The second major Islamic dynasty (750-1258), were the descendants of al-Abbas,
the Prophet's uncle, hence the name. Their effective rule lasted only
for a little more than a century. After that they became the figureheads
of an elusive Islamic unity that did not exist in reality.
- Dar al-Salam
(the Abode of Peace): The round city founded in 762 by
al-Mansur (754-75), the second Abbasid caliph, to be his royal center
on the western bank of the river Tigris. Its plan and symbolism were
the result of a synthesis of many previous traditions. What started
as the enclosed, round city of al-Mansur soon expanded on both banks
of the river and its name reverted to that of the ancient name of the
The new capital city established by caliph al-Mu'tasim in 836 to house
his growing army of Turkish slave-warriors (Mamluks)
on the Tigris, 60 miles north of Baghdad. It developed into a conglomeration
of secluded caliphal palaces and houses for the troops on a grandiose
scale. The city remained capital of the Abbasid empire until 883, then
it was abandoned and Baghdad regained its old position.
(the wards or the fiefs): the new settlement built north
of Fustat on the site of the future Cairo by Ahmad ibn-Tulun, the Turkish
governor of Egypt sent by the Abbasids.