The Mamluk cities of Cairo, Damascus and Jerusalem had numerous purpose-built markets or trading centres (caravanserai
s; known variously as suq
s). Their purpose was to receive commercial caravans and accommodate securely the exotic goods of the merchants and tradesmen who came to them from far and wide. The international diversity of the products available in the wikala
s, pottery and textiles among the goods, inspired local artisans. Stimulated by Mamluk patronage, and practised in royal ateliers as well as urban bazaars throughout Egypt and Syria, the decorative arts reached new heights of craftsmanship and design.