Ongoing excavations in the old city of Van have shed light on the lifestyles, social conditions and dietary habits of the city’s inhabitants from the Ottoman era, revealing bazaar structures that resemble modern-day shopping malls.
The excavations were undertaken to uncover the hidden ancient layers of Van, which was occupied by the Russians and ruined during the turbulence of the First World War. They provide significant insight into civil architecture in the Ottoman era, when Van was a major center home to many intellectuals and elites.
Led by Istanbul University’s Van Region History and Archaeology Center Director Erkan Konyar, the excavations are being carried out by a team of partners from 12 universities. Read more.
We’ve been reminded several times this summer that the moon was going to appear fuller than it usually did, an occasion that happens only once in 13 years. But the moon has always fascinated people, and the Ottomans were no exception. It must have seemed even more marvelous to them without the dimming of its light due to electric lights and pollution than it does to us today.
The moon was considered beautiful so it’s not surprising to find in Ottoman poetry that the most attractive young people were compared to the moon. As Ahmed Paşa said in the second half of the 15th century, in a poem addressed to someone he was interested in:
“If it’s only with the stars you’re destined to be in accord/Ah, my moon, I’ll star the world with tear-drops day and night combined.” Read more.
Was the Ottoman sultan’s heart buried on a battlefield nearly 450 years ago? Archaeologists are trying to find out.
On a rainy day in February, a black Subaru purrs along a country road through the sodden farmland east of Pécs, in rural southern Hungary.
"Back in Süleyman’s day, all this would have been much more heavily wooded," says Norbert Pap, a professor of political geography at the nearby University of Pécs. "Oak forests mainly, broken up with meadows and cornfields and vineyards, although as you draw nearer to Szigetvár the land opened up further and became more marshy."
We were on our way to the fortress at Szigetvár, following an old road that was around in the time of the great Turkish sultan Süleyman the Magnificent and that, for as long as anyone can remember, has been known colloquially as Turbek Road. Read more.
A Turkish scientist has announced that a recently discovered historical document points to a mosque complex in Szigetvar, Hungary, as the site where heart and internal organs of the Ottoman Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent were buried in 1566.
“We unexpectedly discovered the document while we were studying the charter of the Sokollu Mehmed Pasha Foundation. It says the internal organs were buried in the garden near the ‘hanikah’ (dervish lodge) of the Süleyman Mosque in Szigetvar,” Mehmet Zeki İbrahimgil, a history professor at Gazi University, told Doğan News Agency. Read more.
A 174-year-old marble globe in the middle of Istanbul’s historical peninsula went missing last month, daily Milliyet reported on April 22.
The globe came from a shrine, ordered to be built by Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecid for his father Mahmud II in the Çemberlitaş neighborhood in 1840. The Ottoman-Armenian royal architects Ohannes and Bogos Dadyan completed the shrine in empirical style, including a 2.5-meter high drinking fountain on one of its corners, which was also decorated with a 70 cm-wide marble globe.
Officials from the Directorate of Shrines cannot explain how the globe was lost. Read more.
Locals in Haifa have discovered a large painting dating back from World War I in a nuts store in the coastal Israeli city.
The 10-meter-wide and three-meter-high painting, which covers the entire wall, depicts an air attack by the British army against the Ottoman army during World War I.
The painting was revealed by a university student who had come to the store for shopping. Seeing a miniature soldier’s head beneath the peeled-off plaster on the wall, the student called a friend who is an expert on wall paintings. The expert went to the store the following day to examine the wall and said a bigger painting could be concealed beneath the plaster. Read more.
Turkey is to assist in the restoration of cultural and historical sites offering training to officials from the ministry of culture. It has expressed a special interest in helping to maintain Ottoman-era buildings and shrines.
The plans have been discussed by Turkish ambassador Ahmed Baksh and Culture Minister Habib Al-Amin, Adel Sunallah a ministry spokesman told the Libya Herald.
Sunallah explained that Turkey will give archaeological training to 30 Libyans from the culture ministry as well as further training to border police and guards at archaeological sites. Read more.
BATTIR, West Bank — In this scenic Palestinian village in the West Bank hills near Bethlehem, just south of Jerusalem, a week is said to last eight days, not seven. That is because Battir’s eight extended families take daily turns watering their crops from the natural springs that feed their ancient agricultural terraces, a practice they say has worked for centuries.
The water flows through a Roman-era irrigation system down into a deep valley where a railway track — a section of the Jaffa-Jerusalem railway built in Ottoman times — roughly marks the 1949 armistice line between the West Bank and Israel. The area is dotted with tombs and ruins upon ruins of bygone civilizations.
When the World Heritage Committee of Unesco — the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization — meets in St. Petersburg, Russia, over the next two weeks, this pastoral area will be thrust into the spotlight at least momentarily as the villagers and conservation experts fight to save what they say is a unique living cultural and historical landscape. Read more.