Font size





Mixed Cities of the Mediterranean, from Aleppo to Gibraltar

Price: Standard £12, Senior Citizens £8, Children £8

Buy Tickets >

Mixed Cities of the Mediterranean, from Aleppo to Gibraltar

Philip Mansel



6:00pm 1h
John Mackintosh Hall

Mixed cities were once common in the Mediterranean, particularly in the Ottoman Empire. Their characteristics included multiple races, religions and languages; the importance of ambassadors, consuls and commerce; modernity; and vulnerability. Constantinople, Aleppo, Smyrna, Alexandria and Beirut were mixed Ottoman cities. They are both precursors of, and warnings to, today’s mixed ciities.

For in the end mixed cities depend on the state which protects them. When the state weakens or turns hostile, they do not survive. The hinterland always bites back. In the last hundred years all Ottoman mixed cities have suffered from civil wars and nationalism. The hinterland always bites back. Smyrna was burnt, and lost its Greeks and Armenians in 1922, Constantinople was Turkified after 1922, and Alexandria Egyptianised after 1952. Since 2012 Aleppo has been gutted by civil war . Most refugees from this formerly tolerant half-Christian city hesitate to return. Gibraltar is, with Marseille, one of the last historic mixed cities of the Mediterranean.

Elsewhere, however, mixed cities are, thanks to globalization,  again increasingly normal. From New York to Hong Kong,  more and more cities contain an increasing proportion of people from foreign countries. 800 languages are spoken in New York, 300 in London.  

London, according to David Cameron,  is ‘the most diverse city in the world’. The latest figures show that the population of 8.2 million is 45% white British. In Dubai  immigrants far outnumber the original inhabitants. Hong Kong tries to maintain its identity against the pressures of the Chinese state. In a rapidly globalising world, perhaps the future belongs to mixed cities, rather than national states. 

Our Sponsors

The Gibunco Group Logo
HM Government of Gibraltar Logo
Gibraltar Tourist Board Logo
Gibraltar Department of Education Logo
Gibraltar Tourist Board Logo
Gibraltar Cultural Services Logo
John Mackintosh Educational Trust Logo
The Gibraltar Magazine Logo
Gibtelecom Logo
Europort (International) Holdings Limited Logo
MHBland Logo
Bassadone Automotive Group Logo
Gibraltar Chronicle Logo
Panorama Logo
Insight Logo
Sunborn Gibraltar Logo
Saccone and Speed Logo
Gibraltar Garrison Library Logo
Capurro Logo
DHL Logo
The Rock Hotel Logo
Blackwell’s Logo
University of Gibraltar Logo
Dolphin Adventure Logo
easyJet Logo
Hotel Chocolat Logo
Costa Coffee Logo
GBC Logo
Oxford Cultural Collective Logo
Serruya Logo
The Jewel Box Logo