Many of Bithynia's cities were important, both during Byzantine and Ottoman times (Bursa, Nicaea (Iznik), Nicomedeia (Izmit)). Rich in monuments, they attracted the visitor's interest. Travel accounts distinguished for their illustrations multiply from the 19thcentury onwards, when also means of transportation and travel such as trains and steamships evolve and travelling for leisure becomes easier.
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 illustrations of J. Enderlin's historical and geographical works (1691) include rare and original subjects. G. De La Chapelle (1648?) created remarkable depictions of women of the East, set against the background of well-known sightsand monuments of Istanbul. The edition by L. F. Marsigli 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 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. 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.
Από τα τέλη του 17ου αιώνα, η ευνοημένη από τον φυσικό περίγυρο πρωτεύουσα της οθωμανικής αυτοκρατορίας απεικονίζεται βαθμιαία σε πίνακες που αποδίδουν με τον καλύτερο δυνατό τρόπο τη μαγευτική κάθε φορά θέα από διαφορετικά σημεία όπως στο έργο του C. de Bruyn στα 1714, όπου και μια από τις παλαιότερες πανοραμικές απόψεις. 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. Similarly, the plates which illustrate Ch. Thompson's travel account (1752) are copies of subjects already published in de Bruyn's popular travel chronicle. The rich cartographic production of the late 18th century includes the remarkable maps of P.G. Chanlaire (c. 1780), here coloured over.
The travel accounts by French merchant and treasure hunter P. Lucas (1712), which include depictions of rare subjects, caused a sensation all over Europe. Bursa, the former Ottoman capital, was represented in photographs and engravings, as were Nicaea and Nicomedeia. G. Wheler (1682) was the first to draft a map of Bursa area. Two centuries later photographs of the whole area of southern Bithynia are included in the works by H. Barth (1913), Ew. Banse (1919) και L. Launay (1915).
The intermediary period includes a drawing of local flora and fauna (P. Belon in 1554), portraits of Ottoman rulers in the significant work by L. Chalcondyles (1632), antiquities from Nicaea in the chronicle by R. Pococke (1745), and a plate of an ancient coin in the pioneering work by J. Pitton de Tournefort (1717), as well as the reliefs from Nicaea found in the account by Ch. Fellows (1839), and the picturesque views from the Album by R. Walsh / Th. Allom (1838). The companion atlas to the travel account by Ch. Pertusier (1817) is placed among the most beautiful Albums of Istanbul. A highly interesting album by J. Brindesi (1855-60) shows scenes from everyday life in Istanbul, and is among the most appealing creations of orientalism. 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).
The work (1820) of Mouradjea D'Ohsson includes illustrations of superb quality, which provide information on everyday life and institutions of the Ottoman Empire. The drawings by French painting Th. Le Blanc(1833-34), made from nature, are marked by intense emotion.
Ch. Texier, whose work systematized all hitherto available knowledge on Asia Minor, published views of locations and antiquities from the three main cities of Bithynia. The next work by Ch. Texier (1864) constitued a landmark in the scholarship of Byzantine monuments of Asia Minor. It includes original drawings, plans, and views of monuments at Bursa. 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. In addition, the works by J.Fr. Lewis (1838) and J.H. Allan (1843) include remarkable lithographs with views of Bursa.
Maps of Bithynia and most often the surrounding area are published in the work by J.J. Grelot, of interest mainly for its study of Istanbul monuments (1680, partly included in the map of the Dardanelles), in the English translation of P. Gilles' work (1729), in the chronicle by J. Moreno (1790), in the work by J.B. Lechevalier (1800), the first Frenchman to thoroughly explore Troy, and in the Atlas to the chronicle by French naturalist G.A. Olivier (1801).
The monumental work of M.G.F.A. Choiseul-Gouffier expressed the love of antiquity and the philhellenism of the era in new and original fashion, establishing at the same time (around the late 18th and early 19th centuries) the primacy of image, or graphic representation, in travel chronicles. It includes a map of the Hellespont and part of Bithynia. The same work includes views from the Asian coast of Bosporus, a subject repeated in the works by E. Flandin (1853) and Ed. De Amicis (1883). Ed. D. Clarke's written account of his travels to Russia and the Sea of Azov and the accompanying plates (1810) compose one of the earliest and most significant renderings of the area. J. Tweddell died during his stay in Athens and was buried in the temple of Hephaestus (also known as Theseion). Later on, his brother published what had survived of his travel notes (1817). The scarce plates include a map of Istanbul and its environs.
The plates by count A.-F. Andréossy(1828) represent rare and original subjects. Apart from cisterns and aqueducts of the Byzantine and Ottoman periods at the wider area of Istanbul, they depict locations of high scientific interest at the area where the Bosporus joins the Black Sea. The plates of the rare album by M. Ad.Walker (1866) depict the monuments and main buildings of the city, set among the idyllic landscape of the outskirts of Bursa.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou