By Cem Behar
Combining the brilliant and colourful element of a micro-history with a much wider old point of view, this groundbreaking research appears to be like on the city and social heritage of a small local group (a mahalle) of Ottoman Istanbul, the Kasap Iùlyas. Drawing on particularly wealthy old documentation beginning within the early 16th century, Cem Behar specializes in how the Kasap Iùlyas mahalle got here to reflect the various overarching problems with the capital urban of the Ottoman Empire. additionally thought of are different concerns significant to the historiography of towns, corresponding to rural migration and concrete integration of migrants, together with avenues for pro integration and the cohesion networks migrants shaped, and the position of ancient guilds and non-guild exertions, the ancestor of the "informal" or "marginal" region stumbled on at the present time in much less constructed international locations.
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Extra info for A Neighborhood in Ottoman Istanbul: Fruit Vendors and Civil Servants in the Kasap Ilyas Mahalle
It can be surmised that, had Prince Korkut’s political gamble succeeded, the fortunes of the small and secondary Davudpaœa wharf and of the mahalles in its environs might well have received an economic and political boost. Even in the early sixteenth century, however, the signiﬁcance of this minor wharf was not limited to the sole Kasap ƒlyas mahalle, within the bounds of which it happened to operate. The Davudpaœa wharf, minor though it was, was used as a basic topographical landmark for a much wider area.
Only ten years after the ﬁre that ravaged half of Istanbul in 1782, G. A. Olivier, a representative of the French government who traveled through the Ottoman Empire is surprised by the difference in the quality of the public and private buildings in Istanbul. His testimony conﬁrms that nothing had really changed between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries as far as building techniques were concerned. Olivier writes: The houses have a skeleton made of oak and this skeleton sits on foundations which are not very deep.
Besides, Kasap ƒlyas, through the prestige of its local religious leaders, seems to have acquired a particular urban aura. Indeed, the trusteeship of a number of houses situated in Arap Taceddin and in the adjacent “new” mahalle had also been given to the imam of the Kasap ƒlyas mosque. However, not even a single item of property situated in our neighborhood had been given in trust to a local religious foundation situated elsewhere in the city in the ﬁrst half of the sixteenth century. Points of Reference In the last quarter of the ﬁfteenth century three buildings played a deﬁnitional role in the formation of our neighborhood and of its local identity: (1) the Davud Paœa complex (külliye) which gave its name to the whole area and was situated up the hill above Kasap ƒlyas.
A Neighborhood in Ottoman Istanbul: Fruit Vendors and Civil Servants in the Kasap Ilyas Mahalle by Cem Behar