Osman Nuri Ergin: The First Urban Historian of the Republic

Osman Nuri Ergin (1892-1961), is recognized as the first urban historian of the Turkish Republican Era. His Türkiye'de Şehirciliğin Tarihî İnkişafı (Historical Development of Town Planning in Turkey) is the first work in the field of urban historiography. Ergin is an encyclopedist scholar and his studies are about municipal employment, urbanization, improvement, history of education, history of associations and İstanbul. In this article I present information about Ergin's biography and his scientific personality. His published and unpublished studies on urban history are reviewed chronological. Ergin's sources were his personal knowledge and experiments, private documents, legal codes and correspondences. The main focus of this monumental work on pious foundations, mosques and dervish convents was on town planning activities. Ergin's argument was that the motive of the people who made these buildings was not religious but worldly. Ergin used in his history a method of civilizational comparison, comparing Ottoman and European associations syncronically. Ergin's studies are primary sources on urban history in Turkey.


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