Poetry and History in the "West-östlicher Divan</I>
Chapter 2 The Object of Poetic Desire: Court Poetry and the Ghazal
I. The City of Shiraz The Moorish traveler Ibn Battuta, who had passed through Shiraz twice in his wanderings in Asia, describes the capital city of Fars, in Persia, as ‘a densely populated town, well built and admirably planned’.1 In his observations he continues: Each trade has its own bazaar. Its inhabitants are handsome and clean in their dress. In the whole East there is no city that approaches Damascus in beauty of bazaars, orchards, and rivers, and in the handsome figures of its inhabitants, but Shiraz. It is on a plain surrounded by orchards on all sides and intersected by rivers, one of which is the river known as Rukn Abad, whose water is very sweet, very cold in summer and warm in winter. The people of Shiraz are pious and upright, especially the women, who have a strange custom. Every Monday, Thursday, and Friday they meet in the principal mosque to listen to the preacher, one or two thousand of them, carrying fans with which they fan themselves on account of the great heat. I have never seen in any land so great an assembly of women… The sultan of Shiraz at the time of my visit was Abu Ishaq, one of the best of sultans, handsome and well-conducted, of generous character, humble, but powerful, and the ruler of a great kingdom. He had an army of more than fifty thousand men, Turks and Persians, but he does not trust the people of Shiraz. He will not take...
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