Istanbul - Bosphorus
Travel accounts (15th-20th century) offer a wealth of material on the history of the Ottoman capital. During that time, in the texts and illustration of travel accounts, the splendid city is constituted simultaneously by a space, those who rule it, its inhabitants and the events that take place in Istanbul and affect the international state of affairs.
Subsequently, the travellers' chronicles deal extensively with monuments but also with contemporary builidings and above all with landscape (Bosporus, Propontis). Ottoman administration, the structure of Muslim society, public and private life, the history of the city, the diplomatic maneuvers of the Europeans and political events also occupy an important place in these works.
At the same time, travel chronicles (both the texts and their illustration) speak of the individual viewpoint of each traveller, their ideology, individual or collective vision and personal myths. All this is often rendered in the form of a literary text and in images which follow the aesthetic principles of the time. The perception of space and of the inhabitants of Istanbul by travellers changed and fluctuated according to the intellectual, political and cultural currents which shaped European history from the 15th to the 20th century. Theoretical knowledge available to travellers as well as their worldview or ideology often clashed with their experience. Gradually stereotypes were formed which perpetuated themselves through travellers' accounts. Political, ideological, religious and personal motives play a major role in shaping journeys, observations, texts and illustration and in the eventual publication of the traveller's account. In the 16th century, after western monarchies have established their embassies in Istanbul, in order to better serve their political and economic claims, voyages to the East no longer have the pilgimage to the Holy Land as their main end. Istanbul becomes an almost universal destination for all Western Europeans travelling to the East. In the following centuries the number of visitors and the pictures resulting from their journeys can be calculated in thousands. It should be noted that from the 15th until well into the 19th century the city is referred to as Constantinople, and only towards the end of that period does one see the name of Istanbul in the titles of travellers' works.
Istanbul appears already in “Liber Insularum Archipelagi”, the pioneering cartographic manuscript by Cr. Buondelmonti of the early 15th century (1420), which constituted a model for the isolaria that followed, in manuscript or in print. The map of Buondelmonti and all copies thereof emphasize the walls and monuments of the city. Istanbul also appears in G.Fr. Camocio's isolario (1574), a groundbreaking work for its era, which influenced later isolaria such as G. Rosaccio's (1598) and lent its illustrations to pilgrim chronicles (H. Beauvau, 1615). In 1572 T. Porcacchi published a very successful isolario, (here the edition of 1620) in which he employed the novel technique of copper engraving. This technique permitted the creation of more detailed and accurate images and a greater concentration of information; it gradually became the technique of choice for all illustrated works, until the early 19th century, when progressively lithography became the most popular technique. The illustrations of J. Enderlin's historical and geographical works (1691) include rare and original subjects.
In addition, maps of the city appear in the works by F. Moryson (1617), L. Deshayes Baron de Courmenin (in 1624), J. Sandrart (in 1686), J. Moreno (in 1790), J.J. Bathélemy (1832 edition). The work by J. Lauremberg (1660) includes excellent engravings of maps of ancient Greece. The maps are accompanied by historical and geographical explanatory texts, which testify to the author's deep erudition. he editions by J. Enderlin include copies of engravings found in earlier or nearly contemporary popular works (1686). The editions by J. Peeters in the late 17th century (1686 and 1690) also exalt the victories of the Holy League in the Ottoman-Venetian wars. The plates show cities, ports and other locations in Austria, Southeastern Europe, the eastern Mediterranean and places in Asia all the way to India and Saudi Arabia. The plates in the work by J. Sandrart (1687) show castles and other location, in their majority under Ottoman rule. Several similar works which highlight the victories of the Venetians against the Ottomans in the Sixth Ottoman-Venetian War (1684-1699) were released during the same period.
From the late 18th century onwards the effort for a meticulous delineation of space becomes evident (J.B. Lechevalier in 1800, G.A. Olivier in 1801, Ch.C. Frankland in 1829, R. Tweddell in 1817), including specialized mapping (R. Walsh in 1828).
Istanbul has a place in the first printed books (incunabula) of the 15th century, such as the “Nuremberg chronicle” by H. Schedel (1493), an illustrated history of the world, which contributed to theoretical knowledge but also fuelled readers' curiosity for faraway lands. Cities in this edition are represented with abundant imagination and little adherence to realism. It is interesting to note however that, although the other representations of cities in Schedel's work are imaginary and very similar to each other, in the case of Istanbul pictures convey several existing features of the city, (such as the walls, monuments, geographic location and contemporary events), in a realistic manner, as far as the limited possibilities of wood engraving allow.
J.A.M. Adelphus's history of the Ottomans (1513) is also illustrated with wood engravings and includes a view of Istanbul.
During the first period of travelling (15th-16th century) on the occasion of their voluntary or compulsory visit of Istanbul, travellers thoroughly describe the Ottoman empire (administration, society, religion, customs and traditions etc.) and its imposing monuments, both Christian and Muslim. Most of these writings are chronicles of a diplomatic expedition to Istanbul.
This context renders unique the work of painter M. Lorich (c. 1559-1562). His paintings inspired contemporary artists, and created a great demand for illustrations of Ottoman people, especially portraits of the Sultans. (L. Chalcondyles in 1632, O.Gh. de Busbecq in 1620 and O.Gh. de Busbecq in 1664; both here in later editions, etc.). The rare wood engravings by Pieter Coecke van Aelst (1533), of exquisite technique, compose a series of highly original images, which show snapshots of the creator's journey to the East as well as scenes from public life at Istanbul.
The works of P. Rycaut (1670) on the institutions and the history of the Ottoman empire became essential manuals, by means of which Western Europeans were able to approach the splendid and at the same time alien to them Ottoman empire. In addition, Rycaut's texts influenced all later similar treatises. John Covel's deep knowledge of theology, as well as his stay in Asia Minor and Istanbul permitted him to depict holy vessels, vestments and other objects related to Orthodox religious practices with great accuracy (1722). The plates which embellish the travel account by J. Thevenot (1727) show uncommon subjects. In their majority, they are highly detailed compositions consisting of several figures. They show scenes taking place in faraway lands and seem to tell a story which captivates the viewer. The plates in Ch. Thompson's travel account (1752) are also copies of subjects already published in earlier popular travel accounts. The reedition of the work by J. B. Tavernier (1712) includes several plates showing locations of eastern Asia. The rest of the illustrations are original as well, as they are mostly related to commercial transactions in the East, a subject which greatly interested Tavernier.
From the mid-16th century onwards the depiction of human types and their dress became highly popular. Among the first to create such images was Ν. de Nicolay (1580), whose drawings were copied and served as illustrations to similar editions down to the late 18th century. The late 16th century sees the publication of C. Vecellio's work on the costumes of various ethnicities all over the world, including human types of the Ottoman empire (1598, reprinted in 1859). G. De La Chapelle (1648?) created remarkable depictions of women of the East, set against the background of well-known sightsand monuments of Istanbul. Next came the impressive edition of Van Mour's paintings (1714), immensely successful, as figures and costumes from this work were used in numerous later editions (e.g. A. de Lα Mottraye in 1727 and A.J. Guer in 1746-47). A copy of a plate by J. Grelot showing the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelles is included in a book in small format which describes the fortresses of the Dardanelles (“Descrizione” in 1770). Later on, the works by Fr. Calvert (Baron Baltimore) in 1769 and Οc. Dalvimart in 1804 present a series comprised of the costumes of all Ottoman officials and the diverse ethnicities living in Istanbul. Harmonious with his text, the drawings by French traveller A.L. Castellan accompany his gentle discourse. Published in an elegant, small-format editon which came out in multiple volumes, they convey a unique perspective and present rare and original subjects (1812). The Album by J.B.B. Eyriès (1827), with portraits of Ottoman officials, in spite of being a copy of an earlier work, is considered one of the most polished works of this genre in the early 19th century.
This is also the time (late 18th – early 19th century) when the monumental work by M.G.F.A. Choiseul-Gouffier establishes the primacy of image, or graphic representation, over the text in travel chronicles. The third volume of the work (1822) includes exquisite plates in small format, showing all the officials of the Ottoman palace. Albums showing human types of the Ottoman empire had become very popular by the end of the 16th century and continued to circulate down to the late 18th century. By that time they consisted of highly elaborate coloured engravings. Often the creators and publishers remained anonymous, while several of the pictures were copied from earlier works (Recueil, ca.1780). Military officers, itinerant traders and scenes of everyday life are depicted, albeit somewhat awkwardly, in the plates created by the painter Lachaise (1821).
Figures and costumes of the city's inhabitants, mostly female, appear in the works by British W. Wittman (1803), Ed.D. Clarke (1813), J.C. Hobhouse (1813), P.Ed. Laurent (1821), Ch. Deval (1827) and Eug. Paytier (1829-32, 1833-36). The work by Ch. Perry (1743) includes the portrait of a known revolutionary. Harmonious with his text, the drawings by French traveller A.L. Castellan accompany his gentle discourse. Published in an elegant, small-format editon which came out in multiple volumes, they convey a unique perspective and present rare and original subjects (1812). The work (1820) of Mouradjea D'Ohsson includes illustrations of superb quality, which provide information on everyday life and institutions of the Ottoman Empire. Rare and very fine watercolours in excellent condition, showing costumes of the Ottoman court, are included in the Album containing 77 original watercolour drawings (ca. 1829). The drawings by French painting Th. Le Blanc (1833-34), made from nature, are marked by intense emotion.
Special mention must be made of the work by P.A. Guys(1783), who, in his endeavour to approach modern Greeks, revealed the undercurrent of historical continuity which impregnated all everyday manifestations of their social lives. To Guys, images of everyday life are a means to trace history as well as an element of historical identity. From then onwards, the belief that modern Greek culture is a live memorial of the civilization which shone in the same lands during Antiquity was enthusiastically accepted by the reading public, rendering Guys' work very popular. Otto Stackelberg was a member of a group of Danish, German and British artists, architects and lovers of antiquity who realized archaeological excavations and explorations, and subsequently pillaged the sculptures of two major ancient monuments: the sculptures of the temple of Aphaia on Aegina island and those of the temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae. The 1826 edition by Stackelberg has excellent lithographs of the sculptures of the temple of Apollo, as well as views of the temple and its surrounding area; a plate of Istanbul is also included.
Already in the Middle Ages, and more so during the defining era of the 15th century, Istanbul attracted visitors from Western Europe, who included the splendid city in their itinerary, whether they travelled for business reasons or as pilgrims. In the mid-16th century, the group of travellers who escort French ambassador G. D' Aramon constitute the first scientific expedition to the city and produced a groundbreaking work.
After J. Maurand (1544) who travelled to the capital to admire Hagia Sophia, Pierre Gilles wrote the first archaeological essay on Istanbul and the Bosporus in 1547. His work became a valuable guide to travellers and was translated into English in 1729.
Besides an exhaustive description of the splendid Byzantine monument of Hagia Sophia, which was used as a mosque, Gilles also writes on the Hippodrome, the walls and gates, the Obelisk of Theodosius and other triumphal columns, records inscriptions, including those on pedestals, speaks of Muslim monuments, sarcophagi, Christian churches which had been converted into mosques and is the first to mention the famous Byzantine cisterns.
This is the era of the early archaeology of the city. The travellers who wrote accurate texts until the end of the sixteenth century, such as A. Thevet (in 1556), Flemish O. G. Busbecq (travelled in 1554, first edition of his work in 1581), P. Du Fresne-Canaye (travelled in 1572, work published in 1897), St. Gerlach (travelled in 1573-78, work published in 1674) and German S. Sweigger (work published in 1608) reluctantly include observations on Byzantine monuments, buildings and ruins, as well as other structures (gates, columns, pedestals etc.), and at the same time describe the new impressive mosques and the Sultan's palace.
Schweigger illustrates his chronicle with remarkable wood engravings, representing scenes of public and private life in Istanbul. Also interesting are the images in Η.J. Breüning's chronicle (1612) mainly regarding the life and activities of travellers.
Testimonies by 16th century travellers lay the foundations of Byzantine archaeology of Istanbul, as in the following centuries several monuments became dilapidated, destroyed or converted to other uses.
Until the mid-17th century, travel accounts such as the work by G. Sandys (1615), which includes several original subjects, and is essential to geography and ethnology, provide information on the state of the monuments and details on the interior of Hagia Sophia, gates and monuments. In addition, travellers begin to add short descriptions (sarcophagi, mosaics and inscriptions) of the interior of other Byzantine temples, in the meantime converted into mosques, to their chronicles.
An architecturalg complex exhaustively described in travel accounts is Topkapı Palace, with its plethora of buildings and gardens, the harem and the imperial quarters, seat of the administration of the Ottoman empire (J. Du Mont in 1694).
In 1670, Louis XIV of France appointed the Marquis de Nointel ambassador to the Ottoman court. During his service, de Nointel was surrounded by important orientalists. Both A. Galland, translator of “The Thousand and One Nights” into French, and des Monceaux are in the East during that period, fervently seeking for manuscripts and ancient coins. The subjects of the illustrations which accompany this edition of J. Spon 's voyage (1678), which is highly significant for the author's pioneering exploration of ancient sites, are novel and groundbreaking for their time. Most of the pictures are first-ever depictions of archaeological sites and remains. The Dutch edition of J. Spon's work (1689) includes illustrations of the places visited by Spon and George Wheler, which aim to recreate scenes from the two travellers' explorations.
The drawings which accompany B. de Monconys' text (1665-66) constitute a corpus of material unique in travel literature. They include distillation instruments, chemistry experiments, hydraulic devices, hydrometers, architectural drawings, depictions of meteorological phenomena, plans, human types, astronomical instruments etc. The account by J. Somer (1664) includes impressive plates with original subjects, which follow the long-standing tradition of Flemish engraving.
Those are the same years when J. Grelot (1680) describes several monuments and mosques of the city. He is the first to include drawings, plans and sections of Hagia Sophia, the masterpiece of Byzantine architecture, in his description of Istanbul. The Album by C. Comidas de Carbognano's (1794) includes remarkable plates, engraved in a unique style, which show monuments in Istanbul and its surrounding area.
Grelot's drawings remained irreplaceable until the restorations realized by brothers G. & G. Fossati, under Sultan Abdülmecid (1852). Increasing interest in monuments means that travel chronicles of the time are very valuable to archaeological studies (J. Spon in 1678, G. Wheler in 1682, A. de La Mottraye in 1727, J.D. Le Roy in 1770). The copper engravings by Georg Balthasar Probst (1780), painted over in vivid colours, show views of cities and monuments done in a novel and imaginative style.
The hazy description of the city (streets, markets, houses, ruins of monuments) in 16th-century texts becomes more rich and precise over time. Travellers convey the contrast between neglected muddy streets and luxurious palaces with attractive gardens, more and more dilapidated monuments and enchanting natural landscape, the wooden houses of the poor and the stone edifices next to them, adding details, their personal commentaries, and gradually through illustrations.
Eighteenth-century texts are characterized by references to earlier travel accounts, and the search for monuments, with a view to comparing them to earlier descriptions; this is often a disheartening experience as many of these monuments do no exist any more. Most of the important 18th-century travellers continue to look for edifices in the city, but are now more interested in looking for manuscripts, coins and other transportable items, in order to enrich large private collections (F. Fanelli in 1707, P. Lucas in 1720).
Prey to a collectionist frenzy, travellers in Istanbul, unofficial ambassadors of the patrons of Western Europe, are rather laconic in their descriptions of buildings but elaborate on details of the city's life. Such is the case with J. Pitton de Tournefort (1717), who also includes plates depicting local flora or costumes of Istanbul in his work. A rare specimen of fauna is published in the chronicle by French naturalist P. Belon (1554).
R. Pococke (1743-45) and J. Moreno's texts (1790) testify to a more coscientious exploration of the city. Monuments such as the monastery of Stoudios, Christ Pantocrator, Blachernae, the walls, Heptapyrgion and the Palace of Porphyrogenitus (Tekfur Saray), find a place in travellers' texts although the edifices have lost their former magnificence.
In the late 18th century M.G.F.A. count of Choiseul-Gouffier settles in the Ottoman capital. Aided by a team of specialists and archaeologists (J. B. Lechevalier in 1800, Fr. Kauffer etc.), he starts to scientifically record monuments and antiquities.
The map of Istanbul included in the major three-volume work by Choiseul-Gouffier is the first thorough description of all the buildings, which completes the meticulous graphic representation of former Christian, Muslim and non-religious structures. From then onwards image gains primacy in the representation of the city.
British ambassador R. Ainslie creates a similar work to Choiseul-Gouffier's, entrusting L. Mayer with depicting vies of the city in coloured plates (paintings by Mayer in the recent study on L. Dupré). Towards the end of the century, J. Dallaway (1799) titles his work Ancient and modern Constantinople, but includes few illustrations. The travel account by J. Griffiths (1805) is embellished with a handful of simple drawings of the city monuments.
A.L. Castellan (1811), member of the French expedition whose task was to realize port works in the Ottoman capital, and A.Ig. Melling (1819) render monuments and other features of the city through scientific and precise drawings. Melling created a magnificent album with views of the Istanbul which also show impressive details from the city's everyday life. Subjects from this Album are reproduced in other works (J.M. Tancoignein 1817). In his highly popular paintings (1810), L. Mayer did not limit himself to depicting ancient monuments; he added several picturesque details from people's everyday lives as well.
Views of Istanbul appear already in the 15th and 16th centuries, although the city is rendered in a schematic or cartographic style (B. Randolph in 1687). From the late 17th century onwards representations of the city with its marvellous natural landscape appear, conveying the enchanting view from different viewpoints. (Ol. Dapper “Archipel” in 1688, J. Enderlin, 1691, C. de Bruyn in 1714, in which one of the oldest panoramic views of the city). The edition by L. F. Marsigli (1681) includes several interesting plates and tables related to the measurements and research made by the author on on the movements and quality of the waters of the Bosporus and adjacent seas, the winds, the currents, the water level and the marine life of the area. The illustrations in the edition by J.A. van Egmont and J. Heymann (1759) show subjects already published in the editions by C. Le Bruyn.
All of the later travel chronicles relating a visit to the Ottoman capital included at least one plate with a view of the city (Elizabeth Craven in 1789, Ed.D. Clarke in 1813, Ch. Macfarlane in 1829, Ch.C. Frankland in 1829). Although most of the plates in Ed. D. Clarke's work (1816) are mainly of archaeological interest, these engravings are also very valuable for the recomposition of the locations' recent history and the uncommon subjects which they show.
In the 18th century Europeans turn to antiquarian and archaeological research in situ. Descriptions of Istanbul combine archaeology with critical examination of modern life, which they compare to life in western Europe. Gradualy the texts and their illustrations become studies on Ottoman economy and society.
By the 19th century, the presence of foreigners in Istanbul life had become part of the city's tradition. Of the hundreds of travellers in the 19th century, very few omitted to visit the city or stay there for a period of time.
The most erudite and learned travellers belong to the 19th century. In the beginning of the century F.C.H.L. Pouqueville and Ed. D. Clarke produce thoroughly detailed and meticulous descriptions of buildings (Heptapyrgion, Hagia Sophia), including comparisons with other structures. General Andréossy (1812-14, 1826), entrusted with hydrographic studies, makes an exhaustive record of aqueducts, cisterns and water conduits. Ch. Pertusier (1812-14) literally scanned every corner of Istanbul. Details from an edifices's architectural elements are included in the work by Ch. Fellows (1839).
Panoramic views of cities were highly popular among the affluent classes of the 19th century. In the big cities the viewers were able to enjoy the spectacle in purpose-built jalls. The panoramas were created by R. Barker. His son, H. A. Barker, continued this profitable entreprise with R. Burford (1818-1830). During the spectacle, they provided viewers with small pamphlets which contained city maps and annotations.
However, several travellers are swept by the current of Romanticism, and limit themselves to engaging descriptions of monuments, and the rich array of emotions they induce [R. Chateubriant (1806), Comte de Marcellus (1820), Lamartine (1832), G. de Nerval (1883)]. Th. Gautier (1853) was the first to point out how monuments define the city's physiognomy. The travel account of Victor Godart-Faultrier (1857) is accompanied by a separate album. The excellent lithographs show works of ancient Greek art as well as rarely pictured Byzantine antiquities. The plates by count A.-F. Andréossy (1828) represent rare and original subjects. Apart from well-known monuments, they also show cisterns and aqueducts of the Byzantine and Ottoman periods at Istanbul and its surrounding area.
At the same time J. von Hammer (1822) advances steadily towards a purely scientific and archaeological research and documentation. The year 1847 constitutes a landmark in archaelogical research in Istanbul. Sultan Abdülmecit entrusted the Fossati brothers with the first organized and systematic restoration of Hagia Sophia. A few years later (1855), C.T. Newton conducted the excavation of the Hippodrome.
The first study of Byzantine monuments in the Greek language is published in 1824, followed by a three-volume work by Stephanos Byzantios (1851, 1862, 1869). Ch. F. M. Texier, one of the first scholars to study Byzantine architecture, publishes an impressive documented edition in big format on the subject (1864), which includes plans, drawings, views and details of Byzantine monuments. The impressive edition authored by L.E.S.J. marquis de Laborde (1838) highlighted the richness of the ancient sites of Asia Minor and spurred the interest for archaeological explorations of the area.
There are also Albums with illustrations of mosques, fountains, bridges and monuments, complete with thorough descriptions, and depictions of picturesque snapshots of everyday life (R. Walsh / Th. Allom in 1836-38, Julia Pardoe in 1838 and Julia Pardoe in 1839). The companion atlas to the travel account by Ch. Pertusier (1817) is placed among the most beautiful Albums of Istanbul.
During the 19th century, the Grand Tour of the East became nearly a requisite for wealthy Europeans, serving the acquisition of knowledge and social status. It naturally included a visit to the capital of the Ottoman empire. Travel accounts which describe the tour include illustrations of Istanbul; monuments, scenes from life in Istanbul and the enchanting landscapes of the surrounding area unfold in these works (Marchebeus in 1839, J.Fr. Lewis in 1843, J.H. Allan in 1843, Eug. Flandin in 1853, Et. Rey in 1867).T A few characteristic pictures of everyday life and interesting sights are included in the work of J. Auldjo (1835). he drawings, and above all the portraits of artist Fr. Hervé (1837) echo his lively and gracious writing style. . Scenes from life in Istanbul are depicted in the excellent watercolours by Anne Margaretta Burr (1841), which however lose in quality in their lithographed versions.
Albums with views of cities and snapshots of everyday life of the inhabitants remained popular during the 19th century and responded to the reading public's demand for images and scenes from the East. (J. Schranz, c. 1850). Scenes from the everyday life of Ottoman women, drawn by Mary Adelaide Walker, illustrate the edition of the correspondence of Emelia Bithynia Hornby (1863), who stayed in the Ottoman capital during the Crimean war. Several military officers from Western Europe took part in the Russian-Turkish war of 1829-30 and depicted monuments, landscapes and human figures from Thrace and the Black Sea in their illustrated memoirs (J. Ed. Alexander, 1830). A highly interesting album by J. Brindesi (1855-60) shows scenes from everyday life in Istanbul and its environs, and is among the most appealing creations of orientalism. Camille Rogier's plates (1847) are among the most representative works of Orientalism in art. Most of them show snapshots of everyday social and public life in Istanbul and some other locations. In the mid-19th century, painters and reading public alike showed a preference for pictures of human types of Istanbul, and their traditional costumes. An interesting example of the trend is the Album by P. Montani (c. 1855), whose drawings were lithographed and published by a press established at Pera, Istanbul. The popular watercolours of A. Preziosi (1852-57) show costumes and human types of the Ottoman Empire. They stand apart from similar works of the same period thanks to the vivid colours, original poses and lively expressions. Gradually, the ever-popular travel albums which showed locations, monuments and scenes of everyday life, began to include plates based not only on artistic drawings but also on photographs taken by the pioneers of the field (Album zur Erinnerung an Constantinopel, c.1860). The photographs of eminent British photographer Fr. Bedford (1866) are invaluable testimonies on the state of monuments and ancient ruins in the mid-19th century.
The Album of 1984 includes rare and very interesting wood engravings taken from the pioneering weekly review “The Illustrated London News” (1842-1885) and the similarly themed magazine “The Graphic” (1869-1885). The plates depict locations, people and events (political, social and military), from 1842 to 1885.
In the late 19th century, travellers look in the monuments of the forever enchanting city to find something of its splendid past, each living the experience in their personal way. The work by Ed. Amicis (1883) is characteristic of that period, and comprises tenths of drawings, most of which show snapshots of everyday life in the city. The French cartoonist H.L. Avelot (1899) made original sketches of people and scenes of everyday life, and created highly innovative material which pushed other artists to create similar illustrations inspired from their travels.
From the mid-19th century onwards, the modalities of subjective and partial representation of space are subverted by the appearance of photography. This technique becomes the most powerful means of representation, albeit always bearing the seal of the individual photographer.
Istanbul has always been a phantasmagoric city full of contrasts, a city of miracles and political intrigue, where Europeans felt like Orientals and Orientals felt European. The photographic shots by J. De Beauregard (in 1896), Ε. Banse (in 1919), H. Barth (in 1913), as well as G.G. Berggren's magnificent panorama of the city (1870), clearly show that to all its visitors Istanbul remained the uncontested queen of the Orient.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou