Urban History of the Ottoman Balkan Cities

The aim of this work is to evaluate the Ottoman Balkan city historiography and its main trends based on the studies about Ottoman Bosnia, Hungary and Greece. For a long period the region was ruled by closed regimes which restricted researchers and thus the Ottoman heritage of the region became one of the least known issues. But after 1980s the changes in political systems enabled historians to make new researches on various topics and documents concerned with the region's Ottoman city history. The main issues as related the Ottoman Bosnia city historiography are the Islamization process of the region and socio-cultural mobility based on this development; the demographic changes after the conquest and urban growth, the administrative structure, land tenure system and changes on those systems as time went on; and, comparison of those systems with other parts of the empire in terms of similarities and differences. After the 1992 war, the protection and saving of the Ottoman cultural heritage, such as architectural monuments or archival documents also became one of the main themes because of the destructive effects of the war. The new studies which concentrate on the Ottoman Bosnia's trading networks or crime patterns enabled researchers to look at the city life in a more complex relationship framework. In the Hungary section of this paper, the studies on the Hungarian city establishment during the Ottoman period are analyzed and the structure of those cities are compared and contrasted. The role played by the Ottoman archival documents to fill the gap of the Hungarian records as related to this issue and the enrichment of the literature thanks to this contribution which brings a variousness of research perspective is discussed as well. In the section where the paper focuses on the Greece, the peculiarity of the Ottoman period Greek urban establishment is emphasized.


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