Cities during premodern times were underpopulated to an extent that is incomparable with present-day megacities, which have populations of 1,000,000 or more. When the Turks conquered Constantinople, the capital of the Roman Empire was not even a shadow of its former glory. The population of the capital, spread beyond the walls within two generations. At the end of the fourth century, the population had reached 200,000; at the end of the sixth century, it was half a million; and it is estimated that it had reached a million by the ninth century, despite a series of crises and population losses between these dates.1 Some consider these estimates exaggerated. The fate of the capital, economic developments in different periods, as well as the city’s history, played a role in its population growth. As for population decreases, in addition to sieges and conquests, the destructive effects of earthquakes, fires, and plagues played a significant role. The city, which suffered an earthquake at the end of the 10th century, had begun to make progress at the beginning of the 11th century. However, earthquakes in 1037, 1038, 1041, and 1042 and a fire in 1040 continued to affect the population negatively. Looting and massacres during the Crusaders’ siege of the city in 1204 inflicted a heavy blow on Istanbul’s social and cultural life. While the number of foreigners increased, the total population of the city decreased to between 50,000 and 75,000. In addition, during subsequent centuries, fires and earthquakes affected the city. The city’s population was approximately the same when Mehmed II conquered it. A. M. Schneider estimated the population of the city between 40,000 and 50,000 during the siege. The Bishop of Chios, Leonardo, and the historian Critobulos, both contemporary sources, stated that the city’s population was no more than 50,000 to 60,000 when it was conquered. While Leonardo indicated that those taken captive by Mehmed II numbered 60,000, Critobulos gave the number as more than 50,000. If we include the 4,000 to 5,000 people who were killed during the siege and those who fled, we reach a figure of 70,000.2

Information about Istanbul’s population after the conquest can be obtained from two censuses undertaken during the reign of Mehmed II. The first regular and extensive census was in 1477. (One earlier census took place in 1455; it is discussed below.) Since a census within a similar context was not conducted after this date, the population numbers are estimates, based partly on Ottoman documents and partly on reports from travelers and diplomats. In addition, if one takes the jizya (per capita tax for levied on non-Muslims) censuses into consideration, it is possible to make some estimates concerning the total population. Sources are also available on the numbers of kapıkulu (imperial troops), who made up a significant proportion of Istanbul’s population.

The number and quality of most studies on the population of Istanbul and the characteristics of that population from the conquest until the end of the 18th century are based on certain sources. These have been evaluated in detail in Fatih Devri Sonlarında İstanbul Mahalleleri, Şehrin İskânı ve Nüfusu (Neighborhoods of Istanbul at the End of the Fatih Period, Settlement and Population in the City) by Ekrem Hakkı Ayverdi, published in 1958. An article on the subject by A. M. Schneider,3 as well as studies by Ömer Lütfi Barkan and Halil İnalcık, are also important. The most interesting publication on the subject in recent years is an examination of the 1455 census by H. İnalcık. This chapter explores the growth of Istanbul’s population between 1453 and 1800, its buildings the ethnic and professional groups that made up the population, and the city’s general settlement history.


Mehmed II wanted to make Istanbul the capital of the state after the conquest, and thus gave impetus to the reconstruction of the city. At the same time, he endeavored to increase the population, taking the first step in this regard by making population transfers from Anatolia. When the sultan returned to the city in the autumn, he saw that those brought from Anatolia to the city had returned to their former lands, and that the process of populating the city had not succeeded to the extent he desired. Subsequently, he went to Bursa and punished the authorities who had been unable to persuade townspeople to resettle in Istanbul. He ordered that the Rumelian Jews be forced to immigrate to Istanbul and that a certain number of people from Bursa be moved to Eyüp. On January 6, 1454, he appointed George Scholarios (Gennadios II) as the patriarch of the Orthodox Christian church, thus encouraging Christians who had abandoned the city before the siege to return. According to Critobulos, many Christian, Turkish, and Jewish families were transferred to Istanbul.4

Mehmed II ordered a census of Istanbul to be undertaken in the winter of 1454/1455, and the census of Istanbul and Galata was completed in December 1455. This census was carried out by Cübbe (later known as Cebe) Ali Bey, the sanjak governor of Bursa, his nephew, who was a clerk, and the historian Tursun Bey. The tahrir defteri (population census) consisted of two parts, covering parts of Galata and Istanbul. Since Galata and Istanbul were not taken anveten (by force of arms) but by ahidname (treaty), people who lived there and their properties were treated in a different way.

The current copy of the population census of 1455, published by Halil İnalcık,5 has only 64 folios; the last few pages of the section on Galata are missing, and the section on Istanbul consists of only 37 pages, leaving a significant gap. However, some text was found among the records of the Baş Muhasebe (chief accountant), which proved to be part of the 1455 census record; this was included in the record published by İnalcık.

Residents of Galata were registered according to their legal status: those who were inhabitants of Galata before the conquest and who had the status of non-Muslim subjects under Islamic law, and foreigners, including Europeans. As for Istanbul, those who had settled in the city after the conquest were recorded. Buildings in Istanbul that had been taken by force were recorded as hâli (empty) or mevkûf (property of the treasury); such buildings were allocated to Muslims, Jews, or Christians who had come and settled in the region. As a result, many people came from Anatolia and Thrace and appropriated the buildings they wanted. However, when these people saw how the city had been destroyed, they returned to their homes. As a result, Mehmed II implemented a housing policy through exile. The houses that settlers had claimed but then abandoned were now given in exchange for mukâtaa (rent). The mukâtaa method, at first carried out only in Galata in 1455, was implemented in Istanbul when the city started to be reconstructed and to flourish. Later, Sultan Mehmed I began to give houses owned by the treasury to tenants as private property. There are many mülkname (deeds) to that effect in the Topkapı Palace archives.

Neighborhoods and population in 1455

The area within the Istanbul city walls was 13 km2. At the time the city was conquered, the population spread between the Golden Horn and the Marmara coast. In addition to top government officials, many people from the ulama (religious scholars) and umara (governors and high-ranking officials) contributed to the reconstruction of the city (or as this process is referred to in historical documents, the cihad-ı ekber or greater jihad) by endowing their estates. The names of mosques built during the city’s reconstruction are indications of this. Small neighborhood mosques bear the names of people from the kapıkulu and ulama—for example, Topçubaşılar (Bâlî Süleyman Agha, Hacı İlyas Agha, Seyyid Hasan Agha), sekbanbaşılar (Bayezid, İbrahim Agha, Yakub Agha), Hoca Hayreddin, and Elvanzade can be considered proof that the city’s first Muslim residents belonged to these groups. Critobulos also referred to the importance of migration or exile undertaken at a later date during the city’s reconstruction process.

Table 1a- Galata neighborhoods according to the 1455 census.

Neighborhood (ethnic and religious composition)

Number of houses

Liable for jizya

Exempt from jizya

Zani Drapora




Zani Dabdan




Nikeroz Sikay




Nikeroz Bonazita




Anton di Garzan (Greek, Jewish, other)




Mahalle-i Yahudiyan (mostly Greek and Armenian)




Nurbek Kosta İskineplok (mostly Greek and Armenian, with a few poor Italians)




Harhanci (Greek, Armenian, and Italian)




Papa Yani (Greek, Armenian, and Italian)




Asuder Ermeniyan




Zani di Pagani (mostly Italian, one Armenian)




Unidentified neighborhood















Pero d’Lankaşo




Yorgi Argancelo




Yani Mavroyani




Varo Hristo




Kosta Lupaci




Ayo Dikemo Dandano




Yani Vasilikoz




San Neferzo






Table 1b- Istanbul neighborhoods according to the 1455 census.

(ethnic and religious composition)

Inhabited houses

Empty houses

Vlaherna Kastel (Jewish)



Eski Balat (Muslim)



Avrantharya (Jewish)





Balat I (Muslim, Jewish, one janissary)



Badrik (Greek)



Balat II (Jewish)



Bâb-ı Edirne



Zaganoz Paşa (Muslim, Greek)



Prokambo (Prokambiyo)



Kızlar Manastırı (Muslim)



Kron (Greek)



Canalıcı (Greek)



Misivyani (Mesoyani?)



Liko Speros (Muslim)






Kir-Martas (Greek, Muslim)



Megalo Dhimestiko (Greek)



Manastır Ayos Hristoferoz (Muslim)



Sofyan (Jewish)



Top-Yıkığı (Jewish, Anatolian Turkish)



Kir Nikola (Muslim)



Ral Kalmir






Istradutha (Muslim)



Bâb-ı Silivri (Greek, Muslim)



Altı-Mermer (Muslim, Greek)



Kastel Hırisa (Muslim)



Monastery Istudhyo (Tekfur houses)


Ipsomethya (Jewish, Greek, Muslim)



(Greek—priests and saints)



Kızıl-Taş (Muslim, Greek, one janissary, cannoneers)



Azeban (Muslim)



Büyük Balat






In the 1455 Galata census, one of the 14 people was a convert woman called Müslime, one was the subaşı (police superintendent) of Galata, and three others were married to non-Muslim women. For Istanbul Muslim households, the places they moved from and their status were documented in the census.

Table 2- Places from which three or more neighborhood residents came, as recorded in the 1455 census.*

Tekürdağ (Tekirdağ)


























































* Source: İnalcık, The Survey of Istanbul 1455.

The data in the tahrir defteri (population census) indicate the following: There were 864 households registered in Galata, consisting of Italian, Greek, Armenian, Jewish, and Muslim families. A total of 781 people were registered as paying jizya and 389 people as exempt from jizya. Estimating five people to a household, we can calculate a population of 4,320 in 23 Galata neighborhoods, and a population of 2,810 people in another 33 neighborhoods. Even allowing for the missing pages in the tahrir defteri, this is still a very small population; maybe such a decrease occurred as a result of people moving away. From that date on, Mehmed II endeavored to increase the city’s population through compulsory measures. It is also possible that a large number of people were not registered, for a variety of reasons. According to İnalcık’s findings, 16 of the Istanbul neighborhoods that were in the 1455 census continued to exist until the end of Mehmed II’s reign. Those were Balat, Altı-Mermer, Canalıcı Kenisesi, Edirne-Kapusı, Azeban (Azebler Hamamı), İsa-Kapusu, Vlaherna (Iyulahina), Lips Monastery, Samatya Kapusı, Silivri-Kapusı, Avrantharya (Ayvansaray), Sofyan (Sofular), Topyıkığı, Vasiliko-Kapusı, Kir Martas, and Manastır.

The census also recorded those who came from elsewhere to settle in the neighborhoods and where they came from. For example, in the Kızıltaş neighborhood, there were 13 households from Bergama; in Top-yıkığı, 31 households from Tekürdağı (Tekirdağ); in Altınmermer, 12 households from Çorlu; in Kılıç, eight households from Çorlu, and in Zağanos Paşa, another eight households from Çorlu. It appears that the majority of people came from Tekirdağ, followed by Çorlu, Kocaeli, Bergama, Eflihan/Eflani, Bolu, Aydın, and Edirne. Thus, it can be concluded that people from cities close to Istanbul were inclined to settle in the city after the conquest. Of 484 people in total, 158 were registered as gitmiş (emigrated), 25 as ölü (dead), 182 as mukim (resident), 6 as izinle gitmiş (emigrated with permission) or with similar expressions. Under these circumstances, it can be observed that most of the houses were empty.

The reconstruction of Istanbul

Toward the end of the reign of Mehmed II, according to H. E. Ayverdi’s study, there were 181 neighborhoods in Istanbul and 61 neighborhoods in Galata. Additional neighborhoods—eight in Eyüp, two in Kasımpaşa, seven along the Bosphorus, and three in Üsküdar—brought the total to 262. This gives an idea of the size of public works and demographic developments that occurred in the city during the 22 years between 1455 and 1477. Considering the reconstruction of the city to be the greater jihad, Sultan Mehmed II worked at a rapid pace to carry out the reconstruction, as well as economic and social development in accordance with the standards of the era.

Mehmed II continued to transfer populations to Istanbul, particularly immediately after campaigns in Rumelia and Anatolia. One of his most important actions was to bring people to Istanbul from outside the city after his return from the campaign in Serbia in 1455. According to Critobulos, “Many from within the Ottoman borders in Asia and Europe, particularly from Serbia, immigrated to Istanbul with great eagerness and enthusiasm.” Similarly, in 1456, by settling many people from Serbia, Hungry, and Bulgaria in the environs of Istanbul, he aimed to make use of that fertile land and provide security for the city.6

Having established the waqf of Hagia Sophia in 1457, in 1463 Mehmed II ordered that a külliye be constructed. Mehmed II and statesmen like Mahmud Pasha, Murad Pasha, Gedik Ahmed Pasha, and Mustafa Pasha attached importance to the construction of the city and made significant contributions to this process. New subdistricts were constructed around imarethane (almshouses).

Mehmed II brought talented and educated people from the Peloponnese to Istanbul in 1459, and settled others in vacant land near the city to establish villages. By sending mübaşir (bailiffs) to Amasra, he sent for most of the population and those who were well-educated, wealthy, and skilled in crafts from among the Armenians under Ottoman authority and other people. He also encouraged statesmen and the wealthy to contribute to the construction of the city. In 1460, he gave permission for those who used to reside in Istanbul but had left the city before or after the conquest to return to the city and settle in cities like Edirne, Plovdiv (Filibe), Gallipoli, and Bursa. He transferred people to Istanbul from Old and New Phocaea (Foça), people from the islands of Thaos and Samothrace (Semadirek), and in 1463, some of the people from Lesbos (Midilli).7

Observations made by Tursun Bey and Âşıkpaşazade about Istanbul’s reconstruction are also interesting:

Ve buyurdu ki keferenin urûş-ı hâviyesinden ve dûr ve büyût-ı hâliyesinden âmm ü hâs her kim ihtiyârı ile gelip sâkin olur ise tuttuklu tuttuğı ev mülki ola. Bu tergıble bay ve yohsuldan, her tarafdan dökülüp geldiler, evler ve saraylar tuttılar. İllâ şol kavm ki, kıvâm-ı bilâd anlarun ile mutasavverdür -ki anlar mütemevvil hâcelerdir-, istiğnaları sebebi ile terk-i vatan ihtiyâr itmediler; amma çün bu emrin müttehemi anlardur, hükm-i cihan-mutâ’ nefâd buldu ki, her şehirden her memleketten bir mikdar-ı ma’dûd, ad ile meşhûr hâceler geldiler. Hâllerine münâsib evler ihsân idüp temlîk itti.8

[Sultan Mehmed II ordered], “If anyone wishes to live in the torn-down or empty houses of the infidels, the house will be theirs.” As a result of this encouragement, people came from every region, some rich, some poor, and occupied the houses and mansions here. Only some of the leading people of the city—the wealthy people—did not abandon their homes. Later, some people and known wealthy people came from every city and region. As the edict was directed toward these people, there was no need to promulgate a new edict. Sultan Mehmed II assigned these houses to these people.

Tursun Bey stated that following the declaration that those who came voluntarily and lived in houses left by non-Muslims would be given the houses, rich and poor came and took up residence in houses and palaces. However, the merchant class, which played an important role in the development of the cities, were not as interested in this offer, and thus, Tursun Bey said, a certain number of merchants were brought from every city. Many groups came and settled in this manner, being granted buildings and houses; however, “This is not possible without mukataa [rent],” and thus it was ordered that the households be registered and the residents pay rent. Tursun Bey, remarking that his uncle Cebe Ali Bey, the bey of Bursa at that time, had been appointed to implement these orders, and he himself undertook a clerkship. He added that those who were not able to afford the mukataa vacated the houses they were in and moved to houses that they could afford.

One of the sultan’s nedims (courtiers) stated that two inconvenient matters arose regarding registration in Istanbul: the mukataa, which did not bring in any money, and the withdrawal of the promise that those who voluntarily resided in a house could own it as their own private property. In response, the sultan, pointing out that his intention was not to take property for the treasury, stated that some of the houses had been taken out of greed. Moreover, as houses were not being bought and sold, vacant houses had begun to fall into ruin. Consequently, he preferred a system in which everyone would get a house that met their financial means. Once this intention was established, the order to allocate houses according to the individual’s choice came into effect. As a result, many people came to the city, both by land and sea; when water shortages occurred, relevant measures were taken.9

Âşıkpaşazade explained how migration for housing was encouraged, as well as the reconstruction of the city, the implementation of forced migration, the demand for rent, after some time had passed, from those who had moved to the city, and the role Rum Mehmed Pasha played in this process. Another historian, Neşrî, also discussed the subject and briefly described Rum Mehmed Pasha’s role (Box 1). According to both authors, when the city did not prosper even after voluntary immigration, the sultan ordered that rich and poor households from every province be brought to the city and sent men to the qadis and subaşıs. The people who came to the city were given housing. At first it was free, but when the city began to develop, mukataa was demanded. Some of the people opposed this and moved back to their former places of residence. The sultan once again granted the houses as private property, upon the advice of Kula Şahin, but later reintroduced the mukataa under the influence of Rum Mehmed Pasha.

Âşıkpaşazade’s work clearly recorded people being brought from Amasra, Konya, Karaman, and Aksaray. Critobulus also described the appointment of Süleyman Bey as subaşı after the conquest of Istanbul and Mehmed II’s encouragement of immigration to the capital by sending men to all provinces, promising “houses, vineyards, gardens, and estates” to those who agreed to emigrate. Once again on the order of the sultan, both rich and poor families were moved. When the city prospered, houses that had been given to them were leased for a mukataa, however, this offended the people and some of them returned to where they had been before. Mehmed II then gave up the practice and granted the houses as private property. Later, when the city was prospering again, the mukataa was re-established, this time on the encouragement of Rum Mehmed Pasha. While Âşıkpaşa criticized this practice, he attributed it to Rum Mehmed Pasha’s desire to prevent Muslim population growth in the city and to work toward renewed Christian control of the city in the future.

Information about people brought to Istanbul in the last quarter of the 15th century can be found in the şer’iye sicils (court records). A record dated 890 A.H. (1485/1486) mentioned a cauldron left at Mudanya Port by beğlik dutcular (mulberry cultivators for the palace) who had been sent to Istanbul. A record dated 883 A.H. (1483) officially registered that two children were born on a night when a group of people from Menteşe were staying overnight in Hasköy. A record dated 909 A.H. (1503/1504) mentioned the return to Istanbul of two Muslims, one woman and one man, who were among those sent to Istanbul but had gone back to Bursa.10

Table 3- Migration to Istanbul between 1455 and 1475.

Origin (year of entry)

Ethnic/Religious status

Amasra (1459)

Greek, Armenian

Konya (1468-1474)


Karaman/Larende (1468-1474)


Aksaray (1468-1474)





Hungarian, Bulgarian

Ottoman Territory


Peloponnese (1460)


Adrianople (1460)*

(not known, former Istanbul resident)

Plovdiv (1460)*

(not known, former Istanbul resident)

Gallipoli (1460)*

(not known, former Istanbul resident)

Bursa (1460)*

(not known, former Istanbul resident)

Lesvos (1462)


Thasos (1460)


Samothrace (1460)


Old and New Phocaea (1459)

Greek, Armenian

Trabzon (1461)


Argos (1463)


Ereğli (1468-1474)


Euboea (1470)


Lemnos (1460)


Cephalonia (1475)

Greek, Armenian, Latin

* This is the year the permit for return was issued.
Source: Âşıkpaşazade, Critobulus etc.; İnalcık, “İstanbul,” DİA.

Apart from Âşıkpaşazade, the Muslim notables and artists, who were forced to move to Istanbul from prosperous cities like Konya, Larende, and Aksaray after the Karaman campaign were also described by historians like Ibn Kemal. Disasters like epidemics, fires, and earthquakes continued to occur in the city as it expanded in terms of both construction and population. For example, in 1467, more than 600 people died in a great epidemic in Istanbul and many people fled the city; however, the city still witnessed a great growth in population in only one decade.

The largest number of Greek households that came in 1542 under the authority of Mehmed II’s waqfs were from Lesbos. There were 777 Armenian households, making up four communities, as well as 1490 Jewish households. According to Mehmed II’s vakfiye (endowment deeds), Jews were resettled in the region of Bahçekapı-Eminönü and along the harbor coast and Muslims in the neighborhood of Fildamı. It was claimed that in 1475, Gedik Ahmed Pasha brought 40,000 Armenians from Cephalonia and settled them in the region between Unkapanı and Balat; he also settled them in the region that is today known as Gedikpaşa, which was named after him. These numbers are almost certainly exaggerated, as is the assertion that Sultan Selim I brought 40,000 Armenians from the eastern provinces after the Battle of Çaldıran and settled them in Samatya.

According to Evliya Çelebi, following the orders to the provinces to send people to the city, the arrivals were settled as follows: people from Skopje in the Skopje region, people from Larissa in the Larissa region, people from Sofia near Hagia Sophia, Peloponnesian Greeks in Fenerkapı, 50 Jewish communities from Thessaloniki near the Palace of Porphyrogenetus and around Şuhud Gate (or, as it is known today, Çıfıt Kapısı), people from Aksaray in the Aksaray region, people from the Arabian Peninsula (Acre, Gaza, and Ramla) in Tahtakale, those from Iran in Hoca Han, near Mahmutpaşa, Albanians in Silivrikapı, Sephardic Jews in Hasköy, Turks from Anatolia in Üsküdar, and Armenians from Tokat-Sivas in Sulumanastır. In addition, people from Manisa were settled in the Macuncu neighborhood, people from Eğirdir and Iğdır in Eğrikapı, people from Bursa in Eyüp Sultan, people from Karaman in Büyük Karaman, people from Konya in Küçük Karaman, people from Tire in Vefa, people from the Çarşamba Plateau in Çarşambapazarı, people from Kastamonu in the Kazancılar region, the Laz people of Trebizond (from Tarabefsun) near Beyazıt Han Mosque, people from Gallipoli in Tershane, people from İzmir in Büyük Galata, Europeans in Küçük Galata, and those from Sinop and Samsun in Tophane.11

The number of neighborhoods in Istanbul, 181 at the end of the reign of Mehmed II, had increased to 219 in 1546; this number does not include non-Muslim neighborhoods. In 1634, there were 292 neighborhoods and 12 communities (which had yet to be settled). While in 1634, 253 Muslim and 24 non-Muslim neighborhoods could be identified, in 1871 there were 284 Muslim, 24 Greek, 14 Armenian, and 9 Jewish neighborhoods within the city walls. Outside the walls, there were 256 more neighborhoods along the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn, as well as in Üsküdar and Kadıköy.

Table 4- Number of neighborhoods during the reign of Mehmed II.





Kasım Paşa










Source: Ayverdi, Fatih Devri Sonlarında İstanbul Mahalleleri, Şehrin İskânı ve Nüfusu.

Ayverdi, whose work was based on records like the Ayasofya Vakıfları Tahrir Defteri, dated 926, İstanbul Vakıfları Tahrir Defteri (latest date 953), and Hadîkatü’l-cevâmi, Fatih Devri Mimarisi, described the neighborhoods during the reign of Mehmed II, and the status of these neighborhoods after that date; these data were arranged in a table according to a list of neighborhood names dated 1922. The number of neighborhoods in the district of Istanbul was 181, and most of these (156) bore the names of mosques. Some were named after gates in the city walls (Babülferes, Fenerkapısı, Günkoz Kapısı, İğri Kapı, İsa Kapısı, İskele Kapısı, Kum Kapısı, Odun Kapısı, Orya Kapısı, Samatya Kapısı, Silivri Kapısı, and Vasiliko Kapısı). There were also neighborhoods with names related to professions: Arpacılar, Avcılar, Unkapanı, Balıkpazarı, Bozahaneler, Camcılar Mescidi, Demirciler Mescidi, Dülgerzade Camii, İğciler, Makascılar Mescidi, Sağrıcılar Camii, Saraçhane, Tarakçılar Camii, and Yoğurtçular Camii. There were 10 neighborhoods that had names and small mosques that included the word hacı (pilgrim), 9 neighborhoods with names that included the word hoca (instructor or sheikh), and 10 neighborhoods that included the word molla (Fenari, Gürani, Kestel, Şeref, and Zeyrek). Some neighborhoods were named after the places where the residents originally came from (Akseki, Ereğli, and Üsküplü), and some reflected the ethnicity of the new residents (Gürcüler and Tatarlar). Others maintained their former names or were named according to one or more characteristics of the neighborhood (Balat, Langa, Leşgari, Tahte’l-kala, Top-yıkığı, İbn Meddas Camii, and İyaluhima)

In the region of Galata, Christian (Greek, Armenian, and European) neighborhoods were dominant. These included Andon Oknale, Berber Mihal, Ermeniler, Ermeni Ekmekçi Andrea, Ermeni Fenavüç, Ermeni Hoca Ker, Ermeni Şadi Bey, Frenk Agabi, Frenk Karlo, Frenk Kapani Fikron, Frenk Agrifo, Frenk Kuyumcu Dominiko, Frenk Baris, Frenk Petro Frossi, Frenk Baptist, Frenk Andon Masnu, Korne, Kosta Koperye, Kumiler, Laviz, Manol Dranço, Manolverdi, Meyhaneci Manol, Midilli Zozi, Pazoğlu San Benito, Sepetçi, Vasiliko, Yagomno, and Zani Bagano.

The 1477 census

The census that was conducted in the later part of Sultan Mehmed II’s reign has been studied, notably by Ayverdi, and by many other scholars. In a document written as a result of a census conducted by the Istanbul qadi, Muhyiddin, and the subaşı, Mahmud, in 1477, the population of Istanbul and Galata as well as the number of shops were given. The two-page document in Topkapı Palace begins like this:

Muhasebe-i hânehâ-i müslimânân ve nasrâniyân ve yehûdiyân ve ermeniyân ve gayrühüm bi-ma‘rifeti Mevlânâ Muhyiddin kadî-i İstanbul ve Mahmud za‘îm-i İstanbul tahriren fî evâil-i zilhicce senetin isnâ ve semânîne ve semânemietin. (882/[1477])

A list of the number of houses that belonged to Muslims, Christians, Jews, Armenians, and other nationalities in Istanbul drawn up by the qadi of Istanbul, Mevlânâ Muhyiddin and the zaîm [holder of a large military fief] of Istanbul, Mahmud. Written in 882, at the beginning of the month of Zilhiccesi. (882/[1477])

According to the census, there were 16,324 households in Istanbul, including Galata. At the same time, there were 3,667 shops in Istanbul and 260 shops in Galata, for a total of 3,927 shops.

Population transfers to Istanbul following wars also continued after the reign of Mehmed II. For example, it is said that 500 families were brought from Akkirman to settle in Silivrikapı during the reign of Bayezid II. The jizya records for 1489 indicate that there were 670 jizya payers from Akkirman in Istanbul, 38 of whom were from the upper class, 476 from the middle class, 123 from the lower class, and 33 single and without families.12 The Jewish population increased with new arrivals from Spain, Portugal, and Italy after 1492; after this date this population was 36,000 people according to a contemporary historian. Yavuz Selim also ordered that some merchants, artisans, and scholars be brought to Istanbul after the Çaldıran and Egypt campaigns. His son, Süleyman, later gave some of them permission to return. Following the conquest of Belgrade, some Christians and Jews settled near Samatya Kapısı (later renamed the Belgrad neighborhood).

According to the Fatih mosque külliye census, dated 1540, the locations from which the 3,880 Jews and Christians who had come to Istanbul, and who paid their jizyas to the waqf, had come from and the places where they settled (presumably creating a population of 10,000 to 15,000 people), were as listed in the following table.

Table 5- Istanbul’s population according to the 1477 census.

Ethnic and Religious composition
of households




Müslimânân (Muslim)




Nasrâniyân (Greek Orthodox)




Yehudiyân (Jewish)



Kefelular (Kefalonian)



Ermeniyân (Armenian)




Karamaniyân ba-şekl-i Ermeni
(Karamanli Armenian)



Çingene (Roma)



Efrencân-ı Galata (European)







Source: Ayverdi, Fatih Devri Sonlarında İstanbul, pp. 80–83; İnalcık, The Survey of Istanbul 1455, pp. 595–599.

Table 6- Places non-Muslims came from and settled in according to the jizya census of 1540.


Number of households

Original location

New location



Karaca, New Phocaea

Kumkapı, Kadırga, Fener, Galata


Aya Dimitri, Apostol, kemer-i İsa, Eksiliporta, Patrik and Fener, Galata


Lazarı, Kefeliler, Langa


Neighborhoods of Aya Trabzon and Trabzon Feneri; communities of Balıkçı and Dalyancı



Trabzon, Larende, Tavgandos, İlbisra, Güdregümi, Niğde, Ankara, İstanos, Tokat, Merzifon, Bursa



Gallipoli, Dimetoka, Ohrid, Thessaloniki, Tirana, Vidin, Plovdiv, Crete, Sofia, Janina, Sinop, Adrianople, Kastamonu, Eğirdir, Spain, other




Source: Barkan-Ayverdi, İstanbul Vakıfları Tahrir Defteri, pp. xv–xvi.

Another group, mentioned by both Tursun Bey and Critobulus, made up of Peloponnese, Serbians, Hungarians, and Bulgarians, settled in empty land near Istanbul so that they could engage in agriculture and revive the land. The precise nature of this group is not known, but they were apparently prisoners of war and employed as sharecroppers. Some phrases in Anonim Tevarih and in Neşrî’s work also refer to them. Prisoners of war from places like Lesbos, Cephalonia, and Akkerman were also brought to the city after the conquest. The number of Muslim taxpayers who were exiled thus, as well as the non-Muslims who were employed as sharecroppers in 164 villages, have been determined according to the census of 904 (1498) and another census from Sultan Süleyman’s reign. For example, the number of Christian households was 30 in Bakırköy, 60 in Küçükçekmece, 90 in Büyükçekmece, 62 in Kumburgaz, 55 in Ayastefanos, and 25 in Tarabya. There were also 35 Muslim households in Küçükçekmece and 34 in Büyükçekmece. Since sharecroppers lived in the villages, it is necessary to consider them independently of the city population. In the township of Haslar in 1498, the registered population of sharecroppers, living in at least 110 villages out of 160, was 2,013 (1,442 married, 423 single, and 148 married but holding a different status). Their total population was not more than 10,000.13

An important source on the population in the era of Bayezid II is a jizya record dated 894 (1489). According to this record, the total number of people paying the jizya in Istanbul was 10,865—9,684 households and 1,181 widows. Comparison with the census data from 1477 reveals that there was a substantial increase in the intervening 12 years. After 1492, Jewish immigration also contributed to the population increase.


Population transfers continued in the 16th century, particularly the bringing of artisans, scholars, and merchants to the capital from areas conquered in war. After the conquest of Egypt, Yavuz Sultan Selim had a list of people he wanted to bring to Istanbul prepared. Statesmen, bureaucrats, scholars, merchants, and artisans were among those sent (the number is estimated at between 1,000 and 1,800). Nevertheless, Istanbul, which had experienced population transfers in the first quarter of the 16th century, later witnessed a migration, which put pressure on the capital’s economy.

Owing to population pressure in the countryside during the second half of the 16th century, there were financial hardship in the villages; young men who had flocked to the madrassas or enlisted in the service of beys as sarıca and sekban, and eventually became involved in the banditry of the era. Better job opportunities, a chance to evade paying taxes, and the philanthropic nature of the waqfs were major factors that encouraged migration to Istanbul. It has been stated that 1,000 people a day benefitted from the Fatih imarethane alone. Particularly in the later part of the century, due to suhte (theological student) rebellions and the Jelali Revolts, thousands of people poured into the city. Those coming from villages settled near Kasımpaşa and Eyüp; young men stayed in cheap rooms known as bachelor rooms. When in 1617, due to the suhte rebellions, the madrassa in Anatolia and the affiliated imarethane were closed, except for a few centers, these young men came to Istanbul as well. An estimated 5,000 to 8,000 people made their way to the city.14

Non-Muslims in Istanbul in 1592 consisted of six groups: Greeks, Armenians, Jews, Karamanids, Europeans, and Greeks from Galata. There were also Catholics in Edirnekapı in 1475, but in time they also moved to Galata. Greeks and Armenians lived in Fener and Balat on the Marmara coast and on the Rumelian side. Muslims complained about non-Muslims who lived in neighborhoods near them if they were disturbed by them. While this rarely happened, the idea gradually spread that Istanbul should be a solely Muslim city.

Armenians, particularly the Anatolian Armenians, adopted Turkish culture. The common language in Istanbul was Turkish. The seat of the Armenian patriarch was Sulu Manastır (Monastery) in Samatya, where there were many Armenians. In the 17th century, the areas in which Armenians lived were Kumkapı, Balat, Topkapı, Galata, Beşiktaş, Kuruçeşme, and Ortaköy. Kumkapı had the largest number of Armenian residents, and the central Armenian church became the Church of Surp Asduadzadzin.

Greeks, who were under the authority of the Greek Orthodox patriarch, formed the largest non-Muslim group in the city. Greek residents numbered about 100,000 in the first census of the 19th century (1831). Estimates of their numbers in the 16th century should be treated with care; however, it is clear that their population was at least that of the Armenians. Although the Karamanlides, who were included in the Greek population, were under the authority of the Patriarchate, they formed a different, Turkish-speaking community. This group, which settled in nearby Yedikule in the mid-16th century, nearly 100 years later were living in the vicinity of Narlıkapı, both within and outside the city walls.

The Jewish population in Istanbul consisted of Jews who were present before the conquest, Karaite Jews brought from Adrianople, Rabbani and Karaite Jews who had been brought from Anatolia and Rumelia, and Ashkenazi Jews who came during the great migration during the reign of Bayezid II. In 1489, there were 2,017 Jewish households, and by the mid-16th century, the Jewish population numbered 15,000; this was also a result of migration. In 1552, the Portuguese-Dutch Marranos settled in Istanbul. In 1582, representatives of Sephardic, Ashkenazi, and Romanite Jews requested that a cemetery be given to them in Hasköy. When construction started on the Valide Mosque in 1597, nearly 100 Jewish households were moved from Eminönü to Hasköy. In 1634, there were 1,255 Jewish avarızhane (households as defined for tax purposes); in the later part of the century 5,000 Jews were paying jizya. Many of these Jews were tenants of Muslim waqfs. In addition, part of the synagogue land belonging to the Zeytun community, which was also located in this region, was rented by Jews from the Hagia Sophia waqf.15 According to Evliya Celebi, with the arrival of those who moved because of the construction of the Valide Sultan Mosque in Hasköy, the Jewish population increased to 11,000. There were two Greek, one Muslim, and one Armenian neighborhood here as well.16

To gain a better idea of the population of the 16th century, it would be beneficial to re-examine the number of neighborhoods and waqf houses. According to a 1546 waqf record, there were more than 4,000 waqf houses, not including the 1,300 houses that were part of the Hagia Sophia waqfs and other imperial waqfs. A total of 219 neighborhoods were registered in these records. In a waqf record dated 1600, this number was 226.17

One important component of the population consisted of the court, and in particular, the kapıkulu (household) troops. In 1514, the total number of court officials (3,742) and kapıkulu troops (16,643) was 20,385. According to Ayn Ali Efendi, this number was as high as 90,000 at the beginning of the 17th century; the number was likely around 100,000 by the mid-17th century. According to accounting records dated 933/934 (1527/1528), the number of lieutenants of Dergâh-ı âli was 27,049. In the same year, the number of lieutenants to be paid the lezez mevacibi (wages for the months of Şevval, Zilhicce, and Zilkade) was 24,146.18

Population Estimates from the 15th to 17th Centuries

In 1477 Istanbul had, according to Schneider, 16,326 households; at Schneider’s estimate of four to five people per household, the total population was likely between 60,000 and 70,000. E. H. Ayverdi proposed a different approach to the subject, asserting that the population of Istanbul and the Bilad-ı Selase (Galata, Üsküdar, and Eyüp) was between 185,000 and 195,000. Ayverdi argued that Schneider did not take into account places outside of Istanbul and Galata and that, during this period, it would be more reasonable to estimate an average of eight people per household. Ayverdi estimated that 118,424 people lived in 14,803 houses within the walls of Istanbul, 1,200 lived at court, 10,000 were in the kapıkulu troops, and 5,000 lived in bachelors’ rooms, 500 in Istanbul’s 10 inns, and 5,000 in viziers’ mansions—for a total of 141,874. However, a more realistic approach would be to assume an average of five people per household and take the other additions into account, for a total estimated population of between 95,000 and 100,000 within the city walls. For Eyüp, Galata, and other places, a reasonable estimate would be between 30,000 and 40,000.

Ö. L. Barkan suggested that in 1535 there were 80,000 households (46,635 Muslims, 25,295 Christians, and 8,070 Jews). When court officials and kapıkulu troops (approximately 25,000 people) are also taken into consideration, even if we assume an average household size of four people, the population would be 350,000. According to Barkan, who assumed an average household of five people, the population in Istanbul reached 400,000 between 1520 and 1535; thus, it was the largest city in the world at that time. Barkan, however, did not base his calculations on archival documents.19 He assumed that about 58% (58.3%) of the population was Muslim and about 42% (41.7%) non-Muslim. R. Mantran estimated the number of households in Istanbul and Galata at 9,486 Muslim and 6,338 non-Muslim, yielding nearly the same ratio as Barkan’s estimate (58.11% and 41.89%).20

According to Ayverdi, 75% of the population resided within the city walls, 15% in Galata and Eyüp, and 10% in Üsküdar and along the Bosphorus. Again, according to Ayverdi, Christians made up at most 30% of the total population. This is different from the ratios given by Barkan and Mantran (as described above). It is likely that more than one-third of the population lived on the hillsides overlooking the Golden Horn; along the Marmara coast, the majority of the population consisted of non-Muslims. The rest of the population lived in Aksaray, or near Topkapı and Kocamustafapaşa. A few neighborhoods were also built in Üsküdar.

C. de Villalon (d. 1581), who was taken prisoner in 1552 and worked as a physician to Sinan Pasha, wrote that, based on a record book he saw in his master’s house, in addition to there being 10,000 houses in the suburbs, Istanbul and its surroundings contained 104,000 households (40,000 Christians, 4,000 Jews, and 60,000 Turks, or 57.7% Muslims and 42.3% non-Muslims). Assuming that one household consisted of four people, this corresponds to a population of over 400,000; when the bachelors, unemployed, and military and court employees are also taken into consideration, a population of 500,000 to 600,000 can be estimated.

S. Gerlach, who lived in Istanbul between 1573 and 1578, provided information about the physical structure, including mosques, almshouses, and baths, of the city, which he stated had 19 gates. Gerlach stated that most of those residing in Galata were Greek, and that there were only a few Turks. He noted that he did not encounter Jews in Galata, although he had been informed that 20,000 Jews lived in Istanbul.21

The traveler Lubenau, who visited Istanbul in 1587–1589, documented that the city had 26 gates, with 4,492 main roads, 2,084 streets, 2,276 bakeries, 947 fountains, and 5,852 flour mills. Lubenau recorded a daily mortality rate of 800; this high death rate continued for three months. Later the Turkish sultan had a census conducted, which confirmed that there were 180,000 men over the age of 20.22 In preindustrial societies, men over the age of 20 likely made up about one-third of the population; thus the total population was probably around 540,000. Although the source of this information is not known, it is consistent with estimates given for the end of the 16th century.

Sanderson put the population of Istanbul in the late 16th century at 1,231,207. That the number is not rounded does not mean that it was attained from a census or from an estimate. According to Sanderson, the military population living in Istanbul, from viziers to acemi oğlanlar (Christian conscripts), was 81,207. Sanderson estimated that the city’s other Turkish residents numbered 200,000, with 200,000 Christians and 150,000 Jews, excluding women and children; he estimated the number of Christian, Jewish, and Turkish women and children at 600,000.23

Three lists reflecting the results of the 985 (1577/1578) Istanbul census conducted by the qadi of Istanbul, Zekeriyya Efendi, who worked as kazasker (military judge) for both Anatolia and Rumelia and as the sheikh al-Islam, have been published by Zeki Arıkan. This census listed the number of Muslim neighborhoods, mosques, almshouses, schools, hankahs, zaviyes (dervish lodges), caravansaries, fountains, bakeries, mills, weighing scales, baths, non-Muslim neighborhoods, Jewish neighborhoods, churches, synagogues, and boza houses. In these lists, the number of Muslim neighborhoods is given twice, once as 3,973 and once as 4,985, while the number of non-Muslim neighborhoods is given as 4,585 and that of Jewish neighborhoods as 2,585. Arıkan argued that these numbers did not reflect the number of the neighborhoods or streets, but they could be the number of avarızhane; that number of neighborhoods is not mentioned in any verified census or estimate for Istanbul. For example, 219 neighborhoods were registered in a waqf record of 1546, and in Hezarfen Hüseyin Efendi’s work (from the late 17th century), 253 Muslim and 24 Christian neighborhoods were recorded.24 According to an avarız register from the early 17th century, there were 213 Christian, 1,255 Jewish, and 1,550 Muslim avarızhane within the city walls. Thus, it is likely that Zekeriyya Efendi’s count was not limited to the district of Istanbul but included other judicial regions.25

Table 7- Istanbul population estimates in the 15th and 16th centuries.


Population estimate


Estimated by



Christian travelers




Census of Istanbul households, Muhyiddin Efendi



Census of Istanbul households, Muhyiddin Efendi



Census of Istanbul households, Muhyiddin Efendi








Cristobal de Villalon




Barkan, Mantran



Venetian Bailo Garzoni



John Sanderson

A 1590 imperial ferman (edict) to Sinan Pasha, in addition to noting that the Baghdad consignments were not sufficient, noted that 80,000 households could be found in Istanbul.26 If four or five people lived in a household, this corresponds to a population of roughly 320,000 to 400,000 people. The kapıkulu troops and the imperial court, which numbered almost 90,000, should be added to that sum.

The French traveler Michel Baudier, who visited Istanbul in the late 16th century, stated that there were 120 madrasas, 89 hospitals, and 9,000 suhte (rural religious schools) in the city. Hezarfen Hüseyin Efendi wrote of 126 madrasas in 1672. Zekeriyyazade wrote of 515 madrasas; however, that figure was exaggerated.

The estimates based on the census of 1477 vary due to different estimates of household size. Numbers for 1520–1530 and 1571–1580 are from Barkan, whereas the others are estimates are from foreign observers. For example, referring to the growth of consumption in Istanbul and the population density within the city walls, Zafer Toprak indicated that the population of Istanbul was 200,000 in the 16th century and that this number arguably reached 250,000 in the early 17th century. Stefanos Yerasimos found the estimates of Barkan and Mantran exaggerated. With reference to waqf properties, he estimated that the population within the city walls in the mid-16th century was 15,000.27 Demographer Roger Mols S. J. wrote that Istanbul’s population was 150,000 to 200,000 in the early 16th century, and 200,000 to 400,000 from the late 16th century to the early 17th century. In the late 17th century, it ranked among cities like Paris and Naples, with a population of over 400,000. İnalcık also stated that during the Byzantine period the population of Istanbul never exceeded 400,000. Accordingly, he found Garzoni’s population estimate for 1573 of over 300,000 reasonable.28

Migration to the City: From Underpopulation to Overpopulation

Istanbul’s population was highly mobile, due to the city’s dynamic structure. While the arrival of various groups of people who were necessary for the prosperity of the city was encouraged, after a certain saturation was attained, it became necessary to address problems caused by overpopulation. City improvement and construction projects attracted people looking for work as well as construction-related experts. For example, of the 3,523 people from the professional classes who worked on the construction of Süleymaniye Mosque and Imarethane, 1,018 were from Istanbul, 464 from Anatolia, and 491 from Rumelia; the origins of 1,550 are unclear.29 Apart from the skilled and professional classes, there were also unskilled construction workers, free laborers working for fixed periods, and acemi oğlans. A significant proportion of the unskilled laborers came from outside the city in search of work.

A number of measures were taken to prevent more migration to Istanbul, as the population had reached a saturation point around the mid-16th century. Efforts were also made to prevent the problems that overpopulation could cause in relation to security, public order, provisions, and other issues. When a rebellion, fire, or famine occurred, authorities banished many single laborers and beggars from the city. Indeed, although the Ottomans imposed forced migration to promote public welfare and ensure the development of Istanbul, from the mid-16th century they also took measures to discourage non-working people from coming to the city to prevent over-crowding. As a consequence of migration, residential areas grew in places like Üsküdar, Eyüp, and Hasköy, and along the Bosphorus.

Population growth made property hard to find, and prices increased. Feeding Istanbul was always a major problem for the state; one of the ways to solve this was to limit migration to the city, or to prohibit it altogether if possible. Thus, as can be deduced from a mühimme entry dated 1567, the areas of Kasımpaşa, Kağıthane, and Fener, and Eyüp sub-districts up to Haslar were filled with houses, and food and other supplies became hard to find. According to the entry, those who had come to the city less than five years previously were to be sent back to the place they had come from. According to another mühime entry in 1579, Istanbul’s qadi and the silahtar agha were given orders that, to prevent corruption, new residents had to find a guarantor and those who had arrived during the last five years were to be sent back.30 This situation continued throughout the following centuries.


In the 16th century, in addition to Turks, most Jews, Greeks, and Armenians lived within the city walls. Immediately beyond the walls was Yedikule, an area inhabited almost completely by Turks; only Turks resided in the Eyüp suburbs, due to the sanctity of the area. At the same time, Galata was a non-Muslim town where Greeks, Jews, and Armenians lived alongside Europeans. In addition to Istanbul on the Anatolian side and Beşiktaş on the Rumelian side, various ethnic and religious groups lived in other places, with different groups attracted to areas with different characteristics.31

Eremya Çelebi’s observations of Istanbul and the vicinity, an important 17th-century source, can be summarized as follows:

1- When entering from Yedikule, in the region that stretched up to Samatya, there were closed public houses and the Züğürt Hills; this is where the poor lived.

2- There were public houses in the vicinity of Samatya, the second gate to the city. In Samatya, where there were six or seven Greek churches, the famous Armenian Church of Surp Kevork also stood; this area had more than 1,000 households.

3- There is no information about the people of Davutpaşa, located next to the third gate to the city.

4- The area from the fourth gate, Yenikapı, to Kumkapı constituted the border of the Armenian and Greek neighborhoods. During a fire in Kumkapı, 5,000 Armenian residences burned down.

5- There were also public houses in Kumkapı, located next to the fifth gate to the city. Roma used to live in wooden shacks in Kadırga Square, but since the grand vizier, Köprülü, had these structures demolished because of complaints by local Turks, the Roma dispersed to other places.

6- Cirit was played and races were held in Cündî Square, the area behind the sixth gate, Çatladıkapı.

7- The seventh gate, named after the court stables, was Ahırkapı. Arayıcılar (gleaners) would search for items at the bottom of the wall and in the sea.

The author described the court and its surroundings in the second part of the work. The third part described the city’s other 13 gates and gave a brief history of places that adjoined them. Eremya also provided information about the people who made up the population. According to this information, Eminönü, where the gümrükçübaşı (chief of customs) resided, was full of passers-by, and the pençik emini (inspector) controlled the slave trade from there. From this point the inspector would travel by boat to Galata and Tophane. Docks that served vessels travelling to Hasköy and Balat were also located here, and there were almost 100 Jewish butcher shops and greengrocers. In Kasımpaşa there were Jewish houses. Jews and Greeks lived in Cibali, and Greeks lived on the coast of Ayakapı. There were Greeks in Petrolkapısı and Fenerkapısı. From this time on, the Jews and Greeks lived side by side. The Jewish population outside of Balatkapısı was greater than that of Beşiktaş, Hasköy, Kuruçeşme, Kuzguncuk, Ortaköy, or Çengelköy. Eremya, remarking that the Jews preferred to live close to the sea, recorded that 800 Armenian families lived inside Balat. Jews resided in Ayvansaray, with the wealthy ones living by the water. Roma lived at the foot of a dilapidated church.32

In light of this and similar information, we can summarize the state of non-Muslims in the 17th century as follows.

Armenians continued to live in the regions where they had lived before. It is hard to ascertain their population precisely, as most of the time it was recorded together with that of the Greeks. Eremya Çelebi noted that the Armenians lived in Samatya in Istanbul, in the area reaching from Yenikapı to Kumkapı, in Balat and Topkapı, as well as along the Bosphorus and in Galata and Üsküdar.

The numbers given by Evliya and Eremya indicate that Greeks had more neighborhoods and churches than the Armenians (nine Armenian and 30 Greek Orthodox churches, and 27 Armenian and 304 Greek neighborhoods). Although the number of neighborhoods given by Evliya should be treated with caution, it is obvious that Greeks in the city were more numerous than Armenians.

The Jews, the majority of whom came from Spain, occupied an important position. Jews who had been banished in the 17th century with the construction of Yeni Valide Mosque moved to Hasköy. According to Eremya, Jews resided in Ayazma Kapısı, Balat, Ayvansaray, Cibali, Tekfur Sarayı, Hasköy, Kasımpaşa, Galata, Beşiktaş, Ortaköy, Kuzguncuk, and Üsküdar. These residential areas were confirmed in a list of jizya payers from 1691/1692 published by Heyd; there are places (Fındıklı and Beşiktaş in Evliya’s list) that are not mentioned by Eremya and Evliya. In Heyd’s list, 5,095 names in total are in question.

The jizya registries published by Mantran date from the same period, and according to an 1102 (1690/1691) registry (Kâmil Kepeci, 3530), in Istanbul, Galata, and Eyüp the number of Christians was 45,112 and the number of Jews 8,236. According to another registry (Kâmil Kepeci, 3531), in those three places there were 53,347 heads of families, of whom 14,635 were exempted from paying taxes. Mantran mentioned a non-Muslim population of between 250,000 and 310,000 people; 200,000–250,000 of these were Christian and 50,000–60,000 were Jewish.33

Table 8- Jewish residents subject to paying jizya in 1691–1692.


Number of taxpayers

Tekfur Sarayı








Bâb-ı Cedid, Aya, Cibali, Tüfenkhane, Kapan-ı Dakik


Bâb-ı Ayazma


























Source: U. Heyd, “The Jewish Communities of Istanbul in the Seventeenth Century”, Oriens, 1953, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 310–311.

Since Heyd’s and Mantran’s documents refer to successive years, the difference between them appears significant; indeed, after the reforms in 1691 concerning jizya and the fixed system, and the abolishment of exemptions for people who could not afford to pay the taxes, the number could be expected to increase rather than decrease. Heyd’s 1103 (1691/1692) document referred to a later date than that of Mantran’s 1102 (1690/1691) documents. In our opinion, due to an increase in war expenditures, the census of 1690/1691 may have been carried out more strictly, but the one that followed it was probably more realistic.

The number of imperial troops, a significant component of the city population, increased in the 17th century. According to figures in Aynî Ali Efendi Risâlesi, the total number of imperial troops and kapı halkı (court/sultan’s servants) was 91,202. Although some of these almost certainly lived outside Istanbul, approximately three-fourths of them— at least 70,000 to 80,000 people—could have lived in Istanbul.

Although Evliya Çelebi’s Seyahatnâme has rich content with regard to Istanbul’s history, its population data must be approached with caution. In addition to Istanbul’s neighborhoods, it describes in detail the almshouses and pious foundations, the leaders of 742 skilled artisans, the number of shops, and the number of privates under 47 titles. While some of these were military men, entertainers (such as musicians and storytellers) and farmers were also included. For some, shops are not stated, and for others, no number is given. In any case, the numbers of artisans are exaggerated. When numbers are given they are added together; more than 23,000 manufacturing shops and nearly 80,000 shops and workshops in the private sector are listed. Evliya also referred to various artisans in the court and army. However, the important aspect is that these data describe artisan groups, as well as residential areas and subgroups, in detail.

Table 9- The Sultan's Servants (Kapı Halkı)

1- THE KAPIKULU ARMY (imperial troops)

Total number of janissaries and acemis


Other kapıkulu troops (armorers, cannoneers, carters, etc.)


Total kapıkulu sipahis (cavalry)


KAPIKULLARI (including nan-horân)


2- Navy troops


3- Court attendants


4- Aghas and servants


TOTAL (excluding 91,117 nan-horân)


Note: The number in the abridged record is 91,202. (Asâkir-i berr 75,868, Asâkir-i bahr 2,363, Hüddâm-ı âsitâne 10,989, Havass-ı zevi’l-ihtisas 1982).

Source: Ayn Ali, Risâle-i Vazîfe-horân ve Merâtib-i Bendegân-ı Âl-i Osman: Kavânîn-i Âl-i Osmân, (Aynî Ali Efendi Risâlesi) Istanbul: Tasvir-i Efkar Gazetehanesi, 1280- Facsimile: With M. T. Gökbilgin’s introduction, Istanbul: Enderun Kitabevi, 1979, pp. 88–98.

Mentioning the recording of the four judicial regions of Istanbul on the orders of Sultan Murad IV in 1048 (1638/1639), Evliya stated that the work Evsâf-ı Kostantiniyye—a result of recording all the prosperous areas of Istanbul, including Yedikule, Eyüp, Kâğıthane, Sütlüce, Piripaşa, Hasköy, Kasımpaşa, Galata, Tophane, Beşiktaş, Hisar, Beykoz, Kanlıca, Anadolu Hisarı, Çengelköy, Kuzguncuk, Üsküdar, and Kadıköy, over three months—was in the possession of Melek Ahmed Pasha; Evliya had a copy of this work made. A brief report on Istanbul’s population, neighborhoods, ethnic groups, and artisans in this book, presented to Murad IV by the qadi of Istanbul, provides a general overview of the city’s demographic and social structure.

The number of private-sector guilds that were part of the main groups given by Evliya Çelebi has been determined by Mantran as 158.34

Table 10- Imperial troops, according to an abridged record of treasury income and expenditures for 1669/1670.




Infantry (piyade)

Janissaries, retired, guards,
and castle guards


Istanbul acemis


The Old Palace and Galata teberdar (halbadiers)


Hasbahçe oğlans


Edirne hasbahçe gilmans


Gelibolu acemis


Dergâh-ı âli cebeci (armorers)


Dergâh-ı âli
(cannoneers and castle guards)


Artillery wagoneers


Hassa saddlers eunuchs, şüturbanan, harbendegan


Matbah-ı Âmire (imperial kitchen) servants


Ehl-i hiref (craftsmen) janitors


Hassa (tailors)


Mehteran-ı hayme-i hassa


Mehteran-ı alem-i hassa


Divan water carriers


Taife-i efrenc


Cavalry (sipahi)

Sipahis (cavalry) and retired soldiers


Silahdars and retired soldiers


Sağ ulufecis and retired soldiers


Sol ulufecis and retired soldiers


Sağ garips and retired soldiers


Sol garips and retired soldiers


Enderun oğlans


Dergâh-ı âli and Bâb-ı Hümâyun gatekeepers


Küçük ruznamçe kalemi

Kazasker, serbevvabin, müteferrikas and retired soldiers

Defter-i hakani kâtips, divan, treasury clerks, court physicians, bazdars.


Tersane-i amire
(imperial shipyard)


Guards and wardens of Azak Castle




Source: Barkan, Osmanlı Devletinin Sosyal ve Ekonomik Tarihi, vol. 2, pp. 761–765.

Tablo 11- Istanbul’s military guilds according to Evliya Çelebi.

Group represented by guild

1- Çavuşan esnaf alayı (guild procession)

2- Asesbaşı askerî esnafı (military artisans)

3- Military mullahs

4- Physicians

5- Farmers (representing 26,000 farms)

6- Bakers

7- Black Sea Navy sailors

8- Mediterranean captains

9- Egyptian and Mediterranean Coast merchants

10- Butchers

11- Sheep-head cooks

12- Cooks

13- Halvah makers

14- Fish inspectors

15- Market inspectors

16- Grocers

17- Pazarbaşı (dried-fruit sellers)

18- Sword makers

19- Gun makers

20- Blacksmiths

21- Blacksmiths

22- Cauldron makers

23- Goldsmiths and court jewelers

24- Casters

25- Bow makers

26- Hayyat (tailors)

27- Haymeci (tent makers)

28- Furriers

29- Ahi (tanners)

30- Saddlers

31- Cobblers

32- Paşmakçı (shoe makers and sellers)

33- Attars (apothecaries)

34- Barbers

35- Bath attendants

36- Muralists

37- Old Bazaar artisans

38- New Bazaar artisans

39- Cabinet makers

40- Mehteran (military musicians)

41- Tumblers and wrestlers

42- Master builders and carpenters

43- Hanende, mutrib, and rakkas (singers and dancers)

44- Musicians

45- Actors and comedians

46- Courtiers and mimics

47- Sellers of zythum (a type of beer)

According to Evliya, there were 9,973 Muslim neighborhoods, 354 Greek neighborhoods, 257 Jewish neighborhoods, 17 European neighborhoods, and 27 Armenian neighborhoods in Istanbul, which consisted of four judicial regions (Istanbul, Galata, Eyüp, and Üsküdar). It is clear that these numbers are exaggerated. Again according to Evliya, there were 18 Muslim, 70 Greek, three European, one Jewish, and two Armenian neighborhoods in Galata. According to this record, there were 200,000 non-Muslims and 64,000 Muslims. In Tophane there were 170 Muslim, 20 Greek, seven Armenian, and two Jewish communities.35

According to Hezarfen Hüseyin Efendi’s work Telhîsü’l-beyân, written around 1675, there were 152 mosques in Istanbul where hutbas (Friday sermons) were read. In addition, there were 750 small mosques, 253 Muslim neighborhoods, 24 non-Muslim neighborhoods, and 2,977 hane-i avarız (households). Since Jews did not own property, they were determined to consist of 1,255 households. There were 137 guilds (varying from bakers to yağlıkçılar or sellers of items related to marriage ceremonies) and 32,150 shops owned by artisans. Hezarfen indicated that the number of mevacib-horân (salaried soldiers) was 48,316 during the Szigetvar campaign, and around 100,000 during the reigns of Osman I and Mustafa I, but half this during the reign of Murad IV. Hezarfen recorded that during his own lifetime this number was 94,999.36

These data help establish that non-Muslims, imperial troops, and artisans were important components of Istanbul’s population. However, other than determining the proportion of Muslims and non-Muslims in the population, estimates of some travelers must be questioned. According to George Sandy, who lived in the city in 1610/1611, Istanbul’s population was 700,000; half of the population was Muslim and the other half consisted of Christians, Greeks, and Jews, with the latter in the majority. In addition, Simeon of Poland stated that in the early 17th century there were 40,000 Jewish, 40,000 Greek, and 10,000 Armenians households in the city. Thus it can be concluded that the non-Muslim population in the city was between 350,000 and 450,000.

In 1640, the Venetian bailo (consul) Alvise Contarini wrote that Istanbul’s population exceeded 1,000,000. Based on documents dated 1690/1691, Mantran estimated a population between 650,000 and 750,000 with 62,000 non-Muslim jizya payers; this corresponded to a population of between 250,000 and 310,000. When population estimates of 58% Muslim and 42% non-Muslim are taken into account, a population of 700,000–800,000 can be estimated.37 However, if the population density of Istanbul (Istanbul, Eyüp, and Galata) was 150–180 people per hectare, as Mantran calculated in the 1980s, these population estimates cannot be accurate. In addition, Mantran’s multiplication of the number of jizya payers by four to five is also not accurate. The relation of adult males to total population generally ranges between 1:2 and 1:4, but 1:2 to 1:3 is considered normal for preindustrial societies.

Another estimate, by the French traveler Olivier, put the population of Istanbul (Galata, Üsküdar, Eyüp, and the Bosphorus) at 500,000; he arrived at this amount by dividing the amount of wheat bread entering Istanbul’s market every day by the average consumption per capita.38 It is significant that those who respond cautiously to the assertion that Istanbul’s population was over 500,000 in the 17th century take the numbers of imperial troops and non-Muslim jizya payers into account. In any case, it can be said that the population of Istanbul, including a non-Muslim population of around 200,000 and a population of imperial troops and court servants of between 80,000 and 100,000, was close to 500,000. Such a number can be obtained even if one does not multiply the number of jizya payers with a high coefficient, but with a more reasonable number (two to three). In the 18th century, one of the most important challenges of the city, which had undergone intense migration due to civil unrest, wars, and unemployment throughout the country, was preventing migration and sending people back to where they had come from.

Tablo 12- Population estimates for Istanbul in the 17th and 18th centuries.


Estimated population




Venetian Bailo Contarini



Venetian Bailo Civrano



Jizya record, Mantran



French traveler Olivier


Following the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699, the Ottoman state was seriously affected not only by the Edirne Event in 1703, but also by the need to restore the economic and social order. While an excess burden of taxes encouraged the re’aya to flee the villages, food shortages and unemployment caused unrest in the cities. Urban migration was common in both Rumelia and Anatolia during the reign of Ahmed III. In this context, a ferman dated September 1721 was sent to various provinces to prevent people from returning to Istanbul. It made the following points:39

1- Some Muslims and dhimmis (non-Muslim subjects) who were appointed as mutasarrıf (governors) of properties and lands in some towns and villages that were has, waqf, zeamet, or timar in Anatolia, abandoned agriculture. However, this labor was necessary for the prosperity of the country.

2- These people abandoned their posts to avoid paying taxes and came to Istanbul. Once there they engaged in other occupations.

3- Because of this, not only did production decrease but the taxes they should have paid were imposed on the people who remained in the villages, placing them in an even more difficult position. The return of those who had abandoned their homelands was essential to prevent this situation from worsening.

4- Furthermore, the flood of these people into Istanbul disturbed the peace for scholars, the pious, and other inhabitants, and many catastrophes like famines, thefts, and fires occurred. Thus, migration had to be prevented and people had to be returned to the places they came from.

As a result of the war that broke out with Iran in 1722, the problem of migration grew. Ahmed III issued another ferman in late May 1724. The same points were also emphasized in this ferman: “In case of receiving news that migrations occurred in any of your administrative districts, your replies and excuses will be ignored.” Thus, the beylerbeyi (governors), sanjakbeys, qadis, zaims (zeamet holders), and timar holders were warned. As similar imperial edits were frequently issued, it is likely that these edicts were not effective. It is certain that the masses coming from rural areas who were dissatisfied, unemployed, and looking for a job in Istanbul played a role in the Patrona Halil Rebellion. Traces of these people can be seen in imperial edicts issued during the first years of Mahmud I’s reign. In an order sent to the janissary agha, the qadi of Izmir, and the janissary agha of Izmir, as well as the voivodes and iskele zabitleri (seaport officials), it was stated that due to people arriving in Istanbul illegally, in addition to famine and hunger, a great epidemic had occurred; seaport officials were warned that they had to take action at once so that the situation would not get worse. Those who failed to prevent people from coming to Istanbul from Anatolia and Aydın would be severely punished.

Mahmud I tried not only to prevent people coming to the city but also to control those who had already arrived. In a ferman dated 1734, about a gang of tenants who came from Rumelia and settled outside the walls in Topçular, Otakçılar, Yedikule, and Bağçeler, mentions giving rooms to local and foreign fugitives. Another document, sent to officers and deputies of districts located on the Istanbul route in Rumelia, forbid the entrance of Muslim or dhimmi Albanians to the city but ordered that merchants and others engaged in their respective occupations would be allowed in and their goods would not be confiscated.

In 1733/1734 when military defeat by Iran came on the agenda, new measures were applied to prevent any more household migrations from Anatolia and Rumelia to Istanbul. Attempts were made to remove foreigners, in particular Kurds and Albanians living in Istanbul and the surrounding areas. Gates were closed in order to control entrance by unidentified people, and attempts were made to prevent population growth from outside. In 1735, some foreigners suspected of living in Üsküdar, Kadıköy, Kartal, Bostancı, and Pendik began to be repatriated. However, those measures could not prevent the disturbances caused by food shortages in the city during the war of 1736–1739. A rebellion that broke out in 1740 was suppressed by severe measures, and people who had lived in the city for less than 10 years were sent back to their hometowns. Nevertheless, a favorable result was not achieved. When an agreement was reached with Nadir Shah, these measures were relaxed and renewed migration to Istanbul occurred. A document dated 1748 emphasized that except for those who had jobs or were merchants, nobody was to be sent to Istanbul. Moreover, those who did not have permission would not be allowed into the city, while those who were suspect would be sentenced to lifelong labor, and those taken out of the city were to be sent back to their villages and towns immediately.40 The prohibition of unauthorized migration and attempts to return migrants to their places of origin would continue in the second half of the 18th century.

According to data provided by İnalcık, the number of bakers in Istanbul was 141 in 1755 and 297 in 1768. In the same time period, the numbers rose from 61 to 116 in Galata, from 22 to 65 in Üsküdar, and from 7 to 28 in Eyüp.41 This can be correlated with a growing population due to migration in the period in question. Recent studies have confirmed that substantial migration to Istanbul continued during this period. A study of data compiled from Istanbul Ahkâm ve Atik Şikayet Defterleri found that voluntary migration from rural areas to Istanbul increased by 67.4% in the first half of the 18th century. That study found that the increased migration was due to the effects of Iranian attacks but that the security and stability provided by local ayan (lords) in the second half of the century slowed this migration. Economic revival also played a role in decreased migration. Little more than half (56.6%) of the total migration to Istanbul was from Anatolia, followed by migration from lands to the east, west, and south of Istanbul that were channeled to the city center (24.2%), and, in third place, migration from Rumelia (19.2%).42

Between the 15th and 18th centuries earthquakes, fires and epidemics were the most important factors that affected population movement in Istanbul. In addition to fires causing financial and property losses, pillaging was also a significant factor. During one fire in 1633, 20,000 houses were burned down; in 1660, fire killed 4,000 people and destroyed two-thirds of the city. During an earthquake in 1509, 109 mosques and 1,070 houses were destroyed and between 5,000 and 13,000 people died. To help reconstruct the city, 37,000 workers from Anatolia and 29,000 from Rumelia were brought in. Earthquakes also occurred in 1462, 1509, 1659, 1719, 1754, and 1766 and no doubt had an effect on the population. Naturally, there were those who left the city, even if these events were not prolonged. Major damage occurred during the earthquake of 1766 and about 4,000 people died. Fires in Istanbul in December 1731, May 1750, October 1767, August 1782, and September 1784 caused severe damage. Epidemics such as plagues killed more people than earthquakes. Between 1511 and 1865, it is estimated that 20 epidemics occurred.43


Istanbul, a city that was semi-deserted when conquered by Mehmed II in 1453, underwent great reconstruction during the next 20 to 25 years. It then became worthy of being the capital of the Ottoman State. Mehmed II’s tenacity and determination accelerated economic progress and population growth in the city. While the majority of the population was Turkish and Muslim, nearly one-third of the ruling class was Christian or Jewish. While Galata preserved its non-Muslim character, Eyüp and Üsküdar remained primarily Muslim and Turkish for centuries. Istanbul itself (nefs-i İstanbul) maintained its ethnic and religious diversity.

Although estimates of Istanbul’s population vary, there is no doubt that it was one of the major cities in Europe during the 15th to 19th centuries. Toward the mid-16th century the population was greater than 300,000. Estimates for the end of the century range as high as 700,000; while this number is likely exaggerated, the population was no less than 400,000. This population level persisted in the 17th century. There is no doubt that there were cyclical fluctuations in population for a number of reasons. The number of jizya payers and information about imperial troops from the 17th century can be interpreted in a way to support the assertion that the population was over 500,000, even as high as 700,000. But when issues like the relation of jizya payers to total population and the number of imperial troops are taken into account, a more cautious estimate is logical. Some factors, like the population that the city was able to support and the number of people per hectare, indicate that Istanbul (including Galata, Eyüp, and Üsküdar) could not support a population greater than 500,000. Despite events that had negative effects on population, particularly epidemics, factors like the Jelali Revolts and better job expectations caused frequent migration of families to Istanbul. Intense migration in the first half of the 18th century and the measures taken to discourage it also indicate that the capacity of Istanbul to support a growing population had been reached.


1 Işın Demirkent, “İstanbul (Byzantium Period)”, DİA, XXIII, 207-211.

2 Ekrem Hakkı Ayverdi, Fatih Devri Sonlarında İstanbul Mahalleleri, Şehrin İskânı ve Nüfusu, Ankara: Vakıflar Umum Müdürlüğü, 1958, p. 70; “As for losses in the war; the number is around four thousand including men, children, women and foreigners in total. The number of those who have been captured is over fifty thousand. The number of soldiers who died is around five thousand.” Kritovulos, İstanbul’un Fethi, tr. M. Gökman, Istanbul: Toplumsal Dönüşüm Yayınları, 1999, p. 108. See Halil İnalcık for Istanbul’s administrative structure, settlement, neighborhoods and districts, population, and social structure after the conquest. EI2 (Eng), IV, 224-248; Halil İnalcık, “İstanbul”, DİA, XXIII, 220-239.

3 A. M. Schneider, “XVI. Yüzyılda İstanbul’un Nüfusu”, TTK Belleten, 1952, vol. 16, no. 61, pp. 35-48.

4 Kritovulos, İstanbul’un Fethi, pp. 120-127.

5 Halil İnalcık, The Survey of İstanbul 1455, Istanbul: Türkiye İş Bankası Kültür Yayınları, 2012.

6 Kritovulos, İstanbul’un Fethi, p. 137, 148.

7 Kritovulos, İstanbul’un Fethi, pp. 168-169, 176, 209-210. See Halil İnalcık for Mehmed II’s policy toward the Greek population: “The Policy of Mehmed II toward the Greek Population of Istanbul and the Byzantine Buildings of the City”, Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 1969/1970, vol. 23-24, pp. 229-249.

8 Tursun Bey, Târih-i Ebü’l Feth, prepared by Mertol Tulum, Istanbul: İstanbul Fetih Cemiyeti, 1977, p. 67.

9 Tursun Bey, Târih-i Ebü’l Feth, pp. 68-69.

10 Ö. Lütfi Barkan and Ekrem Hakkı Ayverdi (ed.), İstanbul Vakıfları Tahrir Defteri 953 (1546) Tarihli, Istanbul: İstanbul Fetih Cemiyeti İstanbul Enstitüsü,1970, no. XIII.

11 Evliya Çelebi, Evliya Çelebi Seyahatnâmesi, Istanbul: Yapı Kredi Yayınları, 2011, vol. 1, book I, p. 51.

12 Ömer Lütfi Barkan, “894 (1488/1489) Yılı Cizyesinin Tahsilâtına âit Muhasebe Bilançoları”, TTK Belgeler, 1964, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 38.

13 Ömer Lütfi Barkan, Osmanlı Devletinin Sosyal ve Ekonomik Tarihi, Tetkikler-Makaleler, prepared by Hüseyin Özdeğer, Istanbul: İstanbul Üniversitesi Rektörlük Yayınları, 2000, vol. 1, pp. 1-55, 159.

14 İnalcık, “İstanbul”, DİA, XXIII, 234.

15 For a comprehensive discussion of this subject, see Kenan Yıldız, “1660 İstanbul Yangınının Sosyo-ekonomik Tahlili” (doctoral thesis), Marmara University, Türkiyat Research Institute, Istanbul, 2012, pp. 170-76. I would like to thank Mustafa Birol Ülker for informing me of this study.

16 Evliya Çelebi, Seyahatnâme, vol. 1, p. 203; İnalcık, “İstanbul”, DİA, XXIII, 235-236.

17 Barkan-Ayverdi, İstanbul Vakıfları Tahrir Defteri; Mehmet Canatar (prepared by), İstanbul Vakıfları Tahrir Defteri (1009 (1600) Tarihli), Istanbul: İstanbul Fetih Cemiyeti, 2004.

18 Barkan, Osmanlı Devletinin Sosyal ve Ekonomik Tarihi, vol. 1, pp. 651, 673.

19 Barkan, Osmanlı Devletinin Sosyal ve Ekonomik Tarihi, vol. 2, p. 1412.

20 Robert Mantran, 17. Yüzyılın İkinci Yarısında İstanbul-Kurumsal, İktisadi, Toplumsal Tarih Denemesi, tr. Mehmet Ali Kılıçbay and Enver Özcan, Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 1990, vol. 1, p. 46.

21 Stephan Gerlach, Türkiye Günlüğü, 1573-1576, trç Türkis Noyan, Istanbul: Kitap Yayınevi, 2007, p. 150.

22 Reinhold Lubenau Seyahatnamesi: Osmanlı Ülkesinde, 1587-1589, tr. Türkis Noyan, Istanbul: Kitap Yayınevi, 2012, vol. 1, p. 181. According to Lubenau (p. 213), there were 44 Greek churches, 70 Jewish schools, 485 mosques and small mosques, 625 schools, 515 madrassas, and 110 hospitals and other institutions in the city.

23 Bernard Lewis, Istanbul and the Civilization of the Ottoman Empire, Oklahoma 1972, 3rd edition, pp. 102-103. For information from travelers about Istanbul’s population, including non-Muslims, see also Firdevs Çetin, Batılı Seyyahlara Göre İstanbullu Gayrimüslimler, Istanbul: Yeditepe Yayınları, 2012.

24 Hezarfen Hüseyin Efendi, Telhîsü’l-beyân fî kavânîn-i Âl-i Osmân, prepared by Sevim İlgürel, Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 1998, p. 52.

25 Z. Arıkan, “Şeyhülislam Zekeriyya Efendi’nin İstanbul Sayımı (985/1577-1578)”, Tarih Boyunca İstanbul Semineri, 29 Mayıs-1 Haziran 1988, ed. Mübahat S. Kütükoğlu, Istanbul: İstanbul Üniversitesi Edebiyat Fakültesi Tarih Araştırmaları Enstitüsü, 1989, pp. 39-57.

26 With reference to Mühimme 66, 97, 212 Hüseyin Arslan, 16. yy. Osmanlı Toplumunda Yönetim, Nüfus, İskân, Göç ve Sürgün, Istanbul: Kaknüs, 2001, pp. 134-135.

27 Z. Toprak, “Tarihsel Nüfusbilim Açısından İstanbul’un Nüfusu ve Toplumsal Topoğrafyası”, Toplum ve Ekonomi, 1992, no. 3, pp. 109-120; S. Yerasimos, “Onaltıncı Yüzyıl İstanbul Nüfusunun Tekrar Değerlendirilmesi İçin Veriler”, Toplumsal Tarih, 1995, no. 14, pp. 26-27. Carrying out a literature review on the subject, Yunus Koç (“Osmanlı Dönemi İstanbul Nüfus Tarihi”, Türkiye Araştırmaları Literatür Dergisi, 2010, vol. 8, no. 16, pp. 171-199) also found the estimates of 500,000 or more to be exaggerated; in particular, see pp. 186–190. For another summary review, see Zafer Toprak, “Nüfus-Fetihten 1950’ye”, DBİst.A, VI, 108-111.

28 Halil İnalcık, “Istanbul”, EI2 (İng.); Halil İnalcık, “İstanbul”, DİA, XXIII, 237.

29 Barkan, Osmanlı Devletinin Sosyal ve Ekonomik Tarihi, vol. 2, p. 720.

30 Arslan, 16. yy. Osmanlı Toplumunda Yönetim, pp. 188-189.

31 Mantran, 17. Yüzyılın İkinci Yarısında İstanbul, vol. 1, pp. 39-40, 48-64.

32 Eremya Çelebi Kömürcüyan, İstanbul Tarihi: XVIII. Yüzyılda İstanbul, tr. H. Andreasyan, published by K. Pamukciyan, Istanbul: Eren Yayıncılık, 1988.

33 Mantran, 17. Yüzyılın İkinci Yarısında İstanbul, vol. 1, p. 47.

34 Mantran, 17. Yüzyılın İkinci Yarısında İstanbul, vol. 2, p. 22. For Istanbul’s guild groups in Evliya Çelebi Seyahatnâmesi, see Evliya Çelebi, Seyahatnâme, vol.1, book 1, pp. 253-359.

35 Evliya Çelebi, Seyahatnâme, vol. 1, book 1, p. 252. Çelebi indicates that the information was based on the census conducted by the qadi of Istanbul on the order of Murad IV (pp. 250-251); see pp. 212, 217 for Galata and Tophane. Çelebi stated that the people in Tophane came from places like Sinop, Amasra, Ereğli, Bafra, Samsun, and Ünye, located on the coast of the Black Sea (p. 220).

36 Hezarfen, Telhîsü’l-beyân, pp. 52, 105.

37 Mantran, 17. Yüzyılın İkinci Yarısında İstanbul, vol. 1, pp. 47-48.

38 Cem Behar (prepared by), Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nun ve Türkiye’nin Nüfusu 1500-1927, Ankara: Başbakanlık Devlet İstatistik Enstitüsü, 2003, pp. 69-70.

39 Münir Aktepe, “XVIII. Yüzyılın İlk Yarısında İstanbul’un Nüfus Mes’elesine Dair Bâzı Vesikalar”, TD, 1958, vol. 9, no. 13, pp. 1-30.

40 Aktepe, “XVIII. Yüzyılın İlk Yarısında İstanbul’un Nüfus Mes’elesine Dair”.

41 İnalcık, “İstanbul”, DİA, XXIII, 237.

42 Cengiz Şeker, “İstanbul Ahkâm ve Atik Şikâyet Defterlerine Göre 18. Yüzyılda İstanbul’a Yönelik Göçlerin Tasvir ve Tahlili” (doctoral thesis), Marmara University, 2007.

43 Daniel Panzac, Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nda Veba, tr. Serap Yılmaz, Istanbul: Türkiye Ekonomik ve Toplumsal Tarih Vakfı, 1997, pp. 22-23.

This article was translated from Turkish version of History of Istanbul with some editions to be published in a digitalized form in 2019.

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