Since Istanbul became the Ottoman capital city,1 it has been possible to trace the theme, narrative, and image of Istanbul in literary texts2 such as in the section in Ahmed Bîcân’s (d. after 1465) Dürr-i Meknûn, Mehmed II’s poems about Galata3 written under the penname Avni that take place in his Dîvân, Ahmed Paşa’s qasida (eulogy) (d. 1496), and Aynî’s murabba (stanzaic poem).4
Many themes, narratives, and images, which are found in different types of texts, have been produced either from the perception of the “city” or “Istanbul” in one’s mind, or from lived “moments”, in other words, from reality. The themes, narratives, and images that represent different time frames, contexts, and needs often coexist, however it can also be seen that they disappear from circulation after a certain amount of time or change into another theme, narrative, and image.
The number of literary texts that deal with the Ottoman Istanbul of approximately 450 years is high, at the same time; the styles and genres of such texts are quite various. The first work to be found discussing this topic5 is Fuat Köprülü’s “Eski İstanbul ve Şairlerimiz” (Old Istanbul and Our Poets) written in 1918 where he concentrates on Cem Sa‘dîsi’s poem. In 1953, Asaf Hâlet Çelebi gathered poems on Istanbul in his Divan Şi‘rinde İstanbul: Antoloji (Istanbul in Divan Poetry: An Anthology).6 Since Çelebi’s book, there has not been any complete study conducted as to the poetry or prose written about the Istanbul of the Ottoman era, however, the number of studies in the form of articles has increased, especially since Istanbul has become a trademark on a global scale, and has been chosen as the “European Capital” in 2010.7 Most of these articles are based on A. Halet Çelebi’s work, or Hasan Akay’s Fatih’ten Günümüze Şairlerin Gözüyle İstanbul8 (Istanbul from the Eyes of Poets from Fatih until the Present), which is composed of a collection of poems. Few other works that can be found in the area, are text publications transformed into the form of articles9 of which the number has increased since the 1980s, as well, there are conference proceedings presented during meetings organized regarding Istanbul’s historical districts.10 At this point, it is clear that until primary studies as to the texts of the Ottoman era are completed, the documentation of themes, narratives and images about Istanbul and any evaluation of the issue will remain deficient and limited. On the other hand, it would exceed the purpose of this article to handle completely the topic of Istanbul in literary texts of the Ottoman era, which is a subject that deserves, with the existing knowledge, to become a book of many volumes. This is why, certain themes, images, and narratives, along with certain texts have been chosen for this article.
The aim of this article is first to investigate how Istanbul is represented in the texts of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and in doing so, finding what types of images are presented. Second, the article intends to bring to light the clues as to how the city’s changing identity and geography have been handled. However, it has not been possible to portray the stylistic affiliation among the subject, style, and genre in such texts, because there is no systematic study as to these preliminary texts. The following section addresses the subjects such as Istanbul described by the authors based on their own personal experiences, Istanbul as the setting of narration in literary texts, and finally, Istanbul as the subject of literary texts and the descriptions of Istanbul in these texts.
Preliminary Texts, Themes, Narratives, and Images
Under this title, texts in which are discussed themes, narratives, and images about Istanbul, until Tacîzade Cafer Çelebi’s (1515) masnavi of Hevesnâme, which he completed in 1493 (hj. 899) will be approached. In terms of genre and aim, and because of its sections written about Istanbul, Hevesnâme varies from the work written prior to it, and represents an example to any succeeding work. Until 1493, to the aforementioned section of Dürr-i Meknûn by Ahmed Bircan (d. after 1465) can be added Avni’s poems on Galata in his Dîvân, Ahmed Paşa’s qasida11 written regarding the construction of the Old Palace (861/1457), Aynî’s murabba composed of seven stanzas, Cem Sa’dîsi’s eulogy, Antepli İbrahim b. Bâlî’s12 Hikmetnâme, which he completed in 1488, and the sections on Istanbul written during the same time by Kıvamî (d. after 1512) in his Fetihnâme. It is not known when Ahmed Bîcân completed Dürr-i Meknûn, however it is accepted that the work was completed after the conquest. As mentioned in the first footnote, the Istanbul themes in Dürr-i Meknûn were nurtured by the Arab and Byzantine sources that existed before it, and later, one can see that the foundation of Hagia Sophia and Istanbul, as well as the amulets and charms of Istanbul, especially in the texts in the Anonim Tevârih-i Âl-i Osmân, Gelibolulu Âlî’s (d. 1600) Künhü’l-ahbâr, and Evliyâ Çelebi’s (d. after 1687) Seyâhatnâme’s first volume, have become sources to many themes and legends. It is possible to come across sayings, such as in the quote provided below taken from Dürr-i Meknûn, in other forms, or in a changed fashion in different Ottoman texts.13
There is a great city in Rum called Kostantiniyye, also known as Islambol. In it there are wondrous buildings and amulets. There is a huge church, and a square beside it. In the square there used to be a pillar with a mirror on it that showed the surroundings. If an enemy were to approach the city via sea or land, the mirror would make them seen immediately. There was another pillar in the square with a drum on it. Anyone, who had lost someone, a relative or someone close, would come and hit this drum once. If the lost person were still alive, sounds would raise from the drum, but if the person were dead, even if they were to hit it a thousand times, no noise would come from the drum. There was also a pillar made of one piece of stone. The stone was placed on a bronze structure that had four sides. People had written things on the stone in various scriptures. The scriptures were in Assyrian and/or Syriac, and fortune-tellers had written the names of the leaders and prophets who have already come or will come, as well as the names of those who will lead the city. At the same time, on the bottom of the pillar was carved a hand. This hand was an amulet and whoever came to the city for the purpose of commerce would first bring their goods to this hand. The hand would release its palm, and after placing the money’s worth inside of the palm, the hand would close up again. There were three bronze intertwined pillars shaped as snakes. Each of their heads came out of separate points, and the structure was 1 arşın (75.8 cm) tall. It is rumored that the snake is tied here with an amulet. It would not bite anyone, even if it did, it would not hurt. It is said there are many amulets around this city, some full, some empty, some hidden and of which no one knows. One amulet made by Yanku bin Medyan is said to be placed between the two seas.14
The qasida titled “Kasîde Der-Medh-i Kasr-ı Mehemmed Hân” by Ahmed Paşa is in the position of being an exemplar poem with its couplet giving a date to the construction of the building and its admiration for the buildings, it also contained descriptive features of constructions used in Iranian and Ottoman literature that were far-from reality and evoked admiration in readers’ minds:
The miniaturist drew such a beautiful cypress on the (palace) wall that it could be seen equal only to the Tuba-tree in Heaven. If the Tuba-tree were not upside down in Heaven (in images of Heaven this tree is portrayed as upside down) the cypress in your garden would not have been this beautiful15 (couplets 28-29).
The last verse of the qasida of Ahmed Paşa according to the ebced (chronogram) calculation adds to the number 861, and this points to the construction date of the building Mehmed II ordered, which would be named the Old Palace (Sarây-ı Atîk) after the construction of the Topkapı Palace was completed. Currently, the Istanbul University Rectory and few of the departments are located in the building (1456-57).16
Although it has not been possible to determine the exact date Aynî completed his murabba, it is assumed he wrote it after the construction of the Old Palace (1456-57). In his poetry by citing Ali b. Abu Talib, and his sword called Zülfikar, and Khaybar, he emphasizes Mehmed II’s warrior side and his conquest of Istanbul; from this, one can conclude that the effects of the conquest had been continuing and not much time had passed since the conquest. Besides, the city’s name was not widely used as “İstanbul, İslâmbol” as of yet, so the city of Constantinople was mentioned as şehr-i Kostantin (Constantinople) by scholars and in the literature.
Cem Sa’dîsi wrote his qasida titled “Der-Medh-i Kostantiniyye min Kelâm-ı Sa‘dî-i Cem”, of which the title was later added by someone else, for Bâyezîd II.17 In 1918, M. Fuad Köprülü, without citing the source where he took the poems, published part of the eulogy, which originally consisted of 29 couplets; he selected and published 10 couplets out of the 14 that were on Istanbul.18 This is why, when citing Köprülü’s collection or reviews of poems on Istanbul, this poem is taken as 10 couplets. Sa‘dî, who was so close to Cem Sultan that he took part of his name as his own, at a date that cannot be determined, wrote this qasida, and made his personal story part of his Istanbul narrative. It is not yet known whether the qasida written by Cem Sa‘dîsi, who had clandestinely arrived at Istanbul and was killed during the first half of the 1490s, ever reached Bayezid II. Because of his personal experience, he describes Istanbul as the place where justice comes true, and he does this through a character, Anoushirvan, who is known for justice, in Ferdowsi’s well-known Shahnama.
According to Saadi’s narrative, Istanbul, with its architecture, buildings, geography, weather, water, and population is the city of abundance. Bayezid II is at the center of all the compliments. He states, “in the tower in the garden of the sultanate palace sits the animal of the Leo sign, and he, he sits like the sun. The wall of Anoushirvan’s house of justice and the chain of justice within the city is the sultan’s own convent and divan,” … “one would not be surprised if this city were to be called the sultan of the cities, because the sultan in this city is known as the shah of all sultans.”19
The knowledge in Hikmetnâme as to İbrahim İbn Bali, who came to Istanbul and met with Bayezid II, as the messenger of the Mamluk sultan Qaitbay, points to the author’s own personal experiences when he writes about Istanbul. The Istanbul part of this work, which was completed in 1488, is important to note, since it represents the first work on the Ottoman Istanbul, to be written by a Muslim who was not a citizen of the Ottoman Istanbul. Bâlî, along with his observations, adds the themes of Istanbul (the legendary way the city was built, its amulets etc.) that exist in Arab sources and the oral culture.
Kıvâmî, in Fetihnâme, which he completed in 1488 (hj. 893) and presented to Bayezid II, mostly narrated Fatih’s campaigns and conquests.20 He wrote about how Istanbul was built, the construction of Hagia Sophia, the campaigns of the Arabs to Istanbul, Fatih’s conquest of Istanbul, and the zoning planning Fatih undertook following the conquest in a mixed style of poetry and prose. Often, at the beginning of the parts he wrote in prose, in order for the style to be more artistic and for them to stay better in one’s mind, he added poetry. For example:
I will write of he who has fist built the Constantinople wondrous / of he who has rendered the city flawless by building his fortress.
I will write too, of those who have led the Constantinople/ of those who have led, until the sultan of the world conquered the city (p. 108)
If one is to look at the common features of the themes in the texts exhibited above, the following are revealed:
1. The City's Legendary Building and the Construction of Hagia Sophia: As aforementioned, this theme takes place in Ahmed Bican’s Dürr-i Meknûn, İbrahim İbn Bali’s Hikmetnâme, and Kıvami’s Fetihnâme, and these themes that are nurtured by Arab and Byzantine sources hold quite an important place in the literature on the Istanbul of the Ottoman era. The legendary manner in which the city was built is described in Hikmetname as follows:
2. The Beauty of the City: The line “Revnakı bu kâ’inatun şehr-i Kostantin’dedür” is repeated in Ayni’s murabba, meaning “the beauty/ ornament of this world is in Constantinople”, and these lines praise not only the geographical beauty of the city but also the manmade ones (buildings). In the third line of the first bend (stanza) it reads “Bu haber kim söylenür hem zâhir ü bâtındadur” pointing to how this feature of Istanbul is mentioned everywhere. Not only people but also angels cite the same line (2nd stanza). What is mentioned here is the oral and scholarly transfer of the perception of Istanbul throughout world, and it is not a mere indication of lived experience.
3. The Beauties in the City:
It is absolutely indicated that the city is full of beautiful people. Aynî states the city is full of heavenly men and women and it is Sultan Mehmed who accomplished this (7th stanza). Cem Sa‘dîsi, as well, indicates Istanbul is known as the treasury of all beauties in the world. He states Egypt is described as being the most intellectual place in the world, however, Istanbul is able to match Egypt with all his beauties:23
4. Its Similarity to Paradise:
To be found similar to paradise is one of the greatest compliments to a city. This is why the similarities Istanbul has with paradise is emphasized, considering its beauty, its buildings, vines, and the beauty of the people living in the city.
If there is paradise on earth it is here/ (Because it resembles Heaven) Istanbul is protected by the angels, and guarded by Rıdvan, the guard of Heaven (Cem Sa‘dîsi)
5. The conquest of the City and Praising Mehmed II:
Ayni emphasizes that Sultan Mehmed swung his sword as did the Ali b. Ebi Talib, and took seven countries (regions) (2nd stanza). In Hikmetname, under the first two titles, the conditions of the city before the Muslims came, how the city was finally conquered, and how it was converted into a Muslim city are explained, and Fatih is praised (verses 2823-2845). İbn Bali emphasized how important the conquest was for the Muslims and praised Fatih for this.
This city was in the hands of the non-Muslim/ The Muslim would not enter
He who was named Sultan Mehmed Han Gazi/ the emir of all Muslims The Sultan Gazi,
From the time he attached the sword of religion to his waist/ he killed he who is not Muslim24
6. The Beauty of the Mosques:
According to Ayni (3rd stanza), the mosques of Istanbul set an example for the world. Each Friday, the gathering places of these mosques are blessed with his hafızs, and each corner is filled with the most wise men of the world.
7. The Sultan Mosque:
According to Cem Sa‘dîsi, the highest level of Heaven envies this mosque, because its dome reaches to the sky, and its pillars stretch out to the ninth Heaven. The mosque mentioned here must be the Fatih Mosque located in the Fatih Külliye of which the construction was completed in 1470.
8. Hagia Sophia:
İbni Bali, in Hikmetname, praises enviously the Hagia Sophia under the title “Fî-Sıfat-ı Ayasofiya” as to its architecture, greatness, and the materials used for its construction (verses 2846-2873). He does not neglect to mention it was converted into a mosque (verses 2871-2873):
They call that place Hagia Sophia/ Can tell of its beauty no word or phrase
Those who roamed the seven regions of the world/ Those who roamed from West to East
Do not speak of a beauty similar / No builder has built a place so similar
Sultan Mehmed, son of Osman / Into a great mosque he turned this place
He had a mihrab and a minaret made / Hence was revealed Islam
Cem Sa‘dîsi, by associating Hagia Sophia with Mescid-i Aksa, states the Hagia Sophia is at the same level as Mescid-i Aksa, which was one of the most sacred temples of the Islam world during the time of Bayezid II.
9. The Beauty of the Buildings/Architecture: According to Cem Sa‘disi, the Mânî Temples envy the great gardens, the prayer areas with pillars, and the paintings/ statues that exist in all churches. The imarets in the city are all made of marble, and although the world is mortal, these imarets are not and will last until Judgment Day.
10. The Bezzâzlar Market/Bazaar:
Cem Sa‘disi emphasizes the markets are crowded with people, and the most beautiful things, as beautiful as the Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) are sold in the Bezzâzlar Bazaar.
11. The Hamams (Turkish Baths):
İbn Bâlî, in Hikmetname, while narrating Mehmed II’s palace also praises the hamams. He states the hamams are crowded with people.
12. The City Walls:
In Hikmetname, in order to exhibit how great the walls are the following verse takes place:
The walls and fronts are so great in this big city/ they are full with Christians completely (verse 2821)
13. The Hippodrome:
In Hikmetname, İbn Bali separates the topic of the hippodrome (the Sultanahmet square today) and narrates extensively Dikilitaş and Yılanlı Sütun (Yılanlı Pillar) along with their legends (verses 2931-2964). Cem Sa’disi only briefly describes the place by stating it is the square of happiness.
14. The Pavilions/Palaces:
İbni Bali, in Hikmetname, narrates sumptuously and extensively the architecture, the stones used, the engravings, and the garden and pool of the palace Sultan Mehmed had made (verses 2874-2916). Ayni indicates Sultan Mehmed upon settling there had made great pavilions and turned the city into paradise by filling it with beauties (7th stanza). It is obvious Ayni speaks of the Old Palace and İbn Bali of the Topkapı Palace.
As far as known the first person to ever write about Galata in a literary text is Fatih who wrote poems under the penname Avni. Avni wrote two odes and one müfred (couplet) in which he mentions Galata.25 If one is to look at every three verses and the odes of Avni, it can be noticed that Galata and Istanbul are not seen as a part of one another, and even if symbolically, it is hinted that they both have separate leaders. Galata is where the Christians lived, where there were beauties and it is where one could consume alcohol, so it is regarded as the opposite of what Istanbul represents. Ayni recommends to cross the sea for sightseeing and to go to the city of Galata where one can drink with the beauties, which he describes as a way to lengthen one’s life (4th stanza). It can be understood that the separation between Galata and Istanbul is a separation that has been made since the Byzantine times. İbn Battuta, in Seyahatname, divides the city into two regions, naming the one region where the Latin originated people live as Galata, and the other as Istanbul.26
Ayni emphasizes in the 5th stanza that the moon would let its light fall onto the earth to grow daffodils, and each corner was covered with grass.
17. The Air, Water:
According to Cem Sa‘disi the fruits smelled like amber because of the weather, the water would refresh the soul like wine, the wines smelled like basil, and the rose color wines were so red that they were in the color of the blood of doves. The weather and the water would add life to life.
Cem Sa‘disi states it is an advantage that the city is surrounded by seas on its three sides.
19. The Affluent Population:
Cem Sa‘disi states the crowd in a city is an indication of the richness of the city, and as he praises the city for being surrounded by seas like oceans on its three sides, he emphasizes the city itself is an ocean of people.
The texts and themes discussed above show Istanbul was becoming the capital of the Ottoman State and the perception of an imperial city was coming into existence. However, these texts were short and mostly written to serve other purposes, as well, the city’s architectural construction had not been completed and settlement had not completely happened yet, so the following themes do not take place in the texts: Madrasas, schools, Eyüp, the Bosphorus and its beaches, cemeteries, the areas outside of the palace garden and recreational areas, few structures left from Byzantine times, areas outside of the palace or mosques and prayer areas, and the mosque of which the name was given previously except for Hagia Sophia.
Kıvami, in Fetihnâme, explains in poetry and prose everything27 Mehmed II did in order to turn Istanbul into a city that has no match in the world. As a prestigious Ottoman figure, Kıvami draws attention to his descriptions stating they are of Mehmed II’s envisagement as emperor and descriptions of the ideal, and they do not reflect his own personal experiences. This separates him and his work from Tacîzade and Hevesnâme, written only five years after his work (1493), which will be discussed further below.
Istanbul as the Place of Desire and Longing, Disappointment and Evil
Istanbul is also the place where many members of the Ottoman leading class, who were poets and writers, realized their personal desires and expectations. This is why many poets wrote critiques to Istanbul, just as they did praises, representing their personal agenda. In cases where the poets and writers were not able to realize their expectations or desires, it is seen that they took on a criticizing point of view towards the city and especially towards the people of the city. Two poems that are clearly written in different periods of time by Gelibolulu Âlî (d. 1600) can be presented as examples to this. Âlî, in one of the copies of the Dîvân uses the title “Der-Menkabet-i Mahrûse-i ‘Aliyye/Stories on the Well-protected city” and in another he uses, “Kasîde Der-Vasf-ı İstanbul/Qasidah on Istanbul’s Descriptions” for an 18-couplet poem in which he states he will talk about the good things in Istanbul.28 As well, with the repetition rhyme “deryâsı” that he chose to use he hints there are a lot of the things he will be talking about in Istanbul. In the first couplet he speaks of the crowd of Istanbul, but this crowd is one that knows how to see, in other words, a competent crowd. In the second couplet he describes Istanbul as “Ümm-i Dünyâ/The mother of the world”. As can be seen in the verses below, Âlî, as an indication of the richness of Istanbul, points to a crowd of elite people (ulema, fuzela, şuara and ukala) among whom he himself is positioned as well, the ships at the harbor, the crowd, the joy, and the precious stones in the bazaar.
In this city, savants, virtuous men, poets, there are many/ In this city abundant with the virtuous and skilled, there are as many minds as much as the sea
As the world’s sultan climbs his horse and goes to the Friday prayer/ the city becomes a source of beauty and life for those who know how to see
For the ships that depart from the Mediterranean and Black sea/ looks the harbor as the grandest haven
A flood of people can be seen from all the streets of the bazaar/ enthusiastic and lively is the city center and its sea
The smart goldsmith said Grand Bazaar was the real place for bazaars/ as it is a sea of pearls and a mine of gems, this gold sea29
The year Âlî wrote this eulogy cannot be determined as of yet, but it can be seen that his expectations are met in Istanbul.
The next poem to discuss is a letter Âlî sent Cigalzade Sinan Paşa (d. 1605), consisting of 78 couplets from which have been chosen the verses between 14-65.30 It can be understood that the poem was written around 1596, Âlî was unemployed, and had become pessimistic, because he had not yet received any good results from the applications he sent out to be appointed. Considering his position, it could not be expected he praise Istanbul. Just as in the poem discussed previously, he chooses a repetition rhyme, “bol”, in order to refer to the affluence in Istanbul, however this time to emphasize the disadvantages. As can be seen in the couplets provided below, Âlî criticizes many aspects of Istanbul such as famine, poverty, the plague, and diseases, as well, there are no competent doctors in the hospitals to treat people, there is cruelty that brings upon tears, and there is no hope for justice among the public.
Istanbul’s wine feasts have remained hors d’oeuvre-less and empty/ as the sinners are plenty
The lack of food and goods killed all its people/ objects of all kinds are rare, but Istanbul’s plague exists widely
In its hospital there are no educated doctors/ there are many who have fallen very ill, or have troubles
Those who shed tears because of the cruelties they endured are numerous/ but can be heard in the public the noise of justice
It does not matter if you spend all your income on these people, it has no value, no gratefulness/ Promises are lies in Istanbul, the ungrateful are numerous
As can be noticed, Âlî, in line with his personal expectancies, paints two opposite Istanbul pictures.31
Veysî (d. 1627-28) who can be considered a contemporary of Âlî has a eulogy in which he criticizes Istanbul, or more correctly, he criticizes comparatively the leading class of Istanbul.32 Veysî, in the first couplet addresses directly the people of Istanbul, and reminds them that God can unexpectedly annihilate them one day with anger:
Behold, the people of Istanbul, think deeply and you will see/ One day, unexpectedly you will be annihilated, as God is angry
In the seventeenth couplet he blames the people of Istanbul once more and states he fears something bad will happen to them:
The cruelty and evil of Istanbul has exceeded the
limits/ For, I fear unexpected damnation is near
Veysî, in sixty seven verses, compiles negative aspects such as the injustice in Istanbul, the evil, the illiterate and incompetent leaders, bribery, and so on, and at the same time he reminds the people of Istanbul, in an almost threatening tone, the past tribes (e.g. the Ad Tribe) that strayed into the wrong path with a common consciousness, and were annihilated by God.
When one looks at the lives of Âlî and Veysî, it can be seen they were not at the center (in Istanbul) and in the positions in which they wanted to be. As soon as the power of the managers they dealt with or of the networking in which they were involved was lost, their positions became at risk. They both preferred to talk about their situations, especially by making use of Istanbul, via poetry. Just as Âlî and Veysî, many poets and writers have used Istanbul as a subject in such manner by writing direct poems about the city or by placing it into one or more verses.33
Istanbul as the Setting of the Narration
Tacîzade Cafer Çelebi’s Hevesnâme (written in 899/1493), a story written in the masnavi style, is the first example of narrations in which was described Istanbul’s architecture, geography, and cultural and social structure. Cafer Çelebi, because his father Tacî Bey (d. 1485?) was a member of the Ottoman leading class, was well educated, and he completed his education in prominent cities such as Amasya, Bursa, and Istanbul. It can be stated that the children of the leading elites who were born after the conquest had a different perception of Istanbul compared to the prior generation, since the city had been changing and developing in every aspect. Istanbul, for Cafer Çelebi who was born in 1452, was the city of memories and the city where he had been educated. This is why, when he narrates Istanbul in Hevesnâme,, he speaks of the places he has visited, and things he has seen, rather than using a strictly narrative vocabulary. The Istanbul narrative in Hevesnâme, narrated in the sergüzeştnâme style, which is a style in which one speaks of personal experiences, became a model for similar texts written after it.
All themes, narratives, and images of Istanbul, which were mentioned previously as part of the early era texts, also exist in Hevesnâme. In addition, the places and subjects, which were earlier pointed out as missing, can be found in Hevesnâme. The places, themes and narratives that were not in the other texts but can be found in Hevesnâme are as follows:
1. Yedikule: It is full of goods and treasures, the abundance of goods kept in the depot here are compared to Karun’s treasures,
2. Eyüp: Throughout Eyüp, there are rose gardens such that İrem (the garden of Eden) envies each of these rose gardens. The water is so beautiful that even the river of life would want to drink it.
3. Kağıthane: Tacîzade narrates Kağıthane by describing the vines, gardens, and recreational areas along with the river that runs through it and its altitude, and not only as a place to which he would go with his friends to have fun when he was a madrasa student.
4. Fatih Mosque: In 61 verses, he describes in detail the glory of the architecture of the Fatih Mosque, and the outstanding materials used in its construction. He first states the Fatih Mosque was built in order to thank God for taking Istanbul from the hands of the enemy, then he describes the height of its dome, along with its arch and porticos, the engravings on the door and walls, the engravings on the windows, its mihrab (altar) and minbar (pulpit), the gathering place of the sultan and muezzin, the candles, the Qorans in the mosque on which the most prestigious calligraphers have worked, and the chandelier, following, he praises the courtyard, minaret, and social complex.
5. Fatih Mausoleum: After he narrates the virtues of Mehmed II, he states, his mausoleum was built after his death by his son Bayezid who ascended the throne. He notes that there was a rose garden around the mausoleum, the sarcophagus was made of marble and it was covered with red material with brocade embroideries, and that his sword was hanging next to the sarcophagus, however, these details do not exist at present, for the mausoleum was rebuilt after the 1766 earthquake.
6. Madrasa: After having described there were eight great madrasas around the mosque, he states each madrasa had prestigious scholars; then he explains why they were well known and gives their names.
7. Imarets: The architecture of the imarets such as soup-kitchens and recovery areas that came after the madrasas around the mosque in the Fatih Social Complex are usually not described but the foods made and distributed in such places and the abundance of foods are narrated. By doing so, the sultan’s richness, generosity, and philanthropy are emphasized.
8. Darüşşifa (Hospital): Darüşşifa, which was part of the Fatih Complex, is not usually described in an architectural manner; rather, its power to heal patients and spread remedies is narrated.
The abovementioned eight features show that since the 1490s Istanbul had become a capital to the empire, and it was situated as an imperial city in the perception of Ottoman subjects. One can see that most components representing this perception started to take place in written texts.
Masnavis written after Hevesnâme in which Istanbul is the location can be compiled as such: Zaîfî (d. after 1557), in Kitâb-ı Sergüzeşt-i Za‘îfî, which he wrote in 1543, is written in the form of masnavi, however, there are parts in it that are in prose. In this work, he speaks of Istanbul (within the walls), Fatih, Hagia Sophia, the harbor, Galata, Eyüp, one garden (it is not known which one), Çekmece, and the Madrasa of Sahn-ı Semân.34 What attracts attention in Zaîfî’s Istanbul narrative is that when the hero comes from Skopje to Istanbul suffering from a broken heart, he expresses his admiration under the title “Der-Sitâyiş-i Şehr-i İstanbûl/Encomium of the city of İstanbul” artistically in prose.35 Then, he narrates in the same style, the Fatih Külliye (Mosque, imaret, hospital, madrasa), Hagia Sophia, the harbor, and Galata under separate titles. The vocabulary used in metaphors, allusions, and images is common with that of the poems in few instances. For example:
Upon entrance through the gates of the city he saw wondrous palaces of which the rooftops reached the sky and marvelous pavilions that stretched out from the ground level to the highest levels of the sky. There were bazaars everywhere, it was full of memories left from the past at each corner, and the small shops exhibited gems such as garnet and ruby. In this city of great darkness and a crowd of people, where there is a treasure of valuable gems and a feast with various foods, where people from many different nationalities gather, in this capital city of fair sultans, there are seven hills…
Zaîfî’s main emphasis is on the city’s richness; he points to the many shops, the abundance of valuable goods and gems in these shops, the fashionable and expensive clothing people wear, the glory of the Fatih Külliye and the quality of materials used, the crowd in which there are four different sects and seventy two spoken languages, and the strange ornaments and bizarre creatures.36 On the one hand Zaîfî talks of the beauty of the city and its richness, on the other, he complains about losing the inheritance left to him from his father while trying to do commerce. This way, one can read about the experiences of someone who was trying to do commerce in Istanbul prior to 1543.37
Taşlıcalı Yahya Bey (d. 1582) in Şâh u Gedâ, which is one of the masnavis that compose Hamse, praises Istanbul’s geographical situation, Yedikule, Hagia Sophia, and the hippodrome by using the vocabulary and images of similar texts.38
This is a well-done description of the Hagia Sophia, which is the twin of el- Aqsa Mosque.
In the city there is, as high as the sky/ a place to which there is no equal place
The name it deserves is the Hagia Sophia/ There is no other such beautiful place
Just as a sheikh that people visit so often/ like water flowing, come all people to this place
Istanbul is one of the cities in Ebkâr-ı Efkâr, which is a masnavi on love that has emerged recently by Fikrî Çelebi.39 The masnavi is composed of 1582 verses and it speaks of Istanbul in couplets 861-921. The hero that comes to Istanbul from Edirne starts to talk about the places and features that appeal to him. The things narrated here belong mostly the touristic Istanbul that anyone coming from the rural areas would visit during the second half of the sixteenth century. First, with the verse “Şehr dime ulu vilâyetdür / Sâhib-i cezbe vü kerâmetdür = Do not see only this city as a city, for it is a big city/ it has amulets and wonders” he talks of the greatness and sacredness of the city. He continues to praise by stating there is non other like Istanbul and it is the place for the Ottoman throne. Although briefly, he speaks of the hills and the islands, which have not been narrated in other texts of this kind: “Nite kim hâl-ı ‘ârız-ı dilber / Rûy-ı deryâda görinür Adalar= Just like a beauty mark on a beautiful persons cheek/ one sees the islands on the sea.” He talks of the crowd in the mosques and the many and high domes, Yedikule, the city walls, the towers, the people guarding the towers, the Topkapı Palace, the hippodrome, the gardens in the square, the beautiful people roaming around in these gardens, and how he had to go from mosque to mosque to find the beauty for which he was looking. He devotes a much wider space to write about the Hagia Sophia to which he gives special importance among all mosques he has visited, and apart from praising its architecture, he also explains the symbols attributed to this mosque in the era, e.g. he states if a poor person cannot make pilgrimage to the Ka’ba, he can come here and this will be accepted as his pilgrimage (Ka‘beye varıbilmeyen fukara / Varmış olur ana gelürse sana). The one particular and unique aspect seen in Fikrî Çelebi’s narrative, which cannot be found elsewhere, is the fountain he mentions, which is located on the way to the bazaar upon leaving the Hagia Sophia.40 For the first time a fountain is mentioned as a place where people gather and meet. Since the time of Fatih, many public fountains have been constructed, however, the texts generally emphasize the usefulness of these fountains are to meet the need for water. According to Fikrî’s narrative, the location of the fountain is perfect, it is like the Kawthar of the Paradise, and it has water running from many directions; this shows that the fountain was constructed to have few sides. Delicious water flows from its curves, the surrounding area is not only green but also full of roses, and around it are seated people, each dressed better that the other. The one beauty for which he longs is among these beautiful people.
As soon as I left the mosque/ I reached the bazaar
To a place where there was a beautiful fountain led my road/ To a quite beautiful place led my road
It would be just to say the fountain was the Pond of Abundance (The Kawthar)/ Were as the eyes (taps) of the fountains in Heaven its taps
The water flowing from the fountains were the same as that of the sabil fountains / It flowed to the brim from its curls
Beside the fountain, across from it scattered / sat fairies angel faced
The setting of events, in the Sâkînâme, Nefhatü’l-Ezhâr, and Heft-Hvân masnavis, which take place in Hamse written in 1627-1626 by Nev‘îzade Atâyî’nin (d. 1635-36), is Istanbul, especially the Hisarlar (the citadels on each side of the Bosporus) area on the Bosporus. Kortantamer41 argues that the reason Atâyî chose such areas, especially Anadoluhisarı and its surroundings, is because he is from Anadoluhisarı. Along with such information provided in these masnavis, Göksu, Alemdağı, Akbaba Türbesi, Yuşa Tepesi, Rumelihisarı and its surroundings, and the entertainment that takes place on the Bosporus are also mentioned in the narratives. The author describes in detail both of the Hisar areas, and then he states that both of the areas have their own fans and talks of how they compare the two areas, as in a debate. He discusses who is right and for which reason, then he emphasizes that both areas are equally beautiful.42
It should be noted that the Istanbul narrative in Atâyî’s Hamse is important from two aspects. First, it is a leading example to Ottoman literary texts on the Bosphorus and surroundings written since the early seventeenth century;43 second, the copies of Hamse that were miniaturized in the eighteenth century contribute to the visual drawings of Istanbul as a capital in that century.44
The texts mentioned above are in the fiction category, however, in almost all of the texts under the title Sûrnâme the setting is Istanbul, thus it is necessary to briefly discuss them.45 The texts under Sûrnâme narrates the weddings of the daughters of the sultans, and the circumcision ceremonies of the sons of the sultans, in poetry or prose, or in prosimetrum, and the first examples to such texts are the ones Gelibolulu ‘Âlî and İntizâmî wrote about the 1582 dated circumcision ceremony of Mehmed III who is the son of Murad III. The latest Sûrnâme example is Nâfî’s Sûrnâme‑i Selâtîn, and it is about the 1858 dated wedding of Sultan Abdülmecid’s daughter Cemîle Sultan with Mahmud Paşa, and his other daughter Münire Sultan with İlhami Paşa who was the son of the governor of Egypt, Abbas Paşa.46 Nineteen separate works have been determined of such genre where the setting of the ceremonies is Istanbul in almost all of them. In such works one can read about the places where the ceremonies were held, the life styles of the Ottoman palace and society, the way people lived on certain days, what they did for fun and entertainment, clothing, ceremonies, music, games and ways of entertainment, utensils used for feasting, and the traditions in the era. Sûrnâme especially with its miniatures provides a picture of Istanbul as it contains written texts as well as drawings of Istanbul, e.g. the Sûrnâme composed of miniatures made by Nakkaş Osmân of the circumcision ceremony of Murad III’s son Mehmed III, which lasted fifty-five days and fifty-five nights, and the Sûrnâme of Seyyid Vehbî of which the miniatures were made by well- known Nakkaş Levnî (d. 1732) of the circumcision ceremony of Ahmed III’s sons Süleyman, Mustafa, Mehmed, and Bayezid, which lasted fifteen days in 1720, and of the weddings of Mustafa II’s daughter Ayşe Sultan with Eğriboz guard İbrahim Paşa, and Emetullah Sultan with Sirke Osman Paşa in 1719.
Books and Poems with the Theme Istanbul (Chronogrammatic Verses, Eulogies, and Odes)
The texts previously mentioned, which are large in size, did not take Istanbul as the focus point, and they contained themes, narratives, or images of Istanbul as part of the main theme. Istanbul stands at the center of the texts in various aspects, which will be shown below.47 In addition, there are various types of poems of which the theme is Istanbul, and although they are shorter in length, they contain valuable data and deserve to be discussed, however, it will not be possible to mention all of them here.
1. Risâle-i Evsâf-ı İstanbul: Evsâf-ı İstanbul, which was first written by Latîfî (d. 1582) in 1524 and then presented to Murad III with a new foreword written in 1574, is unique with its subject and genre.48 It is composed of a preface, six chapters (fasıl), and an epilogue, and it is written in a poetry- prose mixed style. It conveys all knowledge an educated Ottoman would know about Istanbul until 1524, in addition, the descriptions show Istanbul as the capital of the empire, hinting the perception of Istanbul from the eyes of the author himself as well as his contemporaries. It can be said each subject the author narrates, and points to which he draws attention, are almost a composition of all of the texts, themes, narratives and perceptions mentioned earlier. Only Tahtakale and Tophane he describes in the sixth chapter do not exist in any other texts. This shows that these areas have become living spaces for Ottoman literates at a relatively later date.
2. The first volume of Seyâhatnâme: Evliya Çelebi devoted the first volume of Seyâhatnâme to Istanbul. As can be predicted, the narratives in this volume contain almost everything about Istanbul. There are many studies, in the form of books and articles, which have been conducted, and continue to be conducted, on the various aspects of such rich content.49 Among such studies can be found John Freely’s Evliyâ Çelebi’nin İstanbul’u in which there are chapters such as “Evliyâ’nın Rüyası/The dream of Evliyâ”, “Tılsımlar/The amulets of the city”, “Kostantinopolis’in Fethi/ The conquest of Costantinople”, “Topkapı Sarayı/Topkapı Palace”, “Sultan Türbeleri/The Tombs of Sultans”, “Esnaf Loncaları/The guilds of craftsman”, “Evliyalar ve Mezarlıklar/ Saints and Cemeteries”, and “Varoşlar/ Suburbs of the city” that give clues as to the narratives written by Evliya.50
3. The Şehrengîz: As widely known, the şehrengîz books are the texts in which the beauty and beauties of a city are described in a poetic manner. Recent studies show that 79 of such works have been found in Ottoman literature.5114 of these texts are about Istanbul, and the şehrengîz of Kâtib, Nüvîsî (d. 1563), Ahmed Cemalî (d. 1583), Taşlıcalı Yahya (d. 1582), Fakîrî (d. sixteenth century), Fikrî Çelebi,52 Kıyasî (d. sixteenth century.), Safî (d. sixteenth century.), Sûfî, Veysî Üveys (d. 1628), Tab‘î İsmail (d. 1636?) along with 1 şehrengîz of which the author is not known carry the title Şehrengîz-i İstanbul. The works are distinguished from one another in that Azîzî’s (d. 1585) work carries two titles, which are Şehrengîz-i İstanbul Der-Hûbân-ı Zenân and Nigârnâme-i Zevk-âmîz Der-Uslûb-ı Şehrengîz, Sâfî writes in Persian, and Lebîbî’s work has the title Şehrengîz-i Lebîbî Cüvânân-ı Ebî Eyyûb-ı Ensârî and it focuses on only one district of Istanbul. The Istanbul şehrengîz praise Istanbul’s weather, water, natural beauty, and the popular architecture and districts constructed in the era in which they were written, they are in the praising form, and the vocabulary, stylistics, and metaphors used in them show similarities with those used in other texts of the era, e.g. one of the first şehrengîz about Istanbul to be determined is that of Kâtib, written in 1513 (hj. 919), in which is stated:53
Sultan Mehmed conquered it/ It is full of the glory of Muhammad the Prophet
There is a great mosque named Hagia Sophia/ Some say rumors that its name is Asafiye
It is impossible to describe its uniqueness / For in this world the is no other building with any similarness
The Sultan had built a great mosque in the city/ The engravings are of such beauty, the Poem (mani) never has written of its similarity
4. Risâle-i Garîbe: It is not known exactly when Risâle-i Garîbe, which was first introduced to academia by Hayati Develi in 1997, was written, however, it is estimated that it was written in the seventeenth century.54 This work is very important in that it carries information enabling one to approach the seventeenth century Istanbul centered Ottoman world from different perspectives. Thus far, this text is unique, and it draws attention to its emphasis on the relationship people formed with the city, especially those who are not among the leading class, and on the features of several districts that had not been narrated before. The text narrates the Istanbul of those who have been let down and not the Istanbul of the privileged, and from a moral perspective, it contains a critique of the attitude the Istanbulites have while facing life: “ … and in Eyüp, during the Feast of Sacrifice, there are ravens tearing to pieces the meat distributed, the gipsies of Eyüp learning to sing songs, those who hope to cure the Balat Jews, those who paint inside of their boats with stars for lechery, those who get on the ferry from the Ahır Gate and smoke their cigarettes before they pass the Sinan Paşa mansion, the muleteers at the Çatladı Kapı (Gate) that declaw their draught animals, the hamals that fight over whose turn it is to carry, the greengrocers at Kumkapı that wear cassocks closed up until their necks because they fear the superintendents, … and the people who, before dawn on Saturday, go to the Kemâlpaşazâde Mausoleum located outside of Edirnekapı to make wishes, after roaming the cemeteries, … the devil’s clowns and town criers on behalf of those have decided they will have a wedding, go to first Avratpazarı, then roam around Çukur Hamam and Hazret-i Eyyub four times in order to make people know about the wedding and to invite them, and they say “I invite you to the wedding, may the wedding be as crowded as the entertainment venues…”55
5. İstanbulnâme: This work, which was written in 1720) by Rûhî, has lately been brought to light.56 The poet Rûhî’s identity cannot be determined for sure, but it is understood that he was born and raised close to Burgaz, which is within the boundaries of Bulgaria today, and that he started his journey by taking a ship from Burgaz with the desire of coming to Istanbul. He entered Istanbul on ship through the Bosporus, and he lists the Bosporus districts, along with the common features of these districts, from Rumelia to the Anatolian Lighthouse, which were places developing as settlement areas in those years. Then he talks of the attractive mosques of the city and the festivity preparations for the wedding ceremony that took place in 1720. Rûhî’s work is important in that it was written before Sevâhilnâme, which will be further discussed below, and instead of Galata, for the first time, it speaks of the Bosporus starting from its Black Sea entrance. As well, it provides the view of the 1720s Istanbul from the eyes of an educated Ottoman coming from the rural areas, and it lists the areas, which are known today as the touristic areas. In addition, the themes, vocabulary, and images are common with texts that reflect the admiration of Istanbul that those coming from the rural areas would have experienced:
Long time ago entered my heart/ the eagerness to desire Istanbul
It is such a city that beautifies one’s heart so elegant/ in the world there is no other similar
About Umuryeri I have not much to say / On your face the Anatolia soil you may apply
There is the garden of Şahcihan there/ in brief it is quite familiar
6. Sevâhilnâme / Sâhilnâme: This type of work was written for the first time by Mustafa Fennî Efendi (d. 1745), and after his death his work was named Sâhilnâme/Sevâhilnâme, which is a text57 in the form of masnavi. In this work, starting from Galata, the author narrates the districts one can reach via the sea route that are on the both sides of Boğaziçi.58 Parallel to this text, there are also the Sâhilnâme of İzzet Efendi (d. 1797-98) and the one of Dervîş Hilmî Dede of which a copy has not yet been located.59 Fennî Efendi, in his oeuvre composed of 63 couplets, emphasizes the geographical features in the common memory or the features of the communal life of the district he narrates, as can be seen in the example below. He often intentionally uses puns in the names of the districts. İzzet Efendi’s Sâhilnâme follows that of Fennî Efendi, parallel to his narration.60
Beloved, with the pain of your separation I cried/ the sea would seem as small waters beside the tears I shed
Yes, every attitude of the beloved made me sad/ so in Kandilli with a glass of wine the beloved I tricked (verses 44-45)
One can only envy the one who goes to Istavroz for entertainment with his beloved just as the new-year arrived
Those who live in Beylerbeyi are as the servants of the Sultan/ for those who live there are right-minded (verses 50-51).
7. Tevârih-i Manzûmes/ Chronogrammatic Verses and Eulogies:61 It would not be too far fetched to say the tevârîh-i manzumes,62 literally “histories in verse,” or chronogrammatic verses, are the main text group that have documented on a regular basis, and conveyed until today, first the Ottoman Istanbul’s architectural development, then its transformation, daily life, society, and all communal and political developments. It is in such chronogrammatic verses that one sees the representation of Istanbul and Istanbulites the most. There are over thousands of such texts, however, thus far they have not received the attention they merit, because of the indecisiveness of scholars as to the framework in which these texts should be examined. As well, the eulogies reflect Istanbul from many different aspects. In recent years, thanks to studies that take such texts as the focus point, various sides of Istanbul have been revealed from these texts.63
Among several poetic texts written on the eighteenth century Istanbul, the ones written by Nedîm (d.1730), who is identified with Istanbul via his life and his works, hold a very special and important place. Nedîm’s Dîvân is almost all about Istanbul, from beginning to end. Nedîm’s three verses are as follows:
It would only be just if the whole country of Iran was sacrificed in place of a single stone of the city of
Istanbul of which there can never be determined a value, and to which there is no other resemblance.
Istanbul is a unique pearl between two seas/ It would only be right to measure it with the sun that enlightens the earth
Istanbul is the center of blessings in its essence/ It is a garden of İrem (a garden in Heaven) of which the roses are fame, honor an noblesse
These verses are from his most well-known eulogy of Istanbul, which is accepted as the most beautiful eulogy after that of Cem Sa‘disi. This eulogy verbalizes the image of Istanbul, which had settled into the common memory starting with the first Turkish poems, with new utterances, and this has carried this poem, among all other Istanbul poems, to a canonical level. Tunca Kortantamer, the first to write detailed articles on the theme of Istanbul in Nedîm’s poetry, states:
“The main setting and its surroundings in Nedîm’s poems are Istanbul and its various districts. Nedîm has spoken of Sadâbâd many times, and he has used it as a setting where several events take place and many characters are animated. In addition, he uses neighborhoods, streets, squares, palaces, mansions, pavilions, houses, barracks, dockyards, baths, meyhanes (form of saloon), hans, bazaars, bedestens (covered shopping areas), madrasas, mosques, lodges, taps, public fountains, maksem (a structure that functions similarly to a water tower), gardens, recreation areas and places in which one can drink with company, and the environment itself as complementing elements.”64
This quote draws the framework of Nedîm’s poetry. Istanbul as the center of poetry carries importance for the poets of Nedîm’s era, and even for eighteenth century and later poets,65 but what distinguishes and brings forth Nedîm’s poems are the expression power he has and the Istanbul Turkish he uses. Istanbul takes place more intensively, and from more various perspectives, in the eulogies, odes, murabbas, songs, and history poems in the Dîvâns of eighteenth century poets, and this is closely related to the communal changes in the era.66
1 The Istanbul theme in the indigenous and translated Ottoman text prior to the conquest are generally from Arabic sources and are a separate field of study. Such themes have not disappeared after the conquest but continued to exist, being transformed, in various texts. As well, these themes constituted sources for important discussions on Mehmed II, the conquest, and Istanbul. Regarding such discussions and the Istanbul theme in earlier texts, as a detailed source and evaluation please refer to: Stefanos Yerasimos, Kostantiniye ve Ayasofya Efsaneleri, tr. Şirin Tekeli 2nd ed., İstanbul: İletişim, 1995; Feridun M. Emecen, Fetih ve Kıyamet, 1453: İstanbul’un Fethi ve Kıyamet Senaryoları, 4th ed., Istanbul: Timaş, 2012, especially pp. 23-62.
2 In this article, the limits of the concept “literary” have been considered relevant to the flexibility of the era’s “texts”, and due to limited space, texts that would not be considered as literary today have been referred to less. In this context, Dürr-i Meknûn has been taken among the first texts to mention Istanbul. It is also necessary to state that what is meant by “text” is not only books, but also eulogies or odes are considered texts in this article.
3 For Mehmed II’s odes and their translation into modern Turkish see: İskender Pala, Fatih’in Şiirleri, Drawings Süheyl Ünver, Istanbul: Klasik, 2003; Muhammet Nur Doğan, Fatih Divanı ve Şerhi: Metin, Nesre Çeviri ve Şerh, Istanbul: Eminönü Belediyesi, 2004.
4 Aynî’s identity has still not been determined, however in many sources the murabba is shown as belonging to Karamanlı Aynî (d. 1491-94?) who was one among the entourage of Cem Sultan. On the other hand, because this murabba is not in Karamanlı Aynî’s Dîvân, its chance of belonging to him is low. The first to mention this murabba is Sadettin Nüzhet Ergun and published only its six bends, in Türk şairleri, vol. 2, Istanbul, [n.d.]), on page 608. For the complete version of the poem see: Hatice Aynur, “Istanbul in Divan Poetry: 1453-1600,” Acta Viennensia Ottomanica, Akten des 13. CIEPO-Symposiums (Comité International des Études Pré-Ottomanes et Ottomanes) vom 21. bis 25. September 1998, edited by Markus Köhbach, Gisela Procházka-Eisl and Claudia Römer, Wien: Im Selbstverlag des Instituts Für Orientalistik, 1999, pp. 44-45.
5 Yeni Mecmûa, no. 46 (May 1918), pp. 387-388.
6 Istanbul: İstanbul Fethi Derneği, 1953.
7 The following can be given as examples to articles written in recent years: Zehra Toska, “Şairlerin İstanbul’u: Günümüzden Geçmişe Bir Bakış,” Journal of Turkish Studies = Türklük Bilgisi Araştırmaları: Hasibe Mazıoğlu Armağanı II, 1998, vol. 22, pp. 195-221; Kâzım Yetiş, “Klasik Dönem Edebiyatında İstanbul,” Kültürler Başkenti İstanbul, Istanbul: İstanbul 2010 Avrupa Kültür Başkenti Ajansı and Türk Kültürüne Hizmet Vakfı, 2010, pp. 288-297; İskender Pala, “Divan Edebiyatında İstanbul,” Tarih İçinde İstanbul Uluslararası Sempozyumu, 14-17 Aralık 2010: Bildiriler, ed. Davut Hut, Zekeriya Kurşun and Ahmet Kavas, Istanbul: İstanbul 2010 Avrupa Kültür Başkenti Ajansı, 2011, pp. 243-54; İskender Pala,, “İstanbul: Dizelerin ve Cümlelerin Müstesna Şehri,” Şehir ve Kültür: İstanbul, ed. Ahmet Emre Bilgili, Istanbul: Profil, 2011, pp. 191-250.
8 2 vol., Istanbul: İşaret, 2007.
9 E.g. Hasan Ali Esir, “İbrahim İbn-i Bâlî’nin Hikmet-nâme’sinde İstanbul,” I. Uluslararası Türk Edebiyatında İstanbul Sempozyumu Bildirileri, ed. Erol Ülgen and Emin Özbaş Istanbul: Beşir Kitabevi, 2009, pp. 407-415; Şerife Akpınar, “Klasik Türk Edebiyatında Beykoz,” Uluslararası Sosyal Araştırmalar Dergisi, 2013, vol. 6, no. 27 pp. 18-39.
10 E.g. Bahir Selçuk, “18. Yüzyıla Ait Bir Mecmuada Üsküdar,” Turkish Studies = Türkoloji Araştırmaları: Prof. Dr. Hamza Zülfikar Armağanı, vol. 4, no. 3 (2009), pp. 1119-1132; Nihat Öztoprak, “Türk Şiirinde Üsküdar Motifi,” Üsküdar Sempozyumu IV: 3-5 Kasım 2006: Bildiriler, ed. Coşkun Yılmaz, Istanbul: Üsküdar Belediyesi, 2007, pp. 491-508; Bünyamin Çağlayan, “Nazîm Divanı’nda Üsküdar,” Üsküdar Sempozyumu IV: 3-5 Kasım 2006: Bildiriler, ed. Uğur Demir, Istanbul: Üsküdar Belediyesi, 2007, vol. 1, pp. 509-526.
11 Ahmed Paşa’s poem, which is both a eulogy and a chronogrammatic verse, is a leading example and it can be seen that the qasida Taşlıcalı Yahyâ Bey wrote about the construction of the Süleymaniye Mosque poses as a model in the minds of Ottoman poets that write in this fashion. As can be mentioned in its title [Pâdişâh hazretlerininün câmi‘-i şerîflerinün itmâmına bu kasîde min-evvelihi ilâ-âhirihi her mısra‘ı târîhdür bir târîhde misli görülmemişdür / His royal highness wrote this panegyric upon continuation of the sacred mosques. In each line of this eulogy there is a chronogram and no one has ever written such poem that has a chronogram in each line until today] every line has an chronogrammatic value, which was yielded the construction date of the mosque. For the analysis of this qasida see: İ. Güven Kaya, “Divan Şiirinde Tarih Düşürme Geleneği ve Yahya Bey’in Bir Kasidesi,” AÜ Türkiyat Araştırmaları Enstitüsü Dergisi,, vol. 12, no. 30 (2006), pp. 39-56.
12 There is no data as to İbrahim Ibn Bâlî in sources, however it is understood from Hikmetnâme that he was from Antep and he initiated the Sultan of Memluk Kayıtbay (ruling time 1468- 1496). There are two doctoral dissertations on this work and the section about Istanbul takes place is Mustafa Altun’s dissertation. See: “İbrahim b. Bâlî: Hikmetname (İlk Altı Bin Beyit): Dil İncelemesi” (PhD Diss.), İstanbul University, 2003). The text that draws attention with Istanbul was written by Hasan Ali Esir. See. Footnote 9.
13 All translations portrayed here have been exhibited in this article for the first time. Naturally, it has not been possible to meet the stylistic features special to the Ottoman Turkish in the translations, however, the form as poetry has been preserved.
14 Ahmed Bîcan Yazıcıoğlu, Dürr-i Meknûn (Tıpkıbasım): İnceleme - Çeviriyazı – Dizin, ed. Ahmet Demirtaş, Istanbul: Akademik Kitaplar, 2009, pp. 153-154.
15 Ali Nihad Tarlan, Ahmed Paşa Divanı, Istanbul: MEB, 1966, pp. 25-26.
16 Tülay Artan, “Eski Saray,” DBİst.A, 1994, III, 204-205.
17 The copy of Cem Sa’dîsi’s Dîvân is not yet available, and the eulogy text is taken from Eğridirli Hâcî Kemâl’s Mecmûa.
18 Yeni Mecmûa, May 1918, no. 46, pp. 387-388.
19 Aynur, “Istanbul in Divan Poetry: 1453-1600,” p. 46.
20 Kıvâmî, Fetihnâme, ed. Ceyhun Vedat Uygur, Istanbul: YKY, 2007, pp. 94-161.
21 Here, by wealthy what is meant is not only the wealth of the city but the crowd of people in the city as well, and the beauty of the buildings.
22 Altun, “İbrahim b. Bâlî: Hikmetname,” p. 288, lines 2817-2819.
23 Aynur, “Istanbul in Divan Poetry: 1453-1600,” p. 46, couplet 1.
24 Altun, “İbrahim b. Bâlî: Hikmetname,” p. 289-290, lines 2823, 2829-2830.
25 The English translation of these verses see Fatih Divanı ve şerhi = Diwan of Sultan Mehmed II with commentary, prepared by Muhammet Nur Doğan, English translation Michael D. Sheridan, Istanbul: Türkiye Yazma Eserler Kurumu Başkanlığı, 2014, pp. 171-177, 446-450, 547-548.
26 Nadia Maria El Cheikh, Byzantium viewed by the Arabs, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004, pp. 206-207.
27 Kıvâmî, Fetihnâme, pp. 152-158.
28 Gelibolulu Mustafa Âlî, Divan: İnceleme, Tenkitli Metin, ed. İ. Hakkı Aksoyak, [Cambridge, MA]: The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Harvard University, 2006, vol. 1, pp. 309/19.
29 Gelibolulu Mustafa Âlî, Divan: İnceleme, Tenkitli Metin, vol. 1, pp. 309/19.
30 Gelibolulu Mustafa Âlî, Divan: İnceleme, Tenkitli Metin, vol. 3, pp. 14-16.
31 For a more detailed evaluation of the era in which Âlî wrote these poems to Sinan Paşa see: Cornell H. Fleischer, Bureaucrat and Intellectual in the Ottoman Empire: The Historian Mustafa Âli (1541-1600), Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University, 1986, pp. 168-173.
32 This eulogy with the repeating rhyme “Allah”, which does not exist in Veysî’s Dîvân, was published for the first time by Günay Kut. See: “Veysî’nin Divanında Bulunmayan Bir Kasidesi Üzerine,” Yazmalar Arasında: Eski Türk Edebiyatı Araştırmaları, Istanbul: Simurg, 2005, vol. 1, pp. 41-48.
33 Along from Veysî, as a article that is also on the poems of Istanbul by Nedîm, Râmî, and Süheylî see: Esra Egüz, “İstanbul’a İçeriden ve Dışarıdan Bakışlar: Veysî, Nedîm, Râmî ve Süheylî’nin İstanbul’a Dair Birer Manzumesi,” İÜ Türk Dili ve Edebiyatı Dergisi, no. 40 (2009), pp. 35-93.
34 As a detailed analysis of Zaîfî’s life and Sergüzeşt see: Vildan Serdaroğlu Coşkun, ‘Sergüzeştüm Güzel Hikâyetdür’ Za’îfî’nin Sergüzeştnâme’si, revised 2nd ed., Istanbul: İSAM, 2013.
35 Serdaroğlu Coşkun, ‘Sergüzeştüm Güzel Hikâyetdür, pp. 176-177.
36 In Byzantine times, people who came from outside of the city would bring forth similar features. See: El Cheikh, Byzantium Viewed by the Arabs, pp. 147-148.
37 El Cheikh, Byzantium Viewed by the Arabs, pp. 151, 206-207.
38 Çelebi, Divan Şi‘rinde İstanbul: Antoloji, p. 41; Hasan Akay, Fatih’ten Günümüze Şairlerin Gözüyle İstanbul, Istanbul: İşaret Yayınları, 1997, vol. 2, pp. 845.
39 As to the author and his work see: Ali Emre Özyıldırım, “Ebkâr-ı Efkâr: Fikrî Çelebi’nin Aşk Konulu Hasbihali,” Turkish Studies = Türkoloji Araştırmaları: Tunca Kortantamer özel sayısı 2, 2007, vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 685-703. I would like to thank Ali Emre Özyıldırım, editor of Ebkâr-ı Efkâr, for letting me read the work before it was published.
40 The location of the fountain has not yet been determined.
41 For a detailed evaluation of the settings in Hamse see: Tunca Kortantamer, Nev’î-zâde Atâyî ve Hamse’si, İzmir: Ege Üniveritesi, 1997, pp. 351-360.
42 Kortantamer, Nev’î-zâde Atâyî, pp. 351-352.
43 Regarding the descriptions of the Bosphorus in literary texts, see: İskender Pala, “Divan Şiirinde Boğaziçi,” İstanbul Armağanı, Istanbul: İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyesi Kültür İşleri Daire Başkanlığı, 1996, vol. 2, pp. 19-38.
44 For a detailed evaluation of and comments on the copies with miniatures prepared in the eighteenth century by Hamse-i Atâyî see: Tülay Artan, “Mahremiyet: Mahrumiyetin Resmi,” Defter 1993,, no. 20, pp. 91-115.
45 It is necessary to remind that there are also sûriyye eulogies and chronogrammatic verses telling the stories of wedding ceremonies.
46 For transcription of the Sûrnâme see: Hatice Aynur, “Sûrnâme,” DİA,, 2009, vol.37, 565-567; for the publications of the Sûrnâme see: Mehmet Arslan, Osmanlı Saray Düğünleri ve Şenlikleri, 8 vol., Istanbul: Sarayburnu Kitaplığı, 2009-2012.
47 The work titled İstanbul’un 100 Kitabı (Istanbul: İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyesi, 2012) by Emin Nedret İşli is important in that it introduces the 100 books that were written and published in the Ottoman times and during the Early Republican era on almost all subjects regarding Istanbul.
48 There are no studies that examine this very important work of Latîfî from every aspect. As a popular but insufficient edition see: Abdüllatif Çelebi Latif, Evsaf-ı İstanbul, ed. Nermin Suner (Pekin), İstanbul: İstanbul Fetih Cemiyeti, 1977.
49 For the bibliography of studies on Evliya Çelebi and his Seyâhatnâme see: Evliya Çelebi: Studies and Essays Commemorating the 400th Anniversary of His Birth, edited by Nuran Tezcan, Semih Tezcan and Robert Dankoff, Ankara: Ministry of Culture and Tourism and The Banks Association of Turkey, 2012). This work also draws attention as the most up-to-date and extensive work on Evliya Çelebi and his Seyâhatnâme.
50 Translated by Müfit Günay, 5th ed., Istanbul, YKY, 2013.
51 As an updated, critical, and detailed work on şehrengiz and similar texts in Turkish literature see: Barış Karacasu, “Türk Edebiyatında Şehr-engîzler,” Türkiye Araştırmaları Literatür Dergisi, 2007, vol. 5, no. 10, pp. 259-313. The following works also need be pointed out as the preliminary works on şehrengiz texts, see: Mustafa İzzet, “Türk Edebiyatında Şehrengizler” (BA Thesis), İstanbul University, 1935-36; Agâh Sırrı Levend, Türk Edebiyatında Şehrengizler ve Şehrengizlerde İstanbul, Istanbul: İstanbul Fethi Derneği, İstanbul Enstitüsü Yayınları,, 1958). In the latest work on this subject, which is Karacasu’s article, a total of 78 texts are mentioned of which 68 are şehrengiz and 10 are of similar styles. With the şehrengiz of Lebîbî about Eyüp, published after the work of Karacasu, (Hanife Koncu, “Bir Eyüp Şehrengîzi: Şehrengîz-i Lebîbî Cüvânân-ı Ebî Eyyûb-ı Ensârî,” Ahmet Atillâ Şentürk Armağanı, ed. Ahmet Kartal and Mehmet Mahir Tulum, Istanbul: Akademik Kitaplar, 2013, pp. 457-473, this number reaches 79.
52 Levend, on Türk Edebiyatında Şehrengizler, p. 38, based on Kınalızâde Hasan Çelebi’s Tezkire’s, states an Istanbul şehrengiz was written by Fikrî Çelebi. Ali Emre Sırım, who continues the work mentioned previously in footnote 38, argues Fikrî Çelebi did not write a separate şehrengiz text, but his masnavi has been contained sections in the şehrengiz style.
53 Levend, Türk Edebiyatında Şehrengizler, p. 94.
54 “İstanbula Dair Risale-i Garibe,” İstanbul Araştırmaları, no. 1 (1997), pp. 95-190. See the book version of the article, XVIII. Yüzyıl İstanbul Hayatına Dair Risale-i Garibe, Istanbul: Kitabevi, 1998.
55 “İstanbula Dair Risale-i Garibe,”, pp. 103-104, 117-118.
56 Orhan Aydoğdu, “İstanbul Hakkında Bilinmeyen Bir Mesnevi: İstanbulnâme,” Turkish Studies = Türkoloji Araştırmaları: Klâsik Türk Edebiyatında Mesnevî: Prof. Dr. Halûk İpekten Anısına, vol. 4, no. 7 (2009), pp. 158-186. In this publication, there are several interpretation and reading mistakes and the text need be reread and evaluated.
57 The first study on Fennî Efendi’s Sâhilnâme / Sevâhilnâme was conducted by Feyziye Abdullah Tansel: “Divan Şairlerinden Fennî’nin Boğaziçi Kıyılarını Canlandıran Mesnevisi: Sâhilnâme,” Belleten, 1976, vol. 40, no. 157, pp. 330-346. For its first publication in the Arabic alphabet see: Sevâhilnâme-i Merhûm Fennî, Istanbul: Uhuvvet Matbaası, 1327 , p. 15 p.
58 Districts mentioned in the text are as follows, respectively: Galata, Mumhane, Tophane, Salıpazarı, Fındıklı, Kabataş, Dolmabahçe, Beşiktaş, Ortaköy, Kuruçeşme, Arnavutkaryesi, Arnavutköyü Akıntısı, Hasankalfa, Bebek, Kayalar, Hisar, Şeytan Akıntısı, Baltalimanı, Mirgun, İstinye, Yeniköy, Tarabya, Büyükdere, Kefelikaryesi, Sarıyar, Rumeli Hisarı, Karataş, Fener, Soğuksu, Kavak, Umuryeri, Değirmenlik, Hünkâr, Yalıköy, Beykoz, Sultaniye, İncirli, Paşabahçe, Çubuklu, Kanlıca, Körfez, Hisar, Göksu, Küçüksu, Kandilli, Vaniköy, Kulelibahçe, Çengel, Beylerbeyi, İstavroz, Kuzguncuk, Öküzlimanı, Üsküdar, Şemsipaşa, Şerefabad, Ayazma, Salacak, Kızkulesi, Kavakbahçesi, Haydarpaşa, Kadıköy, Fenerbahçe, Adalar.
59 For a detailed analysis of Sâhilnâme / Sevâhilnâme one may refer to the following article: Nihat Öztoprak, “Fenni ve İzzet Efendi’nin Sahilnameleri ve Bu Sahilnamelerde Üsküdar,” Türk Kültürü İncelemeleri Dergisi = Journal of Turkish Cultural Studies, 2004, no. 11 (2004), pp. 87-111.
60 It is distinguished stylistically from Fennî Efendi’s text in that it is written in the eulogy style and consists of 65 verses. This text was first published by M. Cavid Baysun. See: Boğaziçi İskelelerine Dair Bir Kaside: İzzet Efendi’nin Sahilnamesi, Istanbul: İstanbul Sevenler Grubu Neşriyatı, 1950.
61 Istanbul takes place from various aspects not only in tevârih-i manzûmes and eulogies, but also in all poetry styles and genres. However, because there are more in number of these two types of texts, this article has mostly put them forward.
62 Mecmûa-i Tevârîh, completed in 1765-66 (hj. 1179) by Hâfız Hüseyin Ayvansarâyî (d. 1787), is a very important oeuvre in that it collects the epigraphs of religious and civil architectural structures made in Istanbul. Because of the data it contains, it is possible to define this work as an Istanbul book. Hadîkatü’l-cevâmi, completed in 1780-81 (1195) by Ayvansarâyî, is also a book about Istanbul. It contains detailed data as to the inside and outside areas of the citadel walls in Istanbul, Galata, Eyüp, Üsküdar, and the two sides of the Bosporus, as well as the prayer areas and mosque that extended deep within Kadıköy, until 1769. For Ayvansarâyî and his works see: Günay Kut and Turgut Kut, “Ayvansarayî Hafız Hüseyin b. İsmail ve Eserleri,” Yazmalar Arasında: Eski Türk Edebiyatı Araştırmaları, Istanbul: Simurg, 2005, vol. 1, pp. 285-213.
63 E.g. III. Ahmed Devri İstanbul Çeşmeleri, prepared by Hatice Aynur and Hakan Karateke, (Istanbul: İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyesi Kültür İşleri Daire Başkanlığı, 1995) departing from history poems, put forth the era’s water culture and architecture, along with the listing of taps and public fountains constructed in the Istanbul of the Ahmed III era (1703- 1730). Özge Öztekin, in XVIII. Yüzyıl Divan Şiirinde Toplumsal Hayatın İzleri: Divanlardan Yansıyan Görüntüler (Ankara: Ürün Yayınları, 2006), took the Dîvâns of eighteenth century poets as a departure point, and listed and evaluated almost all elements as to city life, starting with Istanbul. Shirine Hamadeh, in The City’s Pleasures: Istanbul in the Eighteenth Century (Seattle&London: University of Washington Press, 2008), positioned chronogrammatic verses as her basic sources. As the back cover of this book reads, “Drawing on a genre of Ottoman poetry written in celebration of the built environment and on a vast array of related textual sources, Hamadeh demonstrates that architectural change was the result of a dynamic synthesis between internal and external factors…”
64 Tunca Kortantamer, “Nedim’in Şiirlerinde İstanbul Hayatından Sahneler,” EÜEF Türk Dili ve Edebiyatı Araştırmaları Dergisi, 1985, no. 4, pp. 22; See also: Same author, “Nedim’in Manzum Küçük Hikayeleri,” EÜEF Türk Dili ve Edebiyatı Araştırmaları Dergisi, 1989, no. 5 (1989), pp. 13-27.
65 Apart from Nedîm, there are many writers and poets that are originally from Istanbul and reflect this onto their lives and writings, or that are not originally from Istanbul, but all the same, merit being evaluated. The space here is limited and this is a topic on which there are other studies, thus this article is not able to give much room to this topic, however, it would only be just to at least mention the names of such writers and poets such as Zâtî (d. 1546), Bâkî (d. 1600), Helâkî (d. 1572), Âşık Çelebi (d. 1572), Nef‘î (d. 1635), Nâbî (d. 1712), Bosnalı Sâbit, (d. 1712), Seyyid Vehbî (d. 1736), Arpaemînizâde Sâmî (d. 1733) 1733, Şeyh Gâlib (d. 1799), Sünbülzâde Vehbî (d. 1809), and Keçecizâde İzzet (d. 1829).
66 In order to track the changes and transformation in Istanbul in the eighteenth century see: Artan, “Mahremiyet: Mahrumiyetin Resmi,”; Hamadeh, The City’s Pleasures: Istanbul in the Eighteenth Century.