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Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology



Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Brown University
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: (401) 863-3188
Fax: (401) 863-9423
[email protected]

al-Raya district

After the foundation of Fustat in 642CE the al-Raya district was the area around the Mosque of Amr and the Qasr al-Sham which was inhabited by the ahl al-raya a group of approximately 400-500 people including the tribe of the Quraysh (basically the tribe of the Prophet Muhammad) and the ansar  (the ‘companions’ of the Prophet). It is important to note that Fustat at this time was a loose conglomeration of khitta or camps with individuals being settled in an area based on their tribal affiliation. However, repeated enlargements of the Mosque of Amr in 673 and 698CE indicate by this time that the district had, by this point, developed into a genuine urban core of between 25 to 30 hectares. The area was bounded to the south by the Qasr al-Sham, to the west by the Nile, and to the north by the al-Hamra. The area was by this point the focus of religion (Mosque of Amr), the center of government; it had the largest markets which were centered around the port, and also the grandest houses. The influx of relatively wealthy people of diverse origins led to the break-down of the tribal khitta system in this quarter.

Timothy Sandiford 

Posted at Dec 06/2010 04:08PM:
ian: In this way it and Qasr al-Shama' can bee seen as competing centers of this new urban conglomerate.