Ottoman Istanbul’s architectural history if one does not take into account the formal changes that present a great plurality that would affect any account, can be roughly categorized into three phases: (1) the era between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries,(2) the eighteenth century, and (3) the nineteenth century. The latter two centuries represent phases that are referred to as the modernization of the Ottoman capital; however, “modernization” is a problematic term. In this text, “modernization” will be used to refer only to the acceleration of change without associating it with formations that are related to any positive or negative value judgments or to any cultural geography.

There is no agreement among historians about the recording or chronology of Istanbul’s history of modernization. For example, it is a common tendency to take the Crimean War as a turning point in regard to changes in the city.1 But it does not seem right to state that the period of radical, even revolutionary, changes in Istanbul began at a date as recent as the Crimean War. The way residents of Istanbul perceived and produced the world, their physical environment, architecture, the way they perceived and produced knowledge in general, and their aesthetic understanding had already started to undergo radical changes as early as the beginning of the 18th century. Therefore, in the context of architecture as well, the threshold of modernization can be taken back another 150 years, when the palace and the sultan returned to Istanbul from Edirne.2 And in order to make a revision of such historiography, it is necessary to stop considering modernity as synonymous with, first and foremost, Westernization, the efforts exerted for military reorganization, and the central government’s initiatives to transform the country. Regardless of its scale and nature, architecture in Istanbul (and elsewhere) is a field of activity created by all urban-dwellers, and not just by the government. In this area of activity, the government (that is, the state) is but one of the actors. And it is indeed quite possible to consider this actor as one of the social groups and subjects in Istanbul, rather than as a power completely isolated and distinct from physical place and society in general. This article shall deal with the role of the government as such.

Architecture in Istanbul in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and in general, the Ottoman architecture of the period is a subject that has long been ignored from a historiographical viewpoint. This period has been labeled as one where people were taken in by fallacies; it has been scorned in literature, in popular imagination, but in academic work as well. Inevitably, this period has also been ignored from an architectural perspective to the same degree. The habit of writing about Ottoman history in a way that confines it to the paradigms of “rise, decline and fall” has led to the evaluation of all kinds of architecture that was practiced in the phases of decline and decadence in the same manner. Owing to this biological analogy, architecture has been considered to be merely a cultural function of a political organism that simply declined and collapsed. Surprisingly, even those who assess the change undergone in the Ottoman capital as well as the Ottoman state from a perspective of Westernization are unable to abandon such an approach – they do not look at it from a perspective of modernization nor do they regard it simply as change. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, nonetheless, offer an affirmative ideological opportunity by being described, within this perspective, as “a process of Westernization to treat the ongoing decay.” The fact that this opportunity was almost never utilized suggests that the majority of historians, as well as Ottoman historians and later the historians of the Turkish Republic, are immured in a dilemma: The collapse of the Ottoman state has been rendered synonymous with the concept of Westernization and both of them have become equal with the notion of change itself. “That which collapses” has to become westernized; it ceases to be itself. Change is not a natural or inevitable situation, but is a result of this obligation. This state of change is, therefore, grudgingly acceptable because it has brought the Ottoman state face to face with the “other,” the West, where the Ottomans are inferior and subordinate. Those who want to resist the “other,” using the opportunities that the “other” has generated, will be startled to realize that they have become like the “other” over time. Every cultural product, unusual for the previous era or just simply new, not resembling those from the hypothetical golden age of the sixteenth century will be increasingly regarded as foreign. Based on this reasoning, such changes are thought to be that which was supposed to not have occurred at all, but which has unfortunately occurred, and are seen as foreign and aesthetically valueless; it is for this reason that they must be replaced by what is “ours” and what is “valuable” as soon as possible.

Moreover, when this issue is addressed in a context limited to the nineteenth century, another historiographical obsession appears to lead to the alienation of the architectural heritage of that period: modernist architectural historical writing began in the 1920s. This was constructed with the central goal of condemning the historicist and eclectic types of architecture in Western and Central Europe. Histories written according to the parameter that every age is to create its own specific style of architecture, an architecture that would be prevalent and recognized in that age, naturally present the attitudes of borrowing universal and fragmentary pieces from the styles of the past as historical errors that must be redressed. And behind those histories is situated a crisis narrative that dates back to the beginning of the nineteenth1 century and which is based on the concern that architecture had lost its ability to produce style. As this narrative dictates, what is “healthy” is the establishment of an absolute order in which there will be a single recognized style fixed in time and place for every age and society. Since such an establishment could not be achieved in the nineteenth century, it was widely believed that people were going through a crisis. And almost two centuries had to pass before it would be understood that the production of style encoded within time and place was not a requirement, but an illusion. This approach arrived very late in Turkey and only began to flourish as late as the 1960s; however, it has established an efficient alliance with the “native” historiographical dilemma explained above. Thanks to this approach, it becomes possible to argue that whatever is wrong for the Ottomans is wrong for the West as well, and to verify, for a second time, the claim that the Ottoman architecture of the 19th century is worthless.

Ultimately, the architectural works in eighteenth-century Istanbul were not found worthy of being preserved and recorded until the 1950s, and the same was true of the architectural works of the nineteenth century before the 1970s. And when they did get recorded after the decades mentioned, this was done based on the hypothesis that such structures marked technical and scientific progress, and in the context of this hypothesis alone. For the historiography of the nineteenth century, this is a kind of life-saving narrative. Its goal is to render acceptable what has been degraded because of being historicist and foreign; this narrative finds that what has been degraded actually constitutes an opportunity for a technological breakthrough. So, this pattern of historiography makes it possible, even if to a small degree, to set aside the apprehension generated by a loss of cultural identity and to legitimize the relationship established with the West under the guise of “technical advancement.” Foreignness is tolerable inasmuch as it is able to bring to the national agenda new techniques that are unknown there. However, the eighteenth century brings to the table an even more intricate dilemma. The idea that the Ottomans began to generate new opportunities by breaking away from their old strict morphic3 forms has never been able to be stated. What historians have never been convinced of is that both centuries were periods of stunning metamorphoses which should be understood in the context of the normality of Ottoman change. When these historians view the architectural products of these two centuries, they persistently see foreign forms, and they fail to try and interpret what they see as an expansion of horizons with respect to a growing number of opportunities to learn and feel. Instead, they tend to evaluate every single instance of departure from traditional Ottoman practices as a poor attempt to imitate. Due to general views being formulated in this way, many remarkable eighteenth-century structures would be demolished during the construction activities of the late 1950s; there was almost nobody who came forward to speak up for the importance of these structures. Until the 1980s the products of the nineteenth century shared the same destiny. However, it is useful to note that both periods simply highlight a turning point, while opposing views were seriously defended.

1- The Coast Palace in Beşiktaş (Melling)

The phases of Istanbul’s architectural history that are to be summarized here are, briefly, as follows:

1. “Architecture in the traditional Eastern Mediterranean cosmopolitan city” from the conquest to the eighteenth century.

2. “Architecture in the early modern metropolis” from the beginning of the ninteenth century to the 1820s or to the consolidation of Sultan Mahmud II’s reign. The development which brought an end to this period is considered to be the central government’s control of Istanbul and the development of new policies aimed at dominating the whole of the empire.

3. “Architecture of the metropolis in affiliation with the capitalist system” from the 1820s to the late 1920s. The global Great Depression of 1929 is defined as the culminating event of this period. As far as Istanbul’s architecture is concerned, this development was a threshold of radical change that was even greater than the foundation of the Republic.

Istanbul, as the traditional Eastern Mediterranean cosmopolitan city of the first phase, was a capital, home to various ethnic and religious groups. However, it is difficult to think of traditional cosmopolitan cities as places and settlements that are similar to modern cosmopolitan cities. Istanbul’s cosmopolitanism is specific to the Eastern Mediterranean and this is especially true during the Ottoman period. By using the term “Istanbul’s cosmopolitanism,” I am trying to describe a world in which different ethnic and religious groups lived in their own community structures without intersecting with each other; in other words, in closed groupings yet in partnership. In the traditional setting of a cosmopolitan Eastern Mediterranean city, different religious groups lead what may be called “autonomous lives.” But autonomy is not an appropriate term here, because it describes a kind of existence particular to the modern world. Ethno-religious groups becoming organized4 as gemeinschafts5 in traditional cosmopolitanism is not the equivalent of the notion of autonomy in the current sense of the word. We are talking about a multilayered urban structure formed by those who lived in their own urban spaces and settled most of their legal issues between themselves; there were even opportunities to participate in the system to an extent that was in keeping with the particular ethno-religious group.

It is clear that the amount of historiographical research done to date on this kind of urban structure and particularly on the inner working structures is insufficient. Since the notion of an “ethno-religious majority” with shared physical space is something that the modern world has tried hard to eradicate (particularly through nation-building processes), it is an issue that historians have avoided for many years.6 Cultural-urban restructuring, as defined by traditional cosmopolitanism, appears to have been a victim of hasty and extreme judgments, with a scarcity of theoretical labor being invested, reflected by the lack of theoretical discussion. Cultural-urban restructuring is sometimes idealized and presented as “a paradise lost.”7 Thus, cultural-urban restructuring has been considered from the framework of perspectives such as pluralism and tolerance, frameworks that emerged only later. And sometimes, an image has been generated to the contrary, claiming that the traditional cosmopolitan Eastern Mediterranean city consisted of communities that had almost no communication or dialogue with one another. What is at issue, however, is neither political or cultural tolerance, nor the indifference of communities toward one another. It must be said that various ethno-religious groups live together by collectively producing art, architecture, the physical space and general culture, as well as the economy; this is how a system operates. Living without clash or conflict with one another is possible through a series of bridge institutions that regulate the affairs of collective production or through partnership.8 For instance, architecture or building production is a bridge institution. Trade is an economic activity and a bridge institution at the same time. Ottoman music also fulfilled the same function in the eighteenth century. In almost all professions in general, members of different ethno-religious groups work together in their particular area of activity. Tasks are carried out with joint efforts. However, partnership and collective life are not limited to working together; they spread to other areas of daily life as well. In some instances, and places, it may have been that all distinctions between groups completely disappeared, with the exception of religious practices. So much so that in places which accommodated single males in Istanbul, the ethno-religious distinctions were apparently not very rigid.9 The commonality of occupation and status had the power to establish a connection which enabled people to put ethno-religious distinctions to one side.

Unfortunately, the features of occupations and professional practices, in particular, and the production of buildings, as bridge institutions, have been given almost no thought in a sociological sense. However, architectural production in Ottoman Istanbul continued in the hands of different ethno-religious groups, who promoted and perpetuated different kinds of building production either individually or jointly; this continued until the nation-building era, in which the notion of architectural production would be effaced altogether.10 Thus, production was not limited to architecture; dialogues were established and opportunities arose for communication that was not confined to the particular area of architecture. The construction of monumental stone buildings in particular called for the participation of many groups. For example, the fact that the large number of ethno-religious groups that we encounter in the construction records of the Süleymaniye Mosque was able to jointly achieve such a complicated task is because architecture, as a bridge institution or a frame of practice, managed to create social dialogues, and not because the chain of command was managed by a certain architect with mechanical ease.

The Greek War of Independence (1821-1832) is the first threshold that suggests that this complex regime of establishing dialogues could no longer function. The new critical language, defined in the context of the roles of the actors who participated in building production from 1873 on, that is, starting from Usûl-i Mi’mârî-i Osmânî (The Foundations of Ottoman Architecture),11 indicates that the role of architecture as a bridge institution was gradually dissolving. Some actors were marginalized and allocated negative roles.12 The distinctions between roles and the sharing of common ground, which had once appeared to be natural in the field of building production, started to lose their former legitimacy. Architecture ceased to be an integrating factor in the social sense and became one that separated. In summary, the first part of this text - the 18th century- describes an Istanbul in which different ethno-religious groups could work together thanks to the frames of practice implemented in building production. In the second part - the 19th century- the common ground was to disappear, step-by-step, first through ideological practices and then in the area of building production.


A. Aspects of architectural changes in the eighteenth century not related to formation

Perhaps one should seek the importance of the architecture produced in Istanbul in the eighteenth century in the radical breaks, rather than in its endeavors toward continuity. It is likely that a situation similar existed in Istanbul to the way seventeenth-century Europe in general, and more particularly, the Baroque movement in architecture, is related to the gradual collapse of the knowledge regime.13 This collapse is directly related to the loss of the credibility of the former Ottoman and European knowledge base, even though this collapse took on a variety of courses and led to different results. The traditionalized historiographical argument that military defeats deprived the Ottoman state of its self-confidence and thus forced it to acquire new knowledge serves to obscure this radical change rather than explain it. What was actually happening can be summed up as follows: the reliability of the traditional authorities of knowledge was now under threat. Hitherto the latter had not doubted their role as definers of true knowledge. In the mid-nineteenth century, these reservations would eventually turn into complete distrust of the old knowledge regime.14 Military and technical bodies of knowledge constituted only a portion of what was now being borrowed; they were actually the least troublesome among the transferred ideas and knowledge, as they were the easiest to justify in practice. It is, for example, illuminating to see to what extent Câbî Ömer Efendi, an observer of the period, was unimpassioned in his accounts of the first hot-air balloon which flew over Istanbul in 1798-99 (1213).15 As a result, in almost every period the Ottomans were easily able to adopt and then internalize new techniques and technologies. There is no evidence to suggest that the internalization in question generated conflicts with the old regime of knowledge whereas the knowledge structure of the Ottomans, defined and informed by Islamic sources in the fields of medicine, mathematics, philosophy, geography, and history, would begin to erode from the mid-17th century. This erosion would continue with escalating intensity, eventually proving to have significant and devastating impacts. Kâtib Çelebi’s work alone is sufficient to sum up the situation. For example, Cihannümâ follows in the footsteps of European texts, and not those produced in the Islamic lands. Kâtib Çelebi went even further in the field of history by doing what had not been done before: he took interest in Byzantine and European history and had two comprehensive texts translated into Turkish.16 A society that had not been interested in what fell outside of its own boundaries of history was now obviously expanding its historiographical horizon, and began to want to see beyond the boundaries of its knowledge structure.

2- Koca Ragıp Paşa Library

The epistemic dissolution, the devastation of traditional knowledge and the resulting destruction were all concerned with modernity. Architecture plays a vital role throughout this change and the Ottoman baroque becomes one of the areas which best describes the period that generated modernity. However, it would be just as appropriate to discuss earlier architectural concepts belonging to the first half of the eighteenth century which could not yet be placed under the general term of baroque in the context of the same dissolution and the issue of modernity. This will happen in the text that follows.

The architectural change that the Ottoman capital underwent in the eighteenth century was not independent of an aesthetic sensation or an intellectual perception in general, nor from changes in the production methods. Of all the artistic practices of the era, Ottoman poetry provided the most insight in terms of comprehending the variables. It seems that the issue of having to seek new ways and tools of expression confronted poets as early as the late nineteenth century. The quest for fresh symbols and experiments to expand the poetic language with concepts loaned from daily language must have been related to this issue. Sâbit (d. 1723) was one of the first poets to be concerned with new symbols,17 and with Nedim, poetry experienced a period of true regeneration. It can be seen that by producing a new language and imagery poets were now beginning to visit topics that had previously been of no interest to them. Seemingly all of a sudden, they set out to articulate the physical environment, urbanity and urban everyday life.18 This aesthetic evolution suggests the existence of a demand for innovation which is also related to evolution in architecture. The new poetry should be considered together with the so-called “newly-invented architecture,” a theme often referred to in the works of the poets of the era. In fact, a period in which architecture and poetry generated so much parallel expression would never be seen either before or after the eighteenth century. It is remarkable that at least the educated elites of eighteenth-century Ottoman Istanbul were in pursuit not of continuity anymore, but of innovation in both areas, unlike in the past. The phenomenon of “newness” took on a specific meaning independent from its content; it was now meaningful in and of itself.

The processes that define the spatial aspect of the new language, which refers to the intellectual dimension of the change, emerged in the eighteenth century. One of the most vital subtitles of the architectural transformation process in relation to its direct architectural impacts is the phenomenon which I call, “modernizing transport traffic.” The urban demand to transform places of residence became one of the chief dynamics generating modernity. Groups that took on a specific definition within the prominently binding gemeinschaft structures in the city, situated inside the tight social fabric of the neighborhood, preferred to move out of their locations toward the city’s peripheries, which were not organized as neighborhoods. It is possible to say that the relationship of these peripheries with the gemeinschaft structures was looser. This moving process appears to be a practice that originated not among the non-Muslim communities, but on the contrary, among the highest-income and status groups and among Muslims. The women of the dynasty developed a tendency19 to move into stately waterside mansions they built for themselves on the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn, thereby, in a sense, pioneering this process. The “liberation demands” of upper-class women can be said to have played a vital role in this tendency. It would perhaps be more accurate to use the term “freedom” rather than “liberation,” the latter of which has strong political implications. These demands can be summarized as being freed from tight group control to more relaxed control. Even the uprising that ended the Tulip Era, with respect to its cultural patterns, seems to be partly connected with the modernization of changes to locations, with a movement away from the center. When we analyze the Patrona Halil Rebellion of 1730 from the perspective of conservative historians, we can clearly see criticisms centered on the claim that “women cannot be controlled” and understand that the change in the social identity of women and the urban complications of this change sparked a serious disturbance.20 The areas in the city’s fringes that could not be controlled topped the list of issues that evoked a great reaction. For this reason, among the demands of the rebels involved in the Patrona Halil Rebellion was to demolish the pavilions and mansions in Sadabad. The only structure that ultimately survived the era is the Sadabad Pavilion, at the base of the valley.

Apparently, the traditional cocoon, as it were, of Istanbul began to break up in the eighteenth century. The drifting toward the periphery of the city would, at the same time, not be considered suburbanization in today’s sense, but rather a sprawl extending as far as Fenerbahçe to the east, reaching almost to the end of the Bosphorus Strait to the north. So much so that the city in the eighteenth century extended further than it did in the 19th century, and even further than during the first three quarters of the nineteenth century. For example, the famous diarist Lady Montagu, wife of the British ambassador, looked for a summer residence and eventually rented a house in Belgrad Forest.21 Rental housing, available in the 1720s, could not be found in the same areas in 1960. This situation demonstrates the size of the dispersion and how a group of people, and with such enthusiasm, fled the city.

3- Fatih Library

This dispersion in the eighteenth century manifested itself as temporary relocation to summer residences, and, as in the example of promenades, the weekly traffic of city-dwellers toward certain peripheral areas. It is known that the residents of Istanbul wanted to go to Sadabad, Küçüksu, Büyükdere, and other nearby natural areas, particularly on Fridays. This would prove to be one of the most effective modernizing spatial dynamics which gave rise to the wear and tear of the traditional social and urban structure. The famous lines of Nedim, “Let us get permission from Mother, telling her that we’re going to the Friday prayer and let us sneak out of this reproachful destiny for one day / Let us go, o my [beloved] who sways like a cypress while walking, walk [with me] to Sadabad,” explain how traditional values were threatened by the changes in the physical space; however, this was tolerated, at least, by the top echelons. Changes took place, above all, in the physical space, and yet, the new space, unlike the old one, takes on an uncanny quality, inspiring fear in urban citizens due to this threat. Folk stories continued to replicate this uncanniness over the next two centuries. It can be said that the physical structure of the Ottoman capital and the increasing mobility had become outright frightening.22 This fear was a manifestation of modern unrest, which, probably for the first time in a non-Western society, defined architectural imagination.

It is not possible to say that urban planning or a demand for such planning had as yet appeared. But new social-spatial practices began to emerge. The first public spaces, where people from all classes, all groups and all ethno-religious communities came together, emerged in this period.23 It can be observed that all classes and groups were trying to move outside their private places and specific residential areas. Above all, a new kind of public space that had no religious function appeared. Let us remember that in the era dominated by traditional cosmopolitanism, almost all places were defined by a religious content, with ethno-religious segregation and exclusively allocated to men. In such an environment, a new public space emerged for the first time as a recreation area with no religious character, making it possible for all social groups to be together. This, in turn, had alarming effects, giving rise to a comprehensive body of literature regarding the hazards and the misleading power of such recreation spots. But one needs to see that this counter-literature is as important as the change that triggered it. We must realize that new types of sociality were being created not only by those who went to these recreation areas, but also by those concerned and unsettled by journeys there. Only when we realize this can we see that the disagreements and lack of consensus helped to create new perceptions.

The eighteenth century was at the same time a period which illustrated the fact that a new aesthetic perception, with regard to the physical environment, had been achieved. Starting from the period referred to as the “Tulip Era”, a term Ahmed Refik contributed to historiography,24 new meanings began to be generated about nature. It is certain that nature has social meanings in every period and every society. But beginning from the eighteenth century, a new aesthetic understanding, very different from the past and, in connection with this understanding, new approaches to garden design, appeared in Istanbul. Change, in this sense, can be summarized as natural spaces becoming spectacular vistas, and thereby assuming a new definition as specific areas of experimentation. The differentiation in the definition can be most visibly seen in divan poetry, for example, in Nedim, and a little later it can also be clearly found in Enderunlu Fâzıl; in fact, it is possible to sense this perception in the quality poets of the era. In general, we see that they praised the natural environment and new landscaping designs. Poets cared about the aesthetic intervention to nature and often articulated this in their poems. Interestingly enough, the approval of the intervention in nature was also parallel to developments in Europe, although not directly connected with them. Consequently, in order to understand the new approach to nature one must put aside the mythology of the conventional historiographical approaches25 of early Westernization. This issue will be discussed further in the next section.

The residential structure known as the yalı (waterside mansion) appeared in the eighteenth century. This type of structure, located on the sea-land interface, making it possible to fully experience the surrounding physical landscape due to the large number of windows, seems to be associated with the change mentioned above. The front of the waterside mansions opens to the sea, while the back of the house faces a garden and scenery. Their raison d’etre was to give the owners the opportunity to leave behind the strictly supervised gemeinschafts of the city as well as to satisfy and reproduce their newly-developed demand for an aesthetic conception of nature. Waterfront palace designs in particular illustrate how nature and sea were perceived differently from the previous era.26 An engraving of L’Espinasse which depicts the Beşiktaş Waterfront Palace, perhaps the most significant of its kind, visualizes a gigantic mansion complex at the sea level.27 The complex redefines the architectural line of the Bosphorus, its topography and physical space. However, it does not end there; with a series of lantern poles floating on small rafts 15-20 meters off the shore in front of the palace, the design goes beyond simply organizing the shore; even the surface of the sea is organized with these elements and gains a new aesthetic sense.

Among the other changes in the eighteenth century, it is possible to cast an architectural look at the changing meaning of the book and knowledge. In the Islamic world, before this era, there were no independent libraries. Libraries were usually in a chamber located inside a mosque or a madrasa. In the eighteenth century, the Köprülü Library, the first example of its kind, was built in Istanbul (1667). The next century was an era in which almost all the Istanbul libraries were established, with dozens of library buildings being built in this period. Obviously, the fact that the first Ottoman Muslim printing house began its operations in the eighteenth century (1727) is not a coincidence. As a result of a seriously escalating demand for books at the time, an effort also emerged to increase the supply. Therefore, the first library buildings had great importance in inverse proportion to their small sizes. There are interesting examples, such as the Koca Ragıp Paşa, Vefa, and Nuruosmaniye Libraries, which did not consist solely of reading spaces. For example, the Koca Ragıp Paşa Library does not fit in with the old space usage habits, as its book depot is in a separate area in the reading space, enclosed by a metal railing. Furthermore, the Vefa and Nuruosmaniye Libraries have curved space contours that display a decisive break from the traditional Ottoman right-angled layout. They can be considered among the most elaborate and important examples of Ottoman baroque.

4- Sultan Ahmed III Fountain

Another change of the same period connected with the one above was the boom in the number of primary schools.28 A construction spree began in order to build many more primary schools compared to those built in the previous centuries. This building activity highlights a very vital transformation: Istanbul’s middle-class now had what can be considered a greater demand for basic education. This demand, of course, was connected to an increasing need for writing in everyday life, not only for men but also for women. On the one hand, madrasas gave education at a level higher than primary schools, and they served exclusively male students. Primary schools, on the other hand, offered an education program that was far more associated with daily practices, despite having a predominantly religious content, and more importantly, was open to both genders. In summary, primary schools should be regarded as a very important group of buildings in the context of the transformation of architectural space.

5- Tophane Fountain and Kılıç Asli Paşa Mosque

B. Aspects of architectural changes in the eighteenth century which pertain to formation

Those who assess the changes of architecture in Istanbul primarily in the context of a change of style attribute a special importance to the aesthetic metamorphosis which is suggested by the term “Ottoman baroque.” While the Ottoman state and the Islamic world in general had previously established no relationship with Europe in terms of aesthetic perception,29 it now left behind this indifference. According to the approach of modern historians, this situation is either accepted or rejected. For those who accepted the situation, the Ottomans were now opening up to Europe, while those who rejected the approach argue that it was now decaying and becoming alienated from itself. Here we will remain apart from both these political/cultural positions. And to this end, historians should begin to evaluate Ottoman baroque independently, and give only secondary importance to the consideration that its relationship with Europe is suggestive of a cultural loan. When Ottoman baroque is thought of as merely consisting of a repertoire of forms and decorations transferred from Europe, the historiographical discussion becomes hijacked by the cliché of being affected by the “other” and learning (or copying) a foreign kind of aesthetics (baroque) and/or its components. However, the term ‘Ottoman’ in the phrase “Ottoman baroque” should be taken more seriously and one should also realize that the word ‘baroque’ is not a simply emulated foreign style: it is not possible to either consider Ottoman baroque as “foreign” and “baroque” as being absolutely specific to Europe or to characterize baroque as a style that is synonymous with formal relative patterns of the preceding eras. It will be seminal to try and understand the new initiative regarding formation primarily in itself, but also to closely examine what baroque corresponds to from a world-historical perspective.

Rather than being a style, baroque is significant in that it demonstrates the impossibility of style in the modern world. When viewed thus, it is not difficult to say that every architectural attitude which accepts this impossibility as data and reproduces it can be considered to be baroque. If the attitude of every era that can be reduced to the systematization of mainstream formatting rules binding in the context of time and space is a style, baroque can be the general name of each and every attitude that demonstrates that this discipline can be deconstructed. In other words, baroque characterizes every aesthetic expression that breaks the style. In this case, speaking of an Ottoman baroque starting from the Tulip Era, in a way not limiting it to architecture alone, is not difficult. The short summary above about the eighteenth-century divan poetry reveals a crisis of aesthetic perception and an overall depression caused by the prevailing knowledge regime. Those that emerge when this change takes on the characteristics of a crisis which expands and multiplies production, rather than hampering it, acquire an attitude of being unrestrained by rules and disciplines; this attitude can be called baroque. This is what happened in the Ottoman Empire. The period that extends from the Tulip Era until the attempts during the reign of Sultan Mahmud II to reconstruct the central administration is a process of becoming baroque in this sense.

Nonetheless, we can detect early inclinations towards baroquization even in the New Mosque (1597-1663), which must be regarded as a structure of the mid-seventeenth century. With the superstructure system of the mosque, particularly the one near the inner courtyard, which consists of a structurally questionable series of domes and domed weight towers, it singularly breaks with the simplicity of the conventional classical four half-domed mosque typology. The baroquization observed in such an important structure conveys to us, even in that early period, a differentiation of tastes, which was a step-by-step departure from the classical style. It is obviously not a change connected with Europe. If anything, this was an advancement toward a regime of aesthetic excessiveness and extremeness from the sixteenth century’s economy, which was driven by pleasures. The process of baroquization seems to be limited to this advancement; however, despite these limitations, it still bespeaks a dissolution and should thus be taken seriously, even in these early stages.

6- Dolmabahçe Mehmet Eminağa public fountain

That the collection of products which were to be labelled by twenteith-century historians “Ottoman baroque architecture” was born in Istanbul in the eighteenth century was undoubtedly a change that also took place in connection with the relationships established with Europe, contrary to the baroquization as exemplified by the New Mosque. However, the historiographical approach that gives the lead role to bureaucratic communication channels does not seem as convincing today as before. For example, the credibility of the narrative30 which suggests that Yirmisekiz Mehmed Çelebi, during his time as the Ottoman ambassador to France, brought architectural plans to the Ottoman capital and a number of applications were made in Sadabad influenced by those plans, and that these applications bore morphic resemblances to the Marly and Versailles Palaces, is now highly doubted. It is a problematic approach to directly link “baroque,” which means the destruction of aesthetic discipline, with the efforts of the state’s actors that are discipline-founding as far as the definitions of the administration are concerned. A more realistic description should be that a major portion of those actors had reached a point where they could no longer be satisfied by the current aesthetic imagination. It may be stated that they approached every field that has a potential for aesthetic perception, from poetry to architecture, and to the physical environment in general, in a way they could not be satisfied, and that, in so doing, they were looking for new possibilities of expression. This is the change that opened the field of aesthetic expression to every new kind of image, perception and preference, including those with European origins (but not limited to them). For example, it would be useful to consider that Istanbul’s upper class in the early eighteenth century were as keenly interested in aesthetics of Persian origin as in European-origin aesthetics. We can comfortably say that Cedvel-i Sîm, the new canal in Sadabad, is reminiscent more of an Iranian model with its architecture than a structure of European origins. As to its name, it obviously directly displays an Iranian perception.

7- Nuruosmaniye Complex (Kulliyah)

The fact that the name of almost every new structure of the period is invariably a Persian noun phrase or compound name, and thereby acquires a poetic tone (Kasr-ı Cihan, Neşatabad, Nüzhetfeza, Şerefabad, Çırağan, Kâh-ı Sürûrabad, Sadabad) appears so exaggerated that it cannot be explained solely with former Ottoman habits. Instead of the former name-giving attitude, in which place and building names were allowed to spontaneously emerge in time in accordance with social practices, the upper classes of the eighteenth century developed a new vernacular. They generated an approach that can be called the “literary construction of space.” If there is a baroquization in question, it is meaningful to add this habit of giving new names to the historiographical narrative. All of the new names evoke happiness, the joy of living and pleasure. But more importantly, these names define a kind of exoticism, a state of curiosity about what is far away and thus can be known to a certain extent. They make an important contribution to the extreme regime of baroque with their foreignness and by falling outside the linguistic knowledge of the average urban-dweller.

8- Nuruosmaniye Mosque

The routes by which knowledge flowed from Europe to the Ottomans were never severed and they were, in every era, too extensive to be put down to the efforts of one single individual. Despite the existence of this possibility, there were no Ottomans in the eighteenth century who were eager to engage in architectural activities directly connected to the developments in Europe or, moreover, who were working on a mental or psychic ground that would be called “Westernization” in the future. At this time, some Ottomans may have, at best, started demonstrating an interest in the aesthetics of European origins. To understand why they acted this way, as has been discussed above, we should address issues, such as the knowledge structure of the day and the arrival at a point where there was a growing dissatisfaction with the present aesthetic perception. As was also discussed in the previous section, this state of dissatisfaction meant the emergence of a crisis regarding a regime of knowledge that destroyed the possibilities of producing authentic styles. In this way, eighteenth-century Istanbul went through a true expansion. Therefore, if the first vitally important question is why the Ottoman state set about realizing very radical form changes, the second one should address the instruments, mechanisms and opportunities that made this change possible.

It is not difficult to talk about the multiplicity of the instruments, intermediaries and opportunities. A few of the opportunities that opened a channel to Europe are easily identifiable. For example, it is known that architects of European descent had occasional opportunities to work in Istanbul. Andrea Memmo had prepared a project for the construction of the Venetian Palace (Embassy).31 It is certain that European experts happened to come here for the construction of other embassy buildings. Moreover, European-origin household goods found a wide area of usage in the homes across the Ottoman world, starting from Istanbul. It can be estimated that this had a deep impact on the aesthetic approaches of the average Istanbul resident.32 Certainly, as a final example, we can mention the Armenian Catholic community’s strong intellectual ties to Venice (with Italy in general).33 The increase in the probability of such encounters, in return, meant an increase in opportunities of expansion. Only when expansion opportunities started emerging and aesthetic-epistemic barriers (those posed by the knowledge structure) started coming down could these potential opportunities be transformed into action. And the utilization of every possibility that provided an opportunity for expansion seems to have led to newer expansions and caused the destruction of more and more barriers. From this perspective, architecture during the Ottoman change appears to have played a surprising pioneering role in the collapse and then reconstruction of the aesthetic-epistemic regime from embellishment programs to plan layouts and mass systems. Although poetry, which underwent an earlier transformation, made a very successful start toward reconstituting the Ottoman literary imagination, it would not be able to easily sacrifice its age-old forms owing to the resistance of a very powerful tradition. Architecture must have met with less resistance.

9- The complex built by Sultan Mustafa III in Laleli

It would be enlightening to discuss the architecture of the eighteenth century in two parts: that of the administration and that of the ordinary Istanbul resident. The architecture of the administration, in addition, can be analyzed in two groups: residences and monumental stone structures. Admittedly, these are not types of autonomous architecture that developed uninformed by one another. Most of the time, they were realized by the same craftsmen and workers.

10- The mosque built by Sultan Mustafa III in Laleli

The first major structure that marked a radical break with the past in the area of monumental or stone structures is the Damat İbrahim Paşa Complex (1720) in Saraçhane. The first two components of the group of structures consisting of a dârülhadis (Hadith School), a mosque and a bazaar do not force the limits of traditional habits. However, the bazaar came as a new spatial formation. Here, two linear arrays of shops with portico-entrances mutually positioned on a street displayed such a formation that would later lead this quarter to be called Direklerarası. Moreover, the street defined by this mutually arrayed sequence of shops extended west, toward the vicinity of Şehzade Mosque, and was later expropriated in a way that would position it on the same axis as the perimeter wall of the mosque, thereby creating a road with a length of approximately 500 meters.34 This street can be considered the first linear transport axis that was built and the first porticoed outdoor space arranged as a pedestrian sidewalk in Ottoman-era Istanbul. In the next century, it would become the most popular spot in the city where people promenaded to find spouses. Unfortunately, because of the initiative to expand the street, today only a part of the shop sequence to the north is intact and without porches.

11- The yard of the mosque built by Sultan Mustafa III in Laleli

12- Ayazma Mosque built by Sultan Mustafa III in Üsküdar

Among the library structures, many examples of which would be built in the eighteenth century, Topkapı Palace Ahmed III Library was one of the first developments indicating an increasing demand for books in the period. The library has a T-plan layout, consisting of three halls, which developed from the late eighteenth century onward. It was followed by the centrally-planned Fatih and Koca Ragıp Paşa Libraries (1762). Atıf Efendi (1741) and Nuruosmaniye (1749-1755) Libraries each marked another important break. They departed from the usual Ottoman planimetry and set up space layouts with curvilinear contours that contradicted the perpendicular (orthogonal) geometry. They must be among the products that best exemplify the style-breaking attitude that can be called baroque. However, most library structures were not any different from primary school buildings, which, in the same period, soared in number. These were multi-story structures. That is, they constituted a single space located in the upstairs of a room for the official and a fountain looking outside. They had toilets, and the main space, at least, had a fireplace.

Another group of buildings which it is possible to say received very little historiographical interest, despite their importance, is square fountains. The first example of these, the Ahmed III Fountain (1729), located just outside the entrance of the Topkapı Palace, was a kind of revolutionizing step in the history of Ottoman water structures, as pointed out by the descriptive phrase nev-îcâd (newly-invented) in its inscription plaque.35 It takes the simple fountain made up of a plain tap and a trough, in no way autonomized or spatialized yet, and transforms it into a monumental element. And its roof, an element that started carrying a special importance in the early eighteenth century, contributes to this search for a new collective expression. It brings about a kind of Ottoman baroquization that is exaggerated and which is completely independent of the European baroque in terms of form, yet parallel with some of the tendencies, with its overhanging eaves, jutting out from the main mass, designs under the eaves that contain three-dimensional embellishments, and iconic small domes placed on the roof construction. Roof-dome combinations had now gone beyond the structural requirements and gained so much importance as to be deemed autonomous from the buildings whose tops they covered. There are extravagant baroque examples of this kind of dome design, especially in Italy. This structure has a limited number of applications in Ottoman Istanbul, such as, the Azapkapı Saliha Sultan and Tophane Fountains (both 1732), and the Tiled Pavilion of the old Beşiktaş Palace. Still, in view of such references as sakf-ı âlî (lofty roof) or sakf-i pâk (pure roof),36 which appear frequently in the poetry of the era, it is not difficult to make out that roof designs were given great importance in the aesthetic world of the era.

13- Nusretiye (Tophane) Mosque

Public fountains are among the types of structure most representative of the changes underway in the eighteenth century. The fact that they were small probably made them a suitable ground for the new search for form. The first example that started the differentiation from the traditionalized form was the public fountain of the Hekimoğlu Ali Paşa Complex (1741). In this public fountain, which has a circular plan, the gridded windows and the wall section above these windows were formed as convex surfaces. Ayda Arel identified the Mehmet Emin Ağa Public Fountain (1740) in Dolmabahçe as a turning point;37 it incorporates European-style embellishments and the banding profiles reveal an undulation that differs greatly from known forms. The public fountain of Sadeddin Efendi in Karacaahmet is very similar. However, it is necessary to examine Seyyid Hasan Paşa Madrasa’s sebil fountain and the common fountain (1745) in order to realize what great strides had been taken by baroquization over a matter of several years. There, the fountain and the sebil fountain are placed on each side of the door and subject to the same undulation in the plan. The surface that constitutes the side and sets of moldings over it progress through concave-convex curves. The eave contour also joins the same movement above.

No other building is as instructive as the Nuruosmaniye Mosque and its complex (1749-1755) for understanding the comprehensive nature of the change in the eighteenth century. The complex’s design creates such a sharp bend that it is argued that plans were imported from Europe; these were unable to be put into practice due to reactions from Islamic scholars - the design of the complex is European all the same.38 As the entire construction process of the complex is known in detail,39 the claim that designs were imported from Europe is far from credible. In fact, despite incorporating innumerable innovations and elements with European origin, the structure continues, as a whole, to be so decisively Ottoman that it completely rules out the possibility that a foreign designer could have played any decisive role at all. However, it is possible that every element known to be classical Ottoman, from the sets of moldings to the curvilinear-planned son cemaat (portico courtyard), from the arch profiles to the mass system of the tomb and to the planimetry of the library, melt into baroque undulations. Classic details have been abandoned altogether. For example, the door niche cover system, which in old mosques usually include a muqarnas in the main entrance to the courtyard, has been reduced to a series of conical moldings. The sebil fountain has undergone a transformation to the point that it resembles an exaggerated statue. Even the curvilinear cover system of the imaret (soup kitchen) demonstrates an unconventional complexity.

14- Nusretiye (Tophane) Mosque

Üsküdar Ayazma and Laleli Mosques from the following era (1174/1760-1761, 1763) have neither the dimensional width, the material diversity nor the design complexity of the Nuruosmaniye Mosque. The structures that followed in these footsteps are plainer. However, the tendency to place the main prayer hall at a considerable height, which began with the Hekimoğlu Ali Paşa Mosque, can be seen here as well. Mosques rise, rather than spread. But in no mosque do we see the abandonment of the idea of building a main dome, however great its overall departure from what came before.

In order to see how far an Istanbul structure can depart from the usual forms in the period in question, it makes sense to look at an early-ninteenth-century product, such as the Küçük Efendi Complex.40 In this small tekke (Sufi lodge), the elliptical main space with an elliptical dome is placed behind the wall of a fountain, completely separate from it. The complex has a main indoors living space, yet this is not immediately noticeable from the outside, and there is an outdoors element with no inner space. Here, it is no longer possible to find even a trace of the classical Ottoman holistic form.

Although very few examples of upper-class residential architecture remain from the eighteenth century, it is not difficult to understand why the most exuberant breakthroughs, as well as the fiercest oppositions of the period, can be observed in this particular field.41 The fact that the elites of the capital now started redefining “luxury” in a way that differed from the concept of luxury as understood in the previous era seems to suggest that at least one of the external causes of the Patrona Halil Rebellion was related to architecture, consequently leading to the demand that the mansions and pavilions in Sadabad be demolished. The classical Ottoman forms of conspicuous consumption had pertained particularly to status indicators such as clothing, horse harnesses and jewelry. Housing for the members of the upper class had become secondarily subject to the same demand of status identification, at least in terms of the external space, whereas the people in the eighteenth century began to proclaim their statuses to the public on a much wider scale with their houses. Residences took on great importance; in the above case, this comes well to the fore. An exemplary housing structure of the period must have been the Tiled Pavilion of the Beşiktaş Palace (1090/1679-1680 according to Eldem),42 which had actually been constructed in the previous century. Located on the coast, the T-planned structure sits on a lower floor and contrary to the Ottoman customs, is covered with tiles on the outside and has an extravagant roof. Thanks to the T-plan, this structure was shaped as a dîvânhâne (council hall), with three halls. We can say that this typology emerged in the late seventeenth and the early eighteenth century. The dîvânhâne of Köprülü (Amcazade) Yalı (1699) in Anadoluhisarı is still the solitary example of its kind. The need that brought about this group of structures also emerged in the same period. The upper classes started to have an increasingly greater demand for socialization. Gatherings such as chats over “halwa,” events known as “çerağân entertainments,” well-attended iftar (fast-breaking) meetings among others all characterized the early eighteenth century and were closely associated with the breakthrough that occurred in dîvânhâne architecture. The Aynalıkavak Pavilion, which would be built as the same century was coming to an end, indicates that socialization patterns associated with conspicuous consumption were being abandoned. The building in question was configured as a residential structure with a central hall. It has medium-size rooms rather than a large gathering space and was designed like a villa located in a garden.

15- Dolmabahçe (Bezmialem Valide Sultan) Mosque

The change in domestic architecture, with the exception of the residences of the ruling classes, is one of the most striking architectural issues as well as one of the least examined and researched topics of the era. As these changes were relatively recent events, the scores of istibdal (exchange) records which demonstrate that there were exchanges of property between waqfs and private individuals43 help us to appreciate the nature of the developments in this field. These records also help us to understand that residential plots and residential structures, rather than being compact, were multi-sectional properties that could be added to one another or divided. The fact that it was easy to add or remove a room or a plot to a house from an adjacent parcel of land demonstrates that residences as symmetrical independent masses were, at least, not numerous yet.44 Apparently, most residences consisted of additional structures/annexes and were far from integral in terms of design and structural constitution. Symmetrical Istanbul residences with compact masses that did not easily accommodate the addition or removal of sections, which became typical in later years, must have begun to spread in the city towards the end of the eighteenth century. It is possible to say that the first group of this kind of residence emerged in the eighteenth century, first on the Bosphorus and in the plots reserved for yalıs on the Golden Horn, namely, along the peripheries of the city; these were used by the highest echelon of society. The same option was not immediately applicable in the densely settled city center owing to the traditional and fragmented nature of property ownership. The central hall must have emerged and spread forth during this same compacting process. To date, only two structures with central halls which illustrate the new residential architecture of the era have survived: the Şerifler Yalı in Emirgân and the Sadullah Paşa Yalı in Çengelköy.

16- Pertevniyal Valide Sultan Mosque

As noted above, the tendency to be “European-like” was not yet so prevalent that it would determine the social agenda in the eighteenth century; however, gradually individual experiments began to appear. An engraving by Melling indicates the stage at which a style of structure, similar to the architectural forms in Western and Central Europe, started to emerge in Turkey: the small neo-classical pavilion of a yalı constructed as part of the palace built for Hatice Sultan in the complex of the Defterdar Burnu Palace.45 The raison d’etre of this structure is cannot be said to be the ideology of Westernization. Such a discourse had not yet been created. But the Ottoman upper classes were developing new concerns, such as establishing a relationship with, trying to understand and wondering about the “other.” For example, at the beginning of the nineteenth century there is an impression that Hatice Sultan was inclined thus. As Melling’s employer, she was somebody who at least tried to understand different style preferences. She exchanged letters with Melling in Turkish, written in Latin letters. This alone tells us of a search for further understanding and an exploration of the ideas belonging to the “other.” These letters give us a chance to observe an interesting designer-employer relationship.46 For example, we learn from the letters that Hatice Sultan ordered Melling to bring European objects like armchairs, etc.

17- The entrance of Pertevniyal Valide Sultan Mosque

However, this curiosity of the cultural preferences of the “other” is a kind of exoticism. Apparently, the aesthetic interest once directed by the Europeans toward the Orient, that is, to distant lands, which resulted in styles known as Turquerie, Chinoiserie, Japonnerie, etc., was now being directed at Europe by the Ottomans. Exoticism is the recipients’ efforts to simulate (assimilate), in his own land, the places and images of distant cultural geographies that he has no chance of seeing directly. By this means, the curious subject takes the “other” as an image and imitates it from afar, bringing it into his own land. Structures such as the Pagoda in London’s Kew Gardens and Brighton’s Royal Pavilion were built based on these efforts to imitate; Hatice Sultan’s small neoclassical pavilion is exactly the same. However, the Ottoman exoticism virtually ends before it even begins; this is a prenatal death. In the future, European-Ottoman relations were to be governed by other motives. In fact, it is possible to say that in these relations the patterns of curiosity and visuality disappeared over time and were replaced by forms of reasoning with contents that can directly be called “realpolitik.” That is to say, Ottoman upper classes had no “Europerie” similar to “Turquerie” in Europe, the so-called effort to create patterns and formats specific to Turks. On the contrary, emulating the space of the “other” and the components of their physical environment would, on the one hand, become an ideological obligation, while, on the other, it would be paradoxically described as an embarrassing cultural crime (of imitating and copying).

A note taken by Sultan Selim III exemplifies another aspect of being associated with European architectural styles that is not connected with exoticism. In the note, the sultan criticizes a newly-built army barracks as being “built like an ordinary mansion” and recommends that an ofiçyal (official) be brought from Europe to construct barracks.47 The prominently typical practice in the field of building production in the period leading up to the 1820s was to bring in European experts to meet military technical needs. For example, an engineer was brought from Europe to construct the dry docks of the shipyard.48 Therefore, it is possible to state that the sultan’s demand for a foreign architect to be involved in the construction of an army barracks was not concerned with aesthetics, but was rather based on technical expertise. Expectations for such technical services would increase in the following century; this was to such an extent that even at this early stage, the rhetoric of European “technical superiority” must have come in very handy to justify quoting, learning from and envying the “other.” It is difficult to think, at least in architectural terms, that what the Ottoman ruling elites demanded corresponded to a supreme technical quality that could not be met in the Ottoman lands. It seems more accurate rather that they were convinced that this was the case.

18- Pertevniyal Valide Sultan Mosque

19- Ortaköy (Great Mecidiye) Mosque

A significant example that ended Istanbul’s “long” eighteenth century, in an urban sense, was a bridge built during the reign of Sultan Mahmud II; for the first time both sides of the Golden Horn were connected. Up until this time, it seems that there was no demand to build a bridge connecting the two sides of the city. There can be no doubt that there were many reasons why this bridge was built in this particular period. The construction of the bridge, for example, indicates that the residents of Istanbul had become more active in the city and more mobile. The Istanbul residents had obviously begun to use public spaces and transportation means more than before. What the bridge also demonstrates is that Istanbul’s traditional cosmopolitan structure, which sharpened the ethno-religious divide and ensured the gemeinschafts were tightly connected to the ground, was now collapsing; the city was beginning, step by step, to operate and be perceived as a whole. The urban-dweller was gradually beginning to take his city in its entirety, not limited to the section in which he lived. I would like to remind the reader that more work needs to be done on this subject and that there is much more to write. However, it is of importance to emphasize the following fact: The Golden Horn Bridge not being constructed at an earlier date was not related to technical difficulties. In fact, the Ottomans were technically capable of building far longer bridges. For centuries, they had been building very long floating bridges on the Danube and other Eastern European rivers. But Istanbul, on the other hand, had no bridge on the Golden Horn, even though the distance between the two sides was less than 500 meters. It should be mentioned that no such demand had been heard or expressed before the beginning of the nineteenth century; that is, what was specifically targeted was that every group live secluded lives in the spaces defined for them. The construction of the bridge, in this respect, indicates a significant change and an end of an era.

20- Hırka-i Şerif Mosque

21- Hırka-i Şerif Mosque

The example that marks an end to this architectural period is the tomb of Sultan Mahmud II (1839) in Çemberlitaş. Sultan tombs are known to have been constructed as complexes that generally incorporated components like mosques and soup kitchens. Sultan Mahmud II’s tomb introduced a significant change in that it included an enclosed graveyard, a sebil (fountain) and a school. The leading role was taken up by the graveyard, which, until that time, had almost always been seen as a secondary element. There was no longer a structure that competed with the whole. This preference is also a reference to the end of the Ottoman sultan as a symbolic figure, which had existed in the two previous centuries, rather than an absolute monarch. The foundation of a modern centralized state, the identity of the new Ottoman sultan49 and the design of the Tomb of Mahmud II constitute a whole that does not appear to be coincidental. The tomb foretells the end of baroquization tendencies in terms of its forming properties. This structure is in sharp contrast with Nusretiye Mosque (1826), built on the orders of the same sultan in Tophane. Nusretiye is an example of Ottoman baroque, which means that it follows the traditional architectural customs while deforming them through new contributions and approaches. The tomb, on the other hand, shows a more radical break than the mosque. It takes up the European classicist language very easily. The Tanzimat-era search for a new intellectual and social discipline now replaced the average inclination to baroque. The people who led this new effort, who relied on European “scientific” knowledge, perceived modernity as an effort to establish a new absolute epistemic regime and established it on such foundations.50 And the fact that their architectural attitude overlapped with European classicism, that is, a quest for a sound and stationary order, is not surprising. However, this quest, represented by the almost pure classicism of the tomb in question, was rarely applied in the following century due to circumstances that are far more complicated than were initially imagined, eventually abandoning its place in Ottoman eclecticism which had paved the way for limitless variations.

22- Teşvikiye Mosque


A. Non-formative aspects of the architectural changes in the nineteenth century

The Istanbul of the nineteenth century is a metropolis incorporated into the capitalist system. An Ottoman economy simultaneous with Europe, and more particularly, Western European economies, was slowly emerging. No doubt, the 1820s cannot be called a beginning in the context of encounters with the impact of capitalism. It was many years since Wallerstein had explained that, starting from the sixteenth century, the world is shaped by the global impact of capitalist production relationships.51 For instance, it is a known fact that the mass flow of silver into Europe after the discovery of extensive silver deposits in South America led to a decrease in the price of silver in the Ottoman lands, as well as in Europe, and that the latter experienced a period of almost uninterrupted inflation from the sixteenth century onward because they persistently continued to measure the value of their money by silver. The Ottoman economy was obviously a unit within the global economic system and, therefore, changes that took place in some other corner of the world - the saturation of the market with an excessive amount of Spanish silver, for example - had the power to disrupt the Ottoman economy. Yet, regarding the beginning of the nineteenth century, one must mention a change far more comprehensive than this. For example, on the one hand, with this change, opportunities arose for the usual capitalist organization and capital accumulation. On the other hand, it can be said that European capital used several Ottoman provinces, and particularly Istanbul, as a concentration point. For instance, this era is one in which the modern banking industry was born in the Ottoman state.

23- Yıldız Hamidiye Mosque

Thus, construction in the urban space and the production of structures which were incorporated into the relationships of capitalist production is a product of the same century. For example, people started to invest in real property, particularly around the Galata quarter, in this century; one such family was the Camondos,52 a famous family of Jewish bankers. High-ranking Ottoman bureaucrats were among the first group of speculators to commission the construction of apartment buildings and hans (business inns) to acquire unearned income. It makes sense to conclude that if the eighteenth century was focused on primarily (re)aestheticizing space and architecture, nineteenth-century Istanbul was bent on economizing these two elements for the first time in its history. Of course, in these terms, in comparison, to the Istanbul of the twenty-first century, the nineteenth century seems very modest. This period nonetheless forms the essence of every economic development that was to take place in the coming years and the origin of so many dynamics of modernization.

The first decades of the 1800s should be examined in order to comprehend the initial stages of unearned income for the Ottomans. It is possible to talk of a city that took a very slow and unwilling approach to generating unearned income in the previous period. For example, uncertain attempts were made at generating unearned income in the urban space of Istanbul in the late eighteenth century. This can be understood from documents regarding home sales and property exchanges made with waqfs. For example, the monetary values of property sizes were not provided in legal transactions before the eighteenth century (at a time when plots had apparently no value other than that which pertained to their use), whereas the surface area of the urban space must have begun to acquire a specific economic value independent of its intended use; this value was now defined in related documents.53 Nevertheless, it must be pointed out that speculators, one of the most important actors to help create the modern city as we understand it today, appear only in the second half of the nineteenth century. A very important phase of change was now in progress, directing all city-dwellers to perceive and express the city in the context of measures and economic data.

24- Yıldız Hamidiye Mosque

Istanbul’s architecture in the nineteenth century was one of the regular components of new pluralities that were to be developed by the city in the same century. On the one hand, the central government began to demand, in a way it had never done before, a specific architecture. In the preceding centuries it was not possible to speak of “state architecture.” There were no plan layouts or structure types with which the state could be identified. Nor did it have specific functional demands. State buildings that would enable military and administrative, as well as educational and transportation services, were not constructed. Waqfs ran such services due to their status as pious endowments. These services were not offered by the central administration; the physical structures and support were constructed and maintained by private individuals. These private individuals were for the most part high-ranking government officials or members of the dynasty, but they did not act in the name of the state as founders of pious endowments, but rather did charity work on their own behalf. In fact, the state had not yet acquired status as a legal entity and had no legal existence apart from its own officials. However, the modern centralized state, which would become a legal entity in time, would set about creating a large area of public services at an increasing pace and identify with the services it would offer in such fields as education, defense and management. Therefore, architecture in 19th-century Istanbul became an instrument that not only served the modern state, but also helped to build it. This, at best, had a number of precursors in the era that spanned the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. While even the fortresses built by the valide sultan (the sultan’s mother) in the seventeenth century on the Strait of Dardanelles had the status of a pious endowment, a school such as the Mühendishane (Engineering School) and certain army barracks in the last quarter of the eighteenth century were structures commissioned directly by the state to carry out its essential duties. The centralized state, starting from the era of Sultan Mahmud II, acquired a legal entity, emerging with a great demand for structures as one of the actors of architecture. This demand continued to grow relentlessly during the next two centuries. The state made no open declarations about its morphological preferences until the era of İttihad ve Terakki (Union and Progress Party), but its influence on structures of public services would inevitably cause it to become a controlling force on the form and plan layouts.

25- The tomb of Sultan Mahmud II

In the context of the state’s desire to define a specific morphological language in architecture, it would be meaningful to think of Istanbul’s architectural history as being made up of two phases: 1820-1910 and 1910-1930. A natural pluralism that characterized the first phase turns into a reluctant one in the second. The administration wanted to establish a kind of architectural hegemony in the second phase. But it was unable to do this by homogenizing the field. The city would still be home to the different architectural preferences of groups and individuals, but this time the state also had a morphological preference in which it officially engaged. The other preferences obviously could not find support or legitimacy as strong as that of the morphological preference promoted by the state. And later, it would not occur to anybody for a long time to even write about the history of the other preferences. It can be observed at the initial stage that non-Muslim ethnic groups, distinct from one another, increasingly developed different architectural perceptions. Gradually, every ethno-religious group extricated itself from the old cosmopolitanism and started seeking/creating styles of architecture that could express their own ethnic and increasingly national identity. This development emerged particularly in the second half of the nineteenth century.54 However, its beginnings date back further. First of all, Europeans would try and practice their own styles of architecture in this foreign land. Designs departing from local expressions of morphology first appeared in embassy buildings, and later extended to other kinds of structures as well. The Crimea Memorial Church, for example, was constructed following a competition organized by England with the purpose of designing an Anglican church to commemorate the Crimean War. It would first be designed by Burgess, one of Britain’s most significant new Gothic architects, but would eventually be built according to the design of G. E. Street.55 Interestingly, despite being the subject matter of a long-standing debate, the morphology that gave rise to this structure, its ideological background and the debate it sparked have nothing to do with the cultural geography in which the structure is located. To make sense of it, there is no option but to try and read it through the “Gothic revivalist” discourses that belong to England of the mid-nineteenth century. The building is in Istanbul, but the dynamics that gave rise to it were not local. The Crimea Memorial Church, therefore, is an early structure that is very significant and even emblematic in illustrating Istanbul’s new environment of architectural existence that was shaped by modernity. It may be stated that architecture’s ability to achieve absolute autonomy from the socio-cultural context of its geography and the fact that designs became easily transferrable are important images and dynamics of modernization.

26- Fener Greek Boys High School

27- Selimiye Barracks

The Crimea Memorial Church is a very striking example of this. However, it is obvious that the state of alienation from the local context to which the building belongs and the state of becoming autonomous from it is typical of Istanbul as a whole in the nineteenth century. Unfortunately, this dynamic has been the subject of few serious research projects, apart from being criticized on the grounds that it breaks with the local cultural and morphological integrity. Yet what makes the period so interesting is the beginning of the establishment of the “local” in a different manner. This, as is related in a number of historical texts, distinguished itself from the loss of the cultural and architectural identity or the opportunities for new combinations that appeared between the local and the Western. A transition was in progress from an era in which the knowledge that gave rise to architecture was viewed as an absolute regime of knowledge not subject to any discussion to an era in which all new architectural approaches, forms and elements could be transferred and discussed in regard to their origins and validity; it was now possible to express like as well as dislike or doubt. The transition into this regime of “plural sentiments” was slow in the Ottoman Empire, and more particularly in Istanbul, where it was progressing the fastest. New people, ideas, morphologies and technical information flowed, particularly from Europe, into the capital, but this flow did not seem to cause any worry for a long time. The informed knowledge of architecture collapsed, and architecture, as a result, turned into a field of large diversification and hybridization; this diversification was in fact not problematized to any great extent throughout the 19th century. It is rare to find a text in which this diversification is discussed, with the exception of part of Usûl-i Mi’mârî-i Osmânî, a rather brief text.56 Eclecticism, the transfer of “alien” forms into the current atmosphere and hybridity were accepted without much trouble by simply being made to appear ordinary. This situation was set to change gradually from the beginning of the 20th century with architecture becoming a practice of producing identities.

28- Taşkışla (Stone barracks) (in Taksim)

The Greeks enthusiastically participated in the process of producing identities through architecture in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The Armenians were a bit later in joining the Greeks. As far as the historicist discourses were concerned (that is, the Neo-Greek and Neo-Byzantine architectures), the Greeks undoubtedly stood a greater architectural chance owing to the ease with which their own modern identity was associated with Ancient Greece. Contrary to popular belief, the Turkish-Ottoman upper class did not lag far behind the non-Muslims. In fact, considering the text of Usûl-i Mi’mârî-i Osmânî (1873), the Ottoman-Turkish upper class took the lead with respect to building a ground for the discursive context. The aforementioned book prescribed the establishment of a new architectural identity by “otherizing” non-Muslims. Nations were now emerging to take the place of ethno-religious groups, or certain ethno-religious groups were now imagining themselves as nations and re-establishing their identities in that direction. Still, it would be wrong to imagine a very transparent or linear process of nation-building. When it came to a political and a cultural break, all groups entered into a state of indecisiveness that seesawed between loyalty, indifference and betrayal.57 This common indecisiveness paradoxically made the residents of Istanbul resemble one another. And this time the residents of Istanbul became partners in their indecisiveness and low intellectual expectations regarding architecture as well as in a hesitation to make complaints about the spaces around them. Their admiration for the urban quality and hygiene of the West evolved, and they became partners in this as the demand for nationalization was on the rise; as a result, the traditional cosmopolitanism began to collapse and the frames of practice were disappearing. It may be said that intellectuals from every ethno-religious group concurred in describing the “local” where they lived as a negative situation.

29- Davutpaşa Barracks

In the nineteenth century, there were new urban actors, previously unknown, who began to be incorporated in Istanbul. For example, the Levantines, who had always existed in Istanbul until this time, but who appeared very little architecturally, became important actors with the weight and influence they had gained. Italian construction workers also came to Istanbul to work. Since this labor movement has never been studied, one should assume a cautious tone while discussing it, but the general flow of Italian construction workers into the Eastern Mediterranean (particularly Alexandria and Cairo)58 strongly affected Istanbul as well. Turkish-Italian architectural relations did not start in the 19th century, of course; the origins date as far back as the thirteenth century.59 However, the second half of the nineteenth century also became a period of radical breakthroughs in terms of the migration of architects. Other than such important local Italians as Alessandro Vallauri and Giulio Mongeri, there were those who came for temporary work such as the Fossati brothers and Raimond D’Aronco.60 However, despite people like Edoardo De Nari,61 who produced architectural works until the 1950s, the real intensity of architectural production was between 1850 and 1911. This door, as it were, closed with the Tripoli (Turkish-Italian) War and the First World War, and would never again be open to the same extent.

30- Çırağan Palace

In the city an indigenous bourgeoisie of Muslims, Christians and Jews was also forming. To meet this bourgeoisie’s construction demands, new service areas emerged. In this context, contractors became a new major actor in terms of architecture.62 Experts constructed the city’s entire public building stock in the nineteenth century on a lump sum basis, with the necessary capital building structures. The residential contractor is another new actor that emerged in the second half of the same century and who has almost never been studied despite his long-term effects. This professional man built and sold houses for a speculative purpose, thereby roughly corresponding to the job done today by the investor-entrepreneur, the so-called “property developer.” This type of person set about working first in Beyoğlu beginning in the 1850s. He would first buy a plot of land, then divide it into several parcels and speedily construct residential buildings for speculative purposes with cheap materials and workmanship. He usually built uniformed size row houses and terraces. Undoubtedly, this person also built individual houses. Examples of these are most easily seen on the outskirts of the city, extending from Tarlabaşı Boulevard to Dolapdere-Kasımpaşa. The sizes of such terraces must be proportionate to the purchasing power of the potential customers. Since the customer profile around Tarlabaşı at the time was from the lower-middle and lower-income bracket, Tarlabaşı was filled with single-family homes; most of the facades were not three meters high. They formed small clusters of homes, constructed for speculative purposes. The contractors had to work with very small budgets, which consequently meant that the buildings were poorly constructed. Furthermore, it should be indicated that such examples were found not only in Beyoğlu and other non-Muslim quarters of the city; they could be found all over, for instance, in Kadıköy, Süleymaniye, Cankurtaran and the outskirts of the Golden Horn.

The ethno-religious balance of Istanbul’s architectural service sector in the 19th century seems to have changed as well.63 The Armenians began to enter the sector, taking the place that the Greeks had occupied in the sixteenth century. For example, there are almost no Armenian skilled laborers who participated in the construction of the Süleymaniye Mosque. It is possible to postulate that during the centuries which passed there was a considerable flow of Armenian labor into Istanbul. The famous Balyan family of architects, and even the ancestor of the dynasty, Bâlî Kalfa (Mason Bali), migrated to the capital from Kayseri in the eighteenth century. Nonetheless, when the twentieth century began, Armenians still ranked second in the construction industry. In contrast, the Balyans almost held a monopoly over the sector from the 1820s to the 1860s, at least in the area of state structures. They designed and constructed hundreds of private and public, official and civil buildings.64 However, it cannot be said that the same level of involvement existed for every structure with which their names were associated. The number of cases in which they simply acted as contractors for buildings designed by others was not small. This lack of clarity is only natural in an environment where the sectors of contracting and project designing had not yet been separated from one another or were distinct to a minimum extent. It was often the case that the project drafter constructed buildings on a lump sum basis. For this reason, the design being separated from the construction was an exceptional circumstance and was confusing to contemporaries.

31- Çırağan Palace

In the nineteenth century, Istanbul underwent a major techno-cultural regime change, which was of immediate concern to architecture. However, in order to deal with its beginnings, it is necessary to go back to the end of the eighteenth century, about 50 years before the consolidation stage of the reign of Sultan Mahmud II, who is considered to mark the turning point in this matter. Change here is synonymous with the collapse of the belief that architecture and construction technology had contained qualities that made them areas of data-knowledge. Now, there was a transition from a regime of knowledge, where architects and builders did not radically question their techniques or materials, but were content to use them unquestioningly, into a regime of voluntary technical productivity, learning and forgetting, where this perception of reliability disappeared. The old techno-cultural regime sustained the initial devastating blows to these three fields: representation techniques, military architecture, and the construction of structures that would incorporate newly-emerged technological products.

The fact that traditional Ottoman topographical knowledge created a dilemma in representation techniques was first realized in cartography. As practitioners of the knowledge of misaha (mesaha: topography) in the preceding eras, architects came to realize that they would now be able to perform this practice only on smaller-scale plots of land under the conditions of the eighteenth century. For lands larger in scale, they felt helpless, since their knowledge did not contain angle-measuring practices.65 This helplessness could not be compensated for by using old techniques when the need to build new urban fortifications arose, particularly in the Balkans. The new fortification technology that originated from Europe entailed using a number of mathematical practices that did not exist in the Ottoman state. The idea of establishing an Mühendishâne-i Berr-i Hümâyûn (Imperial Land Engineering School) was produced primarily as a solution to this dilemma. It is not a coincidence that some of the students had an architectural background. The addition of such representation techniques as section, view and perspective to the singular Ottoman drawing practice of layout occurred in the same period.66 Istanbul’s construction sector encountered the like of a project-drawing team, in the current sense of the term, for the first time in the late nineteenth century.

32- Beylerbeyi Palace

33- Beylerbeyi Palace

The most obvious dilemma in the field of constructing and planning the structures which met the new technical requirements was related to shipbuilding technology, which would mark a complete break from traditional methods. As the eighteenth century was coming to an end, the building of a dry dock was now on the agenda and the administration enlisted the knowledge of Swedish engineers.67 The dry dock was followed in the next centuries by new manufacturing plants and factory buildings with an increasing pace. Initially it was still possible to utilize whatever traditional materials were available in the construction of these buildings. In the second half of the eighteenth century, there were few imported building materials other than glass and Italian marbles. However, in the second half of the nineteenth century, the number of imported items grew with the addition of a long list that included European materials and ready-to-use construction components. The new materials began to be predominantly used not only in technically more advanced production facilities, but also in ordinary residences. The cast iron columns, the metal roof construction and the iron beams of Feshane (fez-making facility) all entered the field as European goods. In the late nineteenth century, European companies were not content to merely market their products; they also began to directly distribute products through their representatives in Istanbul. Patented applications (i.e. Freyssinet) of new techniques, such as reinforced concrete, were to be made in the city in the early twentieth century.

The most obvious and long-term importance of the techno-cultural change, as well as one of its greatest manifestations is that a modern regime was beginning to prevail with a book-centered education instead of the traditional regime, which was centered on learning from practices, acquired onsite in real architectural applications and constructions. The desire to establish a school of architecture as early as the reign of Mahmud II seems to be linked to the opening of this new era. In the previous period, books, as part of an architect’s accumulated knowledge, occupied a certain place, at best, for learning ancillary disciplines such as geometry.68 So little is known about the early history of this change; this is due to the lack of research. It is doubtful that books about European architecture reached Istanbul as early as the Tulip Era.69 It is certain, however, that the library of Mühendishane had books on architecture as the eighteenth century came to an end.70 And in the nineteenth century, the practice of benefiting from books as sources of learning, being informed and finding examples seems to have developed to an increasingly greater extent. Even though theoretical works were not much in favor at the beginning of the 20th century, manuals and pattern books had a place in the libraries of architects and builders. Nevertheless, this process progressed very slowly, and even as late as the 1980s, architects were, so to speak, “crawling on all fours” when it came to habitually using books.

B. Aspects of architectural changes related to form in the 19th century

Architecture in nineteenth-century Istanbul showed a morphic variety to a degree incomparable to the previous century. From this perspective alone, we can conclude that the change was very remarkable and radical. The city’s architectural structuring format, which had almost always been dualistic until that time, now gradually took on a large plurality. Even in the eighteenth century, the vernacular housing tradition of the city as well as its monumental masonry architecture delineated the boundaries of new diversification. In the same century, the tradition of wood-frame housing used almost the same technical tools, similar planimetries and a similar morphological language from the poorest groups up to the upper classes. This, of course, is not intended to claim that the poor, the members of the dynasty and the high-ranking administrators lived in identical architectural environments. Between the poor and the affluent ends of the housing continuum, there was a wide range of differences hard to imagine today. However, these differences did not mark a morphic variation that was radical enough to be considered distinctly different. In the 19th century, however, the differences had become irreconcilably different. Not only in the housing sector, but also the entire construction sector became pluralized.

34- The Blue Hall in Beylerbeyi Palace

For example, architecture became an efficient tool for the construction of the ethno-religious identities described in the previous section. In particular, new-born Greek nationalism made the Greek community a suitable ground for a neo-Greek historicism. Nevertheless, this movement in Istanbul did not become an issue of social preference as strong as the “Greek revivalist” architecture, which made sense in Athens. Especially, it was rarely found as a holistic choice of style in residential structures and did not go beyond being merely observed for details. But there was a speedy progress toward the kinds of morphology that would render an Armenian neighborhood clearly distinguishable from a Greek or a Turkish neighborhood. No doubt, we cannot state that this differentiation was characterized by fixed formations. What was happening at best is that the different architectural preferences of different communities were beginning to emerge. For example, as the century was ending, the trend of building stone houses was more enthusiastically followed and reinforced in Greek neighborhoods. In addition, wooden residential structures that can be called “Orientalist” appeared in Greek neighborhoods, rather than in Turkish ones. Ortaköy and Büyükada had such structures as well. When the first examples of the art nouveau style of architecture appeared at the beginning of the 20th century, they were seen either in wealthy Greek neighborhoods or in Turkish houses that belonged to the highest income bracket. Turks and Armenians from the middle-income bracket made no demands for art nouveau houses. Again, as the twentieth century was beginning, Turkish neighborhoods started to take shape with plain, stone housing architecture that was not historicist and that had no place for decorations.71

35- The gate of the Ministry of War

The change in the residential architecture of Istanbul in the nineteenth century arose in several ways. The first route of the change, at this stage, converted the housing stock, which used to be prevalently half-timbered, into houses that had wood-siding with a plasterboard layer underneath; that is, wood-siding was one of the modern realities of Istanbul and was not traditional.72 Roughly, its use became a topic of discussion with the emergence of steam engine sawmills. As a result of this technical change, the production of treated wood increased in Eastern Europe and the real price of wood-siding fell at the same time. Additionally, transporting wood to Istanbul became very easy. Capitalist commercial entrepreneurship and cheap transport would saturate Istanbul with wood. In the previous era, Istanbul’s usual architecture was a type known as hımış, which referred to a wooden frame and a stucco exterior with clay filling inside; this could be found in Bursa, Kütahya, Safranbolu and the Balkans as well. The change came about so quickly in Istanbul that at the turn of the twentieth century there were few examples of such structures left in the city. A Turkish-French catalogue, which according to our estimation was printed by a building materials supplier named Zachary in the last quarter of the 19th century, has no date on it, but is enlightening for the industry.73 The catalogue provides the unit price for thousands of wooden items; the company sold all sizes of standard building elements from lath to foundation piles. In the same century, there were dozens of similar companies in Istanbul. This is directly linked to the capitalist and industrial development, that is, it informs us of the impact that economic change had on trends in building. For example, it should be noted that, as the nineteenth century was ending, the unit cost of a square-meter of good-quality wooden construction was 3 to 5 liras for a two-story building, and 6 to 7 liras for a three-story building, whereas in stone houses 15 to 20 liras would be spent for a two-story building, and 30 to 40 liras for a three-story building.74

36- Sublime Porte (Istanbul Governorate)

Apparently, one should notice the modernity of even the wood-siding residences of Istanbul. However, from the same century onward, wood was declared by the administration and intellectuals to be an expression of backwardness, and they tried to eliminate it. With the fire brigade proving more and more insufficient in the face of a population that was increasingly becoming larger and denser, fires began to take a greater toll across the city, and wood would be regarded as the sole culprit. Moreover, a new mental environment was emerging that began to define the Western and Central European metropolises as a new ideal of modernity in terms of both planning discipline and the stock of masonry constructions. As a result, late Ottoman zoning regulations proposed to take measures to the point of banning the use of wood.75 Likewise, during the early years of the Republic, the construction of wooden houses had already come to a halt. In practice, the process of building stone and brick houses in the capital gained momentum after the Hocapaşa fire of 1865.76 As the twentieth century was beginning, almost all of the houses in Beyoğlu and most of those on the Historical Peninsula were of stone and brick. Only Üsküdar, Eyüp Sultan and the Bosphorus retained their majority of wooden houses into the 1950s.

37- Sublime Porte (Istanbul Governorate)

The change in the area of residential architecture had as much to do with materials and technology as with the spatial organization and architectural expression. The use of the konak (mansion) became more widespread in the second half of the nineteenth century. This term would be used for three-quarters of a century to refer to an independent structure consisting of at least two stories, sometimes with a basement (traditional Istanbul houses did not have basements), with a central hall or an entrance known as karnıyarık, a compact plan, a three-flight main staircase, and toilet facilities built inside the main structure. The interior rooms no longer had low couches, cabinets or a furnace. Home furnishings, such as tables, chairs, armchairs, halls, wardrobes, and consoles became commonplace even in the homes of the lower-middle income bracket. The use of braziers and stoves became increasingly widespread, the latter especially in wealthy households. Rooms with transom windows came to an end as early as the first quarter of the nineteenth century; sash windows were now becoming common. Massive window shutters which opened by being folded up and down disappeared and were replaced, especially in affluent homes, with European-origin shutters that opened sideways. Even in middle-income homes, doors to rooms had double wings, unlike in the past. European-made decorative elements began to be commonly used for exteriors as well as interiors.

Starting from the middle of the nineteenth century the difference between the yalı and the konak disappeared, except for the fact that the former was situated on the coast. The former yalı had been situated on the line between the sea and the shore (seafront), whereas the new yalı were just located on a plot by the sea. The Sait Halim Paşa Yalı in Yeniköy can be given as one of the typical examples. This preference is common among Turks. In some Greek villages on the Bosphorus (e.g. Arnavutköy), another type of yalı emerged. These yalıs were aligned in a row perpendicular to the shore and consisted of at least four stories, thus forming a dense settlement pattern.

It is surprising that terraced housing, a type of settlement developed in Anglo-Saxon countries, became common practice in Istanbul in the second half of the nineteenth century.77 One example is the very modest Surp Agop Houses in Elmadağ, which are of two stories, each of which has a single room, as well as the Akaretler Houses that were suitable even for affluent families. Muslim or non-Muslim, every ethno-religious community was able to live in such houses. Most of the time, terraced housing was built by contractors. Some, however, such as the Surp Agop Houses and Akaretler, were owned by waqfs. In fact, wooden row houses were constructed, such as the Barbaros Houses in Cankurtaran, which were demolished in the 1990s. Interestingly, this type of housing fell into almost complete oblivion in Istanbul at the beginning of the 20th century.

38- The Fourth Endowment Han

39- The tomb and Library of Şeyh Zafir

In quarters inhabited by low-income groups, two-story single wooden terraced houses, with a single room on each floor, usually a half basement, and a toilet on the ground floor was probably a standard type of housing as early as the end of the eighteenth century. Stone and brick examples of this type were common in modest non-Muslim neighborhoods. While upper income groups no longer used corbels or bay windows in their mansions, the bay window was standard in both types of housing. Such modest residences reduced in number as a result of the new construction activities; it became almost impossible to find any examples. Because of the lack of examples, future generations would have no way of knowing about the living conditions of the middle class and the poor in Istanbul during the period that ranged from the late eighteenth century to the first half of the twentieth century. This disappearance perhaps proved very “useful” in that it made people believe in the existence of the traditional “Turkish house” that had been created along with the myth that it defined very high living standards. The first slums of Istanbul appeared in the late nineteenth century. The term gecekondu (shanty) would be coined in the 1950s, but poor houses built with makeshift materials had already started to appear along the city walls in Edirnekapı and in the area extending from Kasımpaşa to Piyalepaşa.

The trend of constructing apartment blocks gained great momentum in Galata and Pera from the 1860s.78 The residents of the capital, who were no strangers to collective housing, with large masses living for centuries in rows of rooms that belonged to waqfs, easily adopted this European-origin structure. Moreover, apartment blocks had greater advantages over traditional residences in terms of heating, hygiene and comfort. Though it was a type of structure imported from Europe, the apartment building was very quickly adopted as a local element in Istanbul, starting from the earliest examples. Istanbul residents customized the structures according to their customs, adding bay windows and corbels. Plan layouts reflect the same trend. There were examples that owed their existence completely to European models, such as those with a series of rooms opening onto a corridor, while it is also possible to find examples where all the rooms opened onto a central hallway or ones with an anteroom. Doors connecting a series of rooms, almost never preferred in traditional Istanbul houses before, were now commonplace in the apartment blocks of the 19th century. This last example suggests that there was a serious change in living habits.

40- Vefa High School

In old houses, rooms were not given particular functions (i.e. dining room, bedroom, sitting room), but would be allocated to a sub-unit of the family. For example, depending on the social status, rooms could be defined as living spaces for a single person or in extended families, the sub-unit of a family, consisting of parents and children. Plan layouts consisting of rooms that opened onto one another reveal that the situation had now changed and that all of the rooms were now used by all family members on the basis of functional differentiation. Upper-class families, unlike in the past, would not be living daily lives differentiated based on age, gender or status, and there was a transition to a new system in which the whole family would live together in the same space. Meals were now turning into events that brought the whole family together around the table while, for example, in the former upper-class mansions (in all ethno-religious groups), people would sometimes be served meals in their own rooms, like a type of special service, and sometimes the male and female members of the house would have their meals in separate groups. A new concept of domesticity was emerging79 in the modern Istanbul residence. In this city, where there is not a single authentic house in use left from the nineteenth century, it is now possible to follow the traces of this only in the textbooks of the era, texts about the proper etiquette, and books written to provide guidance on daily matters.80 Although the properties of formation and the aesthetic preferences that emerged in their designs may seem very different, nineteenth-century residences came to be very similar to contemporary ones in terms of living habits.

Diversification in areas apart from housing was also significant. Public buildings showed no stylistic consistency, whether they were financed by the state or by ethno-religious communities. They were unanimous in being historicist and eclecticist, but what was actually happening was an endless variation and hybridization. Among the data of this hybridization antique formation elements, such as old local planimetries, pediments, plasters, architraves, classical vernacular elements, such as bay windows, and European-origin baroque forms can be included. A very small number of buildings constructed by the state were formed with the strict application of a style from a former era. Taşkışla in Taksim can be given as an example of this type. It is possible to define it as a kind of neo-Renaissance structure. Greek public buildings more prominently reflect a quest for an ethnic style. For instance, the Zoğrafyon High School (1893) in Galatasaray, designed by P. D. Fotiadis, the favorite architect of the Greek community, is a structure that displays strong neo-Greek features. Also in Galatasaray, the building of the Dersaadet Greek League of Literature, which is no longer standing today, was an even more prominent example of the Greek revivalist style.81 In Fener, the Greek Boys High School (1881), which was known as the “Great School of the Nation,” is a rare neo-Byzantine design. In Istanbul, as in Greece, the Greeks had a personality split between a “glorious” polytheistic Ancient Greek past and the cultural heritage of the Christian Byzantines of the Middle Ages. Their language, literature, science and philosophy look back to antiquity, whereas their faith and everyday life point toward the medieval and religion. This is usually exemplified by Hagia Triada Church in Taksim: the antique past unites with the Christian past in a complex mixture of concepts and designs.

41- Defter-i Hakani (main register of revenues of the Ottoman Empire)

A similar dilemma can be seen in some of the state’s architectural enterprises. For example, ibtidai and rüşdiye (primary and secondary) school buildings during the reign of Abdülhamid II often resemble mansions with central halls, however their external features owe much to European eclectic architectures. The Fatih and Kocamustafapaşa Secondary Schools and Mülkiye Mektebi (Civil Service Academy) in front of Gülhane Park are such structures. The public buildings that departed most notably from the traditional typology were the army barracks. Starting as early as the Kasımpaşa Army Barracks, built in 1782, the typical two or three-story nineteenth-century army barracks arose with an large inner courtyard completely surrounded by a gallery and wards; the doors opened onto the gallery and the windows looked out. This was to be followed by similar structures, such as the Selimiye, Taksim, Taşkışla, Gümüşsuyu, Orhaniye, Davutpaşa, and Balmumcu Army Barracks. Another new type of structure that appeared in the final stages of the reign of Sultan Mahmud II was the karakuls (police stations), of which only a few examples can be seen today. These were the landmarks of the city’s new regime of public order. A rare and much distorted example that was spoiled with the addition of extra floors is in the Şemsipaşa quarter of Üsküdar (today’s Army Officers’ Club).

42- House of Vedat Tek

An architectural morphology that appeared in structures, such as Çırağan Palace (1871), Taksim Army Barracks (the first construction of the main building dates from the era of Sultan Mahmud II, the three-story Oriental door masses from the era of Sultan Abdülaziz), the Gate of the Ministry of War (1866), Ayazağa Pavilion (from the era of Sultan Abdülaziz), Pertevniyal Valide Sultan Mosque in Aksaray (1869-1871), and Hamidiye Mosque in Yıldız (1885-1886) - a morphology that differed from European kinds of historicism at least in terms of its origin - constitutes a rare integrated group. There are no texts dating from the era that offer an explanation of this type of architecture, which is considered today as a form of Ottoman Orientalism.82 Therefore, why these structures, which have a pseudo-Islamic appearance but were a great departure from the classical architectural traditions observed in the Ottoman lands, were requested and how they were actually brought into existence does not seem easily answerable. These buildings were extremely alien to the Ottoman nationals of all communities in this period. Moreover, apart from their Oriental adornments, these structures heavily incorporated neo-Gothic elements. Moreover, it is possible to say that Gothic was the main style orientation which helped to realize this architecture, containing no more than a limited repertoire of decorative elements of Andalusian and Moorish origins. It is, therefore, difficult to regard these structures as a quest for a local expression, an endeavor to build a kind of Islamic identity, or even as a reaction to European-origin morphologies that acquired an identity as the “other.” In Ottoman Istanbul, they seem more anomalous than even the European-origin historicisms. What made this group of structures significant as well as interesting is that they were proof that Istanbul had now acquired such a degree of modern openness as to provide a chance for a large variety of different architectural expressions to exist. And it is precisely for this reason that the nationalist architecture at the beginning of the twentieth century ignored this Orientalist architecture. National architecture, which requires the strict discipline of the physical environment and an aesthetic stance, could, of course, not take seriously an attitude that had no nationalist concerns in terms of the origins of form.

43- Ministry of Post and Telegraph

On the other hand, this relationship between Ottoman Orientalism and Gothic calls for a specific historiographical explanation. It is obvious that today the two approaches are almost irreconcilable and it seems out of place to consider them together. However, as the process of building the new Western identity in the nineteenth century was in crisis, it does not seem surprising to encounter Gothic-grafted Orientalist designs here, given that “medieval” (that which pertains to the Middle Ages) is seen in Europe as having derived from “Oriental” (that which pertains to the Orient) and that such a mental climate in which an axis of “medievalism” and “Orientalism” existed, allowing the former to be considered in the context of the latter.83 These could be imagined like interrelated aesthetic existences in the context of the same “medieval,” unlike the present. The reference of being connected to an origin that could be attributed to the past, precisely in a period when the Ottomans were experiencing a new encounter with the West, is probably significant. However, there is no Ottoman text written in this period about this matter. Nevertheless, it does not seem impossible that quite a common historiographical-cultural understanding could have reached Istanbul, at the very least, by means of foreign architects. For example, Montani Efendi84- the creator of Orientalist designs such as the Valide Mosque - given his intellectual interests (it was he who authored the chapter “The Science of Ottoman Architecture” in Usûl-i Mi’mârî) may have been one such intermediary. In any case, it can be said that the people who built such structures knew that what they were doing was not Ottoman historicism. They probably assumed that they were achieving a new meeting point with the West by means of this Orientalism in the historiographical environment outlined above. No doubt, it would be beneficial to further investigate this interesting topic in the future.

From this perspective, the following situation can quite easily be explained: structures that were Orientalist in their entirety were outnumbered by those with Orientalist interiors and different kind of eclecticist exteriors. For example, the Seraskerlik building (the headquarters of the commander-in-chief - today the Rectorate Building of Istanbul University), the former building of the Ministry of Finance (today the Faculty of Dentistry of Istanbul University), the Beylerbeyi Palace, and even partially Bâbıâlî (the Sublime Porte - today Istanbul Governor’s Office) were structures that had Orientalist interiors. It can be argued that this preference was particularly made for official buildings. But on the exterior, an expansive pluralism was visible. This can be understood as marking a restructuring phase in the new Ottoman identity. Remember that modernist thinkers of the period (i.e. Namık Kemal) were propagating and advocating the conception of a plural identity similar to this one. They imagined people who were European in science and technology, but Islamic and Ottoman in feeling and morality. This has a long history, almost 75 years, which extends to the concept of the polarization of civilization and culture which can be referred to as the “Ziya Gökalp split.” Those who deemed it possible for social identity to become pluralized in such a voluntary manner in the historical process and who began to speak out accordingly must be deemed “modernist.” Modernity also means the destruction of the illusion of the non-contradictory cultural existence that has internal consistency. Thus, in the field of architecture, it is not surprising to see manifestations with Oriental interiors and occidental exteriors.

The visual resources from which the Orientalist Istanbul structures took their design materials and repertoires of form are limited. Embellishments, column and arch forms among others all seem to have their origins in the same few books. The plates in the books of Girault de Prangey85 and the pattern book of Owen Jones86 must have been rare sources of form and format frequently used until the emergence of Ottoman historicist romanticism. What is interesting is, although those who designed Ottoman Orientalist architecture had so many old structures they could observe in their immediate vicinity, they limited themselves to the drawings in a few books; this demonstrates that they did no field research. The first batch of field studies appeared within the scope of national architecture as late as the 1910s (with the exception of Usûl-i Mi’mârî-i Osmânî, dated 1873). The same lack of research applies to the details of ancient structures. Having used classical structural members very intensively from the early nineteenth century, Ottoman architects did not study a single ancient structure or draw it, rather settling for the drawings in European architectural manuals.

The most significant group of designers in the architectural scene of Istanbul in the nineteenth century was undoubtedly the Balyan family. However, it is not possible to speak of an architecture and/or style preference that was particular to the Balyans. Including their Orientalist structures, such as the interior and exterior designs of Çırağan Palace and the inner sections of Beylerbeyi Palace, they built structures that incorporated almost every element of European heritage. The old wooden Çırağan Palace (which burned down and was replaced by the current one), a structure dating from the period of Sultan Mahmud II (starting from 1834), distinguished itself as an exceptional Balyan structure.87 This example of the Greek revivalist trend, with its rhythmical columns and window layouts, must have owed much to Durand’s Précis88 that had only recently been published. However, just like its contemporary Tomb of Mahmud II, this palace is anomalous in terms of singular conceptual origins. It exemplifies a historicist conceptual discipline rather than pluralization and hybridization, which characterized the nineteenth century. Ottoman architects hardly ever made use of Durand’s strict typological conceptual patterns and templates, which were widely utilized throughout Europe. It is possible to say much about this Durandist structure, which had no successors, as it unfortunately burned down with little known documentation. The small Abdülmajid-era structure in the fourth courtyard of Topkapı Palace, Mecidiye Pavilion (c. 1840s), exemplified the attitude that would become customary in the next decades. This structure gives early indications of general future trends and presents a historiographical meaning beyond its dimensions. From a morphic perspective, it breaks with the traditional Ottoman residential architecture and brings to mind the 18th-century approaches in Europe. From this time on, not only the frontal layout, but wide roof eaves, indispensable at one time, would be excluded from official structures once and for all. In their place came horizontal lines and grooves hidden behind roof parapets and lead-covered pitched roof combinations which were hidden from the eye as best as possible. European fireplaces replaced indoor hearths. All ties with traditional Ottoman joinery were severed (in terms of the window and door details) in this pavilion. Again, beginning with this structure (and perhaps a little earlier with the old Çırağan Palace), the former portable lighting elements were done away with, and sconces and chandeliers were used.

Garabet Balyan’s Dolmabahçe Palace is typical for the mid-century. Here, the exterior contains the elements of every morphic preference, from baroque to antiquity. And in terms of the plan layout, the cruciform-planned middle halls assumed an existence as a primary spatial element in addition to the discovery of new elements, such as stair enclosures and lighting spaces. The middle space of the palace, known as the Muayede Salonu (ceremonial hall), is peerless. It illustrates how radically the concept of the Ottoman palace had changed. In fact, the Ottoman palace protocol and ceremonies had been parallel to those in European monarchies since the reign of Mahmud II. It can be said that this trend heavily influenced the design of the palace. This is true to such an extent that Yıldız Palace acted as an example of the decisive break as the twentieth century was beginning, during the reign of Sultan Abdülhamid II, with earlier traditional Ottoman palaces. Here, the old strict spatial hierarchy became lighter to a great extent, and what emerged is a residential complex in a large park consisting of houses and villas, which we can easily describe as humble.

A significant change was also underway in the field of religious architecture as the eighteenth century came to an end: the addition of sultan’s lodges in a symmetrical manner at the entrance section of the main worship area of a mosque had now become customary. This was undoubtedly connected to the sultan’s increased visibility in public in the same period. The sultan made more frequent visual contact with his subjects from different regions by attending the Friday prayers in a different mosque every week. He thus become a usual sight and acquired a new public identity; this was reflected in the design of mosques. The process of change occurred roughly as follows: the royal prayer lodges in the sixteenth century were hidden in the main mass of the structure. In the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries, as was the case with Yeni (New) Mosque, Sultan Ahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque), and Nuruosmaniye Mosque, for instance, the lodges became semi-independent and distinguishable components that were added to the left side of the main mass on the qibla axis. Starting from Beylerbeyi Mosque (1777-1778) in the nineteenth century, these became residence-like two-story components, known as hünkâr köşkleri; they were added symmetrically to the main mass at the side of the main entrance. Meanwhile, the plan layout that had allowed the sultan on horseback access to the lodge level in the previous two centuries was abandoned. The structure now could be approached by the royal carriage; the sultan would get out of the carriage just outside the front door, ascend the external staircase half a floor up, and then the interior staircase up another floor. This change was, I believe, connected to the fact that the horse had become obsolete, after being a status symbol for centuries.

Until the end of the reign of Sultan Abdülhamid II, this functional and planimetric preference would be made repeatedly in mosques, with a number of stylistic changes being made. The central worship area continued to be characterized by a main dome. This was the case in many mosques, i.e. the Nusretiye, Ortaköy, Dolmabahçe, Aksaray, and Valide Mosques. However, as the era of Mahmud II was coming to an end, the practice of building windows along the bottom edge of the main domes in mosques also came to an end. For lighting, at first the openings between the main arches and then the windows in the exterior walls, which had become increasingly more transparent toward the end of the century, were used. And in terms of style, the pluralist eclecticist (selective) attitude remained valid in mosques, as in all public buildings. In only one religious structure, Hırka-i Şerif Mosque, a unique layout plan was used due to the particular function of the mosque, which was designed for public visits. In this mosque a flow diagram that regulates entries and exits can be seen.

In Teşvikiye (1854) and Yıldız Hamidiye (1303/1885-1886) Mosques, the main dome lost its former significance and the prismatic effect of the main mass of the mosque increased. For example, the entrance facade in Teşvikiye is the most visible essential element, with its columned narthex in the middle. When viewed from the front, the mosque is reminiscent of a formal administrative structure. And when it comes to Yıldız, elements such as a portal and royal pavilion at the entrance side of the main worship area are prominent.

The pluralist eclecticism of the period would hardly apply to non-Ottoman architects. For example, the Swiss Italian brothers Gaspare and Giuseppe Fossati89 developed a number of major structures using a different architectural orientation compared to the plural eclecticism of the Balyans. The Dârülfünûn (university) building in Hagia Sophia, the small archive building within the complex of the Sublime Porte, the Russian Embassy and the Baltalimanı Sahilsarayı (waterside palace) are among these. The first two structures are Palladian designs that owe much to antiquity, whereas the archive building distinguishes itself as a structure inspired by Villa Rotunda of Palladio, Istanbul’s only Renaissance architect. In contrast, the Baltalimanı Sahilsarayı radically breaks with its European peers with its seafront location and giant oriels, thus becoming “Istanbulite.”

The restoration of Hagia Sophia, also carried out by the Fossatis,90 can be considered the first of the modern restorations that took place in Istanbul (1847-1849). In addition to the structural interventions, they added Byzantine-style embellishments as well as mosaic restorations or completions in some places. However, even though Istanbul’s history of modern restorations begins with this structure, the real momentum would be gained through the repairs realized by another Italian, Raimondo D’Aronco.91 Among the repair projects he took on, Mihrimah Mosque in Edirnekapı was repaired in the aftermath of the 1894 earthquake, and Hatice Turhan Valide Sultan Fountain in 1902 after a fire damaged the structure. Both restorations are of particular importance in terms of the classical nineteenth-century attitudes which aimed at restoring their original looks. In both of the structures, the architect renovated the classical Ottoman style within the scope of the principles of stylistic re-composition in a way that was similar to the periods in which they had been constructed; he did this with an embellishment program in the first structure, and with marble claddings, including the inscription plaque, and the roof system in the second. The result was so satisfactory that the interior embellishment composition of the Mihrimah Mosque in Edirnekapı is widely taken to be dated back, even by historians, to the era of Sinan.

D’Aronco should perhaps be considered the most important European designer who worked in Turkey during this period. Toward the end of the Abdülhamid era, he worked along the line of the art nouveau movement for the palace and for top Ottoman officials. He constructed a number of buildings in the Yıldız Palace complex. He built the Janissary Museum in Sultanahmet and the Sheikh Zâfir Tomb and Library in Beşiktaş. The Botter Apartment Block he built in Beyoğlu is the most important example of art nouveau in the capital. Art nouveau experienced its golden era in the period of 1900-1910 and also had Greek representatives such as the Yenidünya brothers.

Turkish nationalism brought the İttihat ve Terakki Party to power in 1908. In a matter of a few years, Istanbul was filled with products of Turkish nationalist historiography. The construction office of the Ministry of Awqaf (Foundations) and its founder Kemaleddin Bey was a strong determinant in the change.92 Kemaleddin Bey and his office used public buildings as opportunities to define a new national style reduced to a few plain rules and forms. During this period, many significant buildings were constructed, such as commercial buildings established as pious endowments, the pavilions of Gureba Hospital, the Madrasa of Islamic Judges (today the Library of Istanbul University), Bostancı and Bebek Mosques, and Vefa High School.

The Istanbul stage of the nationalistic romantic national architecture (1908-1923) was represented as much by Vedad (Tek) Bey93 as Kemaleddin Bey. In fact, we can better understand the former’s influence if we consider that he worked not only for the public, but also for private individuals. The fact that he was the son of a family that directly belonged to the Ottoman bureaucratic elite probably helped him take on the most prestigious projects. For example, the Postal and Telegraph Ministry in Sirkeci and the Revenue Office in Sultanahmet are two such buildings. During those years, Vedad Tek held the posts of the consultant architect for the Ministry of Defense and chief architect in charge of the restoration of the Topkapı Palace, which was slowly being opened to the public. When juxtaposed with Kemaleddin Bey’s gravity, bordering on formality, Vedad Tek’s architecture is characterized by more morphological experiments, as well as by attempts to display creativity. The house Tek built for himself in Nişantaşı is the best example of this attitude. However, unlike Kemaleddin Bey, he would not be reconciled with the new Republican regime and was largely ostracized; Tek was even removed from his teaching position at the Academy of Fine Arts. He spent his subsequent years only in Istanbul, working for the private sector, never in Ankara doing any work for the state. Tek’s career path defined, in a sense, an end for the long twentieth century which actually lasted until the 1920s.

As a significant defining power, starting in the 1910s, the administration was making its own demands regarding architectural form preferences. The following is also true to the same degree: architects as well as the public wanted and expected the state to have an official architectural image and its own conceptual sets of preferences. It can be said that this habit would be bequeathed to Ankara. Not only was the historiographical architectural design approach bequeathed, but there was also an emergence of an architectural perspective, which extended to the physical environment; future generations would grapple with this for almost a century. This is a way of thinking that has always remained nationalistic and that centralizes the state authority; an approach that has been constantly reproduced by being adapted to new conditions and by taking on leftist and rightist qualities. Architecture, in this framework, has been made one of the most efficient means toward the construction of a nation-state and a new identity. This approach did not move away from the ideal of Turkish architecture (or “our own essential architecture”) in the subsequent eras when historiography became of secondary importance. But there is a parameter that differentiates this romanticism from so many similar nationalistic types of romanticism: when those who spoke and designed talked about architecture, they actually attached only secondary importance to it and held on to a political attitude that primarily sanctified the state and aimed at fixing social identity. Such an approach expected state intervention in the field and expected that problems regarding architecture would be resolved through state intervention. In these discourses, architecture was not the subject, but always the object. A series of discourses, such as the country’s liberation, political independence, resistance against the West and the preservation of an essential identity (actually, the building of a new identity) were still on the agenda as late as the 1970s as topics which architectural thought could never distance itself from. Today, these issues live on in full splendor in Turkey.


The 1920s were an important period for Istanbul specifically because urban change came to a halt. There were a number of occurrences that led to this. For example, Ankara embarked on a course to become the capital city. The change of capital to Ankara meant that a significant portion of resources was now spent for the new capital and its construction. Furthermore, some of the most educated people moved from Istanbul to Ankara, causing a remarkable population loss for the former. Another fact that is as important is Istanbul’s evolution toward merely becoming Turkey’s largest city; it had been a city with a large hinterland but now it no longer functioned on the scale of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans. New nation-states were being built across Eastern Europe and the Middle East under the new circumstances that occurred after World War I. It is known that Istanbul retained its supranational role for a long time. These circumstances, however, changed radically after the World War I. And the economic depression of 1929 was a complete turning point. Foreign capital that had been concentrated in Istanbul left the city almost entirely, and the non-Muslim domestic capital also left to a large extent during the Great Depression. The depression and the declining role of the city as a supranational player no longer allowed investments in Istanbul to continue working effectively or productively. In the same period, the Republican government made significant contributions to the ethno-religious homogenization of the city within the framework of Turkifying the economy. The result of all of this was Istanbul’s step-by-step evolution into nothing more than the metropolis of Turkey. Architectural production continued in the following decades in another economic, intellectual and psycho-social environment.


1 Murat Guler, The Emergence of Modern Istanbul, Transformation and Modernisation of the City, London, New York: Distributed in the USA by Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

2 I have previously summarized this panorama of change in another article in the context of the change of only the city and the urban-dweller: Uğur Tanyeli, “Bir Tarihyazım Meselesi Olarak Türkiye’nin Modernleşmesi” (Turkey’s Modernization as a Historiographical Issue), İstanbul, Hayal ve Gerçek, ed. B. Özoğuz et al., Istanbul: Marmara Belediyeler Birligi, 2011, pp. 70-103. However, the text was published with numerous errors in the footnotes and some incorrect information about sources.

3 The terms “morphic,” “morphology,” and “morphological” will be used here very often. A brief description would be useful for the lay person: roughly, these three terms represent principles of form, formation and layout which define the combination of forms.

4 Even though the conceptual framework developed by Tönnies in this study has been constructed irrespective of this place, expressing the ethno-religious plurality in the pre-modern Ottoman town, to me, it still defines the most appropriate theoretical background. See Ferdinand Tönnies, Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, Leipzig: Fues, 1887.

5 The German equivalent of this term is almost always “gemeinschaft.” In sociological literature its closest Turkish equivalent is cemaat (community/congregation). The term qualifies a closed or semi-closed ethno-religious group associated with a synonymous location.

6 As a first study that addresses the issue on the scale of not Istanbul but Anatolia and which attempts to understand the dynamics of living together see Nicholas Doumanis, Before the Nation: Muslim-Christian Coexistence and Its Destruction in Late-Ottoman Anatolia, Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2012.

7 For two similar “paradise lost” narratives in popular literature see Giles Milton, Paradise Lost, Smyrna 1922 Destruction of a Christian City in the Islamic World, London: Basic Books, 2008. This book, as the name suggests, idealizes the Ottoman İzmir as a tolerant “Christian city.” Therefore, it proves that the insistence on not understanding the Eastern Mediterranean cosmopolitism is not a nationalistic local historiographical practice; it is also prevalent across the world. For a similar text on Alexandria see Michael Haag, Alexandria: City of Memory, New Haven, London : Yale University Press, 2004.

8 See Uğur Tanyeli, “İstanbul’da Etnodinsel Çoğulluk ve Osmanlı Mimarlığı (15.-19. Yüzyıl): Rumlar, Ermeniler, Türkler” Batılılaşan İstanbul’un Rum Mimarları: Oi Romioi Arkhitektones Tis Polis etin Periodotou tou Ekdytikismou, ed. H. Kuruyazıcı and E. Şarla, Istanbul: İstanbul 2010 Avrupa Kültür Başkenti Ajansı Kentsel Projeler, 2010, p. 64.

9 A doctoral dissertation which is being prepared by Işıl Çokuğraş at the Program of the History and Theory of Architecture at Yıldız Technical University about the late 18th-century-early-19th-century bachelor rooms contains very enlightening data.

10 For such a trial see the article in footnote 8.

11 See footnote 57.

12 Edhem Paşa, Montani Efendi et al., Usûl-i Mi’mârî-i Osmânî, Istanbul 1873, p. 12 contains sufficient material. For a commentary see Uğur Tanyeli, “Mimar Müellifin İcadı, Mesleğin Fethi, Ulusun İnşası”, Toplumsal Tarih, 2009, issue 189 (2009), pp. 68-74.

13 I spoke about this for the first time during my talk at Sabancı University on March 17, 2012: Uğur Tanyeli, “Modernite Bağlamında Barok Mimarlık: Avrupa’da ve Osmanlı’da.”

14 On a visit to the School of Medicine in 1847-1848, MacFarlane would talk to such “suspicious” students. See Charles MacFarlane, Turkey and its Destiny: The Result of Journeys Made in 1847 and 1948 to Examine into the State of that Country, London: J. Murray, 1850, p. 271, cited by Şükrü Hanioğlu, “Blueprints for a Future Society: Late Ottoman Materialists on Science, Religion, and Art”, Late Ottoman Society: The Intellectual Legacy, ed. E. Özdalga, London, New York: Routledge Curzon, 2005, p. 34.

15 Câbî Ömer Efendi, Târih, ed. M. A. Beyhan, Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 2003, p. 59.

16 Kâtib Çelebi, Târîh-i Frengi Tercümesi, ed. İ. Solak, Konya: Palet Yayınları, 2010 (Partial European History); Kâtib Çelebi, Târîh-i Konstantiniyye ve Kayasıre, ed. İ. Solak, Konya: Gençlik Kitabevi, 2009 (Byzantine History). These two important books are unfortunately not footnoted critical editions.

17 Hasibe Mazıoğlu, Nedim’in Divan Şiirine Getirdiği Yenilik, Ankara: Türkiye İş Bankası, 1957, p. 4.

18 Mehmet Kaplan, in his article entitled “Nedim’in Şiirinde Mimari, Eşya ve Kıyafet” (İstanbul Enstitüsü Dergisi, 1957, issue 3, pp. 43-45), makes an early reference to this by describing Nedim as an urban poet.

19 Tülay Artan, “Boğaziçi’nin Çehresini Değiştiren Soylu Kadınlar ve Sultanefendi Sarayları,” Istanbul, issue 3 (1992), pp. 109-116.

20 For example, Şem’dânîzade is such a conservative observer. For two of his sayings that have been quoted very often regarding the women’s contribution to what he describes as moral failure in that period see: quoted from Şem’dânîzade Fındıklılı Süleyman, Mür’i’t-tevârîh, Beyazıt Devlet Kütüphanesi, no. 5144, fol. 344a-344b: Münir Aktepe, Patrona İsyanı (1730), Istanbul: İstanbul Üniversitesi Edebiyat Fakültesi, 1958, pp. 44-45.

21 Lady W. Montagu, Türkiye’den Mektuplar, tr. Bedriye Şanda, Istanbul: İstanbul Kitaplığı, 1973, pp. 102-103.

22 I have addressed this issue here: Uğur Tanyeli, “18. Yüzyıl Osmanlı Halk Anlatılarında Tekinsiz Kent İstanbul”, Dr. Gürhan Tümer’e Armağan: Mimarlığın Çevresinde / Mekânın İçinde Kuram, Eylem ve Söylem, ed. Ö. Erdoğdu Erkarslan, Ö. Arıtan and D. Akyol Altun, İzmir: Mimarlar Odası İzmir Şubesi Yayınları, 2011, pp. 317-330.

23 Shireen Hamadeh, The City’s Pleasures: Istanbul in the Eighteenth Century, Seattle, London: University of Washington Press, 2008. For the Turkish see Şehr-i Sefa: 18. yüzyılda İstanbul / The City’s Pleasures : Istanbul in the Eighteenth Century, tr. İ. Güzel, Istanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2010.

24 This subject came up here for the first time: Ahmed Refik [Altınay], Lale Devri: 1130-1143, Istanbul: Kitabhane-i Askeri, 1331.

25 The following work that discusses this mythology is important: Can Erimtan, Ottoman Looking West? The Origins of the Tulip Age and Its Development in Modern Turkey, London: Tauris Academic Studies, 2008.

26 See Doğan Kuban, Kaybolan Kent Hayalleri: Ahşap Saraylar, Istanbul: Yapı Endüstri Merkezi, 2001.

27 Quoted from Muradgea d’Ohsson, Tableau général de l’Empire Ottoman, Paris: De l’imprimerie de monsieur, 1820: Necla Arslan, Gravür ve Seyahatnamelerde İstanbul, Istanbul: İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyesi Kültür İşleri Daire Başkanlığı, 1992, p. 125, fig. 112.

28 Özgönül Aksoy, Osmanlı Devri İstanbul Sıbyân Mektebleri Üzerine Bir İnceleme, Istanbul: İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi Mimarlık Fakültesi, 1968.

29 See Bernard Lewis, The Muslim Discovery of Europe, New York, London: W. W. Norton & Company, 1982, especially p. 236 ed seq.

30 For such a view see Aktepe, Patrona İsyanı. Also see Ayda Arel, Onsekizinzi Yüzyıl İstanbul Mimarisinde Batılılaşma Süreci, Istanbul: İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi Mimarlık Fakültesi, 1975. For a useful work in terms of a comprehensive historical-critical examination of the historiographical literature that discusses the Tulip Era in connection with Westernization see footnote 25.

31 For this design see Joseph Rykwert, On Adam’s House in Paradise: The Idea of the Primitive Hut in Architectural History, New York  : Museum of Modern Art in Association with the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, 1972, the picture on p. 51 with the caption “Design for the Venetian Embassy, ​​Istanbul, Attributed to Andrea Memmo, Fondazione Cini, Venice.”

32 The person who attracted attention to this connection is Arseven. See Celal Esad Arseven, Türk Sanatı Tarihi: Menşeinden Bugüne Kadar Mimari, Heykel, Resim, Süsleme ve Tezyini Sanatlar, Istanbul: Maarif Basımevi, nd., vol. 1, p. 405.

33 For example, Armenian printing and theater have significant foundations in Venice. See Teotig, Baskı ve Harf - Ermeni Matbaacılık Tarihi (Ermeni Alfabesinin 1600. ve Ermeni Matbacılığının 500. Yılında Dib U dar 100 Yıl Sonra Türkçe), translated by Arlet İncidüzen and Sirvart Malhasyan, Istanbul: Birzamanlar Yayıncılık, 2012; Boğos Levon Zekiyan, Venedik’ten İstanbul’a Modern Ermeni Tiyatrosu’nun İlk Adımları, edited by Fırat Güllü, translated by Boğos Çalgıcıoğlu, Istanbul: BGST Yayınları, 2013.

34 Ugur Tanyeli, “Transfer of Western Urban Planning Concepts and Techniques to Turkey (1718-1840),” Transfer of Modern Science and Technology to the Muslim World (Proceedings of the International Symposium, 2-4 September 1987), ed. E. İhsanoğlu, Istanbul: İslam Tarih, Sanat ve Kültür Araştırma Merkezi, 1992, pp. 345-363.

35 For the text of Seyyid Vehbî see Asaf Halet Çelebi, Divan Şiirinde Istanbul: Seçki, Ankara: Hece Yayınları, 2002, pp. 123-124.

36 For example, in a eulogy of Nedim: “Seyr it o sakf-i pâk-i pür nakş ü pür nigârı” and about the Nüzhetfeza Waterside Mansion: “Seyr idüb tarh-i cedi-i sakf-i âlîsin didim.” See Çelebi, Divan Şiirinde Istanbul, pp. 114-115.

37 Arel, Onsekizinci Yüzyıl İstanbul Mimarisinde Batılılaşma Süreci, p. 51.

38 J. Dallaway, Constantinople Ancient and Modern, with Excursions to the Shores and Islands of the Archipelago and to the Troad, London : Printed by T. Bensley, for T. Cadell Junr. & W. Davies, 1797, p.103; Robert Walsh (engraving T. Allom), Constantinople and the Scenery of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor, London: Fisher, Son & co., 1836, vol. 1, p. 12 the one who quoted: Arel, Onsekizinci Yüzyıl İstanbul Mimarisinde Batılılaşma Süreci, p. 59. However, Arel assumes a definitive tone about this plan.

39 The following detailed text was penned regarding its construction by the bina emini (the construction official): Ahmed Efendi, Târîh-i Câmi-i Şerîf-i Nûr-i Osmânî, TOEM supplement, Istanbul 1335-37.

40 For this complex see Aptullah Kuran, “Türk Barok Mimarisinde Batı Anlamında Bir Teşebbüs: Küçük Efendi Manzumesi”, TTK Belleten, vol. 27, issue 107 (1963), pp. 467-476.

41 The following works are very important sources for these structures: Sedad Hakkı Eldem, Köşkler ve Kasırlar, 2 vol., İstanbul: Devlet Güzel Sanatlar Akademisi Yüksek Mimarlık Bölümü Rölöve Kürsüsü, 1973; Sedad Hakkı Eldem, Sa’dabad, Istanbul: Kültür Bakanlığı, 1977.

42 Eldem, Köşkler, vol. 1, pp. 124-149.

43 Hatice Gökçen Özyaka, “18. Yüzyıl İstanbul’unda Barınma Kültürü ve Yaşam Koşulları” (PhD thesis), Yıldız Technical University, 2011.

44 Özyaka, “18. Yüzyıl İstanbul’unda Barınma Kültürü”, p. 255 ff.

45 Antoine Ignace Melling, Voyage Pittoresque de Constantinople et des Rives du Bosphore, d’apres les Dessins, Paris: Treuttel, 1809, plan 23.

46 For Hatice Sultan’s letters see Jacques Perot, Frederic Hitzel, Robert Anhegger, Hatice Sultan ve Melling Kalfa, tr. E. Güntekin, Istanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, 2001.

47 Quoted from the sultan’s manuscript (BOA, HAT, no. 240/13414, 28. 07. 1794): Göksun Akyürek, Bilgiyi Yeniden İnşa Etmek, Tanzimat Döneminde Mimarlık, Bilgi ve İktidar, Istanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, 2011, p. 50.

48 İsmail Hakkı Aksor, İstanbul’da Tarihi Yapılarda Uygulanan Temel Sistemleri, Istanbul: İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi İnşaat Fakültesi, 1982.

49 For the new identity of the Ottoman sultan and the establishment of his public visibility see Hakan T. Karateke, Padişahım Çok Yaşa: Osmanlı Devletinin Son Yüzyılında Merasimler, Istanbul: Kitap Yayınevi, 2004.

50 That the Ottoman (vulgar) materialism had been conceived and established as such an absolute regime of knowledge and was bequeathed to the Republic see Hanioğlu, “Blueprints for a Future Society.”

51 For an example see Immanuel Wallerstein, Historical Capitalism with Capitalist Civilization, London: Verso, 1995.

52 For this family see Sophie le Tarnec, Nora Şeni, Camondolar: Bir Hanedanın Çöküşü, Istanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2000.

53 Özyaka, “18. Yüzyıl İstanbul’unda Barınma Kültürü”, pp. 109-137.

54 For an overview of the architectural statements of non-Muslim minorities see Anton Bammer, Die Rückkehr des Klassischer in die Levante: Neuzeitlich to Architektur und Minderheiten, Mainz am Rhein: P. von Zabern, 2001.

55 For this structure and the related discussion see Mark Crinso, Empire Building: Orientalism and Victorian Architecture, London, New York: Routledge, 1996, pp. 136-166.

56 Edhem Paşa, Montani Efendi et al., Usûl-i Mi’mârî-i Osmânî, especially p. 12.

57 For this undecidedness and the “otherization” of non-Muslims see Ahmet Ersoy, “Melezliğe Övgü: Tanzimat Dönemi Osmanlı Kimlik Politikaları ve Mimarlık”, Toplumsal Tarih, issue 189 (2009), pp. 62-67.

58 I am not aware of any studies about the mobility of the Italian workforce to Istanbul. For Italian architects and engineers who worked in general in the Eastern Mediterranean see Ezio Godoli, Milva Giacomelli, Archietti e Ingegneri Italiani dal Lavante al Magreb 1848-1945, Florence: Maschieto, 2005. Italian events in Alexandria were recorded in more detail. See Mohamed Awad, Italy in Alexandria, Influences on the Built Environment, Alexandria: Alexandria Preservation Trust, 2008.

59 Ugur Tanyeli, “L’Italiana sull’architettur influenza dei Turchi,” Italia e Turchia tra Passato e Future: Un impegno Comune, una Sfida Culturale, ed. E. Danacıoğlu Tamur and F. L. Grassi, Rome: Edizioni Nuova Cultura, 2009, pp. 37-53.

60 See Diana Barillari, Raimondo D’Aronco, Rome, Bari : Laterza, 1995.

61 M. Baha Tanman (ed.), Değişen Zamanların Mimarı: Edoardo de Nari: 1874-1954, Istanbul: İstanbul Araştırmaları Enstitüsü, 2013.

62 Oya Şenyurt, Osmanlı Mimarlık Örgütlenmesinde Değişim ve Dönüşüm, Istanbul: Doğu Kitabevi, 2011.

63 See Tanyeli, “İstanbul Etnodinsel Çoğulluk,” p. 70.

64 For the Balyans see Pars Tuğlacı, Osmanlı Mimarlığında Batılılaşma Dönemi ve Balyan Ailesi, Istanbul: İnkılap ve Aka Kitabevleri, 1981.

65 For this see Uğur Tanyeli, Türkiye’nin Görsellik Tarihine Giriş, Istanbul: Akın Nalça Kitapları, 2009, pp. 63-79.

66 Tanyeli, Türkiye’nin Görsellik Tarihine Giriş, pp. 63-79.

67 See footnote 48.

68 For the role of geometrical knowledge in the knowledge of Islamic architects see Gülru Necipoğlu, Topkapı Scroll - Geometry and Ornament in Islamic Architecture, Los Angeles: Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, 1995, pp. 131-175.

69 Even though there are books about European architecture dating to the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in the library of the Topkapı Palace Museum, it is not known when they were acquired. See Gül İrepoğlu, “Topkapı Sarayı Müzesi Hazine Kütüphanesindeki Batılı Kaynaklar Üzerine Düşünceler”, Topkapı Sarayı Müzesi: Yıllık, no. 1 (1986), pp. 56-72.

70 Kemal Beydilli, Türk Bilim ve Matbaacılık Tarihinde Mühendishane, Mühendishane Matbaası ve Kütüphanesi (1776-1826), Istanbul: Eren Yayıncılık, 1995, pp. 275-306.

71 Uğur Tanyeli, Istanbul 1900-2000, Konutu ve Modernleşmeyi Metropolden Okumak, Istanbul: Yapı Endüstri Merkezi Yayınları, 2004, p. 48 ed seq.

72 See Tanyeli, Istanbul 1900-2000, pp. 74-95.

73 Henry Zachary, Prix Courant et Cube des Différents Types des Planches, Charpentres, etc. en Cours sur les Marches a l’Usage des Ingénieurs, Architectes, Istanbul: Matbaa-i Agap Matyoayan, nd.

74 Mehmed İzzet, Rehber-i Umûr-i Beytiyye: Eve Müteallik Bilcümle Umûrun Rehberidir, Istanbul: Feridiye Matbaası, 1319, vol. 1, p. 234.

75 Osman Nuri Ergin, Mecelle-i Umûr-ı Belediyye, vol. 9, Istanbul: İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyesi Kültür İşleri Daire Başkanlığı, 1995. In this book, republished by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality there are numerous municipal zoning documents.

76 See Uğur Tanyeli, “Düşlenmiş Rasyonalite Olarak Kent: Türkiye’de Planlama ve Çifte Bilinçlilik,” İlhan Tekeli için Armağan Yazılar, ed. S. İlkin, O. Silier and M. Güvenç, Istanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, 2004, p. 505 ff.

77 For examples see Afife Batur, Atilla Yücel and Nur Fersan, “İstanbul’da Ondokuzuncu yüzyıl Sıra Evleri’Koruma ve Yeniden Kullanım İçin Bir Monografik Araştırma,” ODTÜ Journal of the Faculty of Architecture, vol. 2, issue 5 (1979), pp. 185-205.

78 For the first apartment blocks in Pera see Ayşe Derin Öncel, Apartman: Galata’da Yeni Bir Konut Tipi, Istanbul: Kitap Yayınevi, 2010.

79 For the new domesticity see Uğur Tanyeli, İstanbul’da Mekan Mahremiyetinin İhlali ve Teşhiri: Gerilimli Bir Tarihçe ve 41 Fotoğraf, Istanbul: Metis Yayıncılık, 2013, pp. 45-52.

80 For these see Tanyeli, İstanbul’da Mekan Mahremiyetinin İhlali ve Teşhiri, pp. 45-52.

81 For this association see Haris Eksertzoglou, Osmanlı’da Cemiyetler ve Rum Cemaati Dersaadet Rum Cemiyet-i Edebiyesi, tr. Foti Benlisoy and Stefo Benlisoy, Istanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, 2004. For the photos of the construction see Vassilis Colonas, Greek Architects in the Ottoman Empire (19th-20th Centuries), Athens: Olkos, 2005, p. 22.

82 There is also a book that deals with this topic: Turgut Saner, 19. Yüzyıl İstanbul Mimarlığında Oryantalizm, Istanbul: Pera yayıncılık, 1998.

83 For an important and pioneering work that discusses the relationship in question see John M. Ganim, Medievalism and Orientalism; Three Essays on Literature, Architecture and Cultural Identity, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

84 For information about Pietro Montani see Paolo Girardelli, “Istanbul e l’Italia, 1837-1908, Confronto e Interpratazio Reciproche di due Tradizioni Architettoniche” (PhD thesis), Universita Degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, 1994.

85 Joseph Philibert Girault de Prangey, Monuments Arabes et Moresques de Cordoue, Seville, et Grenade, Dessinés et Mesurés en 1832 et 1837, Paris : Veith et Hauser,  1837; Joseph Philibert Girault de Prangey, Essai sur l’Architecture des Arabes et des Mores, en Espagne, en Sicile et en Barbarie, Paris: A. Hauser [etc.] , 1841.

86 Owen Jones, The Grammar of Ornament, Illustrated by Examples from Various Styles of Ornament, London : Published by Day and Son, 1856.

87 For a picture of this structure see Walsh, Constaninople and the Scenery of the Seven Churches.

88 His books: J. N. L. Durand, Recueil et Paralléle des Édifices de Tout Genre, Anciens et Modernes: Remarquables par Lear Beuté, par Leur Grandeur, ou par Leur Singularité, et Dessinés sur une Même Échelle, Paris : A l’École polytechnique, Chez l’Auteur ... , 1799 (or 1800); J. N. L. Durand, Précis des données à l’École d’Architecture Royale Polytechnique, Paris,: Chez l’auteur, 1809; J. N. L. Durand, Nouveau Précis des Leçons d’Architecture: Données a l’École Impériale Polytechnique, Paris: Chez l’auteur, 1813.

89 For the Fossattis see Semavi Eyice, “Mimar Gaspare Fossati ve İstanbul” [Architect Fossati and Istanbul], Arredamento Dekorasyon, issue 43 (1992), pp. 126-133.

90 They also prepared a large album about the restoration of Hagia Sophia see Gaspard Fossati, Aya Sofia, Constantinople: As Recently Restored by Order of H. M. the Sultan Abdül-Medjid, London : R. & C. Colnagni & Co., 1852. For their restorations see Natalia B. Teteriatnikov, Mosaics of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul: The Fossati Restoration and the Work of the Byzantine Institute, Washington : Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 1988. For the iron reinforcement materials added to and taken out of the structure at that time see Gülsün Tanyeli and Uğur Tanyeli, “Ayasofya’da Strüktürel Demir Kullanımı”, Sanat Tarihi Defterleri, Metin Ahunbay’a Armağan, no. 8 (2004), pp. 28-47.

91 For D’Aronco restorations see Barillari, Raimondo D’Aronco, pp. 30-39.

92 An extensive series of studies seeYıldırım Yavuz, İmparatorluktan Cumhuriyete Mimar Kemalettin 1870-1927, Ankara: TMMOB Mimarlar Odası and Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü, 2009; Ali Cengizkan (ed.), Mimar Kemalettin ve Çağı, Mimarlık ve Toplumsal Yaşam / Politika, Ankara: TMMOB Mimarlar Odası and Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü, 2009; Afife Batur (ed.), İstanbul Vakıflar Bölge Müdürlüğü Mimar Kemaleddin Proje Kataloğu, Ankara: TMMOB Mimarlar Odası and Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü, 2009.

93 Afife Batur (ed.), M. Vedad Tek: Kimliğinin İzinde Bir Mimar, Istanbul: Yapı Kredi Yayınları, 2003.

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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