Muslim Inventions 5

The highest denomination coin in real terms is the 1000 mohur of Muslim ruler Jahangir (1613). It was worth £300,000 (R3million) in 1993 and weighs 12kg. Only 5 were minted.

The name of the town of Caltagirone in Italy is derived from the Arabic qal’at and ghiran (hill of vases). The town produced fine ceramics since the era of Muslim rule.

The world’s first regular pigeon-post service was established by a Muslim Turkish Sultan in the 15th century between Istanbul and Budapest.

The Muslim Abbasid Empire developed a superb postal system in the Middle Ages. Great roads left Baghdad with staging posts every 3km. These had wells and food supplies for couriers. Detailed records were kept and there was a Master of the Posts. The cost was borne by the Khalifa.

The roots of colouring and figurative expression in some Italian art are synthesized versions of Sicilian-Arab folklore, dating to the Muslim rule of parts of Italy.

Tamerlane, the Muslim Mongol ruler, brought domes to Asia and Russia. He copied the dome on the central Mosque in Damascus in 1401 and had a tomb made with a dome in Samarkand. From there it spread to Russia where it became the onion-shaped domes on churches and the Kremlin. It spread to India where the Taj Mahal was built by Muslims in 1648. The Taj Mahal’s dome derives directly from the Mosque that Tamerlane copied in Damascus.