Machiel Kiel as an Ottoman Balkan Historian

The history of Ottoman cultural heritage in the Balkan peninsula is one of the least known issues in the civilization history of the area. Until last decades, mainly because of political reasons, there was a full ignorance about the Ottoman herigate of the region unless for a half milennium this region was an integral part of the Muslim world and the Balkan cities were among the most important cities of the Ottoman empire. After the end of the Ottoman authority in the Balkan peninsula, most of the Ottoman buildings were destroyed and this was harshly dealt with especially during the XX. century. As Kiel points out “in some Balkan countries it is still easier to blow a mosque up than to restore it.” Being aware of this situation, Kiel travelled along the Balkans every year since 1959 and spent his life to collect information about the Ottoman buildings in the area. This also enabled him to make a building internationally public so that its process of saving and restoring has been affected positively. Thanks to his great efforts, we have opportunity to have information about a considerable amount of Ottoman monuments, some were even destroyed.


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