Baghdad, Commerce and the Round City

An 11 minute video on medieval Baghdad. Today, Baghdad is a battered city. But we need to remember that before the ruins, from the 8th to the 13th century, Baghdad had been the capital of a refined civilization. Over thousand years ago, Baghdad had been named Madinat al Salam, “the City of Peace” with the ruling Abbassids – named after Caliph “Abu al-Abbas” who had founded the dynasty.

In 749, the Abbassid Caliphate further spread its sphere of influence, reaching from Spain to the borders of China. As a protector of ancient knowledge, Baghdad had translated Aristotle, Plato, Euclid. The head of its medical school, Ali Abu Ibn-Sina or Avicenna, a Persian from Bukhara, was also a commentator on Aristotles writings. Baghdad, city of A Thousand and One Nights, was a cultural melting pot where craftsmen, poets and merchants were able to get together through to their common language, Arabic.

Baghdad enjoyed a culture of commerce and trade inspired by the Quran – which had been unique for its time: very sophisticated financial transactions checks issued in Baghdad and cashed in Cordoba, Spain, some 4000 kilometers away. This side-by-side of different languages, cultures and races turned Baghdad into a cosmopolitan city, a dynamic and colorful metropolis, which had been unequaled at its time.

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