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Old April 18th, 2006, 11:50 PM   #121
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Old April 19th, 2006, 02:51 AM   #122
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Jerusalem/Al Quds, Rome, Kyoto...yeah, Isntanbul too.
"...Dayton, Two Exits of Fun..."
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Old April 19th, 2006, 07:28 AM   #123
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Istanbul does have a long and colourful history. Didn't the Europeans set out to sea to find a route to China because their caravans couldn't get to Europe through Constantinople?
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Old April 25th, 2006, 07:32 PM   #124
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Old May 30th, 2006, 10:20 AM   #125
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Athens + Rome
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Old May 30th, 2006, 11:02 AM   #126
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Old May 30th, 2006, 12:43 PM   #127
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Baghdad, Athens, Rome, Alexandria, Beijing, Istambul, Jerusalem, Mexico City, Cuzco, Beirut, Delhi, any others??
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 11:42 PM   #128
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London, Paris?
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 01:19 AM   #129
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Old June 4th, 2006, 07:58 PM   #130
¡Viva el metro!
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Cádiz, Spain.
Called Gadir more than 3,000 years ago!

Memphis, Egypt.
More than 6,000 years old!!
Εγώ είμαι ο Νταβόρ!!
David (DavoR for my friends)
川添 Kawazoe (riverside) 海斗 Kaito (big dipper of the ocean), in Japanese.
Yo si la ciudad no tiene metro, como que no es gran ciudad y entonces ya paso de vivir allí. Norreport+12000
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Old June 29th, 2006, 09:10 AM   #131
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Athens, Istanbul and Rome IMHO
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Old June 29th, 2006, 04:50 PM   #132
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Rome, Athens, Istanbul, any capital of China's many empires that is a city nowadays (same as to India), cities in the Middle East and Europe, so there are MANY choices.
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Old June 29th, 2006, 05:59 PM   #133
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True, I was just considering the western world = eurocentric. There are many other cities in the world that are just as, if not more significant.
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Old June 29th, 2006, 10:07 PM   #134
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The 'most historic city' needs to stike a compromise between the length of history, and the importance/significance of that history.

A city with a colourful 1000 years, has a better history than a city with 4000 years of relative insignificance.
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Old June 30th, 2006, 05:27 AM   #135
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Damascus Syria... one of the worlds oldest continually inhabited cities.

Why do states that enforce Sharia always end up as the world's most repressive states?
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Old July 1st, 2006, 03:51 PM   #136
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[- ANDROS -]

[- Reunification of the PARTHENON Marbles -]

Life is FULL of rude awakenings...
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Old July 1st, 2006, 09:59 PM   #137
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Athens, Roma, Cairo , Istanbul
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Old July 5th, 2006, 02:09 PM   #138
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On your Marx

Jonathan Schofield is sitting at one of the most important tables in the history of the world. "Parts of the communist manifesto were written right here," he says. Five hours into his tour of radical Manchester, Schofield lets his voice become reverentially hushed for the first time. "Marx would sit on one side of the table and Engels on the other. Whenever I bring people from the Chinese consulate here and get out the old books that Marx and Engels touched, they weep."

We're in the reading room of Chetham's library, a venerable and cloistered building. The bay window in which the table has sat for centuries was a preternaturally quiet spot to hone ideas of socialist revolution while the first city of capitalism seethed unseen and unheard outside.

This, at least, is the historian's contention about the city's importance in catalysing communism. "Without Manchester there would have been no Soviet Union," Schofield says with a challenging look. "And the history of the 20th century would have been very different." Imagine - no Lenin, no gulags, no Mao, no Nazi-Soviet Pact, no Cultural Revolution, no cold war, no nuclear arms race, no Che, no Che T-shirts, and, without doubt, no faithful Chinese communists crying among the bookshelves. Oh, Manchester (as Morrissey sang in a very different context), so much to answer for.

Can it really have such a central role in history? "Yes it can - and does," he says. Schofield directs me to a passage in Asa Briggs' Victorian Cities. "If Engels had lived not in Manchester but in Birmingham," wrote Briggs, "his conception of 'class' and his theories of the role of class in history might have been very different. The fact that Manchester was taken to be the symbol of the age in the 1840s ... was of central political importance in modern world history."

Engels arrived in 1842. His father, a Pietist, worried that little Friedrich was showing radical tendencies and sent him to work at a textile company in which he was a partner. "His father could not have thought of a worse place to send him," says Schofield. Nor a worse time. Victorian Manchester was a hotbed of radical ideas, where the Anti-Corn-Law League was agitating, where Chartists regularly rioted.

Two years after Engels hit town, Disraeli wrote in his novel Coningsby: "The Age of Ruins is past. Have you seen Manchester? Manchester is as great a human exploit as Athens." To learn how the modern world was going, Engels might well have thought, better to immerse yourself in Manchester than classical Greece. "I would have loved to have lived in Manchester in the 1840s," says Schofield, "and possibly to have met Engels, who sounds a lovely man, even though he rode with the Cheshire hunt. Marx sounds like a lazy fat man who took Engels' money and his best ideas."

Schofield has made many similarly grand claims for the radical credentials of his favourite city in the 300-odd minutes since he met me at Piccadilly Station. He has alleged that vegetarianism took off as a mass movement thanks to the sermons of an early-19th-century Manchester preacher called the Rev William Cowherd. He has charged that the Trades Union Congress is a Mancunian invention. He has contended that the Free Trade Hall is the only building in Britain named after a principle. He has noted that the Women's Social and Political Union, stamping ground of the suffragette heroines Emmeline Pankhurst and Annie Kenney, was made in Manchester and that its militant civil disobedience bore all the bolshie hallmarks of Mancunian attitude.

All of this is declaimed in a ringing voice that stuns shoppers from their dogmatic slumbers as we walk. He forbears from moithering to me (as he has in print) about how the radical Manchester Guardian, forged in the wake of the city's Peterloo massacre, "fled to London in the 1960s", but he does recite me more verses by the Manchester punk poet John Cooper Clarke than anyone else can, with the possible exceptions of Mr Cooper Clarke and his mum. And, to return the favour, I don't quote him the words of Mark Twain: "I would like to live in Manchester. The transition between Manchester and Death would be unnoticeable."

It's just as well I don't, because Schofield seems guilty of an excess of civic pride, that rarest of English virtues. He has written books about Manchester and plans to write more, but you get the sense that this is where he gets most satisfaction as a historian - declaiming the city's history on the streets.

We start in Canal Street, where he points out a bar called Manto. "That's the first gay bar that came out," he says. So what? "Instead of being a hole in the corner affair, it was designed with big windows and terraces and balconies that said it had nothing to hide." Around the corner in Sackville Street, Schofield halts. "Typical Manchester," he says, "all fur coat and no knickers." He's alluding to the grandeur of the frontages of the renaissance-style palaces that sprang up as Manchester became Cottonopolis. The fronts may be dizzyingly ornamental, typical of the architectural energy of the Victorians, but the rear elevations are often modest. "Legend has it that Walter Gropius, the founder of Bauhaus, came to Manchester on his way to the US and realised that the Mancs had already done Bauhaus 100 years earlier on the backs of their buildings."

At the TUC building in Major Street, he tells me that Francis Fukuyama once did a reading there about the end of history. "It was towards the end of his world book tour and he got intellectually torn apart by 200 hardcore lefties. He told me he'd never come across such committed Marxists." True or just tall stories symptomatic of Manchester braggadocio? My money's on the latter.

On we go, to Manchester Art Gallery where there is a room embracing city icons from Pankhurst to Shaun Ryder, that Schofield reads as positing that they all have similarly radical sensibilities. "Manchester's the least aristocratic of British cities. There was no feudal system in Lancashire - there were churls, but no serfs. [A churl, you'll know, had a social position above a slave or serf but below a thane in Anglo-Saxon society.] The hand-loom weavers and cotton workers of Manchester were known for their bolshieness," he says, describing their cramped and disease-ridden cottages.

"They were moved by the injustice of their plight," says Schofield. "That's why so many of them went to St Peter's Fields in 1819." St Peter's Fields no longer exists, but Schofield stands in front of the International Convention Centre and describes the massacre that took place there on August 16 1819 in which 16 people died and 600 were injured. "The resonant thing was that British soldiers turned on their own people, and people who had gathered there for a serious peaceful demonstration to protest about the fact that big industrial cities such as Manchester had no political representation. The Peterloo massacre scandalised the middle classes and brought them behind the reform movement."

On we go, to the Free Trade Hall, where Schofield quotes with approval the words of his fellow townsman John Bright, the Rochdale orator and Anti-Corn-Law League stalwart, who said: "We were not born with saddles on our backs nor were the gentry born with spurs." Wasn't free trade just the rallying call of business? "No, the league was an alliance of middle classes and working classes. In years of bad harvest, the cost of bread went beyond the means of the poor because the Corn Laws guaranteed prices for British landowners." Today the hall named after a principle is a five-star hotel with radical prices of up to £1,000 a night.

Then on to the statue to the utopian socialist Robert Owen, to Chetham's library and its world-changing table, on to the beautiful choir of Manchester Cathedral, on to the Royal Exchange, centre of Mancunian capitalism. We've been walking for six hours and we still haven't visited some of the most important radical shrines - the Pankhurst Centre in Nelson Street, any of Engel's homes, the Griffin Inn in Great Ancoats Street where Chartist boozers boozed. Nor is there time to pay homage to the mass trespass of Kinder Scout in 1932 (organised by the Manchester Rambling Association). And doubtless more besides. But dusk is descending.

Schofield leaves me to visit another very important historical table alone. Why it wound up in the People's History Museum on Bridge Street isn't immediately clear. On it, though, Thomas Paine wrote part of Rights of Man in 1792, a book that was immediately banned by an outraged government. In it, Paine argued that all men over 21 should have the vote and the House of Lords be abolished. It is clearly a very radical table indeed, and for that reason alone its proper place of rest is Manchester.
Manchester is one of the most historical cities in the world, it's just unsung.

“the city is redundant: it repeats itself so that something will stick in the mind... memory is redundant: it repeats itself so that the city can begin to exist.”.
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Old July 5th, 2006, 04:37 PM   #139
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6.Areas in Egypt (Cario, Alexandra)
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Old July 7th, 2006, 01:39 AM   #140
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Id say India, China, Japan, Persia, Iraq, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Israel, Peru and Egypt have the most historically important cities, with Sumer, India and Egypt being the oldest urban civilizations, and Persia, China and Greece following closely on their heels.

It seems some people mistake familiarity with the history of a city for an assumption that it must have the longest and most notable history - many historians would choose other cities over Rome, London or Athens - western philosophy wasnt the only philosophy developed in the world at the time Athens was at its height - it is mearly the school of thought that gains the most mention in in the Eurosphere. Eastern philosophy has a higher volume of literature within the same timespan, followed by a continuation of its development, and accounted for some of the most notable firsts, such as first systems of atheism (Carvaka/Lokayata), secularism (within Dharmic religion), logic, agnosticim (within the Rig Veda), concept of zero, base ten mathematics, etc.

Heres where my nominations would go:


Delhi - built over 4000 years by ever more opulent dynasties, allegedly the site of Indraprastha from the asian Mahabhrata epic, within the middle ages seven consecutive Mughal rulers (richest on the planet) built cities on it, current capital of Republic of India

Patna - formerly known as Pataliputra, capital of the Mauryan dynasty, largest Empire of the time, largest city of the time, twice the size of contemporary Rome, ruled by the first emperor of India, Chandragupta Maurya, and later Asoka Maurya, who was partly responsible for the popularity of Buddhism in Asia

Bodh Gaya - city where Buddha reached enlightenment, has been a place of pilgrimage in the 2500 years since, with a large temple, monestaries, university, etc

Vijaynagara - not as old, but famous for being another of the largest cities in the world at the time about ten times the size of contemporary London, and again probably the richest, with the first Europeans to reach India in the middle ages bringing home stories of street vendors selling buckets of gems and opulent buildings

Varanasi - aka Benares, one of the Indian shrine cities, allegedly the oldest continually inhabited city in the world, dating back to Sumer, Mark Twain wrote "Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together!", not the oldest city in India when accounting for abandoned ones of the Indus Valley Civilization though

Sarnath - city where Buddha delivered his first 'sermon', one of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage sites like Bodh Gaya, home to some of the oldest stupas, home to a tree grown from a sapling cut from the original Bodhi tree under which Buddha was enlightened







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