“Orientalism” in Nineteeth-Century Istanbul Architecture

Saner, Turgut. 19. Yüzyıl İstanbul Mimarlığında “Oryantalizm”. Istanbul: Pera Turizm ve Ticaret A.Ş., 1998, 180pp. 


“Orientalism” in 19th Century Istanbul Architecture

19. Yüzyıl İstanbul Mimarlığında“Oryantalizm”

This book deals with examples of Orientalism found within late Ottoman architecture in Istanbul from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. The work is the first book on buildings in Istanbul that exhibit “exotic” influences from Moorish Andalusia, India and the Maghreb.

The introductory chapter summarises the characteristics of Orientalist architecture in Europe and the niche that Ottoman/Turkish architecture occupies within it. The second chapter compares a number of Oriental architectural styles in detail and offers an analysis of the structures. It examines the function of these buildings in the city as well as their level of importance; i.e. whether the buildings are imperial, monumental, small scale or residential. The third chapter outlines the architectural characteristics of “Ottoman Orientalism”.

The author’s research demonstrates that Orientalist architecture was prevalent during Sultan Abdulaziz’s era. He also points out that, the Westernised image of nineteenth century Ottoman architecture was transformed into an (Ottoman) Revivalist outlook by turning to its own heritage, which, through a search for authentic 'national' expression, led eventually to the First National Architecture movement in the first decade of the twentieth century.

Although the author observes that the use of the Western term ‘Orientalism’ for Ottoman architecture is an issue that merits debate, his work focuses predominantly on morphological features of style. The discussion on ‘Orientalism’ in Ottoman architecture thus needs to be developed further.

Print quality is satisfactory and images accurately portray particular visual information. This work therefore, takes its place as the first collection that documents structures from late Ottoman architecture which have “Oriental” motifs; and thereby initiates a primary discussion about the topic.

Sezim Sezer
Sezer, Sezim. “English abstract of '“Orientalism” in 19th Century Istanbul Architecture'". Translated by Sezim Sezer. In Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi. 155. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
Muslim Civilisations abstract the Aga Khan University
Related Documents