Constantinople/Istanbul was a great imperial city from its foundation, first Byzantine and Christian and then Ottoman and Islamic. As a center of economic, religious and political power, it has also been the site of formidable struggle. Jerusalem, a city venerated by the world’s three dominant monotheistic religions, has been a site of spiritual and military conflict from biblical times to the present. Both cities present models of contentious urban spaces elsewhere. Our seminar investigates the contribution of a city’s physical topography and its built fabric to urban violence.