The Significance of Ottoman Year Books in Urban History

This article aims to emphasize the importance of Ottoman yearbooks (salnâmes) in the historiography of the Ottoman urban studies. Apart from sources like archival documents, chronicles, private histories, memoirs, journals and newspapers, the yearbooks are quite significant in studying Ottoman history. The first Ottoman State yearbook was published in 1847. The yearbooks, which contain, among other things, data on provinces and settlements, are very informative and rich in terms of the subjects included. They give information on the demographic, topographic, political, social, commercial, judicial and cultural aspects of the provinces, sub-provinces and sometimes even the villages. These sources include also considerable amount of pictures, photographs, plans, maps and they present a very detailed photograph of the Ottoman Empire on a specific year, from Yemen, Caucasus and Anatolia to Balkans and North Africa. It would not be wrong to say that any study on Ottoman urban history in the XIXth and XXth centuries should consult the yearbooks; otherwise, they would be insufficient and incomplete.


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