Editor: R. Trench
Author:N/A ISBN: (10) 1-85207-540-6 Published: 1994 Paper: Printed on acid free paper Binding: Library bindings with gilt finish See sample pages:
In four volumes Arab Gulf Cities draws together key documents reflecting the history and development of the major cities of the Arab Gulf up to the 1960s. There is detailed coverage of Kuwait City; Manama; Doha; Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah; and Muscat and Mattrah. The range of material in the volumes is extensive: covering economic, municipal and social development; topography; water resources, electrification and road building, although the amount of detail surviving in the historical record naturally varies from place to place. The work is edited and introduced by the scholar and author on Middle East travel and topography, the late Richard Trench.
... "Eighty years ago Kuwait was a small village of single-storey sand-coloured clay houses on an empty shore, surrounded by a crumbling wall. The wall was rebuilt and heightened in 1920 to protect Kuwait from Ikhwan raids... (The wall) had five high watch-towers and gates, and was four metres high and three miles long. Every male Kuwaiti was conscripted to work on its construction, and the wall was guarded each night by quotas of men supplied by the local merchants.
In June 1946 Kuwait´s first barrel of oil was exported. Exactly ten years later the city wall was bulldozed to rubble..."
"The old town of Manama, with its traditional Gulf houses built of coral slabs and gypsum and its labyrinth of alleys, still exists, elbowed up against high-rise office blocks...
...What relevance does the Old Town, whose records are contained in this volume, have to the modern city that overshadows it? Not much, you could say. But what relevance does the photograph of the young child have to the grown-up adult studying it? Not much, either - except that the one grew into the other..."
On Doha and the cities of the Emirates
"From the early nineteenth century, the descriptions of Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah stress how alike they are: towns and villages of white buildings beside shallow lagoons...
...Yet though each is different, the nineteenth century traveller coming in from the sea was not entirely wrong. Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah have more than simple geographical proximity in common. They were ports and they were markets (and sometimes pirate ports . . . ) . "
On Muscat and Mattrah
"Until 1962, Muscat was still surrounded by a wall, guarded each night by rotas drawn from the Hawasina and Beni Umr tribes. There were three main gates: the Bab Kebir, the main gate which led to the oasis of the Wadi Kebir and the American Mission Hospital; the Bab Saghir, a narrow gate for pedestrians only, that led to the Ali Moussa mosque and Muscat´s only school; and the Bab Mathaib, which took you onto the road to Mattrah, a couple of miles and a volcanic outcrop away..."