When different cultures meet and inevitably influence each other is it not better to see these meetings as “dialogues”?
Arab and Ottoman cities witnessed rapid change in the 19th century and foreign influences were more readily absorbed than they had been in earlier historical periods. The same is true concerning the influences of Islamic art and architecture on European styles. Several European architects, commissioned by Arab and Ottoman patrons, worked in the European tradition, introducing Western-style streets and squares and other urban constructions into the texture of traditional Arab and Ottoman cities. Throughout the Ottoman Empire, the stylistic and decorative features of buildings included details from the European past, in parallel with the various revivalist styles in Europe, as well as the contemporary modern architectural styles that were fashionable in Europe and the Ottoman Empire at the time. Thus, while the design elements, principles and policies of urban planning in Arab and Ottoman lands borrowed from foreign architectural elements, they also conformed to the identity of the community and the social, economic and cultural status its inhabitants.