|II. Development of The City|
the Turkish Period
When Istanbul came under Turkish rule Mehmet is known to have brought people from various parts of his empire and settled them in the deserted and devastated city so that it could be rebuilt. Thus the names of some of its districts, such as Aksaray, Karaman and Carsamba, are related to the places from where these settlers came. In the first years after the conquest there were areas within the city almost entirely populated by Christians. Then gradually the non-Muslims became concentrated in certain parts of the city, such as Samatya, Edirnekapi and Fener and the remaining area of the city was populated by Turks. In the late Ottoman period the Galata district was preferred by non-Muslims and the protective presence of foreign embassies meant that this part of Istanbul became almost a new city. This is how the Beyoglu district was created. The Turks settled in certain places along the Bosphorus, Uskudar (Scutari), on the bank of the Golden Horn between Tophane and Kas_mpasa and within the city walls while the non-Muslims preferred the islands, some of the villages along the Bosphorus and the villages on the outskirts of the city.
From the period of the conquest onwards the city was rebuilt on entirely Turkish lines. Running water was brought to the city by means of supply lines coming from outside its boundaries, public fountains and baths were built. The great mosques, which made Istanbul look a truly Turkish city and were great Turkish works of art, and the complexes surrounding them, were erected as well. After the construction in Bayezid of a palace known as Eski Saray (old palace), another palace then known as Yenisaray (new palace), and now known as the Topkapi Palace was built. In order to increase trade, rows of shops known as 'arasta' were built under archways, as were large buildings referred to as 'hans',in which the goods were stored. In this new centre of Ottoman-Turkish civilisation madrassas and libraries were set up so that scholarly activities could take place and hospitals (darussifa) were built.. A concept of town planning completely different from that of the Byzantines dominated all of this construction and development. In a short space of time the new palaces, water distribution systems, mosques, shipyard, Janissary barracks, markets and shopping centres, shrines, graveyards and dwellings endowed the city of Istanbul with an entirely different aspect. Together with the great mosques and surrounding complexes built by the sultans, its leading citizens built mosques both large and small, madrassas, hans, public baths, public fountains and charity fountains, all of which made Istanbul into a Turkish city. The wealthy founders of charitable trusts also played their part in this development. However, during the Turkish period the terrible earthquake which took place in 1509, known as "the Little Day of Judgment", dealt a terrible blow to the city's brick and stone houses. Fearing the effects of further earthquakes people began to build their houses of wood instead and in a short space of time Istanbul became a city of wooden houses. In keeping with this trend, the palaces and mansions of the artistocracy were all made of wood. In spite of decrees regarding fire precautions which even aimed at preventing the construction of wooden buildings in the commercial and shopping centres, the use of wood could not be halted. This inevitably led to a rapid increase in the number of fires in the city. As well as the earthquakes of 1765 and 1894, which also caused terrible destruction, Istanbul's greatest enemy has always been fire. I one of these fires, which were fanned and driven south-wards by the north wind, happened to start anywhere on the banks of the Golden Horn this meant that the city would be doomed to burn for days, leaving thousands of people homeless, and that priceless treasures and magnificent mansions would be reduced to ashes. Sometimes these fires would start from the banks of the Golden Horn and burn until they reached Aksaray or even the Sea of Marmara. The last great fires of Istanbul were the Hocapasa fire of 1865, the Beyoglu fire of 1870, the Laleli fire of 1912 and the Cibali-Fatih-Altinmermer fire-fighting organisation in the city and the prevention of further construction in wood meant that fires were contained to a given area. The last big fire of this kind destroyed a large pat of the Fener district in 1941. The effects of the fire of 1782, which reduced almost half of the city to ashes, can be judged be looking at a map of that period published by a Spaniard. However, it should be stated that after these big fires leading statesmen paid for the rebuilding of pious foundation buildings out of their own pockets. Wooden houses were built to replace the ones that had been destroyed and within a few months the traces of the fire had, to a great extent, been removed. It was only the effects of the fires that took place between 1908 and 1918 that could not rapidly be removed, due to the fact that the country was then at war.
In is known that apart from the destructive effects of these frequent fires and the major earthquakes that strike the city at intervals of between 120 and 150 years, Istanbul has also occasionally been affected by hurricanes. One of these took place shortly after the conquest in 1492, leaving in its wake many casualties and a great deal of destruction. In Hartmann Schedel's book "World History", mentioned in the preceding paragraphs the writer describes this event, recounted to him by "reliable" Italian traders and brings it to life in an engraving. In Turkish records of this event mention is made of a thunderbolt which fell onto an old Byzantine church then being used as a powder arsenal, causing a violent explosion. This event is also depicted in Schedel's engravings.
After the conquest an immediate and planned campaign was launched to make it a Turkish city. A count was made of the number of dwelling houses in the city on a scale quite impressive for that age and Istanbul was redeveloped according to certain principles. Twenty five years after the conquest according to records kept by Muhiddin Celebi, the cadi (Muslim judge of Istanbul and Mahmud Celebi, zaim (the person who held the fief of the city), of Istanbul there where were 975 Muslim Turkish, 31 Romany, 4893 Christian and 1647 Jewish households in Galata. Mehmet the Conqueror, who possessed all the qualities of a European renaissance ruler, brought craftsmen to Istanbul from Italy. This tradition continued for many years. After Bellini had been employed in the palace, mention was made of inviting Michaelangelo and even Leonardo da Vinci to Istanbul to build a bride over the Golden Horn. Towards the end of the 15th century, in the reign of Bayez_d II, Istanbul was visited by a German named Arnold von Harff, who stated that is was "a great and magnificent city", and went on to remark that the system of administration in the city was an extremely vigilant one. Von Harff, who had left his ship at Galata and entered a han without notifying anybody was horrified to hear the next day that he had been summoned to the palace. With the aid of an interpreter known as Frenk Hasan, a German converted to Islam, the traveller had an audience with the Sultan, and was unable to conceal his astonishment when asked to work in the service of the Ottoman authorities. The first of the European travellers to carry out a detailed archaeological survey of the city was the Frenchman Pierre Gilles. Gilles (or Gyllius). He lived in Istanbul between 1544 and 1547 and carried out investigations. He wrote two separate books about he results of his survey, one about Istanbul and one about the Bosphorus. These books are still considered to be valuabla source material. Gilles, who had been sent by the king of France and was in fact a botanist, appreciated the natural beauty of Istanbul and the value of its geographical location. He had the following to say about it "All the earth's cities are doomed to perish sooner or later, but as long as mankind remains on earth this city will endure." M. d'Aramon, who was French ambassador to Istanbul during the same period, that is, in the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent, had the following to say in the travel memoirs he dictated to his private secretary Jehan Chesneau; "It is abundantly clear that Istanbul is now an entirely Turkish city. Its hills are adorned with mosques, the hillsides are covered with houses and groups of buildings can be seen between the trees." With the aid of certain paintings executed during this period it is possible to geta better impression of the appearance of the city. Two woodcuts by the Dutch painter Pieter Koeck van Alst were published in 1533. In the first we can see the city from the other side of the Golden Horn and in the other, Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent passing through the Hippodrome with his suite. In the background we can see a statue brought from Budin by the art-loving grand vizier Ibrahim Pasa in 1526, which was still standing at that time but was later destroyed after the murder of the latter. However, the picture which depicts Istanbul in the reign of Suleyman most accurately and is at the same time the liveliest and the most monumental is that by Melchior Lorch (or Lorich) of Flensburg. This panorama, eleven metres in length, was painted in 1599 and is now kept in the Dutch city of Leiden. It depicts, perhaps with a certain amount of imaginative additions, and attractive view of he city from the hills of Galata, Kas_mpasa and Haskoy. The flotilla of boats and sailing ships that fills the Golden Horn, the cupolas and minarets to be seen at frequent intervals between the groups of houses, the magnificent mosque complexes adorning the high ground all combine to convey a far more accurate and colourful impression of the Ottoman capital during the reign of Suleyman than many books of travels. Lorich took a considerable interest in the Suleymaniye Mosque and surrounding complex, construction of which was being completed when he was in the city. He painted a fine picture of Sinan's great work and later published it in the form of an engraving.
Together with this panorama of Istanbul, executed in the reign of Suleyman (which can also be considered the golden age of the Ottomans), by Lorich of Flensburg, there is a travelogue by another German, Hans Dernswan, who lived in Istanbul and in Turkey and in Turkey in around 1554. It is possible to find the Turkish Istanbul, with all its beauty and individual features in Dernswan's book. This traveller, who was also a keen researcher, tried to see and investigate everything in the reign of Suleyman and he did not neglect to keep a detailed record of his life in the Istanbul of that time. It is also possible to judge what 16th century Istanbul looked like from the miniatures of the Turkish artist Nasuh-u Silahi (Matrakci Nasuh), for at the beginning of his book about the Iraq campaign there are some miniatures of Istanbul and Galata. These graceful compositions show Istanbul with the great mosque complexes, the shipyard at Kasimpasa, the royal palace, (Saray-i Humayunlari), all of which had been built before that date, and details of the inner city with all the structures that existed at the time such as its covered markets and wooden shops (for they had still not been rebuilt in brick and stone). In the miniature of Istanbul that adorned Seyid Lokman's work "Hunername", written in the 16th century, we see the main mosque complexes and a tightly-packed mass of houses. In some of the versions of Piri Reis's navigation guide "Kitabu'l-Bahriye" (the author died some time between 1553 and 1554), we see another miniature of Istanbul. The quality of the copies made of the pictures in this handwritten work varies. In the best of these we see Istanbul with its major mosque complexes, its houses and the Golden Horn, which resembles an inner harbour.
Augier Ghislain de Busbeck (Busbeke), who came to Istanbul an ambassador and lived in the ambassador's residence opposite Cemberlitas (now the Darussafaka block) between 1555 and 1562 states, in a description of Istanbul in a book of travels that he wrote in the form of a letter: "It is as if Nature has created this place to be the world's capital." "It is impossible to conceive a more beautiful, better laid out city," he goes on to say, but he complains about the narrowness of its streets and the densely-packed character of its houses, saying without hesitation that they are "an obstacle to a good view of any kind". A writer who stayed in Istanbul for three months in 1573 had this to say about the view of the city he say from the high ground of Galata: "When I behold all this beauty, the extraordinary quality o the hills leaning against the gentle green slopes of the city, it cast such a spell on me that I felt an astonishment amounting to an assumption that I had arrived in a new paradise." This young French aristocrat goes on to say that the Turks refarded flowers "with the love accorded to a sacred object and states that in Istanbul "there are so many gardens and cypress trees that when viewed from afar Istanbul appears to consist of a number of small buildings within a forest. No large palaces can be discerned and it is only the minarets that are outside the framework of each group of buildings. "The well-arranged and beautiful shops of this prosperous city, which was adorned with more than 300 mosques of magnificent construction, more than 100 public baths, hospitals and caravansarays are also lavishly praised by the same traveller. In the summer of the same year the German priest Stephan Gerlach visited the city. He stated that he literally "drank in" the view of the city that confronted him, adding that he considered no-one else capable of experiencing its beauty so strongly. Another German, Michael Heberer, who was a prisoner in Istanbul from 1585-87, remarked that apart from the public buildings and mansions of the pasas, the houses were small and made of wood and the streets rather narrow.
It was not possible for these Christian traveller, who came from various countries in Europe, to be able to see absolutely everything in an environment which was foreign to them. Some Muslim travelers, who arrived in Istanbul in the same year provide more useful information in this repsect; they include El-Gazzi who arrived from Cairo in 1530, Kudbuddin Mekki (from Mecca), who saw Istanbul in 1536 and finally Ebul Hasan Ali bin Muhammed, who came as far as the Bosphorus leading an ambassador's delegation from Morocco in 1590. The latter states that the city occupied a magnificent site and was one of the biggest cities in the world, that the Golden Horn was literally swarming with ships and smaller craft, and that all parts of it were inhabited, so much so that there were even houses built on piles over the water along the coast. He then goes on to provide a breakdown of the damage inflicted by a catastrophic fire that broke out on 7 April 1588, stating that 28 mosques and mesjids, 22,000 houses, 15,000 shops and 9 public baths were completely destroyed. After describing this disaster, which was one of a number of famous fires in Istanbul, the Arab ambassador commends the paved streets of the city, emphasises that fruit of all kinds can be found even in winter and ends by saying "Be it in the public libraries or in the secondhand bookshops, there is an astonishing quantity of books to be found. Books from all over the world come here." This last statement points to the fact that the city was a major cultural centre. We gather from the book of travels of the Englishman John Sanderson, who arrived in Istanbul in 1594, that a great deal of building was taking place. This traveller, who was ingenuous enough to statethat there were 18,000 mosques and mesjids in the city, goes on to describe Suleyman's water supply system, the magnificent additions to the Topkapi Palace, the organisation of and the rich income derived by the Fatih Mosque, reflecting the powerful impression left by Istanbul on all foreigners in its golden age. In that period Istanbul was such an object of curiosity andinterest for Europeans that to see a picture of the citysufficed for those unable to visit it. In the middle of the 16th century, which was the golden age of the Ottoman empire, a large volume entitled "Cosmographie" was published circa 1544 by a German named Sebastian Munster (he died in 1552). The book contains, apart from descriptions of various European cities, an engraving of Istanbul occupying two pages. The picture of Istanbul in this book, which was published in German, Latin, Italian and French until 1628, representeda sort of bird's eye view of the city from the Anatolian side. The original of this picture, which appeared in thirty editions over a period of eighty years, was in fact a woodcut. This was published in about 1520 by Giovanni Andrea Vavassore, who is known to have worked as an editor in Venice. In these engravings of Istanbul, first seen in Munster's work and then in the extended editions of the book published in Cologne by Georg Braun and Franz Hogenberg, the presence of the Fatih Mosque and surrounding buildings and, on the other hand, the absence of the Bayezid Mosque complex, completed in 1505, demonstrate that the source of these engravings must have been a picture executed towards the end of the 15th century, between the construction dates of these two great mosques.
This Picture , in the various engravings of which small differences can be detected, constitutes an important documert as far as many details of Istanbul, the great Turkish capital, are concerned. It can be seen in the engraving that the Kad_rga Harbour was still being usedas a shipyard. The Fatih Mosque and surrounding buildings, the Tekfur palace with its roof still intact, the walls which surrounded it in Bayezid, the Old Palace (Saray-i Atik), the walls surrounding the New Palace (Saray-i Cedid), only referred to as the Topkap_ Palace in the comparatively recent past, the shops in the Buyuk Carsi, the streets, and the Hippodrome, which although its is in a semi-ruined state, has been shown as a semi-circular structure on the Marmara side, are all marked in this engraving However, the buildings inside the walls of the Topkapi Palace are a production of the imagination. In some versions of this engraving there is a row of sultan's portraits at the bottom. The last of these, all of which are in round frames, is that of Selim II, who died in 1574. In other editions the last sultan to be depicted is Murad III (1574-1595). It would be deceptive to assume from these details that this picture dated from the reign of Selim II or Murad III. However, in spite of everything, these pictures, which are referred to as the Vavassore, munster or Braun-Hogenberg engravings, provide a valuable record of the Istanbul of the early 16th century.
As far as the Italian Pietro Valle, who wrote letters about Istanbul
between 1614 and 1615, was concerned, the streets of the city were dirty and full of potholes and the houses did not look solid. This sentence demonstrates that, according to Della Valle, the inside of the city "was not in keeping with its beautiful exterior" . A Spanish priest, Otavio Sapienca, noted that the exteriors of the houses were not appealing. On the other hand the Flemish traveller De Stochove, who visited Istanbul in 1630, states that upon seeing the city he forgot all the fatigue and hardships of the journey; But like all the other travellers, he complains of the narrowness of its streets and the small and unassuming appearance of its houses. In the books of travels written by two French travellers, Du Loir, who was in Istanbul from 1639 to 1641, and de Monconys, who arrived in 1648, there are long descriptions of the works of Turkish architecture adorning the city. In the same years another Frenchman, Jean de Thevenot, mentions the discrepancies between the exterior and interior view of the city. He gives detailed information about its commercial buildings, palaces, fires and public baths, in short, about everything that is Turkish. Laurent d'Arvieux, who came here in 1672 as an official at the French embassy, states that because he had previously lived in other Islamic countries he had no difficulty in harmonising with his surroundings andwas able to comprehend the spirit of this city far better than that of the others. This Frenchman, who adopted the Ottoman mode of dress, took long walks on the cypress-covered hills and strolled among the small houses on the hillsides, experiencing the beauty peculiar to them and falling in love with it all. Robert de Dreux, appoin-ted chaplain to the French embassy, explored Istanbul between 1665 and 1669. "I cannot remember having seen anything so beautiful," he says, continuing with these words: "There are seven hills in the city on the peninsula, and on the summit of each of these hills, which give the impression of having been created especially for the purpose, there is a large mosque... The houses are surrounded with evergreen trees such as cypresses and pines. However, one is forced to confess that however attractive the city may appear from the outside its interior is, on the contrary, extremely ugly. The roads are bad, and because of the hilly nature of the place they are not level. However, the rooms of houses whose exteriors are not in the least attractive are comfortable and very clean. On the other hand the shopping centres... the hospitals, the palaces and mosques are all beautiful buildings," he remarks in conclusion. G. Joseph Grelot, who visited Istanbul, which he described as "the city of wonders" at about the same time, adorned his book of travels with both general views of the city and with engravings of some of the mosques. The Frenchman Jacob Spon and the Englishman Smith, who managed to endow their travelogues with an unpleasantly pedantic air, and the Frenchman Jouin de Rochefort, who compared Istanbul to all the cities of Europe, both large and small, between Amsterdam and Warsaw are personages who visited Istanbul in 1675 or thereabouts. They expressed their displeasure at being unable to find the pretty views and the orderliness of European cities in Istanbul, while on the other had the Dutchman Cornelis de Bruyn had greatly admired "the world's most beautiful fort". The latter, who visited Istanbul in 1680, in spite of all his good intentions fell ill before he was able to carry out much work and was only able to draw a few good pictures. Among the pictures in his travelogue is a broad panorama depicting Istanbul from the Galata side, and this picture can be described as a successful work of art.
A rich and colourful description of everything to do with Istanbul in the 17th century is to be found in the first volume of the book of travels of a distinguished Turkish traveller known as Evliya Celebi. The latter, who is thought to have been born in 1611 and to have died in or around 1680, dealt with the features of Istanbul at that time in a truly encyclopaedic manner. We learn from him how, just before the sultan was due to return from his Revan (Iran) campaign, its buildings, were repainted and spruced up in a very short space of time, how a coast road was built which ran parallel to the Sea of Marmara along the foot of the city walls from Sarayburnu to Yedikule. Again, we learn about palaces the whereabouts of which are unknown today. If we regard the Ibrahim Pasa standing on one side of Sultanahmet Square (and of which half has undergone considerable changes) as an exception, we can obtain information about the Mihrimah Sultan Palaca in Bayezid and the palace of Siyavus Pasa, with its three hundred rooms, seven Turkish baths and bay windows on enclosed balconies, which "had the whole sea at its feet, and kitchens and stables the like of which would not be seen even in the royal palace". No trace remains of either of these palaces. Evliya Celebi also describes, in minute detail, the social topography of Istanbul; this is done in a suave, tongue- in-cheek manner. The famous taverns of Galata are described in the following words; "Behind the inner wall of the city there are two hundred or so disreputable taverns, one on top of the other, and in each one of them five or six hundred sinners are guzzling, swilling their liquor and raising their voices in such a drunken cacophony that it defies description." In Evliya Celebi's time the Yahya Efendi picnic place in Besiktas was described by him as "a narrow valley with green turf in which the sun never shows itself so thickly adorned is it with planes, willows, gum trees, cypresses and walnuts."
Another product of Europe's interest in Istanbul was the work of Matthaeus Merian (1593-1650). Merian had producted a number of etchings in which general views of Europe's main cities were depicted and when these were published in volumes as series, a view of Istanbul was added to the set. This engraving, which is 70cm in length and was published in 1653, like Lorich's broad panorama, claims to represent a view of Istanbul from the heights of Galata and Beyoglu. However, the view of Galata in the foreground bears no resemblance whatsoever to that district. It does, however, convey the main feature of the city stretching along the side of the Golden Horn, the silhouettes of its great mosques which appear to "crown" its heights. This engraving of Merian's was reproduced many times in the years that followed and it was even placed below the map of Istanbul contained in atlases published in Nurnberg. This engraving was the first of a number of a number of strange 18th century engravings depicting Istanbul as a city consisting only of minarets.
At the beginning of the 18th century another Frenchman, Paul Lucas, made a detailed study of the Turkish aspect of the city and on 1July 1715 he witnessed the fire that cut a great swathe through the city from the Old palace in Bayez_d as far as Kumkapi, destroying 15,000 houses in the process. The beauty of the city's location was described by the French nobleman Comte de Caylus in 1716; "minarets rise at intervals among the small, unassuming houses". Indeed, strangely enough, it would seemthat in the whole of Turkish architecture it was only the minarets that appealed to the taste of this art critic. As Comte de Caylus describes a fire that destroyed 7000 homes, he also mentions the dangercaused by brigands who took advantage of the panic and chaos that always accompanies such disasters to commit various offences. On the other hand we gain what is perhaps the very first information from a European about prostitution in Istanbul. According to Caylus, it was possible by slipping some money into the hand of one of the hand of one of the employees of the Galata Palace (which was close to the French embassy) to obtain the services of a woman. Judging by the fact that, in older Turkish documents, there are references to so-called concubines, purchased in order "to gain experience" and a few days after this had been "accomplished", being returned to their owners in return for a fee and a gift for the woman in question it is quite obvious that prostitution had existed for a long time in this big, cosmopolitan city and in Beyoglu in particular. At the beginning of the 18th century an attractive young Englishwoman, Lady Montague, described Istanbul in letters far superior to Caylus's dull descriptions, letters that matched the warm, lively personality of their author. This lady was the wife of the English ambassador, and she had the following to say about Istanbul: "It is an extremely large city. The fact that its site is not a level one makes it look even bigger. Here the elegant gardens, pine and cypress trees, palaces, mosques and other public buildings are set out in the well-arranged manner of pieces of china and porcelain in a glass-fronted cupboard." After referring to Ayasofia, she then precedes to a description of "other Turkish mosques which I liked much more". This young Englishwoman, who accompanied a bridal party to a Turkish bath and admired everything about Istanbul, made a great deal of effort to correct some of the erroneous impressions that existed about the Turks and about Istanbul "because I have become accustomed to the air, have learnt the language and like this place very much."
We now encounter Abbe Sevin, who had come to Istanbul in 1729 to collect rare handwritten books for the king of France. In one of his generally pompous and pedantic letters he recounts a small incident worth noting because it reflects two features of the city, namely its stray dogs and the population's talent for witty remarks. "When the news was received that an ambassadorial delegation was to arrive from a foreign country, the Grand Vizier ordered that all the houses along the route he was to take be painted red (probably with red ochre paint)...And because here, just as in other places, there are persons who try to make the state's regulations look ridiculous, they painted a large number of stray dogs the same colour and let them loose..." The author adds this brief sentence of his tale: "This joke almost ended in the mass destruction of the animals."
At about the same time a Dutch artis, Jean Baptiste van Mour, was producing pictures of Istanbul. Unable to earn sufficient money, he died in Istanbul in 1737 , but he had committed to canvas a great many details of the Tulip Period, which had changed the appearance of the city, the ceremonies accompanying audiences held by Ahmet III in the palace, the banquets organised in places along the Bosphorus, views of Istanbul and the Hippodrome, even Patrona Halil, who, with his rebellion, had succeeded in reducing part of the city to ruins. The period of history at the beginning of the 18th century, felicitously described by Yahya Kemal and Ahmet Refik as "the Tulip Period" was a period in which good taste and optimism reigned. The developments of this era, which were encouraged by Ahmet III and his Grand Vizier, Nevsehirli Ibrahim Pasa and immortalised in the poems of Sair Nedim, were a rarely experienced period of peace and tranquillity that lasted until the rebellion of Patrona Halil, when it was all swept away in bloodshed, fire and horror. The picnic places by the Golden Horn and at Kagithane had become the city's main centres of entertainment. The Bosphorus and the Kagithane Creek were lined with waterside palaces and summerhouses. In the course of the efforts being made in the reign of Mahmut I to repair the damage caused by the rebellion, the influence of French baroque art began to make itself increasingly felt. The French merchant Flachat, who came from Lyons and remained in Istanbul for many years, noted in his book of travels that considerable interest was being shown in articles from the West, especially from France. This interest was also focussed on the use of gold leaf in decoration schemes. Flachat, who during his long life made many friends, both in the palace and among the general public, was even able to stroll in the palace because of his friendship with the Kizlaragasi, or chief of the Harem. He notes in his travelogue that he knew a Turk who was extremely intelligent and possessed a remarkable degree of technical knowledge.
The artist A de Favray, in the pictures he painted in 1762, made a great deal of effort to depict the beauty of Istanbul viewed from the sea, from Sarayburnu and particularly from the Bosphorus. Shortly afterwards, in 1763, the city was reduced to ruins by a terrible earthquake and because many buildings, among them the Fatih Mosque, had been damaged beyond repair, it was decided to demolish it. The mosque that was built in its place is the present one. However, in spite of its natural beauty, the magnificence of its buildings and the loveable quality of its more modest districts, Istanbul had not yet achieved the appearance of a really clean city. Baron de Tott, who lavishly praised the beautiful panorama he saw in 1755 went on to complain about the dirtiness of its streets. He described the fire he witnessed on October of the same year. This fire, which reduced Babiali and the surrounding neighbourhood to ashes, even threatened Ayasofia at one point. The heat of the flames melted the lead covering the cupola, and the molten metal ran down the drainpipes.
Two foreigners of a very different kind are known to have visited Istanbul during the second half of the 18th century, and their works occupy a special place in people's libraries. One of them was Casanova de Seingalt and the other was Donatien Alphonse de Sade, who gave his name to the cult of sadism. Casanova does not mention Istanbul a great deal in his memoirs, but among the rakish adventures filling these volumes is an unpleasant and rather comical incident that happened while he was here. On the other hand, the Marquis de Sade, in one of his books (which is filled with horrifying descriptions) recounts in disgusting detail various lustful scenes that are supposed to have taken place in the sultan's harem.
The Swede Jacob Jones Bjonstahl, who stayed in Istanbul in about 1778 during his trevels in the Ottoman empire, saw the great religious feasts which make the city even more colourful. He also had the horrifying experience of being present during a plague epidemic and was unfortunate enough to die on his return journey in Salonika without ever seeing his homeland again. Towards the end of that century an art academy was founded with the efforts of the French ambassador, Comte de Choiseul-Gouffier; this academy was a research centre where men of the arts and sciences engaged in recording the beauties and treasures of the city gathered. A topographer named Kauffer drew the very first plan of the city was f any scientific value and artists produced a number of large paintings. In 1786, an Englishwoman who had observed all this work, Lady Elizabeth Craven, remarked about it and expressed her own views about Istanbul in the following sentence: "The Turks revere the beauty of nature so much that they do not cut down trees in the places where they build their houses. On the contrary,they set aside a place for the tree inside their home and the branches of the tree are considered to be the finish adornment for the roof." She then remarks about the narrowness of the streets, saying that "as the houses become higher the people living on either side of the street could reach across and hold the hands of their neighbours on the other side." With this sentence she stresses a feature that many other travellers had noticed as well. However, the thing that angered the young Englishwoman most was the laziness of the people of Istanbul. "I have even seen people who sit on the seashore watching the kites in the sky or children getting into boats and taking trips for a whole day, from morning to evening." The English traveller Jacques Dallaway, who filled his work with pedantic observations, states that according to records, in 1975 there were 88,185 houses and 130 Turkish baths in the city and that its population was at least 400,000. He comments that a great deal of natural beauty was destroyed because of the interest in making gardens like the ones in Europe and states quite openly that an excessive love of luxury and display had spoiled Turkish tastes, which were based on tradition. European fashions and tastes were now quite openly dominant in Istanbul. According to Dallaway the streets were narrow and dirty and all this filth could be only partially cleared away by the large number of stray dogs in the city. The houses were made of wood and appeared to unsound. The streets, however, were safe and shops remained open all day, even if their owners were nowhere to be seen. "Offences such as theft are entirely foreign to the Turks," he concludes.
A number of pictures were produced that depicted the Istanbul of the 18th century in a far more realistic manner than the panorama of Merian, which was filled with imaginary details. One of these was painted by an officer names Loos who accompanied King Karl XII of sweden on his visit to Istanbul at the beginning of the 18th century. His pictures, which depicted the city and its monuments, were only discovered in recent years and are just like photographs of Istanbul taken three hundred years ago. The Austrian Baron von Gudenus drew a general view of Istanbul from the heights of Beyoglu with Taphane and Galata in the foreground, and the city divided into sections. Etchings of these different sections and published. Their most interesting feature is the houses in traditional Turkish architectural style with broad eaves and windows decorated with plaster ornaments. In later years, when Galata assumed a more cosmopolitan character, these houses disappeared. Apart from these persons, at the end of the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, two European artists, Antoine Louis Castellan and Ignaz Melling, were at work trying to record all the beauty of Istanbul. Castellan painted the New Mosque (Yen Cami), the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Sarayburnu, the Shrine of Suleymaniye, Incili Kosk (the Pearl Summerhouse) and other suchplaces, thus having something by which to remember his journey to Istanbul, which he described as "a ravishing dream". Melling, who was rightly known as "the unrivalled painter of the Bosphorus", produced froty large paintings, each of which could be described as a work of art, of Istanbul and the Bosphorus. These pictures were obviously published, for, as stated in an anonymous travelogue written in about 1817, "Sometimes these pictures contain an excessive amount of detail in an endeavour to reflect the reilaty but they depict the modern buildings and landscapes of this city, every view of which is attractive, in a manner more successful than that achieved in the most sensitive written descriptions."
When two English travellers, William Wittman and D Clarke, arrived in Istanbul at the beginning of the 19th century they were disillusioned by the inside of the city. They considered that the streets were so narrow and so dirty that not even a breath of air could penetrate. In 1806 the famous French man of letters A de Chateaubrian stated that "there are three details that strike the eye in this extroardinary city." These were the fact that no women were to be seen in the streets, that there were no wheeled vehicles and the large number of stray dogs. The city was very silent. "It would seem that the shooping centres are followed by the graveyard. It is as if the Turks are entirely absorbed in buying goods, selling goods and dying. It is as if the graveyards, which are not bounded by any wall and resemble a graveful grove of cypress trees, extend to the very middle of the street. The wood pigeons nesting among their branches share in the peace of the dead." Although it was in keeping with his character, this atmosphere did not really suit the romantic man of letters and he immediately set out again in order to escape from a visit that was "stifling to the spirit". Another French ambassador, Comte Andreossy, wrote a book in 1812 about Istanbul and the Bosphorus which gave detailed information about the sea; this took place shortly after the departure of the famous Ottomanist J. von Hammer. Von Sturmer, the ambassador who was the cause of von Hammer's departure, described Istanbul in 1816 as "a city enthroned on seven hills". For Compte de Forbin, who was in Istanbul at about the same time, it was "a city that seems to have been built to give pleasure to the eyes". Charles Pertusier, another person who explored the city at about that time, wrote a long travelogue about it. According to Pertusier, "there is no need for all the animals and particularly the birds to pray to God to save them from the traps set by people here... and the birds make more noise than all its other inhabitants." The trees, roads and houses surrounded by gardens exercised a great attraction for this French artillery officer. Among Pertusier's accounts of life in Istanbul was an incident in which an inhabitant of Istanbul who had had the audacity to remark that 'a decree is a three is a three-day wonder', encountered the wrath of the Grand Vizier who was roaming the streets in disguise! In addition to Pertusier's three-volume travelogue, there is also an album containing engravings by the artist Preault. In this album the shipyard on the Golden Horn, Anadolu Hisari (fortress), the Goksu and Bebek lodges, which reflected the old Turkish architectural style and were surrounded by thick groves of trees, were depicted with great realism. Vicomte de Marcellus describes his departure from Istanbul, to which he had come as an ambassador, one autumn day in 1820: "Upon reaching the highest part of the hills above Eyub and turning round I bade a last farewell to the most beautiful city in the world, the ruins of Constantine's palace, the great city walls of the emperors, the gleaming domes of the mosques and the sea shimmering in the sunlight." The Western travellers who arrived in Istanbul in the 19th century had began to experience the city's inimicable attractiveness in a more immediate way. As MacFarlane stated during his journey in 1828, travellers stay here "in order to breathe in an entirely different air". The French poet and man of letters Alphonse de Lamartine, for his part, had this to say about the city in which he first set foot one May morning in 1833. "One looks at the most beautiful veiw to be found anywhere on earth, one which was created by the joint efforts of God and man, art and nature." For Lamartine there could be no place more beautiful, because "it would be an insult to creativity to seek any resemblance whatsoever to this graceful integrity," and this statement is followed by pages of cloured pictures. Istanbul, which he saw in all the glory of spring, was, according to Lamartine, "the most perfect and pleasurable view the human eye could possible partake of at any hour of the day or night." The same pleasure was experienced in 1820 by Colonel Rottiers, who described it as "a dreamlike state that would be induced by partaking lightly of laudanum," and stated in all sincerity that he was "lost for words" as far as his feelings towards Istanbul were concerned. It is sufficient to browse through the pictures in two books published at about this time to gain an impression of the "dreamlike state" induced by these landscapes. The finest of these were the pictures executed for Walsh's book by Thomas Allom, in which steel engravings were used for the first time. The pictures drawn by W Bartlett for Miss Julia Pardoe's book about Istanbul are not of the same quality but they are works of pictorial merit. These books were in such demand at the time that editions were published in German, French and Italian. These engravings were then coloured, framed and hung in many people's homes as decoration. It is worth noting that Miss Pardoe, a sensitive and refined young Englishwoman, was very fond of Istanbul and described it in a separate two-volume book of travels.
A general view of Istanbul from Galata Tower, printed in colour by a different method, was produced in a workshop especially setup for the purpose by Baker, an Englishman. This large picture depicts in great detail the area around the Golden Horn. In the foreground we can see Galata and its old houses, the walls and towers of Galata, which were still intact at that time, the mosques and mesjids behind them, its graveyards and treasures and the layout and features of the streets- all of which are extremely realistic.
The changes that were being made by Sultan Mahmud II also affected the appearance of the city. The Mekteb-i Tibbiye-i Sahane (Medical Faculty), which had been set up on Western lines, the Muhendishane-i Berri Humayum (Technical University) and other such extablishments were the first products of this westernisation. In parallel with this, buildings constructed on Western principles changed the architectural fabric of the city.
The students of the Technical University drew an excellent plan of the city in 1848, showing the locations of Istanbul 400 or so mosques and the street layout of the entire city. This was published as a lithograph. Shortly afterwards, the first photographs of Istanbul were taken between 1853 and 1855 during the Crimean War. These photographs, taken by Robertson, an Englishman who used time exposures, recorded for posterity the buildings of Istanbul, its people and their manner of dressing, the life of the city and the objective reality of that time.
A large number of men of letters visited Istanbul during the second half of the 19th century. In the books they wrote one can find reflections of a world that had unfortunately begun to disappear. The well-known American satirist Mark Twin was among these visitors and he recounts the journey in one of his books. Istanbul did not make a favourable impression on this visitor from the New World. There is also a book of travels by Reuter, whose works are difficult to understand because they are written in a dialect of German, not the standard language. However, just as we encounter foreigners who did not like Istanbul we also meet poets and men of letters who loved it very much. For Gerard de Nerval "its green and mobile horizons, houses of many hoes, lead-covered cupolas and slender minarets" made it "magnificent city." According to Maxime du Camp, it was "As if all creativity's works of art had been collected inside a semicircle". Charles de Mouy, who was resident in Istanbul between 1875, described his first encounter with the city in these words: "Suddenly, rising out of the waters like a dream from the world of fairies, a vague silhouette composed of cupolas, minarets, palaces and gardens becomes visible." Without doubt the city possessed muddy, unprepossessing streets "but one's eyes are constantly drawn to an attractive and fantastic picture in vivid colours". The Italian man of letters Edmondo de Amicis, who explored Istanbul in the same period, produced one of the most beautiful books ever to be written about the city." The corners of these quiet streets meet in a small square usually shaded by the spreading branches of an enormous plane tree. There is a drinking fountain on one side and on the other, a rush mat is spread in front of the cafe upon which men lie asleep or smoke and next to its door there is a large fig tree and a shady verandah. Between its leaves one can glimpse tiny patch of blue sea on which there are a few white sails in the distance. These lights and tranquil places draw one irressistibly towards Eyub, where one loses all conceps of time and distance... However, one is astonished to find that upon reaching the end of these little roads everything changes abruptly. You are now in one of Istanbul's main streets. You are surrounded on all sides by monuments that fatigue the eyes. You wander among mosques, mansions, vaulted corridors, marble fountains, shrines with inscriptions in gold leaf and walls covered with enameled tiles... There is a whiteness, an architectural beauty everywhere, the sound of running water and shady coolness, all of which caress one's senses like mysterious music. Amicis states that the dogs of Istanbul were "so many in number that they resembled a caste of city dwellers lower than its human inhabitants" and goes on to say that they were like "a gang of vagabonds that enjoyed extreme freedom", thus enriching the realistic aspects of his narrative with these vivid and colourful descriptions. Edmond about and De Blowitz, who came to Istanbul in 1883 with a largegroup as guests of the Wagon Lit company, rightly commented on the "invasion" by European fashions that was beginning to make its presence felt in Istanbul at that time. About, who felt that the neglect of elegant and tasteful Turkish goods on the one hand and the excessive demand for showy and tasteless articles imported from Europe on the other were inappropriate, made the acquaintanceship of Hamdi Bey, amuseum curator, to whom he regretfully confided that he had been unable to explore as he wished "thiscollectivity of miracles, Istanbul, a city full appreciated neither by European guides nor by its inhabitants." De Blowitz, for his part, was captivated by "this radiant world of dreams, a beauty the like of which can be found nowhere else, nor can it be imitated," to such an extent that he "had never seen a thing of such extreme beauty and had no desire to do so."
The eminent French man of letters Theophile Gautier, who visited Istanbul in the middle of the last century, dressed as a Turk of the Tanzimat (reform) period, (circa 1839), with a fez on his head, a redingote on his back and a six-month growth of beard; he explored the city in minute detail and his descriptions are unparalled in terms of colour and vividness. Gautier found Istanbul so beautiful that "one suspects this lovely view to be unreal". These lines of Theophile Gautier, in which he describes a view of the city from what is now Tepebasi one night in Ramazan from the crux of his modest anthology about this incomparable city: "On the other side of the Golden Horn the city was shimmering like the jewelled crown of an eastern emperor; each balcony of the minarets was adorned with bracelets of lanterns, and verses from the Kuran picked out in lights like the pages of a sacred book upon the dark blue sky were strung in the manner of bunting from one minaret to the other. Ayasofia, Sultan Ahmed, the New Mosque Suleymeniye and all the places of worship that rise along the coastline stretching from Sarayburnu to the heights of Eyub were blazing with light and announced the verses of Islam in sentences of fire. The moon in the form of a crescent with its accompanying star resembled the coat of arms of the state embroidered upon a heavenly flag."
A French doctor by the name of A. Brayer visited Istanbul in 1815 and remained here on and off over a period of thirty years. He studied the plague epidemic and came to the conclusion that it was not infectious! The first volume of his two-volume work contains a description of Istanbul and the second is devoted to his opinions abut the plague. Brayer begins with complaints about the dirtiness and narrowness of the only main street in Beyoglu and remarks that it is impossible to walk there at night without a lantern. After referring to the filthy state of the Kasimpasa Creek goes on to describe in some detail the districts and neighbourhoods of Istanbul and settlements along the Bosphorus. Hisdescriptions of the commercial and shopping centres in these neighbourhoods and of their craftsmen are extremely interesting. For this reason it could be said that it is this French doctor who was able to provide the most accurate information about certain districts of Istanbul at the beginning of the 19th century. He mentions that between Yenikapi and Samatya there were little summerhouses built on pies driven into the sea bed that had a wonderful view of the Sea of Marmara and a number of cafes along the sea front. The thing he enjoyed most of all were boat trips on the Bosphorus in one of those light, clean, graceful craft with three pairs of oars. His description of the clean and well-dressed appearance of the oarsmen and the gracefulness of these caiques occupies many pages.
Many men of letters visited Istanbul during the 19th century. In the books that they wrote it is possible to detect reflections of a world that was unfortunately beginning to decline. One of these men was Gerard de Nerval (1805-1855). During his journey to the Middle East in 1843 he was able to explore Istanbul and decsribe it in a romantic manner. The first thing to attract his attention in Beyoglu's main street was the fortress-like building of the Russian Embassy. The French Embassy, Which cost millions to build, was under construction at that time. Further down on the left was the Italian Theatre and the Galatasaray School, which he referred to as the university, and beautiful, houses with gardens lay between these two buildings. The picturesque, mysterious and cool park at the end of the street was in fact a graveyard. Nerval, who preferred to study the way of life of the city's Greeks and Armenians, gives a lengthy account of a punch and judy show. He also visited the Sahilsarayi Palace which stood on the site of the present Beylerbeyi Palace and gives detailed information about all the European items inside it and mentions its internal layout. For Gerard de Nerval it was the "green and mobile horizons, houses of many hues, lead-covered cupolas and slender minarets" that made Istanbul "such a magnificent city". Maxime du Camp, a less-known writer, stated that "all creativity's works of art had been collected inside a semicircle, and in his book of travels he recounts an interesting incident that he witnessed in Istanbul in 1850. While he was boarding a ship on the Golden Horn, a French merchant dropped a purse into the sea containing twenty five thousand golden francs. A driver was sent down and a search made, but the gold coins were nowhere to be seen; however, about twenty bronze cannonballs were discovered. Sultan Abdulmecid presented the cannonballs to the Frenchman to console him for his loss.
During the years when Theophile Gautier, who had appreciated the beauty of Istanbul, was writing his book of travels (this coincided with the Crimean War), there was also a by no means small number of foreigners who did not like Istanbul at all. In the memories of a doctor named F. Maynard, which was published in 1855 by Alexandre Dumas (1803-1870), this person was said to have found Istanbul incredibly beautiful when viewed from the sea.
However, "Alas, alas! 'Twas a dream that was painfully destroye before I had taken a hundred steps along its narrow, rutted, muddy, dark, filthy streets that never saw sunlight or fresh air... You begin to wonder if an evil genie has thrown a loathsome veil over this queen of cities, pearl of the east, the centre of beauty, dreams of which always appear in the misty skies of the north simply in order to deceive." The writer, in these words, expresses the worry of not being able to find the Ottoman city of old. This is an important opinion. The tendency towards westernisation that began in the Tanzimat period had meant that the Ottomans of those times had, without questioning their suitability, adopted a number of Western ideas, expressed mainly in fashion but also including architecture, bureaucrarcy and many other things that had changed the face of Istanbul. The same writer goes on to say that he had found the last of the old Istanbul, which no foreigner would dare to enter, in the Eyup district. "In some places the side of a street resembles a vine-covered verandah from one end to the other, and in others the branches of the of the lime trees reach down to cover the pavement; sometimes a plane tree with light filtering between its leaves spreads its gigantic shade; the cypress trees, of which many are to be found in this part of the city, give it an even more melancholy air with their dark green verdure. At every step one encounters a play of light and shade that no artist would ever be able to get out of his mind."
A. von Warsberg, who spent the summer of 1864 in Istanbul, expresses his feelings for the city in this single line printed on the first page of his travelogue: "This book has been written only for those who have lived in and loved the country in question." With these lines about the Eyup district of the city, which he explored on 23 May, von Warsberg gives us an idea of how he saw the city. "The street is paved with clean stones and to either side there are walls faced with marble to which a feeling of mobility is given by half-columns and archways. At the end can be seen shrines protruding into the street at intervals. Their windows are covered with gilded lattice-work; thick clumps of rose bushes lie between them and ancient plane, mulberry and maple trees form a cupola above. This is a city of the dead but instead of the horror of death one finds a place where those tired of living may take refuge in the tranquillity of being forgotten in the wonderful garden of sleep until they are awakened by the trumpets of the Last Judgement to a new and better eternal life."
The famous American satirist Mark Twain (1835-1910), who sailed to Istanbul in 1867, states in his book "Innocents Abroad" that he found Istanbul interesting viewed from afar; however, as soon as he disembarked, this incomparable view dissolved. Its inhabitants wore a motley assortment of clothing, some were dressed in traditional clothes with crimson fezzes on their heads, "their apparel being whatever happened to please them". Among the street sellers who aroused such astonishment in Twain was a goose herd who walked the streets driving a flock of up to one hundred geese in front of him. For the American writer, who found Ayasofia dark and dirty, the dance of the Mevlevi dervishes was "the most barbaric manifestation I have seen to this day". The most striking pages of his book of travels are those about the salve market. He states that female slaves were sold quite openly there, and tongue in cheek, records the price in dollars of the slaves bought and sold. This visitor from the new world did not enjoy his visit to a Turkish bath, either.
E. Jouve, a Frenchman who was an Istanbul in 1854 as correspondent of Courier de Lyon (this was during the Crimean War), found the city in a wretched state. The Turkish troops had European-style uniforms that did not suit them at all. He compared the shrine of Mahmut II, which had recently been built on Divanyolu to the Trianon and described this shrine with its gilded railings as "un joli palais Parisian" (a pretty Parisian palace). Jouve dwells on the famous stray dogs of Istanbul, recounting a strange piece of gossip as he does so: namely that of an English family of eight who had been foolish enough to walk in the city at night only the heels of his lordship's shoes and the handle of her laydship's umbrella had ever been found and that not of trace remained of their six children(!) The French journalist, however, had no complaints about these dogs. 'Rigoletto' wa on at the theatre in Beyoglu, the construction of the Dolmabahce Palace was under way and the Greeks of Istanbul, whom Jouve did not like at all, were of the one belief that it was the site of the emperor's palace of a recrudescent Byzantine empire. In criticism of a European diplomacy that was bent on creating a Greek state, he stressed that the Turks had created a city far more beautiful than the one exiting on their arrival in Istanbul on 29 May 1453. Jouve stated that many things in Istanbul were much better than the in the West and pointed to the superiority of the military hospitals. He went on to say that the attempts of the Turks to westernise had been unjustly criticised. He expressed the opinion that many things seemed to be a random nature but that the people who created this disorder were mainly Levantines guided by their own interests. These persons were "neither do nor wolf and they exploit the fortunes of both the Turks and the Europeans." L. Bunel, who spent several weeks in Istanbul at about this time, described the magnificence of the homes of the Greeks in the Fener district and the wealth of their inhabitants, contrasting them with the poverty of the Jews in nearby Balat. However, the thing that astonished him most was the fact that the residential area of Galata had a graveyard inside it. This was the "kucuk Mezaristan", or "Little Graveyard" of which no trace now exists, that was located between the Tepebasi and Sishane neighbourhoods. This was the place referred to by Europeans as "Le Petit Champs des Morts", a place where Turks sat in the shade of the Cypress trees to rest, a quiet corner in which to smoke a pipe. Bunel was able to explore the Dolmabahce Palace, which was still under construction and described the various sections of the building in considerable detail. The writer considered it to be magnificent, although its style was European. The part he admired most of all was the Throne Room (muayene salonu). He put the predominantly red, white and blue colour scheme down to the excessive nationalism of the French decorators working under the supervision of the person who had been in charge of the decorations in the Paris Opera. The name of this anonymous person was Sechan Bunel considered that, in spite of certain discrepancies of proportion, the Dolmabahce Palace was, in terms of art, superior to the Louvre and Tuilleries palaces in Paris. According to Bunel, there were things worth seeing in Uskudar, which was populated entirely by Turks; these were the convent of the Rufai dervishes the Karacaahmed Graveyard and the Selimiye Barracks. He stated that the graveyard resembled a magnificent forest of cypresses that "I have never seen such a vast and impressive cypress wood in the whole of my life"; he went on to say that it was a favourite place for walks of the women of Istanbul. Bunel gives us a detailed description of the ceremony preceding the Friday services attended by Sultan Abdulmecid, how he travelled from Dolmabahce to Sarayburnu by sea, and how the procession made its way to Ayasofia. He does not omit the street dogs of Istanbul and its famous fires, both of which are unfailingly mentioned by travellers. As the traveller describes the beauty of the Kagithane pastures, he also mentions the unkempt state of the waterside palace. As it is known that this palace was built by Mahmut II toreplace the old Sadabad Palace, subsequently neglected by Abdulmecid and finally demolished by abdulaziz, who had the Caglayan Pavilion built on the same site, Bunel's description can be considered an accurate one.
Xavier Marmier (1809-1892), who was famous for his travelogues and also a member of the French Academy, sailed to Istanbul from the Black Sea shortly before the Crimean War in 1846. "The beautiful views of the Bosphorus begin at Buyukdere," hesays, and goes on to complete his observations with this sentence: "No painter's brush would be able to convey the harmonious combination of the displays of colour, layout and light, no writer would be able to express this boundless beauty... Those who have houses built here in order to enjoy this beauty do not adhere to any system like the one in Europe, but build their houses upon piles driven into the bed of the sea. A person who owns a house in this place has acted according to his own tastes and upon his own impulses". Marmier did not neglect to briefly mention the famous triple-deck galleon Mahmudiye, which belonged to the Ottoman navy, in his descriptions of the Bosphorus. "when the Sultan's gilded caique, rowed by twenty oarsmen with arrow-like swiftness from the Old Palace, drew level with Mahmudiye the applause of the white-uniformed sailors lined up along the booms mingled with the gun fired in salute from the ship and those fired from the Tophane barracks. And this was perhaps the only great and wonderful landscape in the whole world that represented pomp and magnificence." However, Marmier was disappointed by the inner city. Naturally, the street dogs of Istanbul, which the Turks could not bring themselves to destroy, occupy a large part of his narrative. The writer did not care much for Pera (Beyoglu), the main street of which was full of potholes and the side streets extremely narrow and he considered that the palatial buildings of the foreign embassies did not beautify it, but, on the contrary, were an ugly contrast. His thoughts about the unkempt graveyards are expressed in these words: "The City of the Dead is no better maintained than that of the living." However, when the city is viewed not from its interior but from a little further afield the dazzling view materializes once more: "It is only then, when the large groups of buildings merge with the verdure of the trees, the picturesque hillsides covered with houses and gardens, the slender minarets rising from their peaks, the azure firmament that frames it all and the crystal-clear water in which it is reflected that this beauty reveals itself." Charles Roland came to Turkey to manage the farm at Burgazovasi near Izmir that had been given to A. de Lamartine as a present. While he was staying in Istanbul in 1852 he made the acquaintance of a number of well-known Turks such as Ahmed Vefik Pasa and was invited to stay in their homes as a guest. When the traveller saw the waterside residence of Resit Pasa at Baltalimani, which was being built at that time "in the Italian style", he revealed that although this house would, when completed, be one of the most splendid to be found anywhere on the Bosphorus, he still preferred the Turkish mansions of old, in spite of their unassuming appearance. He wondered why the Ottomans preferred "a style inferior to that of their own national tastes". Roland's view was a reflection of that expressed by many other foreigners who disliked the imitation of everything European that was so conspicuous during the 19th century. The only quay for passengers disembarking in Istanbul was at Tophane. Here the building of an Italian-style terrace, one of the products of modern taste, in place of the "monumental fountain" with its wooden eaves and roof was, as the art-loving Roland stressed, an affront to the eyes. A few pages further on he stated that he disliked Pera, which entirely resembled a Western city, and found it "characterless". When Roland was exploring the palace at Sarayburnu, which was completely destroyed by fire in 1863, he caught sight of a number of acajou armchairs, gilded clocks and imitation Boule furniture that had been imported from Paris and found them extremely ugly. Another famous French writer to visit Istanbul during the mid 19th century was Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880). He stayed in the city in the winter of 1850 for two months and tells us about it in sentences of telegraphic brevity: the old structure he liked most was "the ivy-draped walls of the city with greenery sprouting all over-they have never been praised sufficiently". He, too, mentions the incident of the golden coins falling into the Golden Horn, as recounted by Maxime de Camp. Although he explored even the most distant corners of Istanbul, he did not write any description of the city worthy of his fame in the literary world.
Fritz Reuter (1810-1874), who wrote in a dialect spoken in northern Germany, provides a brief description of a journey he made to Istanbul in 1864 with a group of colleagues in his book "Reis'nah Konstantinopel"; however, this book can only be understood by those with a knowledge of the dialect. E. About, a French writer whose actual profession was archaeology, showed no interest whatsoever in Byzantine or Ottoman structures during his visit to the city. In his book "De Pontoise a Stamboul" he does not show a great deal of interest in the beauty of the surroundings or in the historic past. About had come as far as the Balkans as a guest of the wagon Lit company on the very first Orient Express and had continued his journey to Istanbul by sea. The writer stayed at the Luxembourg Hotel in Beyoglu, which was run by F. Belon. He stated that his guide was Ahmet Pasa (Seker). The Pasa had taken him to the Dolmabahce Palace, which was furnished with items manufactured in France. About said he was frankly astonished to find that while Indian, Persian and Turkish carpets were the subject of much bidding in the auction rooms of Paris, in Istanbul furniture from Rue de Saint-Antoine and silk from Lyon were in demand. He states quite openly that the opulent French furniture to be found in Istanbul "could not hold a candle to a lamp in a mosque or an enamelled wall tile..." About also mentions the dogs. The Times correspondent De Blowitz was one of the persons accompying About. Blowitz took a great interest in the waterside residences of the ambassadors and in the summerhouse built by Ismail Pasa on the hills above Beykoz.
De Blowitz was trying to play a part in some of the political intrigues going on in Istanbul and for this purpose was doing all he could to insinuate himself into palace circles. During this time he met Namik Pasa, Sheikh Ebu'l Huda and Ahmet Vefik Pasa. As a matter of fact the English economist N. W. Senior(1790-1864), who visited Istanbul between 1857 and 1858, had already met this extremely original Ottoman Turk.
Edmondo de amicis, mentioned in the previous paragraphs, was the author of "Constantinopoli", a classic in the Italian language printed in 1874 and published in all the major languages, including Turkish. De Amicis describes the disappearing Turkish Istanbul and goes on to criticise the European tastes that were replacing it. He admired many of the things he had seen because of their good taste and refinement and it was namely these things that were on their way out at the time the book was written. Now they are no more, and live on in the illustrations in De Amicis's book so beautifully illustrated by C. Biseo. Perhaps it was because this Italian writer himself came from the Mediterranean that he was able to gain a better knowledge of the city than the other travellers and to describe it so vividly.
C. Guys (1802-1855), who was employed as an illustrator by The Illustrated London News was making illustrations of the Crimean War between 1853 and 1855 and his signature is also to be found on drawings depicting the streets of Istanbul and the clothing of its inhabitants. One of these, drawn in pencil and ink, which is to found in Musee des Arts Decoratifs, depicts a little-known corner of the city with its brothels and inhabitants. The number of artists who painted pictures of Istanbul in the mid 19th century was by no means small. Apart from the works of Schrantz, which show in a panoramic manner the beauty of both sides of the Bosphorus (published as lithographs) there were the paintings of the Maltese artist Preziosi, who acquainted the public with Istanbul, its streets and even some of its beggars in his coloured illustrations. A number of other artists from various countries depicted the parts of the city they found interesting in oils or watercolours. Some of these were reproduced in a book entitled Les Peintres du Bosphorus XVIII Siecle, which as its title states, was devoted to the 18th century, published in 1989. One also encounters in auction catalogues the works of 19th century artists who portrayed Istanbul. However, from the middle of the 19th century onwards it was the art of photography, which gave a more realistic impression of the city, that began to yield its first fruits. Robertson (referred to previously), who lived in Istanbul for many years, preserved Istanbul, its buildings and its people for posterity in his photographs, each of which is now a valuable historical document. A good plan of old Istanbul was drawn in 1870 where the layout of the streets at that time and the city's major buildings are shown. Istanbul was an object of considerable interest for Europeans and books on the subject were continually being published. Some of the most perfect descriptions of Istanbul were penned by Ahmet Rasim (1864-1932), a Turk. Such works as "Sehir Mektuplari" (letters from the city), "Fuhs-Atik" (Prostitution in the Old Days), "Hamamci Ulfet" (Ulfet of the Public Baths) and "Falaka" (Bastinado), all describe a world which was beginning to disappear into the depths of history, a forgotten Istanbul, at the end of the 19th century. The most valuable aspect of these descriptions is that they depict the Turkish and Muslim Istanbul, a world which no Western writer was ever able to enter. The journalist Mehmed Tevfik (1843-1932), who was also known by the nickname Caylak (kite) published a number of brochures, which had extremely simple illustrations, under the title of "Istanbul'da Bir Sene" (A Year in Istanbul). A series of booklets describing the people of Istanbul and their way of life is a valuable source in this respect. The appearance of Istanbul at the end of the 19th century was sometimes described by foreign writers in an extremely negative manner. This attitude is quite apparent in the travel notes kept by K. Krumbacher, the founder of Byzantine studies in the West, during his visit to Istanbul in 1884. Krumbacher, sees everything from the Greek point of view in this "greatest of Greek cities". The only items that interested him were the mosaics in the Kariye Mosque (Eminonu), and the newly-founded Archaeological Museum. A French doctor who nursed a particular grudge against the Ottoman state because he had become involved in a political intrigue at the end of the 19th century during the reign of Abdulhamid II published a series of books under the pseudonym of Paul de Regla. In a book entitled "Les Bas-Fonds de Constaninople" (The Shallows of Constantinople), he provides a description of Istanbul's ethnic composition, its stray dogs, Galata and Pera (Beyoglu at night), its intrigues, narcotics centres and disreputable taverns. G. des Godins de Souhesmes, in his books "Au Pays des Osmanlis" (In the Land of the Ottomans) and "Turks et Levantins" (Turks and Levantines) tells us what people ate and drank, how houses were built, describes the servants, the streets and the nature of the city; he then dwells on the stray dogs, guardians of the streets, the goods sold by street sellers and the hawkers cries-all of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th, when the Ottoman state was on the verge of collapse, a large number of people continued to visit the city and write about it. Istanbul also provided a background for a number of novels written at that time. The German novelist Kral May (1842-1912), in "Von Baghdad nach Stambul" (From Baghdad to Istambul), puts his hero through a number of adventures in the Istanbul of the 1870's; however, the city merely serves as a backdrop for the novel. On the other hand, there is a description of Istanbul in the famous novel "Aziyade" by J. Viaud, otherwise known as Pierre Loti (1850-1923). The descriptions of Istanbul adorning a love story that unfolds during the 1870's reflect the last traces of a city that was being lost forever at that time. However, Loti's novel contains so many things that do not fit in with the topography of the city that it is difficult to believe they are true. Many references to Istanbul are to be found in the European novels of the period. "Pages d'Orient" (Pages of the Orient), by an unknown writer named M. Noe is a mixture of travelogue and detective fiction. A similar technique is employed in "De L'Homme qui Assasina" by Claude Farrere (1876-1957), who, like Loti came to Istanbul as a naval officer.
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