In the 1600s, the Ottomans tightly control the province of Syria (which includes the modern states of Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and Lebanon) because of its important pilgrimage routes and wealthy tax base. The number of caravanserais and markets built at this time indicates the important role of the region in the trade between provinces of the Ottoman empire. In the 1700s, as in the rest of the empire, local families take over the position of governor as a hereditary post.
Damascus remains an important center of production for enameled and gilded glass, metalwares, and ceramics, but new techniques such as tile underglazing are introduced from the Turkish realm. The city’s textiles are now exported to a larger market in Europe, where its products become famous as “damask.”
Aleppo is one of the chief textile centers of the Ottoman empire, producing both cheap cottons and luxury silks woven with gold and silver that are exported to other regions of the empire and to Europe. The residential quarters of the city owe their current appearance to development in the Ottoman period.
The powerful ‘Azm family, which assumes the position of Ottoman governor, constructs a palace in Damascus.
With the aid of British forces, the governor of Syria withstands a three-month siege against the city of Acre led by Napoleon, who has conquered Egypt and is attempting to move north into Syria. The loss ends French ambitions in the region.
“The Eastern Mediterranean, 1600–1800 A.D.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/ht/?period=09®ion=wae (October 2003)