The image of the city
As cities are built by and for human civilisations, thus socio-economic and cultural changes in society leave evidence of their impact on the forms and types of public and private spaces contained within them. These sites, individual buildings and their connections ‒ the streets, squares, parks and gardens ‒ embody messages about the life of individuals as well as the collective community. As centres for the dissemination of knowledge and science and where culture, trade, commerce, power and poverty are diffused, the density of sites for worship are concentrated more in urban formations than they are in rural settlements.
The period spanning the 19th century to the early 20th century is a milestone in Arab‒Ottoman and European interaction: as a fast-changing modern Europe was emerging, so methods, materials and techniques from there were introduced to the Arab and Ottoman world. This encounter significantly changed the appearance of Arab and Ottoman cities; in some instances creating so-called colonial architecture built by European architects employing their own architectural languages, or architecture built by local architects that absorbed a selection of local traditions and interpreted Western architectural vocabulary to suit the local tradition. In line with this, an indigenous architectural modernity was introduced to Arab and Ottoman cities that applied Western styles and techniques to local traditions.
Photograph of Bab Idris street
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Beirut Municipality, Beirut, Lebanon
The presence of a new-style housing structure is significant, as are the additional city gates and the modern tramlines.