: Mémoires du Chevalier D’Arvieux: envoyé extraordinaire du Roy à La Porte, Consul d’Alep, d’Alger, de Tripoli, & autres Echelles du Levant, Paris.

Baedeker, Karl, 1893: Palestine et Syrie: Manuel du voyageur, 2nd ed., Leipzig.

Bartlett, Henry William, Purser, William & Carne, John, 1836: Syria, the Holy Land, Asia Minor & C, 3 vol., London, Paris.

Michaud, Joseph François & Poujoulat, Jean Joseph François, 1833: Correspondance d’Orient 1830-1831, Paris.

Monconys, Balthasar de, 1665: Journal des voyages de Monsieur de Monconys, Lyon.

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Akkach, Samer, 2010: “Leisure Gardens, Secular Habits: The Culture of Recreation in Ottoman Damascus”, METU JFA 27, p. 67-80.

Akkach, Samer, 2007: “The Wine of Babel: Landscape, Gender and Poetry in Early Modern Damascus”, Literature & Aesthetics 17, p. 107-24.

Akkach, Samer, 2007: ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi: Islam and the Enlightenment, Oxford, Oneworld.

Andrews, Walter, 2008: “Gardens-Real and Imagined-in the Social Ecology of Early Modern Ottoman Culture” in Michel Conan (ed.), Garden Imagination: Historical Forms and Cultural Roles, Cambridge (Mass.), Harvard University Press.

Blair, Sheila, Bloom, Jonathan and VCU Qatar, 2009: Rivers of Paradise: Water in Islamic Art and Culture, New Haven, Yale University Press.

Burns, Ross, 2005: Damascus: A History, London and New York, Routledge.

Clark, Emma, 2004: The Art of the Islamic Garden, Ramsbury, Marlborough, Wiltshire, Crowood Press.

Conan, Michel (ed.), 2007: Middle East Garden Traditions: Unity and Diversity: Questions, Methods, and Resources in a Multicultural Perspective, Washington, Dumbarton Oaks Trustees for Harvard University.

Degeorge, Gérard, 2004: Damascus, trans. David Radzinowicz. Paris, Flammarion.

Bianquis, Thierry, Bosworth, Clifford E., Van Donzel, Emeri & Heinrichs. Wolfhart P., 2010: “Ghūṭa”, E.I.2. Leiden, Brill.

Écochard, Michel, Le Cœur, Claude, 1942: Les bains de Damas, monographies architecturales, 2 vol., Beyrouth, Institut français de Damas.

Grehan, James, 2007: Everyday Life & Consumer Culture in Eighteenth century Damascus, Seattle, University of Washington Press.

Grehan, James, 2006: “Smoking and “Early Modern” Sociability: The Great Tobacco Debate in the Ottoman Middle East (Seventeenth to Eighteenth centuries)”, The American Historical Review 111, p. 1352-1377.

Hamadeh, Shirine, 2007: “Public Space and the Garden Culture of Istanbul in the Eighteenth century”, in Virginia H. Aksan & Daniel Goffman (ed.), The Early Modern Ottomans: Remapping the Empire, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, p. 277-312.

Hamadeh, Shirine, 2008: The City’s Pleasures: Istanbul in the Eighteenth century, Seattle, University of Washington Press.

Ḫayr, Ṣaffūḥ, 1982: Madīnat Dimašq: Dirāsa fī ǧuġrāfīyyat al-mudun, Damascus, Wizārat al-ṯaqāfa.

Kurd ʻAlī, Muḥammad, 1949: Ġūṭat Dimašq, Damascus, Maṭbūʻāt maǧmaʻ al-luġa al-ʻarabiyya bi-Dimašq.

MacDougall, Elisabeth B. & Richard Ettinghausen 1976: The Islamic Garden, Washington, Dumbarton Oaks Trustees for Harvard University.

Munaǧǧid, Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn (al-), 1949: Ḫiṭaṭ Dimašq, Beirut, al-Maṭbaʻa al-kaṯūlīkiyya, 1949.

Mubaiḍīn, Muhannad, 2009: Ṯaqāfat al-tarfīh wa-l-madīna al-ʻarabiyya fi l-azminat al-ḥadīṯa: Dimašq al-ʿuṯmāniyya namūzaǧa, Beirut, Al-dār al-ʻarabiyya li-l-ʻulūm.

Necipoglu, Gülru, 1997: “The Suburban Landscape of Sixteenth-Century Istanbul as a Mirror of Classical Ottoman Garden Culture”, in Attilio Petruccioli (ed.), In Gardens in the Time of the Great Muslim Empires: Theory and Design, Leiden-New York, Brill.

Nu‘aysa, Yūsuf Ǧamīl, 1968: Muǧtamaʻ madīnat Dimašq: fī al-fatra mā Bayn 1186-1256h/1772-1840ce, 2 vol., Damascus, Dār Ṭlās li-l-dirāsa wa al-našr.

Pascual, Jean-Paul, 1995-1996: “Café et cafés à Damas: Contribution à la chronologie de leur diffusion au xvie siècle”, Berytus Archaeological Studies 42, p. 141-156.

Pascual, Jean-Paul, 2001: “Boutiques, ateliers et corps de métiers à Damas d’après un dénombrement effectué en 1827-28”, in Brigitte Marino (ed.), Études sur les villes du Proche-Orient, xvie-xixe siècle- Hommage André Raymond, Damascus, Institut français d’études arabes, p. 177-99.

Petruccioli, Attilio (ed. ), 1997: Gardens in the Time of the Great Muslim Empires: Theory and Design, Leiden- New York, Brill.

Reilly, James A., 1990: “Properties around Damascus in the Nineteenth century”, Arabica 37, p. 91-114.

Ruggles, D. Fairchild, 2000: Gardens, Landscape, and Vision in the Palaces of Islamic Spain, Pennsylvania State University Press.

Ruggles, D. Fairchild, 2008: Islamic Gardens and Landscapes, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press.

Sāmī, ʻAbd al-Raḥmān Bik, 1981: Al-qawl al-ḥaqq fī Bayrūt wa-Dimašq: Riḥla ilā Sūriyya wa-Lubnān fī awākhir al-qarn al-tāsiʻ ʻašr, Beirut, Dār al-rāʾid al-ʻarabī.

Weber, Stefan, 2009: Damascus: Ottoman Modernity and Urban Transformation (1808-1918), Aarhus, Aarhus University Press.

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Notes

1 I would like to express my gratitude towards Associate Professor Samer Akkach for our fruitful discussions on this topic and for his ongoing support during the preparation of my successfully completed Master’s Thesis (University of Damascus, 2011) “Dimašq: al-Mutanazahāt wa ṯaqāfat al-tanazzuh fi al-qarnayn al-sābi‘ ‘ašr w-al-ṯāmin ‘ašr,” that resulted in the preparation of a map of the most popular Damascene gardens in the 17th-18th centuries. I conducted this research as a post-graduate student in the University of Adelaide, at the Centre for Asian and Middle Eastern Architecture (CAMEA) for a thesis called “Gardens and the Culture of Recreation in the Early Modern Damascus,” under the supervision of A/Prof Samer Akkach and Dr. Katharine Bartsch. I am also immensely grateful for Dr. Katharine Bartsch’s suggestions and comments and her help in improving the English language of the text. I would also like to extend a special thanks to Dr. Jean-Paul Pascual for his comments and continuous assistance on different versions of this paper.

2 MacDougall & Ettinghausen 1976.

3 Petruccioli 1997.

4 Ruggles 2000 et 2008.

5 Conan 2007.

6 Hamadeh 2007 et 2008.

7 Sajdi 2007.

8 Andrews 2008.

9 Akkach 2007 et 2010.

10 Al-Nābulusī, Burǧ.

11 Grehan 2007.

12 Mubaiḍīn 2009.

13 Al-Badrī, Nuzha; Ibn Kannān al-Ṣāliḥī, Mawākib.

14 Al-Zubaydī, Tāǧ.

15 Ibn Manẓūr, Līsān, the root ḥadaq.

16 Al-Zubaydī, Tāǧ, I; Ibn Manẓūr, Līsān, the root basta.

17 Al-Zubaydī, Tāǧ, XVIII; Ibn Manẓūr, Līsān, the root rawḍ.

18 Ibn Manẓūr, Līsān, the root ǧanan; Law-Court Records, Damascus, vol. 88, document no153.

19 Sūrat al-Baqara, 266.

20 Sūrat al-Rūm, 15.

21 Al-Zubaydī, Tāǧ, XXXVI ; Ibn Manẓūr, Līsān, the root nazah.

22 Ibn Manẓūr, Līsān, the root nazah.

23 Burns 2005, p. xvii-xviii.

24 For detailed information about the Baradā River, see Ibn al-Rāʻī, Barq, p. 159-169; Ḫayr 1982, p. 83-108; al-Munaǧǧid 1949, p. 23-24; Nu‘aysa 1968, p. 149-185.

25 Ibn Kannān, Yawmiyyāt, I, p. 340.

26 According to the lexicographer Ibn Manẓūr, the original meaning of Ġūṭa or al-Ġūṭa derives from the root ġawṭ. Al-Ġūṭa is the slope in the ground and it refers to a place with water, trees and plants. Al-Ġūṭa is also a name given to the basātīn (gardens) that surrounded Damascus in all directions, the Ġūṭa Dimašq (Damascene gardens). See Ibn Manẓūr, Līsān, the root ġawṭ; Yāqūt al-Ḥamawī, Muʿǧam, IV, p. 219.

27 Kurd ʻalī 1949, p. 16-17 ; Reilly 1990, p. 91.

28 Kurd ʿalī 1949, p. 18.

29 Waterwheels were frequently used for irrigation, and were linked to palaces, houses, religious schools and other structures in the city. For information about the locations of waterwheels in Damascus, see Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 259.

30 Ḫayr 1982, p. 128 ; Bianquis et alii 2010.

31 Sīrān, in Damascene dialect comes from the root sayr which means stroll and walk, see Ibn Manẓūr, Līsān, the root sayr.

32 Al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 309-310. The editor Ibrāhīm Ṣāliḥ mentioned that Suġd Samarqand, Šiʻb Bawwān and Nahr al-Ubulla are three rivers surrounded by gardens, water and palaces. The translation is done from the origin in Arabic by the author.

“وأجمع سواح الأرض والأقطار، على أنّ منتزهات الدنيا أربعة، وهي صغد سمرقند، وشعب بوّان، ونهر الأبلة، وغوطة دمشق... رأيتها كّلها، فكان فضل غوطة دمشق على الثلاث...كأنها الجنّة وقد زخرفت وصوّرت على وجه الأرض.”

33 The British traveler and artist William Henry Bartlett, visited Damascus in 1840 and represented the city’s topography in many famous drawings. See Bartlett, Purser & Carne 1836. Unlike Istanbul, the illustrations and accounts of Damascus on the subject of gardens and landscapes in late the Mamluk-Ottoman period, did not trigger to the amount of prints and accounts that emerged about gardens in Istanbul. Many paintings are available about urban centers and landscapes of Istanbul, including those made by Thomas Allom, Robert Walsh, and W.H Bartlett, and other illustrations from Enderunlu Fazil in the Hûbânnâme ve Zenânnâme book. For information on recreational gardens in Istanbul, see Hamadeh 2007; Hamadeh 2008; Necipoglu 1997; Andrews 2008.

34 See Al-Saḫāwī, Ḍaw’, XI, p. 40; al-Ziriklī, Aʿlām, II, p. 66.

35 Al-Murādī, Silk, IV, p. 85.

36 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 222.

37 There are numerous amounts of the Damascene beauties which are “difficult to count”, al-Badrī said. See also al-Nābulusī, Burǧ, p. 103.

38 Ibn Manẓūr, Līsān, the root ḥusn.

39 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 176.

40 Al-Badrī, Nuzha, 85. The translation is done from the original text in Arabic by author Samer Akkach. See Akkach 2007, 116.

“إن نور الدين لما أن رأى في البساتين قصور الأغنياء
عمّر الربوة قصرا شـاهـقا نـــزهة مـطــــلقــة لـلفـــقـــراء”

41 Al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 83-89.

42 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 301.

43 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 289, footnote n° 7. See also, Aḥmad Duhmān introduction in Ibn Ṭūlūn, Qalā’id, p. 11.

44 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 295; al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 86.

45 The term tuḫūt is still used in other cities in Syria such as Ḥamā. According to a Ḥamā citizen it refers to a bench or a seat that used to be in the gardens.

46 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 307, footnote n° 2.

47 Michaud & Poujoulat 1833, p. 201-202.

48 Ḥusayn Afandī Ibn Muṣṭafā Ibn Ḥasan, known as Ibn Qarnaq al-Dimašqī (d. 1090/1679), was famous for his skills in enchantment, sorcery, magic, witchery and other occult sciences. He became a wealthy man, who had many properties and built his palace and hall (qāʿa) in al-Ṣāliḥiyya. He held high official financial positions in the Province and in the managing of many important waqf-s such as al-Salīmiyya, al-Sulaymāniyya, al-Ḥaramayn al-Miṣriyyin and Umayyad Mosque. He travelled twenty times to al-Rūm. He was chosen by the pilgrims’ elites (a‘yān al-ḥuǧǧāǧ) to become the amīr al-ḥaǧǧ (the military official, in charge of conducting the pilgrim caravan) after the death of the existing official during this pilgrimage. He travelled one more time to al-Rūm and took Baalbek tax-farming and had many slaves, female and male, and even children. See al-Muḥibbī, Ḫulāṣat, II, p. 118-120.

49 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 307.

50 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 307.

51 Unfortunately Ibn Kannān did not state the reason for the destruction of the maqāʻid. In the same year, in 1080/1669-1670, Ibn Ǧumʻa al-Maqqār –a historian of the late 17th to early 18th century—stated that Damascus was devastated by a severe plague that resulted in huge damages (ḍarar) and led to “a thousand funerals in one day.” However, if there is any relation between the two events requires more investigation. See Ibn Ǧumʻa, Bāšāt, p. 40.

52 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 291-307. At the beginning of the 17th century around 1011/1602, most of the gardens in al-Mazza and al-Rabwa, were put under the control of Kīwān Ibn ʻAbd Allāh. He was one of the elite soldiers of the Damascene army (kubarā’ aǧnād al-Šām), who seized these gardens from their owners either voluntarily or by force, by cheating and colluding with the deputies court, who were paid by Kīwān. See al-Muḥibbī, Ḫulāṣat, III, p. 299-301. As noticed, al-Mazza, around 1011/1602 was under Kīwan's control, but it mentioned by Ibn Kannān that it was a village divided among many owners in 1080/1669. Yet, the question is still open about the property of al-Mazza.

53 Ibn Manẓūr, Līsān, the root qaṣab. Ibn Manẓūr mentioned many definitions of qaṣaba: a recently excavated well, or a qaṣaba of a location refers to that location’s core, or a qaṣaba means a village etc. Here, the interpretation of qaṣaba as a small village is viable in the context.

54 In Arabic dictionaries the word ḥāna pl. ḥānūt means a place for drinking wine or a winery. See Ibn Manẓūr, Līsān, the root ḥnt. However, the meaning of ḥanūt in this context is a shop or boutique, because this meaning is used in the court documentation of the same period.

55 Aṭbāq or ṭibāq according to Ibn Manẓūr, means layers situated above each other. See Ibn Manẓūr, Līsān, the root ṭbq.

56 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 229-230.

57 See for information about the emergence of coffee: Pascual 1995-96, p. 141-156.

58 De Monconys 1665, p. 345. “Ils sont tout couverts, avec des vitres au milieu ; il y a une belle fontaine à plusieurs jets qui tombent dans un grand bassin carré ; tous les bancs sont couverts de tapis, et il y a des théâtres où des chantres et joueurs d’instruments divertissent les buveurs.” The translation is done from the origin in French by author David Radzinowicz. See Degeorge 2004, p. 176.

59 For instance: Ḥammām al-Nuzha in al-Ǧabha: al-Badrī, Nuzha, 80; Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 227-228.

60 Sāḥat Taḥt al-Qalʿa–the square under the citadel- was famous for its various types of markets: fur, cloaks and cloth market, copper, sieves and glass market, fruits, vegetables, butchers and nuts market as well as carpenters and tailors shops. See al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 66-67; Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 247.

61 Al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 86.

62 See al-Ǧabha: al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 79; Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 222-223. See also Qaṭya garden in Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 229-230.

63 A ḫān was only mentioned in al-Ǧabha garden. See Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 222-28.

64 Al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 79. There is scant information about the building materials used for the structures in the gardens. Perhaps we could assume that the canteens were constructed using light materials such as thatch. These light structures were probably temporary, and used to build coffeehouses in spring that were demolished in autumn and winter when the garden was returned to agricultural use. Alternatively, it could be interpreted that the owner of the garden rented the place to the maqāsifī in the spring and summer when the recreational activities (tanazzuh/sīrān) took place. These are unanswered questions that require further research.

65 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 254.

66 Al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 83-89.

67 Al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 80-81.

68 It could be assumed that the famous gardens equipped with all facilities were intended for rich people who were able to afford the expenses. However, we do not have more information to enforce that assumption and this require further research.

69 Al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 69; Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 244-246.

70 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 247. Ḥikmat Ismāʻīl in the footnote identified Muḥammād Bāšā Ibn Bayram, an Ottoman vizier who ruled Damascus twice, from 1114/1702 to 1115/1703 and from 1117/1705 to 1118/1706.

71 Al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 82-83. Al-Nayrabayn was divided into al-Nayrab al-a‘lā—situated between Yazīd and Ṯawrā Rivers, and al-Nayrab al-adnā -located between Ṯawrā and Baradā Rivers.

72 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 231. See also: Ibn Kannān, Murūǧ, p. 66.

73 The location of al-Bahnasiyya was in the east of al-Rabwā and neighbouring al-Dahša and the bridge (ǧisr) Ibn Šawwāš still exists near to the mill of Kīwān land (see the attached map).

74 Al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 81-82; Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 230-231; See also Ibn Manẓūr, Līsān, the root qaṣar.

75 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 274.

76 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 307.

77 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 289-290.

78 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 285.

79 Al-Munaybiʻ was irrigated by the Bānyās River and paralleled by al-Qanawāt to the south.

80 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 270. Al-Zuhrabiyya location has the al-Barāmka cemetery for elite’ (a‘yān) tombs, such as Ibn Taymiyya, and used to be a place of Turk residence.

81 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 275.

82 Ḥusayn Bāšā (d. 1094/1682), a famous vizier in Damascus, built his palace in al-Ḫātūniyya, in al-Šaraf. The location of the palace was filled with all kinds of plants and trees, including both native Damascene flora and imported varieties. See al-Muḥibbī, Ḫulāṣat, II, p. 124.

83 Hamadeh 2007, p. 287.

84 Necipoglu1997, p. 3.

85 Al-Qāsimī et alii, Qāmūs, see the letter b, bustānī.

86 For the recreational gathering in the days of roses in spring, see al-Ṣālihī, Yawmiyyāt, p. 301, 463, 478.

87 Al-Nābulusī, Burǧ.

88 For information about the Damascene beauties, public recreation, secularity and fame derived from ʻAbd al-Ġanī anthology, see Akkach 2007.

89 Al-Nābulusī, Burǧ, 21. The translation from the original text in Arabic was done by author Samer Akkach. See Akkach 2007, p. 111-112. For information on different kinds of leisure and entertainment activities in Damascus during the Ottoman period, see Mubaiḍīn 2009. See also a recent publication about recreational Damascene gardens: Akkach 2010.

”جِب دعاة الصبا ولبّ الجماعة وأبدل النسك في الهوى بالخلاعه
والزم الشــــــطح والهيــام ودع عنـــــك كلام النصــوح واترك ســــماعه
فاز باللذة الجســـــــــــــــــــور وما قصر عنها إلا الجبــــــــــان اللكـــــــــاعــــه
لا تظن السرور يبقي ولا الحــــزن وإن طال سوف يبدي انقطاعه“

90 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 249-253.

91 See the architectural description of the palace in: Law-Court Records, Damascus, vol. 60, document no818, case dated to 1138/1725.

92 Law-Court Records, Damascus, vol. 62, document n° 114, case dated to 1141/1728.

93 D’Arvieux 1735 : II, p. 458.

94 De Monconys, Journal, 343. The translation from the original text in French was done by the author and revised by Jean-Paul Pascual: “Nous fûmes avec nos hôtes à un village dit Salaié au pied de la montagne à un quart de lieue de Damas d’où l’on le voit fort bien et toute la campagne : nous fûmes dans un fort agréable jardin tant pour les arbres et eaux que pour la vue ; c’est en effet en ce village que les principaux de la ville, ont leur maison de plaisance.”

95 Ibn Kannān’s diary indicates that mostof these elite gatherings were held on Saturdays and Tuesdays.

96 Ibn Kannān, Yawmīyyāt, p. 367.

97 Ibn Kannān, Mawākib, I, p. 248.

98 Ibn Kannān, Yawmīyyāt, p. 103.

99 Al-Budayrī, Ḥawādiṯ, p. 193-194. The translation from the origin in Arabic is done by author.

“في يوم الخميس ثامن عشر ربيع الأول خرجنا إلى سيران بناحية الشرف المطل على المرجة مع بعض أحبابنا. وكان الوقت في مبادئ خروج الزهر، وجلسنا مطلين على المرجة والتكية السليمية، وإذا بالنساء أكثر من الرجال جالسين على شفير النهر، وهم على أكل وشرب وقهوة وتتن. كما تفعل الرجال، وهذا شيء ما سمعنا بأنّه وقع نظيره حتى شاهدناه...”

100 For information on the Islamic garden, see MacDougall & Ettinghausen 1976; Ruggles 2000; Clark 2004; Ruggles 2008; Blair 2009.

101 Al-Badrī, Nuzha, p. 79.

102 Michaud & Poujoulat 1833, p. 206. The translation from the original text in French was done by the author and revised by Jean-Paul Pascual : “Et pourtant Salahhié peut passer pour un des endroits les plus délicieux de la terre. Là se voient les plus charmans jardins, la plus aimable nature du pays de Damas ; les riches habitans de la sainte ville ont choisi ces lieux de préférence pour y bâtir leurs kiosques.”

103 Al-Qaṣāṭilī, Rawḍa, p. 115-116.

104 Pascual 2001, p. 184.

105 Al-Qaṣāṭilī, Rawḍa, p. 109. In 1890, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Bik Sāmī mentioned 122 coffeehouses which varied between large and small sizes, and hight and low prices, see Sāmī, Qawl, p. 93.

106 Baedeker 1893, p. 309. The translation from the original text in French was done by the author and revised by Jean-Paul Pascual: “les cafés de Damas sont les plus grands d’Orient (...) La plupart sont situés au bord d’un cours d’eau. Ce sont de grandes salles ou des jardins avec une quantité de petites tables et de chaises plus petites encore, ou des bancs sur lesquels l’habitant de Damas s’assied les jambes croisées pour fumer son narghilé en jouant au trictrac.”

107 Baedeker 1893, p. 319.

108 For information about which days and which places that were used for recreational practices, see al-ʿAllāf, Dimašq, p. 171.

109 Al-ʿAllāf, Dimašq, p. 208-210. For information about the games that were famous among public and young people see the previous source page 212-217.

110 Weber 2009.

111 Al-ʿAllāf, Dimašq, p. 35.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Gardens in Nuzhat al-Anām and al-Mawākib al-Islāmiyya Texts
URL http://beo.revues.org/docannexe/image/967/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 108k
Titre Fig. 1 - The branches of Baradā (Burns 2005)
URL http://beo.revues.org/docannexe/image/967/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 124k
Titre Fig. 2 - The main branches of the Baradā upstream from al-Rabwa
Crédits Ḫayr 1982
URL http://beo.revues.org/docannexe/image/967/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 84k
Titre Fig. 3 - The northeast tower of the Damascene citadel in the late 19th century engraving. One could assume that the bench in the middle of the photo is taḫt
Crédits Degeorge 2004
URL http://beo.revues.org/docannexe/image/967/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 128k
Titre Fig. 4 - The Takiyya al-Sulaymāniyya and the Baradā River seen from the west in a late 19th century print. One could assume that the bench/seat in the photo is what we we called taḫt
Crédits Degeorge 2004
URL http://beo.revues.org/docannexe/image/967/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 112k
Titre Fig. 5 - William Henry Bartlett, Cafés in Damascus, engraved on steel by S. Smith. 1836
Crédits www.antique-prints.de
URL http://beo.revues.org/docannexe/image/967/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 104k
Titre Fig. 6 - A. The imperial palace of Saʻdabad and the garden of Kağıthane
Crédits Hamadeh 2008
URL http://beo.revues.org/docannexe/image/967/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 104k
Titre Fig. 6 - B. An anonymous garden scene (1720s?)
Crédits Hamadeh 2008 
URL http://beo.revues.org/docannexe/image/967/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 75k
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Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Georgina Hafteh, « The Garden Culture of Damascus: New Observations Based on the Accounts of ʻAbd Allāh al-Badrī (d. 894/1489) and Ibn Kannān al-Ṣāliḥī (d. 1135/1740) », Bulletin d’études orientales, Tome LXI | 2012, 297-325.

Référence électronique

Georgina Hafteh, « The Garden Culture of Damascus: New Observations Based on the Accounts of ʻAbd Allāh al-Badrī (d. 894/1489) and Ibn Kannān al-Ṣāliḥī (d. 1135/1740) », Bulletin d’études orientales [En ligne], Tome LXI | décembre 2012, mis en ligne le 15 mars 2013, consulté le 22 juin 2017. URL : http://beo.revues.org/967 ; DOI : 10.4000/beo.967

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Auteur

Georgina Hafteh

Doctorante à l'University of Adelaide, Centre for Asian and Middle-Eastern Architecture

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Droits d'auteur

© Institut français du Proche-Orient

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