Bank Asya sponsored an album titled "Ottoman Lands during the Reign of Abdulhamit II," originally consisting of thousands of photographs taken during the time of Sultan Abdulhamit II. The album reveals the fact that the Balkans, Middle East and North Africa – now among the most tumultuous places in the world – were completely peaceful only a century ago under the control of the Ottoman state. The confessions of the Palestinian and Israeli prime ministers that no Palestinian can ever forget Abdulhamit II and that a land managed by just 200 Ottoman soldiers can not today be protected by superb armies takes on a more significant and a deeper meaning with the photographs.
The "Yildiz Albums" prepared during Abdulhamit II's reign, are among the oldest and largest photograph collections of the world. Sultan Abdulhamit II, who managed to have every corner of Istanbul and Anatolia photographed, also had important cities in Japan, China, Russia, the Middle-East, Europe and America photographed. Set aside in archives for decades, these invaluable photographs have now finally come to light.
The "Ottoman Lands During the Reign of Abdulhamit II" album was prepared by Yitik Hazine Yayinlari (Lost Treasures Publishing) and sponsored by Bank Asya. As a part of Bank Asya's 10th anniversary events, an exhibition on the photos from the album was opened in the Arsenal of Yildiz Palace. Deputy Manager of Bank Asya Ayhan Keser said, "Within the context of the cultural services we provide to consolidate the bridges between us and our past, we wanted to exhibit an meticulously chosen part of the Yildiz Albums of Sultan Abdulhamit II and publish them in a book to immortalize it and create a safe bridge to pass this heritage on from generation to generation."
Each photograph is as important as a historical document that explains the state of all these lands in the previous century which are today outside Turkey and whose size is nine times larger than Turkey. The photographs taken upon the sultan's instructions are all that remains from those regions. They were taken just 25-30 years before the Ottomans withdrew from the stage of history and reveal the past condition of many places, such as Sarajevo, Ethiopia, Batum and Cairo. Upon inspecting the photographs of Sarajevo, Varna, Saloniki, Ishkodra, Vidin, Damascus, Baghdad, Cairo, Jerusalem and Mecca, one immediately realizes that they are all like pieces to a puzzle. Reflecting the last years of the Ottoman Empire, with all its beauty, the photographs reveal the serenity of life in the Ottoman-dominated lands where mischief has been brewing ever since Turks were forcibly removed from them. Moreover, one can feel the tolerance and dialogue to which the world has long been aspiring. The photos contain many striking images: While groups of people are shopping here and there, others are practicing their various faiths freely. The Noel walk, held by the Christians in Jerusalem, is observed by the Muslims respectfully, who clambered up the domes to watch the event. On the minaret of the al-Azhar Mosque, the muaddhins call people to prayer with double azans (the Muslim call to prayer) and in its yard students are studying; the priests in charge look at the objective in front of the Great Church of Sofia; the construction of the Aleppo railway is continuing at great speed.
Anatolian Photographs Next
The "Ottoman Lands during the Reign of Abdulhamit II" album reminds a saying of the Sultan, which is, "Every photograph is an idea." He preferred photographs over reports and written information. He wanted to understand the situation in his lands through photographs. While capturing every corner of his country on camera, he also had murderers in prison photographed to decide whom to grant pardon in honor of his 25th year on the throne. Consisting of nearly 36,000 photographs in 911 albums, the Yildiz Albums were formed in this way. Yitik Hazine Yayinlari previously published the Mecca and Madinah parts of this extraordinary collection.
The preparer of the Ottoman Lands album, Mehmet Bahadir Dorduncu, said that the next album to be published would be the Anatolian photographs.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16