A Neighborhood in Ottoman Istanbul: Fruit Vendors and Civil by Cem Behar

By Cem Behar

Combining the brilliant and colourful aspect of a micro-history with a much broader ancient point of view, this groundbreaking learn appears on the city and social historical past of a small local group (a mahalle) of Ottoman Istanbul, the Kasap Iùlyas. Drawing on really wealthy old documentation beginning within the early 16th century, Cem Behar makes a speciality of how the Kasap Iùlyas mahalle got here to reflect a few of the overarching problems with the capital urban of the Ottoman Empire. additionally thought of are different matters critical to the historiography of towns, similar to rural migration and concrete integration of migrants, together with avenues for pro integration and the team spirit networks migrants shaped, and the function of historic guilds and non-guild hard work, the ancestor of the "informal" or "marginal" zone discovered this day in much less built nations.

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Extra info for A Neighborhood in Ottoman Istanbul: Fruit Vendors and Civil Servants in the Kasap Ilyas Mahalle

Sample text

Only a little more than half that area was effectively inhabited, though, and the Davud Paœa vegetable gardens took up the rest. The streets of Istanbul received official names only in the 1860s. The people of Istanbul gave names to the more important streets before the nineteenth century, but nothing points to the existence of street names as early as the sixteenth century. There were no house or gate numbers either and the modern construct of an “address” could not apply. The truth is that none of the real estate property in Kasap ƒlyas set up as a pious foundation in the sixteenth century can now be located with any degree of precision within the mahalle.

The devastating fire that ravaged a large part of Istanbul in 1782 destroyed both the Davudpaœa Court Building and its three centuries of accumulated archives. As to the post-1782 religious court records for Kasap ƒlyas, they contain mostly deeds of sale of property, settlements of debts and of commercial disputes, cases of inheritance with litigation, and cases of divorce. The cases of divorce include declarations of outright repudiation as well as cases with Cem Behar 23 mutual consent and financial settlement.

But it was much smaller in area and already rather densely populated by Christians. As to his own share, near the city walls and overlooking the sea of Marmara, it was much larger and virtually empty. Luckily, ƒlyas had to face a territory that was practically a tabula rasa. Indeed, after the conquest the quasi-deserted city had to be almost totally repopulated. Settlers had to be brought in, new neighborhoods had to be formed, mosques had to be built, and Byzantium had to be given a new and Muslim stamp.

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