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Mohammad Gharipour

Bazaar, which is rooted in Middle Persian wāzār and Armenian vačaṟ, has acquired three different meanings: the market as a whole, a market day, and the marketplace. The bazaar as a place is an assemblage of workshops and stores where various goods and services are offered.

Primitive forms of shops and trade centres existed in early civilizations in the Near East, such as Sialk, Tepe in Kashan, Çatal Hüyük, Jerico, and Susa. After the 4th millennium BC, the population grew and villages gradually joined together to shape new cities, resulting in trade even with the remote areas as well as the acceleration of the population in towns. The advancement of trade and accumulation of wealth necessitated the creation of trade centres. Trade, and consequently marketplaces, worked as the main driving force in connecting separate civilizations, while fostering a division of labour, the diffusion of technological innovations, methods of intercultural communication, political and economic management, and techniques of farming and industrial production....


Kuh-i Khwaja  

Trudy S. Kawami

[Pers. Kūh-i Khwāja]

Dramatic basalt outcrop that rises from the marshes of Lake Hamun in Iranian Sistan near the borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan. On the south side are the pale mud-brick ruins of Ghaga-shahr, a walled complex often called a palace and usually dated to the mid-Parthian period (1st century ad; see Parthian). On the summit is a small fortification, and numerous Islamic tombs and shrines dot the upper ridges. The striking setting may well be responsible for the continued veneration of the site variously identified as Mt Ushida of the Zoroastrian Avesta, the site of Zoroaster’s preaching, the seat of one of the Three Wise Men of the Christmas story, the castle of Rustam, a hero of the Shāhnāma (‘Book of Kings’), the Persian national epic, and the last resting-place of a Muslim holy man.

The Ghaga-shahr ruins consist of a domed entrance suite, a courtyard whose north side is a terraced wall, and a set of buildings including a presumed fire temple on top of the terrace. Two main building phases can be discerned. The first phase established the basic plan of the site, with the entrance suite, the court, and the north terrace with its façade of applied Doric-style columns and architrave with running volute ornament. Beneath the terrace is a vaulted gallery or cryptoporticus lit by windows placed between the applied columns. This gallery was extensively painted, with a coffered ceiling whose panels alternately held elaborate rosettes and small classicizing figures, an illusionistic cornice with a beribboned laurel band, and a series of large figures, apparently deities, painted on the walls. Remains of paintings in the window recesses show that they too had coffered ceilings, and one window had a row of five male figures (Herzfeld’s ‘spectators’) facing the gallery, in early Sasanian style. The Sasanian style of the gallery paintings, as well as a stucco panel in the doorway of the entrance suite, demonstrates that the first phase extended at least into the early Sasanian period....


Mappa mundi  

Michael Curschmann

The medieval term mappa mundi (also forma mundi, historia/istoire) covers a broad array of maps of the world of which roughly 1100 survive. These have resisted systematic classification, but the clearly dominant type is one that aims at comprehensively symbolistic representation. Its early, schematic form is a disc composed of three continents surrounded and separated from one another by water (“T-O Map”) and associated with the three sons of Noah: Asia (Shem) occupies all of the upper half, Europe (Japhet) to the left and Africa (Ham) to the right share the lower half. Quadripartite cartographic schemes included the antipodes as a fourth continent, but the tripartite model was adopted by the large majority of the more developed world maps in use from the 11th century on and—with important variations—well into the Renaissance. While details were added as available space permitted, the Mediterranean continued to serve as the vertical axis and, with diminishing clarity, the rivers Don and Nile as the horizontal one. The map also continues to be ‘oriented’ towards Asia, where paradise sits at the very top. A circular ocean forms the perimeter and not infrequently the city of Jerusalem constitutes its centre....