The Let's Play Archive

Assassin's Creed

by Geop

Part 6: Episode 06: Damascus - The Poor District

Episode 06: Damascus - The Poor District

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District Map

Notes -
- These investigation/exploration videos will be the norm for each new district/region prior to every assassination. If anything, the path itself that I take in the future will be more proper. I didn't actually go counter-clockwise when I recorded this; I kind of went around randomly. I then got to editing and went "oh wait "

- On the topic of pronunciations: the in-game pronunciations tend to be from an Arabic angle. Damascus (Dimashq in Arabic) is one example. There's also Saladin, whose pronunciation in this seems more based off the most proper, non-western spelling, rather than the Arabic pronunciation (spelled Salah Ad-Din, pronounced Salah Al-Din by Arabics). In these places, I will print the western version as the norm, but the first time they crop up, I will put the Arabic pronunciation or "word" beside it in parenthesis. I missed this approach initially for Damascus when Al Mualim first said it, but I'm just getting in to the groove

- I'm not of Muslim descent or faith. If any readers/viewers happen to be of such and notice I am mis-speaking on something, let me know. The following is just from what I dug up from researching various things.

- The onion-domed minaret tower adjoined to the large mosque landmark is pretty similar to the era's designs of them in Syria & Egypt. The only difference is that the era/region's mosques typically had one of those towers at each of its four corners.

- Minaret towers are structures that are prayed toward five times a day, in regions of Islamic faith. A muezzin, or crier of some sort, will ascend to the balcony-like upper tier and alert the nearby public when it is time for prayer. Minarets did not crop up until roughly eighty years after Muhammad's death. Prior to that point, mosques were built without them, and prayer was handled elsewhere in other ways.

- The towers with the conical tops might not technically be minarets. The reason is that they don't seem to be built physically beside a mosque, but this is probably nit-picking. It isn't a look-out tower, so what else could it be?

- The domed roof structures you see are known as Gonbads. They were first spotted in Northern Iran (Parthia) and were popularized by the Sassanids (224-651AD). It's important to note that the Sassanids were the last pre-Islamic, Persian Empire. Gonbads were originally a symbol of royalty, but the architecture carried over in to the subsequent Islamic cultures and also became tied to religion. Gonbads, at mosques, are typically situated over prayer halls. The domed roof is meant to be symbolic of the skies and heavens, and also to (in turn) remind followers of the faith of their place in the world.

- In the future, there will be real-world structures in-game that I'll point out (ie: Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, where Saladin was entombed in 1193).

bman in 2288 posted:

OK, since you asked, I'll try to explain some stuff to you about the trivia you spoke of in Damascus. I actually know stuff about this:

-Minaret towers are used to call people to prayer. It's tall, so the call goes a long way. And no, it's not so much "praying towards the minaret," as it is "it's in the direction you're supposed to be praying towards." And even then, that's sometimes. Inside, you can tell where you're supposed to pray due to the interior design.

-If a tower is tall, but narrow, looking to fit one standing dude comfortably and nothing else, you got good chances it's actually a minaret.

-Yeah, the Gonbads are kinda important, but not so much important as there is a traditional mindset towards it. They don't really need one for their prayer halls.

-One more thing, for the prayer halls. It's not too commonly known, so I'll just stick it here. Transliterated, it's called a "Masjid." This is Romanized into "Mosque" for the rest of the world. Just so you know.