History of Istanbul

History of Istanbul

The History of Istanbul from Antiquity to the 21st Century, which deals with the 8500-year history of Istanbul, was prepared in partnership with the Centre for Islamic Studies and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Culture Inc.

Launched in late 2012, the Turkish edition was published in 2015. The work was prepared thematically within the framework of the project and consists of 363 articles written by 270 scholars on different fields, such as topography, architecture, religious and social life, administration, and economics. The 10-volume, 5,320-page work, contains around 4,000 visual materials, such as maps, miniatures, engravings, paintings, and archival documents. The English translation of the work was completed in 2019 and delivered to Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Culture Inc. to be printed.

The History of Istanbul promotional event was held on Saturday, June 18, 2016 at the Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall and was attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The Turkish original and English translation of the work were made available for free access at istanbultarihi.ist.

Quality and Content
The History of Istanbul aims the proper position of Istanbul among the world cities, focusing on the “city” from its first settlement in to the present day and presenting a summary of the academic research that has been conducted on Istanbul. The text was written to meet the expectations of the general reader, be a reference source for students in formal education, set an example for future studies in this field in terms of information, method, and content, and be used as a source text for courses about Istanbul taught in Turkey and abroad.

The History of Istanbul, which encompasses all historical periods of the city and is the most voluminous and comprehensive work in its field, was written with a thematic approach with the subjects written in article form. Further details that would provide a better understanding of the subjects that were not be sufficiently emphasized in the main articles were analyzed in depth and included in the marginalia.

The chronology of the themes is based on the three periods, i.e., Byzantine, Ottoman, and Republican, which determine the identity of the city and constitute the turning point in its historical flow. Each theme has been periodized by taking into account the continuity within the city’s changes, meaning that the Antiquity, Byzantium, Ottoman, and Republic eras have not been treated as absolute breaks, but rather as transitions. The “Istanbul Chronology” and “Istanbul Bibliography” sections of the encyclopedia are presented to readers for the first time, representing important studies in their fields in terms of the history of the city.

The main features that distinguish The History of Istanbul from similar projects are the large number of authors who worked on the project, the international academic contributions, the abundance of visual material, and the voluminosity of the text. Complementing and supporting each other in terms of content, design, and printing material, this work also offers a model for writing the long histories of cities in every respect.

The project was directed by Prof. Dr. M. Akif Aydın, edited by Dr. Coşkun Yılmaz, and designed by Bülent Erkmen.

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The Great Istanbul History
Updated at February 27, 2024