Where did the well known trope of a 'City in a Bottle', as associated with middle eastern mythology, originate?

It is referenced in modern culture (see the City in a Bottle Magic: the Gathering Card, Sandman #50: Ramadan by Neil Gaiman, etc), and is always associated with the Middle East, Arabia in particular. I thought that it originated somewhere in the 1001 Nights, but I have not been able to locate the particular story.

Can anyone shed light on the origins of this concept?

  • Again, I'm not convinced it has anything to do with Middle Eastern mythology. If you have some specific reference it woudl help your question to add it.
    – Spencer
    Commented Feb 23, 2019 at 20:09
  • 5
    There is apparently a "Bottle City Of Kandor" from the Superman comic books, and there is "The Crystal Crypt" by Phillip K. Dick about a weapon of sorts that is used to miniaturize a city so it can be smuggled out on a transport. Commented Feb 23, 2019 at 21:12
  • Perhaps the Arabic connection comes from Aladdin's genie? Although that was a lamp, not a bottle. Commented Feb 23, 2019 at 22:27
  • Cross-post at mythology.stackexchange.com/q/5483/197
    – b_jonas
    Commented Feb 24, 2019 at 11:24
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    The obvious point of reference is RA Heinlein's "Universe". I wonder if our expert searchers can find anything earlier.
    – Spencer
    Commented Feb 24, 2019 at 22:34


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