At the same time as Mohammed (650 to 750 AD), when England was no more than a collection of tribal areas (the heptarchy) and Europe’s largest city was Constantinople with about 400,000 people.
On the other side of the world however, China under the Tang dynasty was starting on a golden age. Its capital Chang’an (modern day Xi’an) lay at the eastern terminus of the silk road and was a vast planned city built as a rectangular grid 5 miles by 6 miles and surrounded by wall 5.5m high. Inside the city where two enormous square markets; the east market supplied produce from the silk road and the west market from the local region. It had 1,000,000 inhabitants and was the largest city in the world at that time. A visitor from London of the time (population 12,000) would have thought it an unearthly paradise. The largest city in Europe…
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