Baghdad: Foundation

The Founding of Baghdad

Abbasid Caliph al-Mansur founded Baghdad on July 20, 762 C.E., intending it to serve as the capital of Islam and calling it “Madinat-us-Salaam,” or City of Peace. Baghdad was also known as the Round City because it was constructed in a circular shape, consisting of towering semi-circle city walls on the right and left banks of the Tigris River. At the center was a large square with the mosque on one end and the caliph palace on the other; along the inside of the city walls were residential and commercial structures.

An artist’s impression of the Round City

Strategic location of Baghdad

Baghdad was designed in such a way that it was able to utilize the two major river systems in the area: the Tigris and the Euphrates. This strategic and geographic advantage enabled Baghdad to control trading routes and also provided its inhabitants with a plentiful supply of water.

“The Tigris River and a system of canals gave the city access to the sea, and its trade and manufacture brought an enormous accumulation of wealth. Its palaces, mosques, schools, and public buildings were the wonder of the world,” according to F.B. Artz, author of The Mind of the Middle Ages.

Indeed, Baghdad became renowned not only for its size, shape and affluence, but also for its nurturing of the arts, sciences, and education. [Read more: A Center of Learning]

1 Comment

  1. Tristan says:

    The Round City is quite fascinating. Their design is also clever. If one of the walls burned down, you would expect that the whole circle will collapse. However, that is not true. Since the city is divided, only the SECTION will burn down. The walls are quite sturdy. My aunt lives there, and she says that each year, they thicken the walls with adobe, therefore, everyone is instructed to stay in their houses. Baghdad usually does not rain, however, the city has several small gardens. There are Garden Groves and Apple Trees in the gardens. There is also grass, hay, and dirt in the grass patches. The people that live there are allowed to visit the garden and take 4 fruits the maximum each month.

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