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1RANSIORMA1IONS IN ARCHI1LC1URL,
DLCORA1ION, AND PA11LRNS OI
PA1RONAGL AND CUL1URAL
PRODUC1ION IN O11OMAN LUROPL,
A 1hesis Submitted to the
Graduate School oí Social Sciences
in Partial lulíillment oí the Requirements íor
the Degree oí
Master oí Arts
Anatolian Ci·ilizations and Cultural leritage Management
Graduate School oí Social Sciences
1his is to certiíy that I ha·e examined this copy oí a master`s thesis by
and ha·e íound that it is complete and satisíactory in all respects,
and that any and all re·isions required by the íinal
examining committee ha·e been made.
Günsel Renda, Ph. D. ,Ad·isor,
Alicia Simpson, Ph. D. ,Ad·isor,
Machiel Kiel, Ph. D.
Lucienne 1hys-Senocak, Ph. D.
\onca Koksal, Ph. D.
1his study aims to shed light on transíormations in architecture and architectural
decoration in the Ottoman Balkans during the eighteenth and the íirst halí oí the
nineteenth century. 1hat this is a period linked to imperial decline on one hand, and to
national re·i·als` on the other, has had a considerable impact on the interpretation and
assessment oí the art oí this period in modern historiography. It is the aim oí this thesis
to challenge some oí these interpretations and analyze this art primarily within its socio-
cultural context. Lxplanations will also be sought as to why Baroque íorms exerted such
a strong iníluence in the region when they had already íaded out in \estern Lurope.
Rather than westernization`, decline, or national re·i·al`, alternati·e causes and
moti·es will be sought íor the de·elopment oí the art oí this period. As the agents oí
change, actors such as merchants, notables, builders, decorators, bandits, and
guildspeople will be explored instead oí the more traditional empires or nations. Rather
than mere descriptions oí buildings, trends, and de·elopments embedded in established
historical narrati·es, the art and architecture oí this period will be analyzed in the
íramework oí changing dynamics and patterns oí patronage and cultural production,
centres and peripheries, the construction system, and mechanisms oí exchange with the
Bu çalisma, onsekizinci yüzyil ·e ondokuzuncu yüzyilin ilk yarisinda Osmanli Donemi
Balkan topraklarinda mimarlik ·e mimari dekorasyon alanlarinda gorülen degisimlere
isik tutmayi amaçlamaktadir. Bu donemin, bir yandan imparatorlugun çoküsüyle, diger
yandan ulusal canlanmalarla baglantili olmasi, soz konusu sanatin modern tarih
yaziminda yorumlanmasi ·e degerlendirilmesinde oldukça etkili olmustur. Bu yorumlarin
bazilarinin sorgulanmasi ·e bu sanatin kendi sosyokültürel baglaminda analiz edilmesi
hedeílenmektedir. Bununla beraber, Barok íormlarinin, A·rupa`da çoktan sona ermis
olmalarina ragmen, neden bu kadar ku··etli bir etkiye sahip olduklari sorusuna ce·aplar
aranacaktir. Bu donem sanatinin gelisimini ortaya koymak için Batililasma`, çoküs ya da
ulusal canlanma` gibi tanimlamalar yerine, alternatií nedenler ·e dürtüler
arastirilacaktir. Degisimin temsilcileri olarak imparatorluklar ya da uluslar yerine,
tüccarlar, ayanlar, dülgerler, nakkaslar, eskiyalar ·e loncalar incelenecektir. \erlesmis
tarihi anlatimlarda gorülen yapilarin, akimlarin ·e gelisimin salt tanimlari yerine, donemin
sanat ·e mimarisi, degisen dinamikler ·e himaye modelleri, kültürel üretim, birincil ·e
ikincil merkezler, insa sistemi ·e A·rupa ile olan degisim mekanizmalari çerçe·esinde
1able of Contents
J. A ´WINDOW 1O 1HL WLS1¨....................................................................................................10
1.1. 1lL POLI1ICAL PRLLUDL 1O CUL1URAL ClANGL: 1683-1¯18......................................................10
1.2. 1lL 1ULIP LRA` ,1¯18-1¯30, AND I1S RLPLRCUSSIONS IN 1lL PROVINCLS...............................15
1.2.1. 1be í.tavbvt of .bvet ííí ava Davat íbrabiv Pa.ba15
1.2.2. 1be /vtti,e of íatit ¸erif Pa.ba at ´vvev 20
1.2.². 1be Davvbe Privci¡atitie. vvaer Pbavariote rvte 24
1.3. DLVLLOPMLN1S ON 1lL LDGL Ol 1lL O11OMAN \ORLD........................................................30
1.².1. ßetgraae 1¨1º·1¨²·: frov Ottovav to ßaroqve cit, ava bac/30
1.².2. Dvbrorvi/ ava tbe íer¸egoriva34
1.4. RLCAPI1ULA1ION .......................................................................................................................38
2. ´O11OMAN BAROQUL¨ AND BLYOND...............................................................................40
2.1. lIS1ORICAL lRAML\ORK...........................................................................................................40
2.2. 1lL O11OMAN BAROQUL`.......................................................................................................43
2.2.1. ít. cbaracteri.tic. ava ¡tace iv bi.toriogra¡b, 43
2.2.2. 1be iv¡act of tbe Ottovav ßaroqve ov vov·Mv.tiv.` ava ¡rorivciat arcbitectvre 48
2.3. ON OR1lODOX ClRIS1IAN CUL1URL IN 1lL LIGl1LLN1l CLN1UR\........................................52
2.².1. 1be ´erbiav ßaroqve ava tbe icovo.ta.i. a. er.at¸·façaae 52
2.².2. 1be ri.e ava fatt of Mo.cbo¡oti.57
2.4. RLCAPI1ULA1ION .......................................................................................................................60
2.5. A NO1L ON 1lL O11OMAN lOUSL`.........................................................................................62
3. BANDI1RY, AYANLIK, AND A PRO1O-BOURGLOISIL: 1HL BALKANS BLIORL 1HL
3.1. 1lL K.RDZ.íí]´11O AND 1lL lOR1IlILD lOUSL: D\LLLINGS AROUND 1800 AND 1lL PLACL Ol
AR1 IN AN AGL Ol INSLCURI1\..........................................................................................................66
3.2. PROVINCIAL NO1ABLLS AND MLRClAN1S AS NL\` PA1RONS Ol RLPRLSLN1A1IVL
3.2.1. ARClI1LC1URAL PA1RONAGL Ol 1lL A\AN AND I1S PLACL IN O11OMAN AR1 .......................79
².2.1.1. íoavviva vvaer .ti Pa.ba79
².2.1.2. 1iaiv vvaer O.vav Pa¸ravtogtv 85
².2.1.².. ´b/oaer ava Pri¸rev vvaer tbe ßv.batti ava Rotvtta 88
².2.1.1. Pretivivar, covctv.iov ava a vote ov Mebvet .ti`. /vtti,e iv Karata 91
3.2.2. 1lL 1lLSSALO-LPIRO1L-MACLDONIAN RLGION IN 1lL LAS1 QUAR1LR Ol 1lL LIGl1LLN1l
3.3. NL\ 1RLNDS IN ARClI1LC1URAL DLCORA1ION.......................................................................102
².².1. 1rav.forvatiov. iv Ottovav art ava it. ai..evivatiov to tbe ¡rorivce. 102
².².2. 1be .tbaviav tava. at tbe ¡ea/ of í.tavic cvttvre iv tbe ´ovtbre.t ßat/av.110
3.4. ON 1lL ARClI1LC1S` AND PAIN1LRS` Ol MANSIONS AND MOSQULS IN 1lL LA1L O11OMAN
3.5. RLCAPI1ULA1ION .....................................................................................................................131
4. RLORGANIZA1ION (1ANZIMA1) AND RLBIR1H (VAZRAZDANL) ...........................135
4.1. 1lL BULGARIAN NA1IONAL RLVIVAL` AND I1S ARClI1LC1URAL MANIlLS1A1IONS ..............137
4.2. SLRBIA UNDLR MILOS OBRLNOVIC...........................................................................................157
4.3. 1lL BOSNIAN LXCLP1ION........................................................................................................164
4.4. 1lL RL1URN` Ol 1lL MONUMLN1AL ClURCl .......................................................................171
4.5. RLCAPI1ULA1ION .....................................................................................................................178
MAP WI1H PLACLS MLN1IONLD IN 1HL 1LX1................................................................244
1he prehistory oí the idea íor taking up this speciíic topic as subject íor a later thesis
began a íew years ago on a trip around Bulgaria. \ith a íriend írom Soíia insisting on
showing us her hometown, Sumen, ha·ing arri·ed there she directed us towards two
monuments she íound representati·e oí her town. One was a communist-period
memorial generously o·erlooking the town, the other was the mosque oí Serií lalil
Pasha, the only sur·i·or oí more than 40 mosques still only a century ago. Now I had
been íamiliar with the general characteristics oí Ottoman mosques in the Balkans due to
a year-long stay in post-war Saraje·o and, admittedly, had íound them all to be íairly
alike, but what I saw in the interior oí the mosque at Sumen was dissimilar írom what I
had pre·iously come to know. Some oí the decoration and motiís íelt oddly íamiliar,
and in the concise leaílet the keeper had pro·ided us with upon entering, a preliminarily
satisíactory answer was obtained in the classiíication oí the style as Islamic Baroque`.
Diííerent írom the plain exteriors oí 1urkish houses` I had pre·iously come across in
Bosnia and Serbia were then also some oí the residences on the next stop on the
itinerary, Plo·di·. Lager to learn more about what I had seen back home, I stumbled
upon publications mentioning not only a Bulgarian Baroque`, but a 1urkish Baroque`
and Serbian Baroque` as well, all terms I had íell upon at some earlier point, but ne·er
had suspected a real correlation, them maybe íorming part oí a general, regional trend in
a speciíic period. 1his, aíter all, would also ha·e meant that what is so oíten, ií
indirectly, suggested in the histories oí Southeast Lurope, namely an isolation oí the
peoples oí Ottoman Lurope írom the art and architecture oí Lurope so as to explain
why the Balkans townscapes look so uníamiliar to us`, would not be entirely accurate.
Beginning my research on this Baroque iníluence`, soon came the realization that there
is much more to it than merely an occidentalist íad, akin to the 1urquerie in the west.
In regional and national histories the Balkan societies` changeo·er írom oriental` to
Luropean` is more oíten than not portrayed as a reasonably clear break, as could be
expected írom someone supposedly breaking away írom the bondage oí domination by
an alien ci·ilization, into íreedom. Other than as an early stage in the liberation`
mo·ements oí subjected peoples, little space has been la·ished on the cultural history oí
the eighteenth century Balkans. 1o declare nationalist-secessionist sentiment as the
deíining entity in the e·eryday li·es oí indi·iduals at that period, howe·er, is in all
probability delusional. labitually, as ií requiring no íurther periodization, the whole
halí-millennial period oí Ottoman-Balkans culture is presented as a monolith.
lortunately, also a ·ast body oí more enlightened literature exists, íew oí which,
howe·er, speciíically dealing with the post-classical, pre-1anzimat cultural history oí
Ottoman Lurope. Much oí this thesis thus consists oí piecemeal iníormation, oíten
írom quite unrelated sources, collected o·er a period oí three years. Only towards the
end oí this research I could grasp the larger picture, the interrelation between diííerent
íactors ,and not only in terms oí culture, art and architecture,, and e·entually had to
re·ise many truths` that I had held íor such through pre·ious readings. It is the
purpose oí this thesis to communicate and share these insights, and I am leít to hope
that the arguments brought íorward throughout this discussion will be con·incing íor
1he necessary prerequisites íor this enterprise I íound during my two-year residence at
Koç Uni·ersity in Istanbul. 1hat Günsel Renda, an internationally renowned art
historian oí the late Ottoman period came to be íirst one oí my proíessors and
e·entually one oí my ad·isors pro·ed a íortunate instance. Continuing the study oí
established areas oí interest in a pre·iously uníamiliar en·ironment has also pro·ided
me with a new and diííerent, maybe more Ottoman`, perspecti·e, which many works
on the Balkans produced in the region` or in the \est` perhaps lack. Occasional
stays in Vienna, on the other hand, ha·e enabled me to access an oíten ·ery diííerent
body oí literature írom that íound in collections in Istanbul. It should also be noted that
throughout my research I ha·e, without exception, only made ·ery positi·e experiences
with the staíí oí libraries the collections oí which pro·ided the essentials íor my work:
in Vienna these were the Austrian National Library, the main library oí the Uni·ersity oí
Vienna, the libraries at the departments íor Art listory, Last- and Southeast Luropean
listory, 1urkology, Byzantine Studies, and e·en the city-run Public Library pro·ided íor
some surprising disco·eries. In Istanbul, these were the libraries oí the Koç, Bogaziçi,
Sabanci, Bilgi, and Mimar Sinan uni·ersities as well as that oí the American Research
Institute in 1urkey ,ARI1, and the Institut lrançais d`Ltudes Anatoliennes ,IlLA,.
Resources that otherwise could ha·e been located only with enormous eííorts ha·e been
made a·ailable to me through the article- and inter-library loan request system at Koç
Uni·ersity`s Suna Kiraç Library, personiíied by Ayla 1üíekçibasi, whose support and
swiítness, despite my seemingly ne·er-ending requests, must be commended. I am
íurthermore indebted to Alicia Simpson, my second ad·isor, íor gi·ing this work a
thorough reading and making constructi·e suggestions íor impro·ements, and Ayse
Dilsiz íor help with translations írom 1urkish and all other kinds oí support during the
Next to publications in Lnglish, German, and lrench, considerable use has been made
oí sources in the 1urkish, Serbian-Croatian-Bosnian, Bulgarian, and Macedonian
languages. 1here exist a íew interesting sources in Italian and a ·ast amount in Greek
which, regrettably, could not be accessed.
In the case oí Greek publications, howe·er,
now and then substantial summaries in Lnglish or lrench are included.
in·ol·ement oí such number oí languages and scripts, a consistent transliteration or
consistent use oí region-speciíic terms in one oí the rele·ant languages is almost
impossible. lor much related to the Ottoman period, modern 1urkish terms ha·e been
gi·en preíerence. In the transliteration oí Bulgarian Cyrillic, which, unlike Serbian
Cyrillic, does not ha·e a generally accepted Latin equi·alent, the mode more accepted
among linguists oí Sla·ic languages has been chosen o·er the international` option
,much like Russian transliterated into Lnglish,. \here applicable, Bulgarian letters ha·e
been reproduced as what they would look like in other Sla·ic languages written in the
Latin alphabet ,m ~ s, u ~ c, » ~ z,. 1he problematic` + ,equi·alent to the 1urkish t,
has been transliterated as à, and not as u, a, i, or y, in order to be clear which original
character is being reíerred to.
lor those not íamiliar with the pronunciation oí special characters ,diacritics, in the
Latin,ized, alphabets oí the 1urks, Albanians, Romanians, and the south Sla·s, a small
,and simpliíied, chart should pro·ide guidance íor the correct reading or reproduction
oí words írequently used in this work:
Among the works in Italian are studies oí mosques in 1eto·o, Samoko·, and Ka·ala. lor reíerence,
these can be íound in the bibliography as articles by Scarcia ,1981, and Curatola ,1981,, and the book by
Bruni ,2003,. Also Rosko·ska's concise book` ,46 pages, on the mosque at Samoko· ,19¯¯,, although
published in German, lrench, and Lnglish, could not be located in libraries accessible to me. \hile all
these are key monuments on which iníormation can be íound in greater detail also in the other sources I
used, the reader should keep in mind that the aíorementioned works may include additional iníormation.
1his was, íor example, the case with Moutsopoulos ,196¯,. 1he citations írom this book thus reíer to
the chapter-length Lnglish summary.
Sla·ic languages 1urkish Lnglish
s ¸ sh
c ç ch or tch
c ,serb., - similar to the ch-sound in íuture`
d ,serb., - similar to the dj-sound in íorge`
à ,bulg., t ·ery short ü or other ·owel
- g not pronounced, lengthens preceding ·owel
Dz c dj as in jungle`
ã long a ,not used anymore,
1he Romanian ã is pronounced like the 1urkish t, the Albanian ë like a short German
ö, the gj like the Lnglish dj. In the case oí Albanian place-names there exist two
simultaneously used ·ersions ,e.g. Korçë ~ Korça,, which, ií he,she is used to another,
should not surprise the reader. In the case oí Gjirokastër, this ·ersion has been
preíerred o·er Gjirokastra`. In the case oí 1irana, howe·er, the internationally
accepted 1irana rather than 1iranë` has been used. \here places ha·e accepted
equi·alents in Lnglish, such as Belgrade ,serb. Beograd, or Bucharest ,rom. Bucuresti,,
these íorms ha·e been gi·en preíerence. I will use both Istanbul and Constantinople,
gi·en that there ne·er was one name used by e·eryone, and in rare occasions
Constantinople` seems more adequate. Mistakes and inconsistencies in transliterations
and translations, or any mistakes this work might possibly suííer írom, are the sole
responsibility oí the author.
1his study aims to shed light on de·elopments in architecture and architectural
decoration in the Ottoman Balkans in the pre-modern era. 1he period co·ered is
roughly the eighteenth and íirst halí oí the nineteenth century. As this thesis aims to
demonstrate, this is not a random choice but indeed a period oí a reasonably distinct
·isuality and diííerent dynamics, and with a íairly clear beginning and closing stage. As
the endpoint has been determined the year 1856, the year oí the proclamation oí the
Islahat edict, aíter which the art and architecture oí the Ottoman Christian subjects
re·olutionarily change. In this age oí already institutionalized westernization in the
Ottoman Lmpire, howe·er, also in the architecture oí mosques, residences, and
administrati·e buildings there are perceptibly new directions. At the beginning oí the
narrati·e stands the year 1¯18, the start oí the 1ulip Lra`, in which among rulers and
administrators a no·el approach to the non-Ottoman world de·elops as a result oí
incisi·e changes in Ottoman realities aíter the íailed siege oí Vienna in 1683, ultimately
resulting in a loss oí substantial territory to a strengthened enemy in the north.
Both Kiel ,1985, and Bouras ,1991, justiíy the year 1¯00 as the chronological termini oí
their respecti·e sur·eys arguing that it makes little sense to go beyond this date which,
taken symbolically, witnesses drastic breaches. \hile Kiel ,1985:1¯, assesses the
Ottoman íiíteenth, sixteenth, and se·enteenth centuries as a period that stands out as
more or less homogenous`, the eighteenth century is stated to mark the beginning oí
proíound changes in society, thinking and art`. It is interesting that Kiel ,1990a:289-90,
íurther seems to diííerentiate between Ottoman art in the Balkans and art in the late
Ottoman Balkans: 1he íormer is said to witness a slow but steady decline` beginning
in the se·enteenth century, while, writing more speciíically oí Albania, where only aíter
that century a massi·e need íor Islamic inírastructure arises, he explains the
subsequently diííerent spirit oí Albanian-Ottoman art by iníerring that the imperial
centre could no longer guide the work in the pro·ince` since Ottoman ci·ilization
\hat or whose art was it then· \as it a genuinely Balkan art with its
own dynamics or simply a pro·incial reílection oí general post-classical Ottoman
\hat concerns Christian architecture and art ,which otherwise will not be the at the
centre oí this study,, Vryonis ,1991:30, similarly coníirms a a certain decline in the
quality oí the art` aíter 1¯00, which he explains by reíerring to a rapid increase in the
number oí artists, most oí who were írom rural origins. In contrast to both the Muslim
and Christian religious art and architecture oí this period, the residential structures
,traditional housing` or ·ernacular`,, usually recei·e a rather enthusiastic e·aluation.
1his is, on one hand, certainly due to their classiíication as traditional` ,whose tradition
notwithstanding,, and, on the other hand, likely also due to the íact that we are simply
leít with ·ery íew sur·i·ing examples predating the late eighteenth century, whereby a
comparati·e assessment would not really be íeasible. Scholars, howe·er, seem to agree
that the houses built in the century aíter 1¯50 show the most de·eloped íorm oí this
type, while the mass oí earlier dwellings are belie·ed to ha·e been much humbler ,as
coníirmed in depreciati·e accounts oí western tra·ellers,. But also in the late period
these buildings, while in almost all cases a ·ersion oí what has come to be known as
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries most buildings, including mosques, were indeed not anymore
built by architects sent írom Istanbul but by Christian masters írom the wider region. 1he pre·iously
highly centralized process, which accounts íor the region-wide uniíormity oí classical-period mosques in
the Balkans, is described by Kiel ,1990c:xi-xii,, based on the analysis oí detailed registers, as íollows:
Architects and workleaders, trained in the capital, were dispatched to the pro·ince. Models oí what to
build were sent with them . \ith the help oí these models the indi·idual patrons, or the state
commission, could decide what kind oí mosque or íortress they wanted.`
the Ottoman house` ,a concept which will later be explained, show not one but a
·ariety oí styles, some are more traditional`, some more Baroque`.
Nonetheless, in these two assessments by Kiel and Vryonis, and without e·en yet citing
the much more dismissi·e e·aluations oí 1urkish architectural historians about their`
architecture in the late period, we can already discern a common indication that the
study oí the art oí this period is somewhat less rewarding. 1o demonstrate that such a
conception is erroneous, aside írom not ·ery helpíul, will be one oí the objects oí this
study. \e are dealing with a diííerent kind oí art, less classical` than its predecessor
and sometimes more a íolk art` than an academic` one. Less stale and codiíied, more
secular and personal, it also attests to the ·itality oí its age, particularly aíter the 1¯¯0s.
Remarkable works oí creati·ity are patronized by increasing segments oí society and
produced by a steadily increasing number oí non-íormally trained builders-decorators,
whose role and histories ha·e, I belie·e, not been íully appreciated. Instead,
historiography has e·ery so oíten interpreted their works as the artistic component oí a
nationalist renewal among the Balkan Christian societies, a notion which will be
challenged in the last two chapters oí this study.
1he same authors ha·e endea·oured to explain a seemingly low le·el oí producti·ity in
Christian architecture íor much oí the period oí Ottoman rule in the Balkans -
stretching o·er halí a millennium hardly to be considered an occupation`, as is still the
paradigm - with two reasons: 1, the annihilation oí a local ,Christian, class to patronize
their` art,s,, and 2, se·ere Ottoman-Islamic laws that íorbade the building oí new
churches and made e·en the repair oí older churches ·ery diííicult. Both claims are,
admittedly, not entirely íalse, but we will also see that realities sometimes diííered. 1his
also includes the conception oí the Ottomans purposeíully isolating their subjects írom
the achie·ements contemporary Lurope made in culture, the arts, and sciences, whereby
the 1urks ha·e been made the scapegoats íor the modern Balkan nations`
backwardness`. It is true that major artistic mo·ements in Lurope, like the
Renaissance, pass the Ottoman Christians` ·isual culture largely unnoticed, but we will
see that in some parts oí the Ottoman Balkans, at diííerent times, ·i·id exchange with
the \est, not only in commerce but in cultural ·ocabulary as well, was indeed possible.
In no instance more than in the Age oí Baroque is this noticeably in the Balkans, or
really in Ottoman culture as a whole. Baroque motiís can not only be íound in the
decoration oí Christian merchants` houses or paintings and iconostases oí Orthodox
churches, but in Muslim ,and Jewish, residences and houses oí worship as well. \hat
we see there is an Ottomanized` reílection oí Baroque ideas. But, then, is the Ottoman
art oí that period to be considered part oí a wider Baroque sphere, which would include
other exports to non-Luropean destinations, like the Mexican Baroque` which, despite
Spanish origins, takes ·ery indi·idual íorms in the process oí dislocation·
Ií yes, why
then does this Ottoman Baroque` ,or the Bulgarian Baroque`, íor that matter, only
show at a point in time when the Baroque in much oí Lurope has already come to and
1his study`s prime objecti·e will not be to discern western iníluences on architecture in
the Ottoman Balkans, or to locate and position the Baroque in the region`s e·idently
changing ·isual culture aíter 1¯00. Rather, it will be concerned with mechanisms oí
exchange, not only between Last` and \est` but within the Balkans and between
centres` and pro·inces` in the Ottoman world. 1he aim is to describe, interpret,
and,or explain why, when, and how changes occur and materialize in the toci oí public
On the surprising aíterliíe oí Baroque beyond its natural boundaries`, see larbison ,2003, cit. x,, esp.
chapters VII and VIII.
and e·eryday li·es oí Ottoman subjects in the way they did. 1his will mean to try to
understand the society that produced these works oí art and architecture, and not
merely to point out to íamiliar íeatures in certain trends and sweepingly attribute them
to an increasing western iníluence emerging írom an imbalance oí power between two
societies, whereby one e·entually begins to culturally dominate the other.
In such an endea·our, much oí the historiography generated in the region under
discussion - a region which the outside world mainly associates with conílict and
contesting nationalisms - is not a natural ally. Next to the works oí art and architecture
to be treated herein, historiography and its readings oí the cultural past must thus take a
prominent place. listoriographically, one crucial problem seems that our knowledge oí
the Ottoman Balkans in the eighteenth century is ·ery limited, particularly ií compared
to the ·ast amount oí scholarship produced on the nineteenth century. Much oí what
has been written on the period oíten íocuses on the resurgence ,or emergence, oí
national sentiments among the Balkan peoples, and certainly much more than on their
e·eryday li·es. In this sense, it is more a history oí nations rather than a cultural history.
But also írom the other, Ottomanist ·iewpoint, laroqhi ,1995:29-30, had identiíied
¸particular diííiculties` in the expansion oí our knowledge oí the cultural history oí the
eighteenth century, a paradox being that it is ·ery well documented but at the same time
relati·ely little research has been made, particularly íor the period aíter 1¯30. She
attributes this in part to that the íoreign-iníluenced art oí that century had been
dismissed in the writings oí nationalist Republican-period art historians, who classiíied
that style as an alien import by a court íorgetting national` traditions and borne by a
society whose liíestyle was írowned upon by many contemporaries. Luropean
historians, on the other hand, were too much concerned with national-cultural
peculiarities to really appreciate this cosmopolitan style`. Not anymore solely identiíied
with cultural decline, more recent research e·entually began to appreciate this age
representing, in laroqhi`s words, the ·itality and elegance oí a late period.`
Particularly in the last two-three decades a considerable amount oí studies ha·e íocused
on Ottoman eighteenth-century culture. Scholars such as Maurice Cerasi, Shirine
lamadeh, Günsel Renda, or Dogan Kuban ha·e contributed a great deal to our
knowledge oí the art and architecture oí this period which now appears to íascinate a
growing number oí people.
Regrettably, the same can not be said íor contemporary
de·elopments in the pro·inces. In íact, and aside írom a íew case studies, close to
nothing has been published on late Ottoman mosques in the Balkans. \ere it not íor
the many publications by Machiel Kiel, the works oí some \ugosla· scholars like Andrej
Andreje·ic, or the in·entory oí Ottoman monuments in Lurope prepared by the
1urkish researcher Lkrem lakki Ay·erdi, we would not know much about the classical-
period mosques either.
Despite these essential contributions, still no comprehensi·e,
synthetic, and critical work, co·ering the whole region, that is, the region that it was
when this architecture de·eloped, has been created to con·ey to us the history and the
character oí Ottoman architecture in the Balkans. In 1urkish works on Ottoman
\hile noting that the recent surge oí interest in the artistic and architectural production oí the
eighteenth century has rescued this period írom its earlier characterization as an era oí decline`, lamadeh
,2004:33-4, also criticizes that the emphasis placed on the iníluence oí Luropean culture and aesthetics
and on the role oí the Ottomans' westernizing aspirations in iníorming architectural change has
considerably eclipsed the extensi·e and multiíarious nature oí the century's de·elopments ... 1o regard the
eighteenth century as a turning point in Ottoman interaction with Lurope is to ignore o·er two centuries
oí ·irtually continuous cultural and artistic contact.`
Admittedly, there ha·e been a couple oí books published in 1urkey on the 1urkish` cultural heritage in
the Balkans ,e.g. \enisehirlioglu 1989, 1uran and Ibrahimgil 2001, (am 2000,, but these are rather
photographic essays with only ·ery little iníormation on the buildings. A prominent exception, on
Ottoman architecture in the Balkans, Ay·erdi`s íour-·olume in·entory írom around 1980 remains the
basic source. Despite its age and his ob·ious dislike oí anything produced aíter the se·enteenth century,
sometimes expressed in open disgust, it is still much more iníormati·e and contains íar less mistakes than
the more popularly written works written aíter it. In deíence oí these well-meant attempts, it must be
noted that during the Socialist period in Southeast Lurope the research possibilities íor sur·eying these
countries` suspicious Ottoman architectural heritage were limited. L·en the Dutchman Kiel ,1990c:x·,
reported oí ha·ing been arrested and coníined` and ha·ing had his notes or íilms coníiscated` in each
oí the Balkan countries, íor no other reason than taking photographs oí Ottoman buildings.`
architecture examples írom the Balkans are conspicuously absent, implicitly suggesting
that this region did not play a signiíicant role in its de·elopment, a ·iew with which Kiel
,1990c:x, would sharply disagree.
Less íor political reasons, also the church architecture oí the eighteenth century remains
íairly little studied, although much has been done in this íield in the last íew decades as
well. In contrast, traditional` dwellings are extraordinarily well researched, whereby we
were able to rely on extensi·e studies by the likes oí Nikolaos Moutsopoulos, \iannis
Kizis, Sedad lakki Lldem, lalûk Sezgin, Christo Péew ,Pee·,, Georgi Arbalie·, Pejo
Berbenlie·, Anna Rosko·ska, Dusan Grabrijan, or Aleksandar Deroko. \hile consulted,
not all oí them needed to be cited in this study, as the dwellings they speak oí, although
in their readings they are Serbian, Bosnian, 1urkish, Greek, Albanian etc.
traditional,·ernacular architecture, really constitute one main type with minor regional
diííerences, which ,Cerasi 1998:149, explains as due to epoch and social class rather
than to region, climate, or ethnicity. A useíul pro·ision has been the ·olume .rcbitectvre
traaitiovvette ae. ¡a,. bat/aviqve. ,1993,, to which many oí the aíorementioned contributed
a well-researched piece. Indicati·e oí the questionably producti·e approach oí studying
these structures in the context oí modern nation states` borders, which appeared where
they had been none at the time when these houses were built, howe·er, is that each
country is represented by a chapter, but no synthesis írom these cases has been
attempted by way oí a concluding chapter. 1he readers oí many works like this will also
notice that only seldom exact ,or any, dates are gi·en íor the houses co·ered, which
brings us to the next problem: dating. Inscriptions indicating the construction dates oí
houses are rare, and in many places seem to become common only toward the mid-
nineteenth century. Inescapably, this poses an obstacle íor tracing the de·elopment oí
residential architecture and its regional ·ariations. But also in terms oí both Muslim and
Christian religious architecture, where we typically íind inscriptions with dates, dating is
sometimes problematic. 1hey can reíer to the íounding date oí the institution as well as
to later re-building ,repair`,, but are seldom clear on when the building acquired a
A repair` can mean in some cases that only minor changes ha·e
been made to the structure, in others that it was completely built anew. 1he same is
·alid íor the decorations oí interiors. Many íiíteenth century mosques ha·e been
redecorated in the early nineteenth century and thereby in the contemporary style. In
some cases we know the dates oí these redecorations with certainty, ií mentioned in
chronicles or inscriptions, in others we can only guess.
In such cases one is leít to
compare the decorati·e íeatures with similar designs in Istanbul or other parts oí the
southern Balkans where exact dates are a·ailable. But also the interest in interior
decoration is a more recent de·elopment, whereby only íew more comprehensi·e
studies ha·e been produced, mostly by 1urkish scholars and hence oíten only partly
accessible to academics in the rest oí the region. An additional problem is that we can
only guess how widespread such elaborately painted interiors were, íor so many
buildings ha·e been lost either through wanton destruction ,mosques, or írequent íires,
which ha·e leít us only with a small sample oí the residences which, to a large extent,
were built írom wood and thereíore highly ·ulnerable. 1hese and other inescapable
problems accounting íor the pro·isional disposition oí many e·entual conclusions must
be kept in mind by the reader.
1he íact that some Ottoman inscriptions only pro·ide dates encoded as chronograms adds a degree oí
obscurity, as they are not always easy to decipher and are thereíore occasionally misconstrued.
In the case oí the 1ombul mosque at Sumen ,Bulgaria,, íor example, we know that the structure dates
írom the 1¯40s. But the interior decoration, íeaturing some baroque motiís and patterns as well as painted
landscape-panels, apparently dates írom a later point, possibly írom the early nineteenth century. And
although this is one oí the íew mosques in Bulgaria which ha·e attracted considerable attention, there was
íound no hint to this decoration ha·ing taken place at a later date in the literature consulted.
la·ing so presented the topics to be co·ered in the present study, it may appear to
some that, in the context oí the limitations oí a Master`s thesis ,time a·ailable íor
research, capacity oí researcher, etc.,, both the period - one and a halí centuries - and
the ·ast region co·ered were an exaggerated, ií not pretentious írame ií the aim is to
produce a really conclusi·e architectural sur·ey, whereby more wisely a speciíic case or
sub-region would ha·e been chosen. lowe·er, both the íactors ¡erioa and regiov, as must
lastly be stressed, are key hypotheses oí this study, which will be less concerned with
descriptions oí indi·idual structures than with the aim oí understanding the cultural-
historical context in which the works in question materialized.
J. A ´Window to the West¨
J.J. 1he political prelude to cultural change: J683-J7J8
\ith the treaty oí Karlowitz ,1699, a new phase in Ottoman history begins. lor the íirst
time an Ottoman Sultan íormally acknowledged his deíeat and the permanent loss oí
lands conquered by his ancestors rather than temporary withdrawal írom them. In the
negotiations at Karlowitz, and again in 1¯30, the Ottomans, íurthermore, íor the íirst
time accepted the mediation oí a Luropean power, namely lrance, an almost permanent
ally oí the sultans, on their behalí. 1he borders emerging írom this treaty - the Sa·a-
Danube-Carpathians line - pro·ed to be exceptionally long-li·ed. \ith the exception oí
some Austrian gains
and the creation oí a Neo-lellenic state in 1830 - long coníined to
the southern portion oí modern Greece - and notwithstanding internal autonomies, the
borders drawn at Karlowitz sur·i·ed until the 1reaty oí Berlin in 18¯8. Not incidentally,
it is exactly this area which is routinely thought oí as culturally Balkans`. 1he
Ottomanization` to take place in these last two centuries oí 1urkish presence in the
Balkans was a process aided not least by the Balkan Christians trying to emulate the
Muslim upper classes, their houses and liíestyle, as soon as economic potency permitted.
As a result íor the de·astation caused by the Austrian army penetrating deep into the
Balkan peninsula aíter the second Ottoman siege oí Vienna ,1683, had íailed, eminent
cities like Saraje·o or Skopje did not reco·er íor one and a halí centuries.
It is thus not
1he Banat oí 1emes·ar in 1¯18 and the northern Molda·ian region henceíorth known as Buko·ina
were lost to the labsburgs in 1¯¯5.
Classical-period Skopje had enjoyed o·er-regional importance due to the good reputation oí its Isakiye
veare.e. Aíter those in Istanbul, Bursa, and Ldirne, it was reported to be the best in the empire ,Adanir
1994:155,. But laroqhi ,1995:88, notes that by the eighteenth century also Bursa and Ldirne had lost their
in these centres oí the classical Ottoman period in the western Balkans that the most
noteworthy expressions in art and architecture oí the eighteenth century are to be
expected. Instead, new íocal points emerged, and urban hierarchies began to shiít. But
the Austrian ad·ances in the Balkans also triggered signiíicant e·ents whose cultural
implications still echo today. \hen the labsburg army was íorced to retreat to north oí
the Danube-Sa·a border aíter a lrench attack on the western borders oí the loly
Roman Lmpire, it was íollowed by many Balkan Christians íleeing their homes out oí
íear oí retaliation íor collaboration with the íoreign intruders. In what became known as
the great migration` ,reti/a .eoba, some 30,000
Serbs leít the core territories oí their
medie·al states, most prominently Koso·o, to settle in the newly labsburg territories
north oí the 1699 border.
1here they were integrated into a diííerent cultural and
social mainstream than their kinsmen remaining under Ottoman rule íor almost two
more decades, accounting íor an intra-Serbian cultural di·ision which still re·erberates
today. But also Romanians and Croats were henceíorth íound on both sides oí the long-
li·ed Austrian-Ottoman border.
As a consequence oí the treaty oí Karlowitz, eighteenth century Southeast Lurope came
to be di·ided between two multiethnic empires. But although the two empires shared
many similar problems, to the outside obser·er at the time the diííerences were
proíound` noted Jela·ich ,1983:166-¯,. She continued by drawing a íundamentally
polarized picture, which became the paradigm oí modern historiography`s imagery:
role as centres oí theological and juridical education. On the signiíicance oí classical-period Skopje, see
also Kiel ,2002,, esp. the concluding remarks ,p.41,.
Lxaggerated estimates claim a migration oí up to 500,000 people. See Malcolm ,1998:140,156,.
1he depopulated areas in the central Balkans are then repopulated by montagnards írom surrounding
areas, mostly Albanians gradually con·erting to Islam, constituting a demographic shiít which was to
become the core problem oí ·iolent conílicts three centuries later.
Most ob·ious were the outward íorms oí two contrasting ci·ilizations. In the eyes oí
educated Luropeans the Ottoman Lmpire was a backward, e·en barbarous, state ... 1he
custom oí collecting heads and oí staking out bodies and heads in public places re·olted
citizens oí countries where such acti·ities belonged to the past. Moreo·er, Ottoman
cities were dirty, congested, and primiti·e in comparison with those oí the \est.
Conspicuous display oí wealth could be dangerous, luxury and wealth were coníined to
the homes, where they could not be ·iewed by íoreign eyes. In comparison, in
questions oí style the labsburg Lmpire was one oí the great centers oí Lurope. In an
age oí baroque culture, labsburg ci·ilization was splendid. 1he nobility could aííord to
maintain magniíicent residences and to endow the arts. 1here was also a comíortable
middle class. Law and order were assured, bands oí robbers did not roam at will. Public
oííicials were supposed to uphold certain standards. Although corruption exists in all
societies, the Austrian ser·ice was relati·ely honest and eííicient. General standards íor
sanitation, cleanliness, and order were maintained at a high le·el. In contrast, corruption
was blatant and open in Constantinople.`
Ortayli ,1994:9, predictably only partly subscribes to the totality oí such assessment:
Brieíly put, in the late se·enteenth century the Ottoman Lmpire was in social and
economic chaos, and there is no doubt that practically all its institutions were mo·ing
towards collapse. But on the other hand, the rulers oí the empire were able to come up
with brilliant and interesting examples oí bureaucratic manipulation to cope with this
imminent threat. 1he decline oí the state did not mean cultural decline, oí course.
Ottoman society was in search oí a new liíe-style, and a new art and social culture was
emerging, which would come down through successi·e changes and e·olutions to the
1he political decline emanating in this period is routinely linked to the decay oí old
Ottoman institutions that had accompanied the empire during its expansi·e period,
which - aíter a se·enteenth century oí stagnation without signiíicant territorial losses or
gains, except íor Crete - really comes to an end with Karlowitz. 1he aer,irve system oí
recruitment oí able boys írom the Balkans countryside - many oí which had become
some oí the most capable and respected Ottoman oííicials aíter being brought up as
Muslims - had already been abandoned under Murat IV. In the eighteenth century
·iziers and military commanders were mostly oí 1urkish extraction. At the beginning oí
this century Mustaía II also somewhat shockingly` ,Quataert 2000:43, coníirmed
hereditary rights to the tivar. ,íieí-holders,, the íinancial backbone oí a ca·alry that was
already militarily obsolete. \hile the tivar-system had been a pragmatic solution
encouraging and rewarding indi·iduals` commitment in military campaigns, once the
empire ceased to expand it became obsolete.
\hereas sultans oí the classical period had looked towards Rome, Paris now became a
reíerence íor things western. \hile Petersburg was not yet to play a signiíicant role in
the region, another centre in the north became a ·ital point oí reíerence íor the Balkan
Christians in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Despite the e·entual retreat írom
territories already conquered by Austria in the late se·enteenth century. 1his was
Baroque Vienna, mythiíied as a Christian bulwark against the Muslim threat, and gaining
immense attraction íor the Christians under Ottoman rule, íor whom it became a major
intellectual centre in the course oí the century.
lor a perspecti·e on the architecture oí the íirst halí oí the eighteenth century we will
start with the Istanbul oí Ahmet III as a centre oí dissemination oí trends then reílected
in buildings in three cities in the east oí the region: Sumen in northeast Bulgaria, and
Bucharest and Iasi in the Danubian Principalities ,the later Romania,. 1hat almost no
new building írom the western halí oí the peninsula merits inclusion in this chapter
must be explained with that aíter the de·astations in the late se·enteenth century the
minds may ha·e been set on rebuilding rather than on the construction oí new icons.
One remarkably large rebuilding` project in Lepanto ,Inebahti, has been brought to our knowledge by
Kiel ,1991b,. During the Venetian occupation oí the town ,168¯-1¯00, apparently all Ottoman buildings
were either totally demolished or ruined. \hen it was then regained by the Ottomans a new start had to
lowe·er, a short section will be de·oted to the architectural interactions between the
Adriatic coast and its Ottoman hinterland, which also continued in this period. Cultural
impulses írom a diííerent geographical direction will be treated at the end oí this
chapter. lor two decades the ·ery north oí the region in question is temporarily
annexed by labsburg íorces, and the Ottoman Belgrade was redesigned as an Austrian
Baroque city until returned to Ottoman so·ereignty in 1¯39. Despite large-scale
demolitions, the empire therewith inherited an actually Baroque tradition in monuments
that were to remain part oí the Ottoman possessions íor another century and a halí.
made, and the sultan and his grand ·izier Koprülü Amcazade lüseyin Pasha laid the íoundations íor the
re·i·al oí Islamic liíe in the town by erecting a number oí schools mosques, baths, and other public
works, ruins oí the buildings oí the lüseyin Pasha complex sur·i·e.
J.2. 1he ´1ulip Lra¨ (J7J8-J730) and its repercussions in the provinces
J.2.J. 1he Istanbul of Ahmet III and Damat Ibrahim Pasha
1he so-called 1ulip Lra` ,Lale De·ri, gained notoriety íor its extra·agant pleasure-
lo·ing liíestyle and disinterest in war. It is not the accession oí Ahmet III ,1¯03,, a ruler
usually portrayed as rather passi·e and romantic, that is considered the beginning oí this
period, but the assumption oí oííice oí the liberalist Grand Vizier ,Ne·sehirli, Damat
Ibrahim Pasha in 1¯18. 1o claim this era as the beginning oí westernization in the
Ottoman Lmpire would not only be an o·erstatement but would also ignore the
contacts that well existed already in the classical period. Indubitably, howe·er, it is in the
1ulip Lra during which the cultural exchange is considerably accelerated, not least
through an embassy sent to lrance in 1¯21. 1he mission oí the en·oy, \irmisekiz
Mehmet (elebi, was not only purely diplomatic, he was also entrusted to obser·e the
ways and technologies oí the lranks. \ith a similar curiosity to that which he was
greeted with in Paris, his .efaretvãve, a detailed documentation oí his obser·ations, was
recei·ed back in Istanbul. Next to noting the dissimilarities in dining manners and the
attitudes to women, he was also greatly impressed by the streets, buildings, and palaces
,and their interiors,, some oí which he had had the opportunity to enter as a pri·ileged
\ith the readiness to accept and absorb new ideas a characteristic oí the 1ulip Lra, a
time oí extraordinary experimentation in Ottoman history` ,Quataert 2000:44,, the
court oí Ahmet III becomes a meeting place íor artists, poets, and intellectuals. In 1¯26
the íirst printing press in Ottoman script is introduced by Ibrahim Müteíerrika, a
lungarian-born con·ert. Reportedly commissioned in the style oí Versailles, Ibrahim
Pasha had a leisure palace ,Sa`dabad`, |Ill.1.1| built by íor his Sultan on the other`
side oí the Golden lorn, in contrast to pre·ious Sultanic projects íar írom the walled
city. Uníortunately, nothing has sur·i·ed oí this monument so central íor modern
historiography`s thesis oí a gradual westernization complementing imperial decline. Our
present knowledge oí this structure owes much to the attempted reconstruction by
Lldem ,19¯¯, and painted illustrations by íoreigners ·isiting the Istanbul oí Ahmet III.
\e note that the exterior oí the palace looks typically Ottoman, and it is in the interior
that the supposed Luropean iníluence must ha·e been more apparent. More re·ealing,
we íind geometrical garden arrangements with planned ílower beds, a no·elty in
Ottoman conduct, íor which Luropean models seem apparent.
,19¯¯:3¯3,, still, the complex was only a clumsy imitation oí only partially understood
1hanks to pictorial and textual e·idence that we can re-enact that the palace consisted
oí harem and .etavti/ ,male quarters,, around which were grouped a mosque, a garden
pa·ilion, a large pool, a small íountain, as well as some 1¯0 residences and gardens íor
state oííicials, built in a hitherto unseen style`, as a contemporary source ,in lamadeh
2004:38, attests. Luropean tra·ellers oí the period reported that the palace was
modelled aíter a contemporary lrench palace, a set oí whose plans had been brought
back írom Paris by Mehmet (elebi in 1¯21, nine months beíore the construction oí
Sa`dabad ,Abode oí lappiness`, began. Depending on the author, the supposed
model was Versailles, lontainebleau, or Marley-le-Roi. But historians or poets oí the
Ottoman court, de·oting more space to Sa`dabad than to any other building oí the time,
Ií we look at an engra·ing oí the Molda·ian prince Cantemir`s palace |Ill. 1.1¯|, built beíore 1¯11, we
notice that garden arrangements in Istanbul must actually ha·e predated Sa`dabad. On this engra·ing we
e·en see a classicistic garden portal with a triangular pediment. On the history oí this palace, see also
Goçek ,198¯:126, or, directly, Cantemir ,1¯34,.
neither oííer any clue that a western prototype had ser·ed as model, nor that it may
ha·e been related in some way to the architectural knowledge Mehmet brought back
írom his embassy to lrance ,lamadeh 2004:38-40,. Goodwin ,19¯¯:3¯3,, in íact,
asserts that |n|othing was íarther írom the ideas oí permanence and o·erwhelming
pomp that created Versailles`, as he identiíies the Kagithane area as really no more
than a íield oí 1¯3 tents since the kiosks were built oí lathe and plaster, their írailty
adding to the delight.`
Despite an indubitably increased interest in things western, Cerasi ,199¯:42, reminds
that - despite wars and dynastic hostility - it was really Persia that was regarded by the
a·erage Ottoman, educated or not, as the symbol oí enjoyment oí nature and literature
and oí reíinement, and became the real point oí reíerence íor the inno·ati·e imagery oí
the íirst halí oí the century.` Also in terms oí the building oí the 1ulip Lra, lamadeh
,2004, is not the íirst to juxtapose the westernization` thesis with the suggestion not to
disregard ostensible eastern` reíerences, notably Saía·id Persia. 1he noticeably altering
reception oí Lurope in this period should also not lead to the conclusion that the
attitude towards Christians in the empire would considerably change. Ahmet III issued
fervav. that limited the height oí non-Muslims` houses so as to not be higher than
Muslims` houses and íorbade Muslims to sell their houses to Christians ,Karaca
1995:33,. le also prohibited Christian Ottoman subjects írom con·erting to
Catholicism ,Girardelli 2005:242, and, noting that some good-íor-nothing` women
had also adopted ·arious inno·ations in their clothing, imitating Christians in the
deliberate eííort to lead the public astray on Istanbul`s streets`, the Sultan issued a
decree speciíying the precise widths and measurements oí the items used íor coats and
headgear ,Quataert 199¯:409,.
1he 1ulip Lra`s most ·isible legacy in the íormer capital`s cityscape are not the palaces,
oí which none has sur·i·ed into the present, but the íountains |Ill.1.2|.
In principle a
utilitarian building type, it was the íountain in which creati·e minds disco·ered an ideal
object íor experimentation. De·oid oí religious connotation, it is thus the íountains and
not ,yet, the mosques where outside iníluence íirst become most apparent. \hile the
interest in water and íountains itselí is a quality oí the Baroque age, an important
transíormation oí the type in Ottoman architecture is that, rather than as pre·iously
typically integrated into a wall, the now oíten íree-standing íountains increasingly
created their own public space, as quasi-monuments. Goodwin ,19¯¯:3¯4, already noted
the contrast between the cur·ular and the straight` in the 1¯20s íountains, but not yet
the ílow essential to truly baroque monuments. |Only| one oí the patterns is new to
Ottoman architecture: it is the quantity which contrasts with the sober lack oí ornament
oí sixteenth-century ideal.` Nonetheless, not only the gradual swell in no·el decorati·e
elements, including increasingly sculptured suríaces, but also the sheer inílation oí new
íountains and their locations attest to a certain change during the 1ulip Lra. Cerasi
,199¯:41, reports oí 216 new íountains alone built during the reign oí Ahmet III in the
newly popular suburbs, whereto the well-to-do had relocated, permanently or not.
In the perspecti·e oí the social historian Quataert ,2000:44,, the court society`s
suburban pleasure palaces ,the building oí which the court had encouraged, were not
primarily a matter oí changed preíerences but oí new methods. Also he points to a
lrench parallel, yet not in style but in the means oí propping up legitimacy employing
the weapon oí consumption:
1he habitual translation oí the 1urkish .ebit into the Lnglish íountain` is in íact a misnomer. 1ypically,
a .ebit is a small kiosk with grilles, írom behind which an attendant dispensed water. 1he proper term íor
an actual íountain or tap that pro·ides drinking water is çe,ve. \ater house` may be a more appropriate
translation oí .ebit, but since íountain` is so incontestably established in the literature it has been used
here as well.
Like the court oí King Louis XIV at Versailles, that oí the 1ulip period was one oí
sumptuous consumption - in the Ottoman case not only oí tulips but also art, cooking,
luxury goods, clothing, and the building oí pleasure palace. \ith this new tool - the
consumption oí goods - the sultan and grand ·izier sought to control the ·izier and
pasha households in the manner oí King Louis, who compelled nobles to li·e at the
Versailles seat oí power and join in íinancially ruinous balls and banquets. Sultan Ahmet
and Ibrahim Pasha tried to lead the Istanbul elites in consumption, establishing
themsel·es at the social center as models íor emulation.`
Almost predictably, the ílamboyance oí the 1ulip Lra` was not to last long. Gi·ing
·oice to the resentment long íelt by the clergy and the lower classes at the waste, the
ílaunted wealth and the inno·ations regarded as contrary to morality and religious
precepts` ,Cerasi 199¯:44,, the junk dealer lalil instituted an uprising which ultimately
succeeded in its goal to dethrone Ahmet III and ha·e his Grand Vizier Ibrahim Pasha
J.2.2. 1he külliye of Halil þerif Pasha at Sumen
1he short-li·ed 1ulip Lra` had íew repercussions in the Balkans. Not only due to the
de·astations caused in the wars oí the late se·enteenth century, the time oí really
monumental endowments in the Luropean pro·inces was more or less o·er.
exception is the /vtti,e oí lalil Serií Pasha ,1ombul Mosque`, at Sumen
Bulgaria |Ills.1.4-6|, the largest Ottoman religious building in Bulgaria ,and the only oí
íormerly more than 40 mosques in Sumen spared demolition,. Built where the two main
lines oí communication in the town crossed, and according to the designs oí an
unknown architect ,I·ano·a 2004a:503,, the ensemble comprises a mosque, a veare.e
,religious high school,, a library, and a ve/teb ,primary school,.
1he 40m high minaret
rises írom the centre oí the complex enclosed by walls. In addition to the date oí
construction generally gi·en as ,1¯40-,1¯44, which would be too early íor the maturity
oí some oí the occidentalizing wall paintings dominated by íloral and ·egetal moti·es
,including tulips,, in which Kiel ,1989:42, belie·es to identiíy a Central Luropean
Kreiser ,19¯9:61, had generally noted that, sa·e íor a íew exceptions, the endowments oí the late
period are oí small dimension, and e·en a sultan with a relati·ely long and relati·ely successíul reign, like
Mahmut I ,1¯30-1¯54, endowed little, according to a ra/fi,e transcript only a íew schools and libraries
with limited íollow-up costs.
Sumen, while presently hardly íamiliar to anyone outside Bulgaria, should brieíly be credited with its
historical role as a leading Islamic city in the Luropean pro·inces oí the Ottoman Lmpire. Particularly in
the eighteenth century it emerged as an important urban centre íor the region and expanded north- and
eastward. 1he town acquired strategic importance during the Russian-1urkish wars between 1¯68 and
18¯8, when it was part oí the íortiíied quadrangle oí Ruse-Varna-Silistra-Sumen. As a consequence oí
these wars and the /ara¸ati conílict, many ·illages around Sumen were ruined, whereby the Christian
population, pre·iously restricted to the eastern part oí town, increased and íormed new quarters. 1owards
the end oí the nineteenth century, and into the period oí Bulgarian independence, Sumen became one oí
the centres oí 1urkish education and oí the 1urkish intelligentsia in Bulgaria ,I·ano·a 2004a,. It is due to
the patronage oí Serií lalil Pasha, who endowed a post íor a calligraphy teacher in his eighteenth century
religious complex, that Stanley ,2003:135, attributes the subsequent emergence oí an important school oí
Qur`an production. Between the se·enteenth and nineteenth centuries Sumen also was a centre oí Suíism
in northeast Bulgaria, which Georgie·a and Sabe· ,2003:322, explain as due to the city ha·ing been the
winter camp oí Ottoman troops in the course oí the wars in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. At
that period it was unsuccessíully attacked by Russian íorces thrice, in 1¯¯4, 1810, and 1828.
1he íoundation deed íor lalil Serií Pasha`s complex has been published by Duda ,1949:115-126,.
iníluence ha·ing reached this pro·ince ·ia Istanbul.
Most elaborate around the
windows |Ill.1.6| and especially around the vibrab |Ill.1.5.|, íor these works also a much
later date could be suggested.
In terms oí the architecture, Stajno·a ,1990,, íor good reasons, has linked the 1ombul
mosque to the Lale style` oí Ahmet III, although, completed in 1¯44, it appears more
than a decade aíter that period ended` in Istanbul. \hile íirst explaining the belated
appearance oí such mosque with that architectural trends írom Istanbul reached the
pro·inces usually a bit later, more plausible is her suggestion oí seeing the style as a
preíerence oí its patron. lalil Serií Pasha - born either in the ·illage oí Madara or in
Sumen proper at an unknown date, died in 1¯52 ,I·ano·a 2004a:503, - had been part oí
the court society during the 1ulip Lra as one oí the most íer·ent participants in all the
inno·ations oí the period` ,Stajno·a 1990:22¯,. \hen he became the /etbvaa ,high-
ranking assistant, oí the Grand Vizier íor the second time he constructed the 1ombul
complex as well as an ensemble oí buildings around it. It was said that columns and
blocks oí stone had been brought írom the nearby ruins oí the medie·al Bulgarian
capitals Pliska and Presla· as well as írom the Sumen íortress. lrom the 1¯40s also date
the clock tower, a stone prism with a built-in drinking-íountain with rich ornamentation,
but not the Kursum cesma ,trk. /vr,vvtv çe,ve.i, |Ill.1.¯|, a drinking íountain ,so called
íor its original íaçade co·ered with leaden plates,, which with its low-relieí Baroque
ornament dates írom 1¯¯4.
lalil Serií Pasha was an outspoken admirer oí Damat Ibrahim Pasha, to whom he e·en
dedicated some odes ,Stajno·a 1990:229,. It thus may not be all that coincidentally that
I·ano·a ,2004a:503, also mentions a new inscription írom 1¯¯2, composed by the local poet Ni`met.
Could this also be the date íor the painted decoration on the interior, or íor at least a part oí which·
probably the closest relati·e to his mosque at Sumen is the one the same Ibrahim Pasha
built in 1¯26,¯ in his hometown Ne·sehir ,pre·iously Muskara, |Ill.1.3|,
and not in
Istanbul, where the 1ulip Lra has leít íew noteworthy religious buildings. \hile both
mosques still e·oke the spirit oí classical Ottoman mosque architecture in most aspects
- Goodwin ,19¯1:3¯0-1, also declares that it were diííicult to deíine why the building is
oí its own period and not classical` and that |o|nly certain details point to change` - it
is the slender corner turrets that appear a remarkable íeature.
Much oí what Kuran
,19¯¯:305,, writes oí the mosque at Ne·sehir is thus equally rele·ant íor our building at
Sumen, while he íurther elaborates on the dilemma oí mosque architecture in the íirst
halí oí the eighteenth century:
\hat attracts the attention in Ibrahim Pasha Mosque is not so much an inno·ati·e
íeature or the absence oí some essential classical element as a weakening oí style. 1he
corner towers, which ·isually hold the mosque together in classical architecture, seem to
be unrelated to the whole structure, and rather than exerting weight írom the top, they
spring up like acroterions marking the corners. 1he eight domed-turrets holding the
corners oí the octagonal drum likewise seem ornamental, not because they do not
períorm a structural íunction, but because they rise abo·e the cornice oí the drum,
beyond the line oí the dome`s lateral thrust. A similar process oí elongation takes place
with the minaret, which is íar too tall compared with minarets oí the classical era. 1his
type oí change cannot be attributed to Luropean iníluence. Beíore all else, it is a
maniíestation oí boredom with a style which has gone on too long. 1he Mosque oí
Ibrahim Pasha shows that its architect is not reacting against the classical style, yet he
lollowing laroqhi ,2004a:11,, Ibrahim, in íact, had his /vtti,e modelled aíter the mosques oí sixteenth-
century Grand Viziers. Among the architects we know a Sargis Kalía, apparently a Greek. Ibrahim also
in·ol·ed the Chieí Architect Mehmet Aga, ordering him to send some oí his co-workers ,laroqhi writes
junior colleagues`, to ·isit and study the Mustaía Pasha Mosque at Gebze ,not íar írom Istanbul, and
other mosques in western Anatolia. 1he architects were enjoined to study the aesthetic appearance oí the
buildings and also construction details, bringing back drawings íor the Grand Vizier's inspection. 1he
latter apparently reser·ed íor himselí the ultimate decision, and, taking an eclectic approach, consciously
modelled his íoundation on the buildings put up by 10th,16th century Grand Viziers.` 1he mosque oí
Mustaía Pasha at Gebze ,1519 or 1525-6, would, howe·er, been quite a curious choice, as this was the
commission oí an oííicial írom Lgypt who had the decoration íor this mosque carried out in the Mamluk
style ,cí. 1aeschner 2004:982,.
It is probably these turrets Kuran ,19¯¯:304, had in mind when lamenting that the clarity oí structural
expression slowly disintegrated because oí the inclusion oí superíluous elements`.
does not possess the bold strokes oí his predecessors. In a changing era he íeels the
need íor inno·ation. In·enti·eness, howe·er, requires imagination and selí-coníidence.
Lacking these, he resorts to distortion and his work becomes mannered.`
J.2.3. 1he Danube Principalities under Phanariote rule
In no case more than in the Romanian one, it is argued that really the eighteenth century
had brought about an Ottomanization` oí Balkan territories. Beíore 1¯11 both
principalities had merely been Ottoman ·assals, attached to the Sultan`s domain but
retaining large autonomies. But when the relations between the \allachian and
Molda·ian princes and the neighbouring Russian and Austrian empires became too
íriendly íor the Sultan`s taste, the pre·iously wide-reaching autonomies were abolished.
In 1¯11 the untrustworthy Molda·ian prince Dimitrie Cantemir, allied with Peter the
Great, was replaced with a man the Sultan could trust, Nicholas Ma·rocordatos, son oí
the Sultan`s chieí interpreter ,aragovav,. In 1¯15 the \allachian prince Stephan
Cantacuzino was executed on suspicion oí league with Vienna. Both these actions led
Castellan ,1992:206, to the conclusion that the Sultan considered the rulers oí the
principalities as no more than pro·incial go·ernors whom he could appoint, displace
and remo·e whene·er he wished.` lenceíorth the princes were appointed by the Sultan
himselí and usually recruited among the Greeks oí Constantinople`s Phanari ,lener,
quarter. Between 1¯11 and 1821 a íew mostly Constantinopolitan íamilies pro·ided no
less than 31 princes ,now called hospodars`, in 80 periods oí rule, which lasted on
a·erage only two and a halí years ,cí. McGowan 1994:6¯0,. la·ing to disburse a hea·y
bribe to enter this prestigious ií dangerous oííice, they became not hereditary rulers but
temporary Ottoman oííicials. As such, as pictorial e·idence oí the time shows, they
dressed in the Ottoman manner, with large turbans, wearing Ottoman dress and
insignia, and a beard ,Plemmenos 2003:183,. Castellan ,1992: 20¯, appends that
|a|mong the lospodar`s entourage there emerged a court nobility which li·ed and
dressed according to the íashions oí the palace oí Istanbul.`
1he condemnation oí the Phanariot era ,1¯11-1829, has been a íocus oí Romanian
nationalism and has come to be portrayed as the dark ages` oí Romanian history. In
cultural terms, this is partly due to enthusiastic assessment oí the preceding period, the
rule oí \allachian prince Constantin Branco·eanu ,1688-1¯14,, under which \allachian
architecture had reached its creati·e peak. Branco·eanu had gi·en his name to a style
too eclectic to be properly categorized. It is maybe this incomprehensi·e hybridism -
with Baroque, Renaissance, Persian, Byzantine, Serbian, and Armenian some oí the
iníluences customarily mentioned - that made modern Romanians consider the
Branco·eanesque to be the only genuinely Romanian style ,cí. Popescu 2004,. \ith
e·idence oí constant and close contact with \estern culture during the se·enteenth
century ,Jela·ich 1983:69,, the genesis oí this style distinguished by an almost classical
equilibrium in the compositions, and by an extremely rich decoration oí a baroque
taste` ,Popescu 2004:28, is oíten linked to an Italian iníluence. 1he Branco·eanesque,
howe·er, also showed some decidedly non-\estern íeatures, which Jela·ich ,1983:69,
identiíied as a combination oí Lastern opulence with \estern reíinement.` 1o Ulea
,1966:9, the principal palaces at Potlogi ,1699, and Mogosoaia ,1¯02, |Ill.1.8|
combined 1urkish and Italian elements with traditional Rumanian íorms`, with their
graceíully ·aulted interiors . richly decorated with stucco ornament oí an oriental
Oí the Romanian lands \allachia had always been the region most open to eastern
iníluences`, but the íact that this decided orientality` is also oíten linked to an actual
Ottoman iníluence is debatable. 1he lobed and ogee arches oí windows and arcades so
characteristic oí the Branco·eanesque and post-Branco·eanesque |Ill.1.8-10|, accounting
íor its exotic appearance, do generally not íigure on contemporary Ottoman exteriors oí
this period, and are most oíten íound on íountains or interiors. But next to the
sumptuous palaces, the pre-Phanariote area also saw the boyars aííording luxurious
mansions, a general impro·ement oí li·ing conditions, the blooming oí monasteries and
great accomplishments in historiography ,Jela·ich 1983:69,. 1hat the Phanariotes then
sought a ·isual continuation oí this tradition in the style oí religious ediíices they
sponsored leads 1heodorescu ,2002:9, to suggest this as part oí an attempt to make
the shiít írom being an Ottoman-imposed íoreign go·erning élite to that oí quasi-
national and dynastic ruling íamilies.`
1he Vacaresti Monastery in Bucharest ,1¯16-
22, and the church oí the Pantelimon Monastery ,1¯50, in the suburbs oí the \alachian
capital consciously make reíerences to those erected under Branco·eanu,
at times and
in details hea·ily baroquiíied`, as the portal oí Pantelimon ,1heodorescu 2002:80,.
1he best-known sur·i·ing monument írom this early period oí Phanariote rule in the
Danube Principalities is the Sta·ropoleos church |Ill.1.10|, erected by the Greek
Archimandrite Ioannikos ,rom. Ioanichie, between 1¯24 and 1¯30 in Bucharest. lor
Plemmenos ,2003:181, an epitome oí Greek-Romanian co-operation during the
Phanariote era`, the right-hand choir sung in Greek while the leít-hand one answered in
Romanian using the same melody. In structure otherwise not untypical íor the post-
Byzantine centuries, it is the oriental` multi-lobed arches oí the portico as well as the
painted exterior that makes this monument a íairly unusual one. \e íind circular
recesses with painted íigural representations as a belt around the monument, embedded
An exclusi·ely Christian Ottoman territory ruled by Christian Ottoman oííicials, it is not too surprising
that we íind almost no mosques in present-day Romania, sa·e íor the Dobrudja region on the Black Sea,
which íormed an integral part oí Ottoman Rumelia.
Ulea ,1966:9, sees Vacaresti, built by the Phanariote Ma·rocordatos as the largest eighteenth century
monastery in Southeast Lurope, and the Sta·ropoleos church as the last important examples oí the
Branco·eanan style . 1he rest oí the eighteenth century is a period oí decline in religious architecture.`
in rich ·egetal ornament. 1he monastery to which it belonged, sustained írom the
incomes oí an inn run by the archimandrite, is not extant.
In contrast to the churches, the Phanariotes` country estates reílected, according to
1heodorescu ,2002:¯5,, both the orientalism oí Istanbul and the iníluence oí the
\estern rococo, just as their owners were authentic examples oí western-oriental
gentlemen.` In se·eral instances 1heodorescu suggests a Phanariote orientation aíter
Istanbul trends oí the 1ulip period. 1he lrumoasa ,the Beautiíul`, complex at Iasi, íor
example, was supposedly modelled aíter Constantinopolitan prototypes, whereby master
builders were speciíically called into the country. 1he closest analogy íor the palace oí
\allachia`s Gregory II, a mid-eighteenth century two-storied structure next to his
monastery, 1heodorescu belie·es to ha·e íound in an illustration oí Ahmet III`s
But an eastern impact also iníluenced spatial considerations, as he
suggests to ha·e been the case with the Molda·ian prince Gregory`s palace, rebuilt twice
as large aíter destruction by the Russian soldateska in 1¯40, and with a separation oí
male and íemale quarters ,selamlac` and harem`,. \hile exceptionally íew structures
írom the Phanariote period sur·i·ed until today, the íountains at the churches oí St
Spiridon |Ill.1.11| and the Golia Monastery at Iasi, dating írom 1¯65-6, remain as rare
materializations to iníluence írom Ottoman eighteenth century modes. ,1heodorescu
Gi·en the insecurity oí the period and the patrons` position, caught between the dream
oí Byzantium and the executioner oí Stambul` ,1heodorescu 2002:¯5,, it is still
remarkable how luxury and pleasure came to be pronounced in Phanariote \allachia
Disappointlingy, howe·er, 1heodorescu neither pro·ides pictorial e·idence nor source material as basis
íor this comparison.
and Molda·ia, especially under two quasi-dynastic íamilies, the Ma·rocordatos and the
Ghika, arguably under the impact oí the liíestyle oí the 1ulip Lra. Ne·ertheless, when
the lrench tra·eller llachat ·isited the Bucharest estates oí Constantine
in 1¯41, his assessment was as íollows:
I went to the leisure palace oí the prince, which, like the prince`s |city| palace, still
reminds one oí its main purposes. 1hey used to be monasteries, somewhat beautiíied by
his predecessor princes. Most oí our second-hand pri·ate residences are íar better
looking and there are none in our country where the íurniture is worse than here ... Just
by seeing what his residence looked like, I could ha·e gotten an excellent impression
about his ·alour, but I was able also to treasure his intelligence and heart: I was able to
disco·er the artist and the man oí good taste e·erywhere. lis book collection was rich
and exquisite, he owned some ·aluable paintings, some wonderíul sculptures, a lot oí
de·ices oí all kinds and se·eral parts oí ·ery unusual mechanisms brought by him írom
Germany or Lngland. I think he deser·es me to praise him by saying that he was a
sa·ant without preconcei·ed ideas and completely impartial. le would speak all
Luropean languages and was íamiliar with the most important writers whom he tried to
know as well as possible.` ,cit. in Berktay and Murgescu 2005:106,
Ottoman oííicials, the Phanariote princes in Romania attempted to project the proíile oí
enlightened rulers. la·ing themsel·es ha·ing been exposed to western Luropean
culture through the education which they had recei·ed in western uni·ersities, it was as
early as 1¯14 that the Molda·ian prince Ma·rocordatos íounded an Academy oí Letters
in his capital Iasi, with a curriculum copying that oí renowned Luropean uni·ersities,
but with Greek as oííicial language ,Plemmenos 2003:186,. At the same time, howe·er,
the Phanariotes ha·e been accused oí not ha·ing taken the opportunity to pro·ide
patronage íor art and learning oí a kind not a·ailable to non-Muslims in the core
territories` oí the empire, and íurthermore hampering local cultural de·elopment
One oí the most enlightened Phanariote rulers, Ma·rocordatos ,1¯11-1¯69, reigned six times in
\allachia and íour times in Molda·ia. Among the reíorms he undertook was the abolishment oí serídom.
through imposing hea·y taxes on their subjects to íinance the appointments oí the
rapidly changing hospodars ,cí. Adanir and laroqhi 2002:26,. Grade·a ,1994:25,,
howe·er, mentions a case where a \allachian prince had acted as beneíactor
transcending his own territory into an Ottoman core territory`: \ithout notiíication
oí, or permission írom, the Sultan he had restored and enlarged a church in Silistra ,on
the Danube, the border between \allachia and Bulgaria, in 1¯41. Runciman ,1991:13-4,
also disagrees, and asks that credit be gi·en too to the much maligned Phanariots, who
stimulated a renascence oí lellenism in the eighteenth century, making a íar more solid
contribution to it than did that o·erpraised anticlerical Korais.`
J.3. Developments on the edge of the Ottoman world
J.3.J. Belgrade J7J8-J739: from Ottoman to Baroque city and back
Between 1688 and 1¯91 Belgrade was occupied by Austria thrice. Considering the
drastic transíormations the city underwent írom the late se·enteenth to the mid-
eighteenth century - írom an Ottoman regional centre oí some 50,000 ,Kienitz
to a border town, to ruins, to a prospering little Vienna` - it is somewhat
surprising that this subject has so íar been gi·en not much scholarly attention.
\hen Lugene oí Sa·oy took Belgrade again in 1¯1¯ it was to last, at least íor two
decades. 1he destroyed íortress was restored with great eííort according to plans oí the
Swiss-born General Nicholas Doxat de Morez to shield the city írom íurther attacks.
lrom the ruins oí the Ottoman city rose an orderly, characteristically Austrian town
with burgher houses, army barracks, churches, and e·en monasteries in the styles oí
contemporary Central Lurope. 1here is also e·idence oí a large palatial building,
reportedly reminiscent oí lischer ·on Lrlach`s works, which came to be known as the
Palace oí Prince Lugene`, the ruins oí which could still be seen in the early twentieth
century. German-speaking settlers were li·ing inside the walls, along with a number oí
Greeks, Armenians, and the wealthier Serbs, who had their houses around the Serbian
1he ·ast majority oí Serbs, howe·er, dwelled outside the walls on the Sa·a-
Kienitz ,19¯2:21¯, also mentions that, among the population consisting oí 1urks, Jews, Armenians,
Greeks, and Serbs, the latter were e·en a minority among Belgrade`s Christians.
Lxceptions are a book by the military oííicer Steíano·ic-Viloísky ,1908,, in German, and the Serbian-
language works oí Popo·ic ,1935, 1950, and 1958,.
Destroyed when the Ottomans returned, it was rebuilt on the same spot ,the present ´aborva cr/ra, a
side in the Raizenstadt` ,Serb town,, as opposed to the German town` ivtra vvro..
1his separation into two municipalities íollowed a ,ne·er truly working, regulation that
the town proper should be Catholic and German. Already by 1¯21 the German town`
housed 400 íamilies, mostly settlers írom the German Rhineland as well as íormer
soldiers, and selected its own mayor. 1he Serb town, howe·er, was equipped with
se·eral trade pri·ileges, that enabled quite a many oí its inhabitants, most oí which
in·ol·ed in commerce, to gain comíortable wealth. \hen the question oí the city`s coat
oí arms came up, the administration, somewhat bizarrely, decided on a design depicting
three 1urkish minarets, the emperor`s eagle, and the slogan Alba graeca recuperata`
Sa·e íor a modest house without, the only sur·i·ing example oí residential architecture
írom that time, all oí the noteworthy architectural remains oí this period are located
within the íortress area ,Kalemegdan,. 1he Baroque clock tower |Ill.1.13| - an octagonal
tower sitting on a square socket, complete with a bulbous dome - had been spared by
the Ottomans upon their re-conquest oí Belgrade and was used as watchtower as it
enjoyed a ·iew o·er the whole town. 1he triumphal gate oí Charles VI |Ill.1.12|, oíten
also called Lugene oí Sa·oy gate`, was erected in 1¯36 as an entrance to the lower city
on the Danube side. On both sides, in the tympana oí the pediment we see a sculpture
depicting Austrian coat oí arms oí the kingdom oí Serbia ,as well as the initials oí the
emperor, that seems not to ha·e bothered the 1urks when they re-entered the town in
1¯39. 1he other curiosity surrounding the Charles gate, customarily portrayed as the
most important Baroque creation south oí Danube and Sa·a, is that it is reported to
ha·e been the design oí Balthasar Neumann. 1he íamed Baroque architect, whose best-
1o the Germans Belgrade ,white city`, was then known as Griechisch |read Orthodox Christian`|
\eissenburg`, hence alba graeca` in Latin.
known work is the \ürzburg Palace, had indeed entered Belgrade in 1¯1¯ when
participating in Prince Lugene`s Serbian campaign.
Aíter the treaty oí Belgrade placed Serbia under Ottoman control again, in 1¯39 and
1¯40 the Germans and Serbs oí Belgrade ,as well as Serbs and Albanians írom the
central and western Balkans, were resettled to the nearby Austrian towns oí
Petro·aradin,No·i Sad, Osijek, Szeged, and 1emes·ar ,1imisoara,. Also Zemun, just
across írom Belgrade, had a large increase in population íollowing the labsburg
withdrawal. Recei·ing mostly German artisans but also Serb and Greek merchants,
Zemun remained under labsburg rule, equipped with se·eral pri·ileges, and íollows
another path in the century to come. Already by the mid-eighteenth century we íind
se·eral stately mansions, churches, and a primary school. ,Steíano·ic-Viloísky 1908:60,
lor more than another century Zemun thus became an Austrian town just at the
doorstep oí the Ottoman Lmpire, and subsequently the main reíerence íor the
Belgradians íor emulating Luropean ways.
1hat so little oí the Austrian Baroque Belgrade has sur·i·ed into the twentieth century
has sometimes led to the misleading conclusion that this town had been completely
demolished upon return oí the Ottomans. A century aíter the takeo·er, howe·er, an
Lnglish tra·eller still stumbled into
a singular looking street, composed oí the ruins oí ornamented houses in the
imposing, but too elaborate style oí architecture, which was in ·ogue in Vienna, during
the liíe oí Charles the Sixth, and which was a corruption oí the style de Louis Quatorze.
1hese buildings were halí-way up concealed írom ·iew by common old bazaar shops.
Also Johann Lukas ·on lildebrandt, architect oí the prince`s Bel·edere Palace ,1¯1¯-1¯24, at Vienna,
had started his career as íortiíication engineer in the ser·ice oí Prince Lugene oí Sa·oy ,cí. Uzelac 2004,.
1his was the Lange Gasse,` or main street oí the German town during the Austrian
occupation oí twenty-two years, írom 1¯1¯ to 1¯39. Most oí these houses were built
with great solidity, and many still ha·e the stucco ornaments that distinguish this style.
1he walls oí the palace oí Prince Lugene are still standing complete, but the court-yard
is íilled up with rubbish, at least six íeet high, and what were íormerly the rooms oí the
ground-íloor ha·e become almost cellars. 1he ediíice is called to this day, Princeps
Konak.` 1his mixture oí the coarse, but picturesque íeatures oí oriental liíe, with the
dilapidated stateliness oí palaces in the style oí the íull-bottom-wigged Vanbrughs oí
Austria, has the oddest eííect imaginable.` ,Paton 1845:59-60,
Another interesting account is that oí the Ottoman chronicler Mehmet Subhi, who
recorded that the palace` oí the ci·il and military administrator Prince Alexander oí
\ürttemberg was handed o·er to the Ottoman go·ernor, and that this residence later
burned down ,see translation by lauptmann et al. 198¯:140,159-60,20¯,. 1his building
identiíied by Paton and others as the palace oí the Prince Lugene was really the military
barracks built during \ürttemberg`s go·ernment ,Alexander-Kaserne`,, which, as
another eyewitness coníirms, indeed ser·ed as the Ottoman pasha`s residence when
Gudenus ,195¯:21, ·isited the town in 1¯40.
J.3.2. Dubrovnik and the Herzegovina
1he connection between Dubro·nik ,Ragusa, and the Porte was based on economic
and political interests írom which both sides proíited much more than ií the commune
were an actual Ottoman possession in the strict sense. 1he Ottoman impact on culture
and architecture oí the quasi-Republic ruled by its Patrician class, which did not mind
paying regular tributes to the Ottomans íor protection` as long as it ser·ed the
commune`s interests toward ri·al Venice, was thus negligible. Dubro·nik, surrounded
by Ottoman territories on all sides, remained within an Italianate-Adriatic cultural orbit,
becoming the main window oí Bosnia and lercego·ina towards \estern Luropean
culture` ,Pasic 1994:190,. \hen a de·astating earthquake shattered the proud commune
in 166¯, Italians were called in to redesign the city, whereby it acquired some Baroque
It was at this time that the broad main street with its uniíorm burgher
houses emerged, and the cathedral recei·ed its characteristic dome.
\hile treating the Ragusan merchant colonies in the Ottoman cities would exceed the
scope oí this study, it must howe·er be noted that masters írom the coast played a not
unimportant role in Balkans architecture since the middle ages.
Particularly in Bosnia
and e·en more so in lerzego·ina we see that the skilled masters írom the nearby coast
were also sought aíter in the Ottoman period.
1heir impact on Ottoman-Bosnian
1he three great Baroque churches írom aíter the earthquake - St Vlaho, the Cathedral, and the Jesuit
Church - were, íor example, all designed by Italians ,cí. 1riíuno·ic 1981:XXXV,.
lor a comprehensi·e account on the history oí Dubro·nik, including occasional perspecti·es on
architecture, see larris ,2003,.
1his accounts, íor instance, íor the Romanesque rather than Byzantine appearance íor some oí the
medie·al Orthodox monasteries in the old Serbian territories.
Under the leadership oí Ramadan Aga, a close aid to the celebrated Mimar Sinan, and next to a delicate
decoration possibly attributable to Persian artists, masters írom Dubro·nik, íor example, pro·ed
architecture can be discerned not only in the diííerent building techniques employed íor
many mosques in Bosnia, but also in that some lerzego·inian mosques` minarets
intriguingly look like church-towers.
In terms oí ornament a particularly curious
example oí this interaction is the mosque oí Nesuh-aga Vucijako·ic at Mostar ,1568,,
which displays se·eral elements oí Renaissance and Gothic architecture, a mixture
characteristic íor Dubro·nik. More than in the mosques, the Dalmatian iníluence is
·isible in one particular building type: the clock-towers oí the se·enteenth and
eighteenth centuries which, with their quadrangular body and pyramidal rooís, reminded
many an obser·er oí the Adriatic campanile.
\ith those oí Saraje·o and Banja Luka probably the best known, it is in the
lerzego·ina in the Dalmatian hinterland that we íind the largest concentration. One
particularly interesting example is the clock-tower ,.abat /vta, írom trk. .aat /vte.i) at
only a íew kilometres írom the Ottoman border with Dubro·nik.
Commissioned when the local Osman Pasha Resulbego·ic íortiíied 1rebinje, whereto
many Muslim íamilies írom the now Venetian coast had resettled in the íirst three
decades oí the eighteenth century,
it had been built by a master írom the nearby coast
responsible íor the construction oí the Aladza ,colored`, mosque at loca ,1550-1,. In an act oí barbary,
this mosque sometimes reputed to be the most beautiíul Ottoman mosque in the Balkans, was blown up
in 1992. lor the in·ol·ement oí builders írom Dubro·nik in other monuments in Bosnia-lerzego·ina,
see also Pasic ,1994:153, and Zlatar ,2003,.
But also Ottoman íorms had an impact oí Christian religious architecture. See, íor example, Andreje·ic
,1963, on Islamic` íeatures in Serbian monasteries oí the Ottoman period. Bouras ,1991:118, also
mentions examples írom Athens where Ottoman construction and íorms ha·e iníluenced churches in
lor pictures and a íew notes, see Pasic ,1994:64-5,89-90, and 191-3,.
lollowing lasandedic ,1990:240, and the sources he quotes, the Sahat kula in 1rebinje was built at the
beginning oí the eighteenth century, probably by the Dizdare·ic íamily, a branch oí the Resulbego·ici,
who in winters resided below the tower.
Another settlement in lerzego·ina that grew as a result oí de·elopments in this period is Stolac. A íirst
mosque ,Selimiye, at the Vidos íortress ,oí which Stolac later emerged as a suburb, had been built in 1519
by masters írom the Dalmatian island oí Korcula. 1he íortress was destroyed in 1593, and only reno·ated
at the beginning oí the century. 1he decidedly western appearance oí the ediíice írom
the íirst halí oí the eighteenth century - with semicircular window openings, the
cornice, and protruding pieces oí stone - has led the 1urkish architect Ay·erdi
,19¯8:469, to erroneously date the rococo-rocaille` structure into the nineteenth
Uníortunately, the mosques built in this period, the Sultanahmet Mosque ,1¯19-20,,
named in honour oí the Sultan, and the Osman-pasa Resulbego·ic mosque ,around
1¯26, - both built by masters írom the coast and showing some coastal characteristics -
were wantonly destroyed in the 1990s war.
A Council oí Lurope report ,1994,,
howe·er, attests the latter decorati·e íittings in the style oí 1urkish baroque`. 1hat this
decoration, so íar írom the imperial centre and so close to the Adriatic, would ha·e
really reílected the style oí the post-1¯50s phenomenon later coined Ottoman
Baroque` oí course appears somewhat questionable. lollowing the dates pro·ided by
lasandedic ,1990:232,236,, the íact that the íirst mosque ,aíter one destroyed by the
Uskoks in the se·enteenth century, was built only in 1¯19-20, thirteen years aíter
Resulbego·ic was made pasha and mo·ed to 1rebinje, and allegedly with the stones oí
the older ruined mosque, is also somewhat surprising. Is it in the íact that his íamilies
starting írom the beginning oí the eighteenth century because oí bandit incursions oí Dalmatian Uskoks.
In this period íour new mosques were built. It should be mentioned that the rather indi·idualist
Podgradska dzamija ,mosque oí Ali Riz·anbego·ic, dates, in its present íorm, not írom its íoundation in
the 1¯30s ,as habitually stated,, but írom a reno·ation in 1812-3, and then again in 1888-9. ,cí.
An interesting anecdote, narrated by lasandedic ,1990:238,, is that aíter the second mosque was built,
the Sultan accused Osman oí building a new mosque in his own name that was more beautiíul than the
one pre·iously built in honor oí the Sultan. Ahmed III then issued a fervav that ordered Osman and his
nine sons to death. le hurried to Istanbul to deíend himselí, but was still executed in 1¯29.
were recent con·erts that we ha·e to look íor an apparent lack oí zeal in religious
1he Resulbego·ici are also our connection to some monuments built in the coastal city
oí Ulcinj ,now Montenegro,, which then remained under Ottoman control. 1here, a
diííerent part oí the same íamily had resettled aíter the íall oí their nati·e lerceg No·i
in 168¯, and held leading positions into the twentieth century.
Also there, the main
Ottoman monuments - íi·e mosques, a bavav, and a clocktower - all date írom the
century aíter 1689. A curious example oí a íountain is that named aíter Sinan Pasha.
Built probably around 1¯19 ,when also the mosque oí Sinan Pasha was erected,, it looks
more like a Renaissance work than an Ottoman çe,ve. |Ill. 1.16|
1he Resulbego·ici had settled in today`s lerzego·ina only aíter the coastal city oí lerceg No·i they
hailed írom íell to the Venetians in 168¯. Osman's íather was born a Buro·ic, and had changed his
Christian name Miso íor the Muslim Resul when he con·erted. lis sons thereaíter continued the
patronymic Resulbego·ic ,descendents oí Resul Bey`,. Beíore they came to 1rebinje in 1¯0¯ when
Osman was made /a¡etav, they had íirst settled in the nearby Stari Slan, where they also built a castle and
some /ova/s. ,lasandedic 1990:232, Osman was in íact the íirst .avca/be, oí lerzego·ina residing at
1rebinje. Pre·ious administrators had resided at Drace·o, which was destroyed in the uprising oí Bajo
Pi·ljanin. See also liguric ,1930,.
1he Russian historian,consul Aleksandar Giljíerding ,lilíerding, called the Resulbego·ici a local
Muslim aristocracy` in 1859 ,cí. Ziroje·ic 2001,.
Oí all the periods dealt with here, the íirst halí oí the eighteenth century has probably
attracted least attention in the literature, sa·e íor the 1ulip Lra`. Its poweríul imagery
directing the eyes toward the capital, little has been written about the pro·inces in this
period. It can be suggested that, at least in the western halí oí the Balkans, construction
projects mainly consisted oí repair and reconstructions. An exception to this is the
complex at Sumen, probably the most monumental ,sur·i·ing, example oí Ottoman
architecture in the Balkans írom the entire eighteenth century, and closely íollowing
trends emanating írom the capital. lere, an analysis oí this building in comparison with
the mosque oí Damat Ibrahim Pasha in the Anatolian Ne·sehir, with which it is
e·idently stylistically related, may also yield additional iníormation. Gi·en lalil Serií
Pasha`s admiration íor this Grand Vizier, it should also not be completely impossible
that he had commissioned the same architect that had built the Grand Vizier`s complex
at Ne·sehir, but this has to remain a speculation. As with the 1ulip Lra` in general, a
wish íor westernization` is certainly not suííicient alone to explain the creations oí this
Another interesting oííspring oí the 1ulip Lra` has been noted in the designs oí the
Phanariote princes in the Danubian Principalities, and should be in·estigated íurther
through analysis oí ·isual materials, which the article by 1heodorescu ,2002, regrettably
did not oííer, as well as descriptions by ·isitors. 1hat such cultural export írom Istanbul
through the Constantinopolitan Greeks seems to not ha·e been noted beíore, at least in
the Ottomanist context, has perhaps to do with the historiographical traditions: with the
Romanian lands ne·er íorming a core territory` oí the Ottoman state, not integrated
into many mainstream Ottoman institutions ,and thus Ottoman history,, the generally
negati·e assessment oí the íoreign Phanariote reign by Romanian historians, and on a
íocus on the lellenic rather than the Ottoman element by Greek historians, who ha·e
also displayed great interest in their` role in eighteenth-century Romania.
Another region not studied well in the Ottoman context is the Ottoman hinterland oí
the Adriatic. lere, the conclusion was that a western iníluence - with the main ·ehicle
being the builders írom the coast working íor Ottoman clients - was nothing new to the
eighteenth century, but essentially a continuation oí practices necessitated by
proíessional geography. 1he rather indi·idualistic monuments oí this region suggest that
íurther in·estigation into the speciíicities oí the culture and society oí this micro-region
may yield interesting results as well.
1he redesign oí Ottoman Belgrade under Austrian occupations íalls out oí the scope oí
this study, but is ne·ertheless an interesting chapter in the history oí the eighteenth
century Balkans. 1his is in part because, when the Ottomans re-conquered the city, they
inherited ,and, as we ha·e seen, also came to inhabit at least one oí se·eral, actual
2. ´Ottoman Baroque¨ and beyond
2.J. Historical framework
Aíter the ·iolent close oí the 1ulip Lra`, and the restoration oí Ottoman rule o·er
Serbia, the period 1¯39-1¯68 ,the long peace`, was characterized by the total absence
oí military conílicts. It was in this period that the phenomenon later called Ottoman
Baroque` de·elops, largely in parallel ,though unrelated, with a Serbian Baroque`
among the Serbs who had íled to Austrian soil. lrom the opposite direction, and on
Ottoman territory, a Baroque iníluence began to be íelt in the interior oí the Orthodox
churches. At the same time anti-Greek íeelings among the Sla· subjects oí the empire
begin to mount, next to an e·ident mistrust oí their Muslim o·erlords. Larly
nationalist` writers warned oí a cultural domination by their Orthodox co-religionists,
a process only íurther aggra·ated by the closure oí the Sla· bishophorics oí Ohrid
,Ahrida, and Pec ,Ipek, in the 1¯60s, whereupon their responsibilities are henceíorth
controlled by the Greek patriarch at Constantinople.
In 1¯62 the Bulgarian clergyman
Paisij lilendarski ,oí lilendar monastery, concluded his Sla·o-Bulgarian listory`,
seen as the starting point oí the Bulgarian National Re·i·al`, and containing se·eral
passages warning oí Greek cultural imperialism.
1he term Balkan Renaissance` is occasionally more generally used íor the cultural
emancipation` oí the peoples oí the south and central Balkans aíter 1¯50. An early
maniíestation to a new selí-understanding oí the Christians in the empire, the city oí
Another interpretation is that the suppression oí the Sla·ic patriarchates was really not aimed at
strengthening Greek predominance o·er the Balkan peoples but intended to relie·e their acute íinancial
embarrassment` ,McGowan 1994:669,.
Moschopolis saw its peak by the mid-eighteenth century, only to be soon thereaíter
de·astated in se·eral incursions, heralding an age oí instability, oí banditry and the a,av,
which was to dominate liíe in much oí the Balkans toward the end oí the eighteenth
century ,to be treated in greater detail in Ch.3,. 1he long peace` between the
Ottomans and neighboring powers ended in 1¯68 with the Russo-1urkish war and the
consequent 1reaty oí Küçük Kaynarca ,1¯¯4,, which both pro·ed to be crucial turning
points in the history oí the Ottoman Lmpire. lor the íirst time a traditionally Muslim
and 1urkic-speaking territory, the Crimea, was permanently lost to a Christian power,
Russia, which had become a threat to the Ottomans in the north and increasingly comes
to assume a selí-proclaimed role as a protector oí the Ottomans` Orthodox subjects.
1he treaty, howe·er, was in part also responsible íor increasing wealth generated among
an Orthodox Balkans merchant class in the period thereaíter. 1he Black Sea and the
Dardanelles were now opened to ships ílying a Russian ílag, a pro·ision oí which many
Greeks took ad·antage. Another stipulation oí the treaty allowed the Russians to build a
church in Istanbul.
Aíter these deíeats the minds oí the sultans began to be set on
reíorm, peaking a halí-century later in the 1anzimat Ldict ,1839,.
But also a new era oí relationships with western powers commenced. In gratitude íor
diplomatic aid, lrance was gi·en the pri·ilege oí a permanent capitulation` in 1¯40.
1his meant that within the empire lrench ,and soon thereaíter other western powers`,
citizens were not subject to the Sultan`s legal and íiscal jurisdiction, remaining under the
laws oí their own king ,or republic, and exempted írom Ottoman taxes. \hile such
pre·iously temporary measures were harmless in the sixteenth century, they pro·ed to
Since this church was ne·er built, Dawson ,1990:56, suspects that the intention behind such demand
was solely íor Russia to be ele·ated to a le·el oí theoretical equality with the Catholic powers.
be dangerously undermining Ottoman so·ereignty in the last decades oí the empire.
2.2. 1he ´Ottoman Baroque¨
2.2.J. Its characteristics and place in historiography
1o be clear, the phenomenon termed Ottoman ,or 1urkish, Baroque ,and,or
Rococo,` was neither a contemporary label íor this style, nor did western ·isitors
identiíy it as an Ottoman ·ariant oí the Luropean art and architecture oí the
se·enteenth and eighteenth centuries. Rather, it is a product oí modern historiography.
1herein, its de·elopment is unquestionably linked with the thesis oí a gradual imperial
decline accompanied ,ií not caused, by a westernization oí Ottoman traditions.
In an important piece ,Nationalism and Art`, 1934,, the young republican architect
Aptullah Ziya ,cit. in Bozdogan 2001:50, identiíied the period since the 1ulip Lra as that
in which the historical process oí contamination` oí 1urkish architecture began. 1hat
Celal Lsad |Arse·en| in his L`art turc` ,1939, íirst reíerred to the post-classical period
in the writing oí 1urkish art history at all attested to this publication`s pioneering role`.
Signiíicantly, he classiíied the post-classical period into Baroque`, Lmpire`, and
Neoclassical`, in sequential order, as Luropean styles which ha·e entered into 1urkish
art ,Odekan 2000:56,. Dogan Kuban`s thesis írom the mid-twentieth century
,super·ised by an Italian proíessor, was the íirst more comprehensi·e work on this
speciíic subject, and really the work that put the 1urkish Baroque` on the map. Only in
the 1980s the pre·iously accepted terminology regarding styles was opened to
Most authors, nonetheless, agree on the building with which Ottoman Baroque`
began, namely the Nuruosmaniye mosque ,1¯49-55, |Ill. 2.1-5|. 1hough next to the
Sa`dabad Palace probably the most oíten mentioned single monument oí Ottoman
eighteenth century architecture, much oí its history remains a mystery. It begins with
identiíying the person to whose creati·e energies the ílamboyance oí this structure
without precedent ,and, arguably, without successor, can be attributed. \hile a certain
Simeon Kalía is generally assumed to be credited as architect, his career beíore and aíter
the Nuruosmaniye project remains obscure. \hether he was an Ottoman carpenter-
architect, like Sinan, or a man with experience in Luropean countries, one cannot say`,
writes Kuban ,1996:350,, but that Nur-u Osmaniye and the buildings around it do not
imitate, in their planning an decoration, any known Baroque building and decoration .
might indicate that the architect had had a certain ·isual experience with the Baroque
but not much experience in a Luropean country.` 1o Goodwin ,19¯1:38¯, there is a
possibility that íoreign ad·ice, lrench in particular, was sought but some elements oí
the complex remain traditional, or a possible logical de·elopment írom the past. Other
elements in its design are alien although assimilated to an extent which makes it most
improbable that it was the work oí a man inexperienced in \estern baroque and
rococo.` Kuran ,19¯¯:313-5,, while íirst rightíully pointing out to that it was ob·iously
inspired` by the much earlier mosque oí Mihrimah Sultan at Ldirnekapi ,1560s,, a work
oí Sinan, does discern a break with the past, íar beyond the normal processes oí
e·olution. 1he use oí Luropean motiís clearly points to outside iníluence and possibly
the hand oí a íoreign architect. \et curiously, the Nuruosmaniye does not in·oke the
spirit oí the baroque, íor that which is baroque does not penetrate the skin but merely
scratches the suríace`, or, in the words oí Kuban ,1954:36,, simply old tunes sung with
Kuran ,19¯¯:313, thus íinds the signiíicance oí the monument in the treatment oí
certain decorati·e íeatures: the classical stalactite ,or che·ron, pattern is replaced by a
simpliíied íorm oí the Ionic capital. Although the great arches are slightly pointed,
others are round or multi-íoil. Portals are taller than customary and their niches are
crowned by tiers oí diminishing semicircles instead oí the classical stalactites. lamadeh
,2004:36, pronounces the uniqueness oí the Nuruosmaniye in that it was the íirst
Ottoman religious building to exhibit a panoply oí western, particularly lrench
Baroque and Neoclassical, details like scrolls, shells, cable and round moldings,
undulating and hea·ily molded cornices, conca·e and con·ex íaçades, round arches,
engaged pillars, and íluted capitals`.
In addition, it was the only Ottoman mosque to
ha·e a courtyard shaped in the íorm oí a horseshoe.
In Luropean tra·ellers` accounts the curious tale` was recounted that íor the building
oí this mosque the Sultan had procured the plans oí Lurope`s greatest to churches to
íorm his own períect model, and that then the vteva, the class oí Islamic scholars,
opposed it, whereupon the design was made less oííensi·e`.
\hile admitting that it
also cannot be pro·en that this story was entirely íabricated, lamadeh still noted it as
Again, we should not conclude misleadingly that this mosque`s ob·ious stylistic reíerences to Lurope
already meant that all western imports were henceíorth welcomed or accepted. Goçek ,1996:93, reports
that Sultan Mustaía III ,r. 1¯5¯-¯4, had been irritated with his subjects dressing in the lrankish` way,
whereupon he issued an imperial decree in 1¯58 limiting lrankish clothing` to íoreign embassies`
lamadeh also mentions it to ha·e been the íirst Istanbul mosque to ha·e a generously íenestrated
íaçade and a royal ramp, but this seems not to be correct ií we consider the ·ery similar íenestration oí
the sixteenth-century mosque oí Mihrimah Sultan, and the ramps at the Sultanahmet and \eni Valide
mosques írom the se·enteenth century.
1his story has then also entered the writings oí 1urkish scholars. 1o which extent shows a paragraph in
Goçek`s well known work on westernization in the Ottoman Lmpire ,1996:41,, where, in reíerence to
Denel ,1982:28,, the íollowing is recounted: lor the construction oí this mosque, the sultan had pictures
and models oí the most íamous religious buildings brought írom Italy, Lngland, and lrance, and he had a
mosque plan drawn accordingly. \et this plan was ne·er applied because Ottoman religious scholars,
upon seeing the plan, stated that the building looked more like a Christian temple than a mosque - they
suggested that a more Islamic shape be adopted to pre·ent unrest among the populace. Another plan that
united \estern and Ottoman styles more to the liking oí the religious scholars was drawn up.` Cerasi
,1999:130,, picking up on the selecti·e rejection oí certain alien íorm, comments as íollows: \e do not
know how near those íirst designs were to \estern religious architecture, nor which particular elements
had been percei·ed as alien or non-Islamic. \e do know that there had been no speciíic protest when the
portals were decorated with Rococo modanatures which only ·aguely recalled the traditional muqarnas.`
But would the Muslim religious scholars ha·e really had the trained eye to identiíy as Rococo` ,and thus
to protest, one íeature in a design, that looked, on the whole, ·ery íamiliar·
odd that that not e·en a hint oí such intentions on the part oí Mahmud I should be
dropped by the usually well iníormed court chroniclers`. Also as to the style no
reíerences to an intended Luropeanness oí the monument can be íound, unlike earlier
examples, such as Mehmed II`s gate at the 1opkapi complex, which íiíteenth-century
historians had described as ha·ing lrankish towers`.
1his does, howe·er, not mean
that the unusual style was not noticed by the contemporaries. 1he assistant comptroller
oí the mosque`s construction, a certain Ahmed Líendi, reíerred to the building as the
honorable mosque in the new style`. ,lamadeh 2004:36-8,
lor Cerasi ,2000:36-38,, already the completion oí the Nuruosmaniye marked the end
oí a phase that can justly be called Baroque íor its outstanding ornament on projects oí
the 1¯40s and 50s clearly reíerring to Luropean Baroque. 1he period aíter 1¯55,
though still deíined as Ottoman Baroque by most scholars, actually brought a sort oí
decantation oí the Baroque spirit in which the ornamental aspects are not determinant.`
Already in 1¯5¯ the construction oí the Ayazma mosque in Usküdar |Ill. 2.6-¯| began, to
Goodwin ,19¯1:38¯, a small ·ersion oí the Nuruosmaniye`, where se·eral details
íollow the style oí the Nuruosmaniye so closely that it would seem either that the
architect was the same man or that he had worked extensi·ely on the íormer building.`
Completed in 1¯60, it is only one oí Sultan Mahmut III`s three important mosques. 1he
process oí elongation and sense oí height continues at the Laleli mosque ,1¯59-1¯63,,
based on a podium whose height Kuran ,19¯¯:30¯, already íinds exaggerated`.
Lxcluding the ,íairly conser·ati·e, almost e· voro reconstruction oí the latih mosque,
destroyed in an earthquake in 1¯66, the Laleli mosque was to be the last Sultan`s
mosque in the old town. A no·elty with two oí his successor Abdülhamit`s mosques
Indeed, latih`s gate was modelled aíter the Byzantine gate oí Saint Barbara and may ha·e in·ol·ed
some Luropean artists.` ,lamadeh 2004:35,
was their placement on the shoreline oí the Bosphorus. Unlike pre·ious projects, the
Beylerbeyi mosque ,1¯¯8, did not ignore the sea but opened its garden-like courtyard to
it, indubitably an expression oí a newly acquired sense oí theatricality. lis other mosque
on the Bosphorus, in the newly íounded quarter oí Lmirgan, íaces the water with a
timber íaçade typical íor the Bosphorus mansions.
Next to perceptibly changed
approaches in ornamentation, placement and height in the mosques oí the second halí
oí the eighteenth century, Cerasi ,2000:39, has noted the rear-íaçades ,the vibrab walls,
are exceptionally elaborate in some mosques írom this period, while entrance íaçades
are con·entional. le thence deducts that
vibrab íacades were subject to íewer inhibitions |where| architects could experiment
creati·e íorms íor their own satisíaction. In certain moments oí architectural history,
when inno·ation is in the air and yet patrons or public opinion still demand that
traditional con·entions be respected, architects ha·e experimented with inno·ation in
the less ·isible parts oí their designs .\e might then deduce that the architect`s
perception oí his own role had changed, that he was aware oí the distinction between
what he was required to express and what he was capable to do in his own íield ií he
was let alone to do so.`
linished in 1¯81, Goodwin ,19¯1:398-9, íinds it already so \estern in atmosphere that it is diííicult
not to belie·e that the architect was a íoreigner.` Suitably, he also notes that the reign oí Abdülhamit I
,1¯¯4-89, had seen the arri·al oí increasing numbers oí íoreigners in all the creati·e íields, oíten men oí
indiííerent caliber who could not íind lucrati·e appointments at home.`
2.2.2. 1he impact of the ´Ottoman Baroque¨ on non-Muslims' and
In the Balkan pro·inces large mosques írom the second halí oí the eighteenth century
are again rare, and no building comparable to contemporary ones in the capital are
More than on the íaçades, the new style` becomes ·isible in the interiors,
whose decorati·e programs had also undergone changes in the íirst halí oí the
eighteenth century, an early example being the mosque oí Grand Vizier lekimoglu Ali
Pasha completed in 1¯34 |Ill.2.8. see also 2.4,¯,10-12|, but it also transcended the
boundaries oí Muslim religious architecture. In the lener quarter, the
Constantinopolitan Greeks, many oí who were able to accumulate some wealth in that
period, constructed houses built oí stone rather than the traditionally employed wood.
\hile only a dozen oí these ha·e sur·i·ed into the twenty-íirst century, pictorial
e·idence shows that in the interiors Baroque-iníluence decorati·e programs not
dissimilar to those in the mosques were used |Ill. 2.9.| ,cí. Sezgin 1990 and 1993:349-
McGowan ,1994:639-40, sees the eighteenth century changes in architectural production and typology
as a direct result oí changed expectations: 1he unprecedented program oí íortress building during the
íirst decades oí the century ga·e períect architectural expression to a more deíensi·e outlook upon the
world. 1he íact that íew great mosques were built in the eighteenth century reílects not so much a lack oí
means as a lack oí coníidence. It is arguable whether the Ottoman elites became more or less worldly. But
their expectation oí worldly success, as deíined by their íoreíathers, was in decline. 1he architectural
expression oí this shiít in attitude can also be seen in the characteristic ci·ic structures oí the century:
libraries, schools, baths, íountains, and shoreline pa·ilions - embellishments to ease liíe in a transient and
unsteady world.` Cerasi ,1999:131, similarly wants to explain the architectural production oí this period
with that the late Ottomans li·ed in an emotional world. 1he Islamic uni·erse had long lost its
intellectual domain oí social and artistic liíe. Aesthetics and íeeling rather than ethics and rational
reílection ga·e íorm to daily liíe and cultural production.`
Stephanidou ,199¯, has noted that these houses in lener, as well as some in Pera, were in íact the only
ones to respond to the sultans` repeated decrees prescribing the use oí stone in residential construction to
counteract the írequent íires.
In the western Balkans, íollowing the destruction caused by Lugene oí Sa·oy at the end
oí the se·enteenth century, se·eral mosques were repaired and also repainted in the
In Saraje·o, greatly de·astated in 169¯, Mutapcic ,199¯:459, already
identiíied two diííerent styles in the redecorations taking place between the 1¯50s and
1¯¯0s: the classical Islamic arabesque` and other interiors stylistically approaching the
decorati·e painting oí the 1urkish Baroque` |e.g. Ill. 2.10|. Among the new motiís in
painting are naturalistic íorms ,lea·es, ílowers, trees,, but also architectural elements
,capitals, oculi, stalactites, and marble and stone suríaces,.
A signiíicant exception to the stagnation oí mosque-building in the eighteenth century
Balkans are the Albanian lands, much oí the southwest Balkans including areas in
present-day Greece, Macedonia, and Serbia,Koso·o. 1he reason is simple: \hile most
oí the other parts oí the Balkans had acquired large Muslim populations due to
immigration ,Macedonia, 1hrace, eastern Bulgaria, or large-scale con·ersions ,Bosnia,
already by the sixteenth century, it is only aíter the se·enteenth century that the majority
oí the population oí Albania - till then little more than a neglected mountainous buííer
territory on the edge oí Ottoman Lurope - con·erted to Islam in order to impro·e their
social and economic status. 1his naturally generated a new demand íor Muslim religious
architecture. Most oí the buildings oí rele·ance to our sur·ey, howe·er, date only írom
the last quarter oí that century, and are thereíore included in the next chapter. 1here
they also belong íor another reason, namely that the architectural iníluences írom
Istanbul oí the period treated so íar remain rather limited íor a ·ariety oí reasons, one
being that the builders responsible came not írom the distant capital but - as in pre·ious
In Prizren, in·aded and de·astated by the Austrians in 1689,90 and then again in 1¯3¯, many schools
and mosques were repaired by a certain Salih írom a ·illage near Prizren. 1hereupon awarded the title oí
Pasha, he had earlier exerted himselí in the expulsion oí the Austrians, and e·entually became the íounder
oí a hereditary dynasty, the Albanian Rotullu íamily oí Pashas, which ruled Prizren well into the
nineteenth century. ,Kiel 2004:339,
times - were locals ,in a regional sense,. Much more than in the classical period,
geography became an important íactor in the characteristics oí late Ottoman
architecture. At the opposite end oí the peninsula, and thus íairly close to the capital,
the best example oí the impact oí trends írom the capital transported to the pro·inces
remains the mosque at Sumen, |Ill. 2.11| íor which we also must consider the likelihood
that the painted decoration in the interior at least partly dates írom maybe as much as a
century aíter its construction in the 1¯40s.
Back in Istanbul, another curious iníluence oí the Ottoman Baroque` should be
mentioned, as it can be íound where least expected: in a Latin Catholic church.
altar and chancel area oí Pera`s Saint Mary Draperis ,1¯6¯-1¯¯2, were truly late
,Luropean, Baroque, an imposition oí the Austrian ambassador |who paid íor it| rather
than a choice oí the local íriars`, as Girardelli remarked. But whereas this prayer hall
was an architectural symbol oí Roman allegiance` shaped by an Italian artist, Girardelli
supposes that the space oí the reíectory, built later and with an unmistakable Ottoman
was probably the work oí an Armenian /atfa with experience
in the construction oí Islamic buildings oí the new, post-classical style.` 1he choice íor
this style, howe·er, was not purely incidental, ií we íollow Girardelli. 1he language oí
Armenian Catholicism ,to which the majority oí Pera`s Armenian community adhered,
was not Armenian but 1urkish, used by missionaries and in masses and ceremonies.
Girardelli thus interprets the Ottoman elements in the reíectory as a decision to
Ottoman iníluence on Christian architecture arose írom the sensibilities to Muslim en·ironments and
was also noticeable in the structural layout oí churches. 1he Church oí Saint lrancis ,1660s, destroyed in
1696,, íor example, ser·ing the Catholics oí Galata, had women`s galleries in the prayer hall, an anomaly
explained to surprised ·isitors írom Italy as a reílection oí local habits`. Catholic churches oí Istanbul
would continue to adopt this íeature until the late nineteenth century. ,Girardelli 2005:236,256,
1his is most e·ident in the characteristic multi-centered arches and capitals oí the arcade in the parish
oííice. 1he Ottoman structures Girardelli ,2005:241-2, chose íor the establishment oí this analogy are the
Nuruosmaniye mosque, the veare.e oí Seyyid lasan Pasha, and the /vtti,e oí Besir Aga, all írom the mid-
architecturally speak 1urkish` as well, according to what an Armenian audience, largely
responsible íor the growth oí Catholicism in Pera in the eighteenth century, could
percei·e as a pleasant, no·el image oí its own culture and city.` Going e·en íurther he
speaks oí a Catholic Ottoman-ness` in the eighteenth century, which is gradually
replaced by estrangement and coníormity to nationally deíined standards and cultural
identity.` ,Girardelli 2005:23¯,248,25¯,
2.3. On Orthodox Christian culture in the eighteenth century
2.3.J. 1he ´Serbian Baroque¨ and the iconostasis as ersatz-façade
1he second halí oí the eighteenth century saw a considerable stimulation in the craíts oí
painting and woodcar·ing. In the íirst halí oí the nineteenth century this de·elopment
was increasingly íelt in the interiors and exteriors oí both secular and religious
architectural and decorati·e programs particularly. Already in the eighteenth century a
Baroque iníluence is noticeable in the transíormation the Orthodox church iconostasis
undergoes. As an object oí rele·ance íor this study, whose target is mainly architecture
not artisanship, it may appear questionable.
lowe·er, as the restrictions on Christian
architecture in the eighteenth century still pre·ented the íaçades írom assuming an all
too expressi·e character, we could consider the concentration oí creati·e energies on
this particular element as a kind oí er.at¸-architecture.
Maybe not so incidentally, some
oí these iconostases are reminiscent oí the íaçades oí Renaissance or Baroque
\hile we note its existence, the iníluence oí Central Luropean and Russian-Ukrainian Baroque on the
painting oí icons in the Balkan churches clearly transcends the scope oí the study and is an entirely
Interesting in this respect are also obser·ations oí an Lnglish tra·eller, who on two occasions noticed
local Serbs` limited interest in the church exteriors ,which, oí course, is also not enough íor a
generalization,. Visiting the medie·al Studenica monastery, he remarked: 1hose who accompanied us
paid little attention to the architecture oí the church, but burst into raptures at the sight oí the car·ed
wood oí the screen, which had been most minutely and elaborately cut by 1sinsars |sic|, ,as the
Macedonian Latins are called to this day,.` Proceeding to the church oí king Lazar at Kruse·ac, he
lamented: 1he late Ser·ian |sic| go·ernor had the Vandalism to whitewash the exterior, so that at a
distance it looks like a ·ulgar parish church. \ithin is a great deal oí gilding and bad painting, pity that the
late go·ernor did not whitewash the inside instead oí the out.` ,Paton 1845:192,218,
Koe·a ,2005, tries to explain this with that iconostasis íorms íollow the architectonics and
composition oí those stylistic genres that architecture would most likely ía·our in the respecti·e period ...
In terms oí íorm, they resemble the outer walls oí a building, with their window-like ·ents hosting the
images oí hea·enly creatures to mediate the communion oí Lord and the íaithíul congregation. . During
centuries, Bulgarian iconostases were composed in reproduction oí the architectural
íacades oí Renaissance and Baroque buildings, ob·iously taking the eííort to coníorm to the speciíic
relations and proportions oí the latter styles in the architectonic structure, and to reproduce the number
and íorm oí elements characteristic oí classical order systems.`
1he iconostasis in the Balkans is íor the most part a íeature oí the Ottoman period and
in particular a trend emerging írom the monasteries oí Mount Athos in the se·enteenth
century. \hile in the pre·ious centuries there had been a strong dri·e to cling on to the
old traditions, it is in this century that the pre·iously marble or stone screen ,used to
separate the altar írom the public parts oí the church, was increasingly replaced by the
wooden iconostasis, then spreading o·er the Balkans and consolidating itselí in the
eighteenth century. 1hat the relieí, on the screens still ·ery low, gradually gets deeper on
the wooden iconostasis is usually linked to a western iníluence, Venetian in origin, as the
Athonite monks had called on the craítsmen oí Crete
to produce their iconostases
,and paintings as well,. ,cí. Nikonanos 199¯, Koe·a 2005,
\hile loddinott ,1954:2¯8, writes oí a ·igorous tradition oí |Macedonian| wood
car·ing that, aíter íour centuries oí 1urkish domination, exhibits not a single trace oí
Oriental iníluence`, Nikonanos ,199¯:261-2, sees in the Athonite eighteenth century
iconostases - next to Byzantine and Renaissance motiís - also elements oí Luropean and
oriental Baroque`. Greek íolk Baroque` is the term he then uses to describe íor an
Athonite iconostasis oí the 1¯40s, but it is with modern Greek Baroque` that he
categorizes the century aíter it: lretwork dominated and the relieí was high, almost
sculpturesque. lorms tended to be eliptical, the arrangement diagonal, the whole suríace
was gilded, there was a strong impression oí depth, and the thematic repertory was
enriched with íresh motiís and new combinations oí old ones.` 1he gradual increase oí
plasticity can be traced. 1he iconostasis oí the S·eti Naum monastery ,1¯11, near Ohrid
|Ill. 2.13|, one oí the earliest examples, still íeatured car·ing in low relieí, displaying
1he island, a possession oí Venice since the lourth Crusade ,1204,, became an Ottoman possession
only aíter 1669.
íloral designs and animals, but no human íigures. lollowing loddinott ,1954:2¯8,281,
high relieí had been barred on the grounds that they were too reminiscent oí idolatry,
an objection subsequently reiníorced by the popularity oí the style, in particular
íollowing the de·elopment oí Baroque, in the Roman Catholic \est.` le then
maintains that the trend íor high relieí with íree human íorm had particularly spread
írom the Serbian monastery oí lilandar at Athos, and claims that an original and
distincti·e Macedonian style` can be identiíied, whose
principal íoreign iníluence appears to ha·e been the once rejected Baroque, íiltering
across the mountains írom the Adriatic |!| coast. As during the Middle Ages, the artists,
who regarded themsel·es rather as craítsmen, ceased to be drawn chieíly írom the ranks
oí monasteries. 1he leading wood car·ers, in íact, were a pastoral tribe, the Mijaks,
who had their centre at Galicnik near Debar, close to the present Albanian border.
|1hey| produced much oí the best work oí the íirst halí oí the nineteenth century,
which can still be seen today ... in Skopje |Ill. 2.14|, Pristina, Prilep, Bitolj, Stip,
Kruse·o, and in many other places.`
lor Stele ,19¯2:356,, these iconostases were, howe·er, more reminiscent oí the art oí
woodcar·ing oí the se·enteenth century Larly Baroque, than with the more
contemporary Late Baroque in Lurope. In his chapter in the sur·ey Kunstschätze in
Jugoslawien`, íour iconostases oí the Debar School
, created between 1811 and 1840 in
present-day Macedonia, are the only works created on Ottoman territories that he
qualiíied íor inclusion under the label Baroque`. It is only second to those in
Macedonia, that he sees the artistic signiíicance oí iconostases created by the Serbs on
Austrian territory in the eighteenth century, thereby largely contemporary with those in
Debar school`, as should be noted, is a bit oí a misnomer, as the craítsmen hailed not írom this town
in the Albanian-Macedonian border region, but írom the outlying ·illages. Vasilie· ,1965:14¯, alternati·ely
suggests the wording Galicnik-Reka school`, aíter the Reka region ,east oí Debar, and the major
the Ottoman Balkans. A diííerence, howe·er, is that outside the Sultan`s domain the
Baroque also leít its impact on the exteriors oí Orthodox churches.
\hile already the Serbian churches in Szentendre near Budapest írom the 1690s had
been stylistically assimilated into a Central Luropean mainstream, the most important
example oí the phenomenon later termed Serbian Baroque` is the synodal church |Ill.
2.1¯-8| at Karlowitz ,Sremski Karlo·ci,, the real Serbian capital oí the 18
according to Castellan ,1992:201,.
Built between 1¯58 and 1¯62 by German masters
and represented by its íaçade typical íor the Danube monarchy`s architecture oí its time,
Medako·ic ,1991:42, remarked that as a pale and íaded memory to the old architecture
there had initially been a small cupola in the centre oí the na·e, which today is not
extant.` Oí the monastery churches at the nearby lruska Gora ,the Serbian Athos`,,
where some existing medie·al,post-Byzantine churches were baroquiíied` mostly
through construction oí a belíry or through enlargement oí window openings,
new structures had been sponsored by Serbian merchants, signiíying the emergence oí a
Serb bourgeoisie on Austrian soil as patrons oí ,religious, art. 1his, howe·er, did not
mean that all oí this emerging bourgeoisie were íer·ent upholders oí Serbian religiosity.
Spokesman oí a generation educated in the age oí Joseph II, the later national hero
Dositej Obrado·ic, íor instance, had expressed that it were
much better to translate and print in our language one intelligent and useíul book,
regardless oí the cost in·ol·ed, than to build twel·e belírys |sic| and to hang a large bell
In 1¯13 it was in Sremski Karlo·ci that a Serbian Orthodox metropolitanate on Austrian soil was
established, including the necessary inírastructure. It was promoted to a patriarchate in 1848, aíter the
Serbs had supported Austria in the lungarian re·olt.
1he odd mixture oí Byzantine cupolas and Baroque belíries, which we see íor example at the originally
sixteenth century monastery church oí Jazak ,lruska Gora,, to which in 1¯53 a Baroque belíry was added,
later gains acceptance and is purposeíully built, as we see íor example in the Upper Church` oí Sremski
Karlo·ci írom 1¯46, and as late as the Serbian Cathedral oí Saraje·o írom the 1860s.
in each oí them: our children would not gain a grain oí intelligence ií the bells were to
ring íor a century.` ,quoted in Jela·ich 1954:149-150,
In any case, the skills de·eloped in the eighteenth century also beneíited the reíinement
oí interior ornamentation in residential architecture. By the nineteenth century oíten the
same masters were responsible íor the painting and woodcar·ing in churches, houses,
and mosques. Unsurprisingly, we thus íind similar decorati·e elements and techniques.
\hile not all this can be used to establish Baroque analogies, we shall note that the
eighteenth century iconostasis coníormed to a truly Baroque code: the uniíication oí
architecture, plastic, and painting on a single work.
2.3.2. 1he rise and fall of Moschopolis
\hile only oí secondary rele·ance íor a discussion oí Baroque iníluence in this period,
the mysterious rise and íall oí the city oí Moschopolis ,alb. Voskopojë, cannot be
excluded írom any architectural sur·ey oí the eighteenth century Balkans, be it to
demonstrate what was in íact possible in that period. Stoiano·ich ,1992:1¯, narrates the
genesis and disappearance oí this once large and ílourishing centre oí trade and urban
culture as íollows:
lidden in a mountain íastness |1115m abo·e sea le·el!| and thus long secure írom the
en·y oí outlaws and Ottoman oííicials, the residents oí Moschopolis grew rich through
the sale oí the products oí their ílocks - wool, hides, and cheese - to Jewish buyers oí
Salonika and to Italian merchants. Aíter the treaty oí Passarowitz they extended their
trade to lungary. In the war years oí 1¯69 and 1¯88, howe·er, rude Albanian bandit
. íell upon and de·astated Moschopolis. At the head oí the band in 1¯88 was
the íather oí Ali pasha |oí Ioannina|, Ali Pasha himselí later completed the destruction,
and soon, it is said, the town was reduced to two hundred shepherd huts.`
In the art history timeline oí the Metropolitan Museum oí New \ork |http:,,www.metmuseum.org,
toah,ht,09,eusb,ht09eusb.htm|, the Church oí Saint Nicholas ,1¯21,, whose porch and interior is
almost completely íilled with portraits oí saints, emperors, and warriors, is mentioned as one oí íinest
examples oí the surge in Christian church-building that occurs during this century with the introduction
oí Baroque and Neoclassical structural de·elopments and decorati·e motiís.` Peyíu| ,1996:33, notes that
the írescoes in the interior are indeed írom the 1¯20s, but the murals in the porch date írom 1¯50, and
íinds it worth noticing that the depictions include the donor oí the church, Georgios Gyra. lor an
account ,in Greek, oí the churches oí Moschopolis, see Konstandinou ,1999,.
In Koch`s ·ersion ,1989:194, the 1urks`, in 1¯69 and 1¯89, sent penitentiary exhibitions to
Moschopolis, which burnt down the houses oí the Christians, but respected the churches. 1he
explanation oííered by Konstandinou ,1999:13¯, is that the prosperity oí Moschopolis aroused the greed
oí the 1urks and Albanians, who destroyed it in 1¯69.` lor Peyíu| ,1996:30, the 1urks` were in part
responsible íor the success oí Moschopolis in the íirst place. As e·idence, he points to the settlement
ha·ing recei·ed pri·ileges írom the Valide Sultan, rather than ha·ing de·eloped ae.¡ite the Ottomans.
Peyíu| ,1996:12-3,30,, howe·er, reminds that the present inaccessibility conceals that in pre·ious times
the city was well connected írom a cara·an road írom Berat, and to the region`s main centres ,Korça,
Llbasan, Ohrid, Kastoria, etc.,. le also does not attribute the decline oí Moschopolis aíter mid-century
solely to the unquestionably destructi·e raids, but to that as a result oí the 1reaty oí Belgrade ,1¯39, the
de·eloping inland commerce depri·ed the city oí its position as centre and distributor íor the Adriatic
trade. 1he sur·i·ors oí the raids íled to the nearby town oí Korçë or eastward to Macedonia, where they
íounded Kruse·o as a successor to Moschopolis in 1¯¯0. A century later this city was a rich merchant
town and centre oí re·olutionary acti·ity.
1he íact that, except íor some churches, little has remained írom this exclusi·ely
in the Albanian-Greek-Macedonian border region has íostered
romantic exaggerations about its golden age in the mid-eighteenth century ,cí. Peyíu|
1996:8-46,. \hile sometimes claimed to ha·e had up to ¯0,000 inhabitants in its heyday,
in Ottoman Lurope thereby theoretically only surpassed by Constantinople, Stoiano·ich
,1992:1¯, belie·es that e·en 40,000 around 1¯50 would ha·e been much too high`, and
suggests that in this number the surrounding rural district may ha·e been included.
Peyíu| ,1996:36, e·en deems a calculation oí around 3,500 possible, and concludes that
Moschopolis was certainly not one oí the largest cities in the Balkans. Undisputed,
howe·er, is the existence oí a higher school, se·eral monumental churches, and a
íamous printing press, which ele·ated the settlement to a metropolis oí Orthodox
Christian culture` ,Kiel 1990a:25,. In the educational íacility that by the mid-eighteenth
century e·en bore the name oí academy` ,sometimes e·en called uni·ersity`,, next to
theology also history and philosophy were taught ,Koch 1989:194,. 1he city`s íamous
printing press produced at least 21 works between 1¯31 and 1¯69. Oí great importance
to the neighbouring archdiocese oí Ohrid ,Ahrida,, the majority oí the publications
were hagiographies and religious texts ,in Greek,, but also a dictionary íor all íour
languages used in the region - simple Rhomaic` ,~modern Greek,, Moesian Vlach`,
Albanian, and Bulgarian,-Macedonian, - was published in 1¯62. \ith their number also
sometimes put at three times that quantity, Koch ,1989:194-4, also attests to the
existence oí 26 churches - Konstandinou ,1999:13¯, speaks oí 22 - and remarks that
alone between 1¯21 and 1¯24 three unusually big basilicas were built, each holding
around 1,000 worshippers. \hile many had interior domes hidden under pitched rooís
1hereby it naturally enjoyed a larger degree oí autonomy than Christian quarters in Ottoman towns
with Muslim populations ,Peyíu| 1996:32,.
,coníorming to Ottoman law,, the monastery church oí St John the Baptist outside the
city had a íreely projecting cupola. Peyíu| ,1996:33-4, also mentions two churches
ha·ing a belltower.
Mythiíied as a quasi sunken Atlantis` oí Orthodox Christian Balkan culture, the case oí
Moschopolis pro·ides yet another example oí a pre-national society hardly deíinable in
modern national categories, yet typical íor Ottoman Lurope. Located in present-day
Albania, its Vlach inhabitants were speakers oí a language close to Romanian, but
identiíied with their Greek religion and high culture. As such it does not surprise that
there is more than one modern claimant to Moschopolis` cultural heritage.
Both the Serbian Baroque` and the 1urkish Baroque` are modern concepts. 1he
íormer, where the western iníluence is direct, deíinite, and traceable is, howe·er, a less
problematic designation than is the latter, in part, because the Baroque` iníluence on
Istanbul architecture was, as we ha·e seen, not a linear process. A detailed critique,
howe·er, cannot be the subject oí this work, but a basic acquaintance with its
de·elopment and character ,as in Ch.2.2.1, was still necessary as a íramework íor
comparison with contemporary and successi·e de·elopments in the Balkans. 1he
excursus on Catholic churches in Istanbul may appear somewhat unrelated, but, and ií
we accept Girardelli`s theory, it is still interesting to see that a western patron would
ha·e commissioned some parts oí a church in a stylistically 1urkish` ·ocabulary to
cater to the cultural sensibilities oí Ottoman Christians. low íar we can apply this to
other examples, perhaps in the Balkans, remains to be established.
lowe·er problematic the label Ottoman Baroque` may be, it is indisputable that it
embraces some oí Istanbul`s most emblematic monuments. In the pro·inces, howe·er,
the new style` oí architecture again has íew repercussions ,as íar, oí course, as such
absolute statement can be made in the context oí the drastic decimation oí the Ottoman
architectural record in the Balkans,. New directions in decorati·e painting, howe·er,
seem to spread rather quickly, which will also be explored in Ch.3.
It may be too daring to say that the Orthodox Church iconostasis de·eloped as a kind
oí er.at¸-íaçade, essentially as a reaction to the restriction that the church exteriors could
not be properly embellished. 1hat the íocus oí creati·e energies is re-directed towards
the interior, lessening the importance oí architecture at the expense oí graphic and
plastic arts now combined towards the períection oí one element, the iconostasis, is still
e·ident. Paton`s obser·ations on the relati·e indiííerence oí his local companions
toward the church exteriors, and notably toward those oí medie·al monuments ,to
which these restrictions not yet applied,, is ·ery interesting, but also not enough íor a
generalization ,changed preíerences according to changed realities,. 1he consolidation
and de·elopment oí the iconostasis goes hand in hand with the ad·ance oí the craít oí
wood-car·ing and the expansion oí decorati·e painting, íorming one part oí a general
dri·e in the Balkan pro·inces aíter 1¯50 later termed Balkan Renaissance`. 1his
expansion oí the minor arts`, as will be discussed later in greater detail, cannot be
analyzed solely in the context oí art history but must be supported by íindings in the
area oí economic history, whereby it will be possible to more concretely determine
where, when, and why the preconditions íor the commissioning and de·elopment oí
such art were gi·en.
2.S. A note on the ´Ottoman House¨
1hat so íar little space has been de·oted to dwellings is decidedly not a preíerence oí
the author but due to the íact that our knowledge oí residential architecture prior to the
late eighteenth century remains ·ery limited as only íew sur·i·ing examples predate the
nineteenth century. Dating, in general, has been a problem as well, since only in
exceptional cases houses íeature an inscription oí their date oí construction, in contrast
to public buildings, where we mostly íind such. Other than that, older examples are
likely to ha·e been considerably altered in the course oí time. Another reason íor the
non-sur·i·al oí many houses are the construction materials used, predominantly wood.
Stone was a scarce material reser·ed íor public ediíices whose inspiring grandeur
íormed a striking contrast to the simplicity oí the unpretentious habitations oí the
citizens.` ,Goodwin 19¯1:449, Gi·en the írequent íires in Ottoman towns, only
aggra·ated by this construction material, only samples oí nineteenth century townscapes
are preser·ed. 1he nature oí the houses in the Balkan-Anatolian region has thus oíten
been described as ephemeral dwellings` ,Bammer 1982,. 1his transitoriness` is
explained by Goodwin ,19¯1:450, as due to the Moslem respect only íor the
permanence oí God, which had inbred habits oí building aíresh instead oí
\hile this only reílects a tendency among many western scholars to
explain all materialized otherness` in the Muslim world as grounded in the other
religion, at least to some extent, others sought to explain these phenomena with the
characteristics oí Ottoman society as a whole. Jezernik ,1998:213-4,, íor example, had
concluded the íollowing on the perception oí houses in the ,mostly late, Ottoman
Balkans by western tra·ellers:
In this context, Bammer ,1982:116, reminds us that nineteenth-century Moscow was also still a city
largely built oí wood.
Some supposed that the custom deri·ed írom the ancestors oí the 1urkish population
- being a people gi·en to camp-discipline they did not care íor building great houses,
but looked upon their towns only as temporary settlements which were to be ·acated at
short notice. 1hey were oí the opinion that it was a sign oí pride to co·et sumptuous
houses, such as ií írail creatures as humans could achie·e a kind oí immortality and an
e·erlasting habitation in this liíe, when they were but pilgrims on this earth and
thereíore ought to use their dwellings as tra·ellers do their inns, merely to be secure
írom thie·es, cold, heat and rain. Some argued that the Ottomans did not dare to make
a display oí wealth, and ií someone was so íortunate as to accumulate a large sum oí
money, their íirst care was to conceal it írom ·iew. 1he chieí Dragoman oí the Porte in
Istanbul at the beginning oí the nineteenth century, íor example, had his large house
painted three colours in order to make it look like three houses, so that no one passing
would be struck by the size oí his mansion. \hate·er the reason, it remained true that
all o·er the Ottoman Lmpire, where·er Luropean tra·ellers went they could barely íind
a stately home, whate·er the wealth oí the inhabitants, most li·ed in huts and cottages,
and while the nobles ía·oured handsome orchards, gardens and baths, their houses had
no gatehouses or porches, no courtyards or anything else magniíicent or worthy oí any
admiration, despite the numerousness oí their íamilies.`
1he reason íor such unenthusiastic assessment was certainly less a lower` le·el oí
ci·ilization than a dissimilar ambition íor representation in urban space. 1he Ottoman
louse` had simply not shared the de·elopment oí the íaçade cult` emerging in
medie·al Lurope, when burgher houses - in contrast to the courtyard houses oí antique
urban cultures - came to be oriented towards the street with an ornamented ele·ation
representati·e oí the owner`s social status ,cí. Lichtenberger 2002:23-4,. In the 1urkish
house decoration is a programme oí the interior`, the diííerence is made clear by Renda
Renda appends that it is oíten the decoration itselí, much more than the architectural design, that
re·eals the diííerent phases oí artistic currents within the Ottoman Lmpire and reílects the social and
cultural changes that occured, especially in the later centuries.` ,Renda 1998:103,
L·ery 1urkish house has a ba,oaa, the main room that ser·es as the guest room and
which is always decorated with much care ... 1he room has two le·els, the .e/i v.tv,
which is a platíorm usually raised one step abo·e the entrance and the .e/i atti which is
on the same le·el as the entrance. On the entrance wall there is usually a built-in
cupboard and niches placed on the two sides íor lamps or other articles. 1his wall and
the ceiling usually display elaborate woodwork, sometimes painted or e·en gilded.
Painted decoration or wall paintings are íound as narrow íriezes or panels on the upper
sections oí the wall between the cupboards or wooden panelling and the ceiling.`
In describing so, Renda certainly speaks oí the upper-class houses oí the late period.
1his type oí larger house ,/ova/, had, according to Goodwin ,19¯1:433-5,, only
appeared in the pro·inces in the se·enteenth century, while it was only in the eighteenth
century that it rapidly spread. 1hat only íew approach a \estern country house in size`
leads him to the conclusion that buildings on a large scale must ha·e seemed
impersonal and comíortless to the Ottomans`. \hile it is most oíten these wealthier
houses that ha·e been preser·ed, they are not indicati·e oí what the ·ast majority oí
dwellings in Ottoman towns should ha·e looked like. Goodwin ,19¯1:44¯, suggests that
these must ha·e resembled the gecekondu oí the present day. 1hese are humble
dwellings based on a primiti·e law oí squatters` rights which enables anyone who can
put up a rooí in one night to hold the grounds that he has taken.` 1his is well in line
with many western obser·ers` accounts on dwellings outside the ·ery town centres, but
also Paton`s ,1845:198-9, description oí No·i Pazar ,southwest Serbia,, which he ·isited
in the 1840s: On entering, I percei·ed the houses to be oí a most íorbidding aspect,
being built oí mud, with only a base oí bricks, extending about three íeet írom the
ground. None oí the windows were glazed`. At the same he noted that this had been
the íirst town oí this part oí 1urkey in Lurope that I had seen in such a plight.`
In·ariably, the intro·ersion oí the Ottoman house suríaces as the major di·ergence
írom its western counterparts. More than a íeature conditioned by Muslim religion and
tradition, this appears to be a result oí social conditions in Ottoman Balkans. Leon
1rotsky ,1981:123,, who had tra·elled Koso·o and Macedonia in 1912, thereby late
enough to be outside the period in which the religion oí the conqueror may ha·e played
a decisi·e role in the e·eryday designs oí non-Muslim Ottoman subjects, had been gi·en
the íollowing explanation íor the lack oí ornament on the Ottoman louse`:
1he Serbs don`t keep a lot oí li·estock since they would only be carried oíí by the
Albanian bandits. 1he Serbs, e·en the rich ones, don`t build íine houses, either, in the
·illages where there are Albanians. Ií a Serb has a two-story house, he reírains írom
painting it, so that it shan`t look better than the Albanians` houses. Later on, aíter the
capture oí Bitolj, I happened to spend the night at Resen, in the house oí a Greek
doctor. A splendid house, with e·ery comíort, yet the outside was unplastered. \hy· I
asked. le didn`t want this to be done, he said: ií it had been, his house would be one oí
the best in town`.
3. Banditry, ayanltk, and a proto-bourgeoisie: the Balkans before the
3.J. 1he kàrdzalijstvo and the fortified house: dwellings around J800 and
the place of art in an age of insecurity
In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century the Balkans were not dominated
anymore by decisions made by the sultans in Constantinople, but by local ,or localized,
groups: the autonomously-minded pro·incial notables, the prospering merchants, and
roaming brigands ,oíten íormer janissaries,. All these were, oí course, not completely
new to the scene, but while in earlier centuries the Ottoman rulers had been able to
guarantee saíe passage more eííecti·ely, it is in the last third oí the eighteenth century,
when banditry seems to escalate. 1he eííects oí this time oí supreme anarchy`,
howe·er, went beyond se·ere conditions íor those aííected by it at that time, ií we
íollow Kiel ,1985:44,: As this was the last historical memory` Bulgarians still had in the
late nineteenth century when the country became ,de-íacto, independent, the
destructions oí this sad epoch were projected backward into the past |and in| historical
thinking all the centuries oí the 1urkish period ha·e been as gloomy as the last one`,
which essentially accounted íor the íundamentally negati·e assessment oí the whole
Ottoman period by modern Bulgarian historiography.
At the beginning, howe·er, most oí the brigandage had beíallen not the Bulgarian lands
in the east, but the western parts oí the peninsula. In the 1¯¯0s much oí it centred on
central and eastern Macedonia ,McGowan 1994:666,, but banditry and disorders had
brought ruin to almost the entire countryside oí the Peloponnesus as well ,Stoiano·ich
1992:18,. L·en in Koso·o, as the archbishop oí Skopje ,cit. in Malcolm 1998:1¯8,
reported to the Vatican in 1¯¯2, all the ·illages, Catholic and Orthodox and Muslim,
ha·e indeed been exterminated and depopulated.` Crampton ,199¯:54, maintains that
the beginnings oí the /ara¸ati;.tro or /ara¸ati;./o rreve ,as the age oí banditry came to be
called among the Sla·s, could be seen already in by that time, but reached their
culmination in the 1¯90s and 1800s.
Centred on eastern 1hrace, noticeably close to the
capital, McGowan ,1994:666, identiíied many oí the bandits as Muslim smallholders
írom the lasko·o region`. In the 1800s the disorders partly shiíted to north oí the
Balkan mountains ,Danube Bulgaria`,, but were still disturbing much oí 1hrace, and
e·en as late as 1816 much oí the Adrianople area was beyond the reach oí the central
go·ernment and around Burgas the only eííecti·e authority was a band oí brigands
some 300 strong.` ,Crampton 199¯:54,
Naturally, these de·elopments in the halí-century aíter 1¯68 also had leít their trace on
the architecture oí the region. On one hand, as Kiel ,1985:49, noted íor Bulgaria,
countless medie·al and post-medie·al churches and monasteries disappeared, thereby
signiíicantly reducing the architectural record oí the past. On the other hand, as
e·idenced by many examples all o·er the south Balkans ,and beyond,, dwellings
assumed a more íortiíied appearance. Some íeatures typical íor the Ottoman Balkans,
such as the wood-built residential íloor with projections, remained unaltered. But while
pre·iously only the ground íloor was built oí stone, a considerable ele·ation oí the
dwelling`s main rooms took place, whereby we came to know this architectural type as
tower houses`. Oíten also completely built oí stone, on the lower parts oí the building
only íew window openings can be íound. 1hat such structures appear in an age oí
disorder and banditry - and notably, outside larger urban centres - is certainly no
coincidence, rather a necessity.
lor a more comprehensi·e account on the /ara¸ati period in Bulgaria, see Mutaície·a ,1993,.
Kizis ,199¯, see also 2000,, in íact, traces the tower house in 1hessaly, where many
examples ha·e sur·i·ed, back to the residences built by Ottoman landlords in the
se·enteenth century, to be imitated a century later by an emerging Christian middle
class. Greek scholars ha·e oíten insisted on the re·i·al a pre-Ottoman Byzantine model,
which Arel ,1993, also belie·es to ha·e identiíied in contemporary examples oí such
tower houses` in western Anatolia.
But also in the Luropean middle ages such
residential towers could be íound ,see Lichtenberger 2002:29,, íoremost in Italy ,e.g.
Sego·ia,, but also in Vienna, Prague, or Regensburg. Built to surpass and o·ertop
surrounding medie·al burgher houses they, howe·er, did not sur·i·e into the modern
period, as increasing communal autonomy íorced the patrician classes to tear them
down. More than other scholars, who aim to explain the emergence ,or re·i·al, oí this
type as due to general lack oí security, laroqhi ,1995:262-3, sees them as intended
demonstrations oí power by the a,av. 1hese were directed toward the area`s peasant and
nomad population, as they would certainly not ha·e sur·i·ed a siege by a larger army.
One ·ersion oí this building type íound mainly in the Albanian lands is the Kvtta
´bqi¡tare, the Albanian tower|-house|`. It is this also one oí the better-studied types, as
many examples are well-preser·ed, at least until the recent Koso·o-conílict, in which
many were damaged. Lqually linked to Albanians more than to others, its íorbidding
appearance is oíten explained as a response oí recurrent blood íeuds. 1he monolithic
Kulla ,írom trk. /vte, are usually built oí stone, less oíten oí brick, and display íew
Moutsopoulos ,2005:19,, íor example, holds that such dwellings de·eloped in the Byzantine period due
to the insecurity in the mountain areas in the Balkans, and that tower-like habitations were predominant.
le names as examples buildings in Melnik, Lpirus, and the Peloponnesus. Cerasi ,1998:12¯,, howe·er,
belie·es the compact tower-like, two-or-more-story stone masonry, íireplace-centered fogo houses` to be
a regional phenomenon oí the wider Adriatic hinterland, the /vtta only being a ·ariant oí which. le
íurther maintains this to be an older íorm then gradually superseded by the Ottoman house concepts
and timber-and-iníill techniques`.
architectural elements. Ií at all, it is typically only on the portal that decoration in the
íorm oí car·ings oí íloral elements can be íound. 1hese kind oí dwellings had
supposedly already been built 500 years ago in central northern Albania ,Graí 2003:46,,
but their peak period clearly was the nineteenth century.
A more elaborate íorm oí a íortiíied house-type we íind in Gjirokastër, north oí the
Greek-Albanian border. It was this not primarily a centre oí craíts and trade, but
residence oí landlords and administration, whereby the need íor such buildings on the
part oí the here concentrated land-owning upper social strata is oíten explained,
particularly by Marxist authors, as due to class conílict, next to the omnipresent blood
íeuds. Lawless ,19¯9:9, situates the appearance and íull de·elopment oí the íortiíied
house - the most characteristic house-type íound at Gjirokaster` already in the
se·enteenth century, prior to which only íew had more than one storey. It is in this
century that the settlement sees its major phase oí urban de·elopment, and next to the
citadel a proper raro, with 8 vabatte had emerged, but it is only in the eighteenth and íirst
halí oí the nineteenth century that Gjirokastër reaches its zenith ,Shkodra 1988:162,.
Alone in the eighteenth century íour mosques were built, three oí which, probably írom
between the 1¯20s and 1¯55, sur·i·e ,cí. Kiel 1990b:138,141-3,. But more noteworthy
than the religious architecture oí this period are the residences. Described by Lawless
,19¯9:9-11,, these impressi·e dwellings are constructed almost entirely oí stone and
consist oí three, íour, and sometimes íi·e storeys. \hile some ha·e a simple square or
rectangular plan, the more complex examples ha·e one or two projecting wings. lor
reasons oí deíence, only the top storeys possessed large windows, while openings on the
lower le·els are small and grilled casements or merely loopholes. 1he external walls oí
the upper storeys are oíten plastered, occasionally also painted. Most elaborate in the
On the /vttas, see also Riza ,2005,, one oí the authorities in that subject.
interiors, the car·ed ceilings, cupboards, and íireplaces in the upper rooms are the work
oí builders and craítsmen, who Lawless identiíies as Albanians írom nearby ·illages.
1he one building most oíten depicted must be the one described by Shkodra ,1988:163,
and identiíied as the house oí the Bakiraj in the Palorto quarter |Ill. 3.2.|, showing mural
paintings on the íaçade where íloral motiís, landscapes, and hunting scenes - curiously
also depicting a lion - are represented. \hile the date íor the building is usually gi·en as
the late eighteenth century, only Shkodra mentions that the paintings actually date írom
a later period, namely 1853. Next to decorati·e semi-circular arches, we also íind
examples oí o·al top windows betraying a Baroque iníluence.
It is interesting that also in \allachia at this period íortiíied rural mansions appear.
L·en more interesting is that these houses, built to shield the boyar class írom bandit
incursions írom south oí the Danube ,see also later section on banditry under Osman
Paz·antoglu,, are also named aíter a deri·ation oí the 1urkish /vte ,tower,: cvta.
most oí these are located in Oltenia, the western portion oí \allachia bordering central
Serbia and the western section oí Danube Bulgaria, and many írom the late eighteenth
century, an interesting example íor comparison is the Cula Duca |Ill. 3.3.| at Maldarasti
írom 1812. \hile the character oí the exterior is equally íorbidding, we note the steeper
rooís ,typical íor the more northern parts oí the peninsula, including Bosnia,, and more
architectural íeatures, such as semi-circular arched arcades. A more western iníluence
betray the stucco ceilings as a later addition írom 182¯
In the discussion whether to include Romania in a Balkans` deíinition, it is sometimes suggested to
include \allachia, the southernmost oí three large historical regions íorming today`s Romania ,the others
being Molda·ia and 1ransyl·ania,, on the grounds that it had been the region most open to eastern`
iníluences. 1hat the íortiíied house around 1800 is known by the same ,1urkish, term as its Albanian
counterpart on the other end oí the peninsula would be a case in point to support the perspecti·e on
\allachia in a Balkans` scope.
Iníormation at the website oí the Museum oí Valcea City
As we can deduct írom the examples gi·en, dwellings assumed a more íortiíied
character not only in rural areas ,as the boyars` or a,av`s residences in \allachia or
Anatolia,, mountain towns ,as the classical examples oí industrious settlements in
1hessaly and Macedonia, which will be discussed later in this chapter,, but also in actual
urban centres ,as in Gjirokastër,. But realities oí the /ara¸ati period had not only an
impact on the architecture but on cities as well. \hile town growth in this period was
íirst a result oí the expansion oí trade and craíts, the ílight írom the insecure plains to
the saíer urban centres, or to remote mountain towns, was only speeding up this
process. But while urban populations increased, the Ottoman Lmpire had íailed to
participate perceptibly in the general Luropean demographic expansion oí the
eighteenth century ,Stoiano·ich 1992:18,. McGowan ,1994:646,652, cites an estimate oí
the population oí the Balkans ha·ing íallen írom a sixteenth century high oí eight
million to a mid-eighteenth century low oí three million. At the same time he noted the
paradox that the Ottoman territories were strikingly urbanized, when compared with
Lurope`, and cites a contemporary estimate oí two-thirds oí the population oí
Macedonia and 1hessaly li·ing in towns instead oí on the land. But also the towns had
changed. According to Stoiano·ich ,1992:61,14-5, the number oí cities had grown while
at the same time the 1urkish-Muslim population declined in the period 1660-1800.
Gradually and almost imperceptibly, Balkan towns became less Jewish, less Armenian
and sometimes e·en less 1urkish, and more Greek, more Sla·ic, and more Albanian.`
Another noticeable diííerence in this period is the regional hierarchy between cities,
which is not the urban balance ,in terms oí population and importance, we know today.
Some older centres lost their prominence to younger` towns, the best example being
1irana. Belgrade or Skopje, which only a little more than a century earlier may ha·e
attained populations oí 40-50,000, by 1800 still only numbered around 25,000 and
6,000, respecti·ely ,Stoiano·ich 1992:14-5,. On the other hand, uníamiliar towns like
1yrna·os in the mountains oí 1hessaly were reported to boast a population oí 20,000-
35,000 at their peak ,cí. Lawless 19¯¯:522, Kienitz 19¯2:260,. Soíia, since the middle oí
the íiíteenth century the seat oí the be,terbe,i oí Rumeli and thus practically the capital oí
the Ottomans` Luropean possessions, also entered a period oí decline. \hile the
number oí costly houses in the city had still doubled in the second halí oí the eighteenth
century ,1odoro· 19¯¯:61,, Soíia suííered harshly írom a,av waríare and /ara¸ati
attacks. In 1836, e·entually, the be,terbe,i oí Rumeli oííicially mo·ed his seat to Bitola,
where he had already resided in the eighteenth century. In terms oí its economy, Iane·a
,2000, suspects that by the 1850s Soíia may ha·e become a reser·oir oí íree artisan
labour`, with craítsmen emigrating to other centres with a higher demand íor their
work. 1he downward spiral continues when Soíia decays aíter the Crimean \ar ,1853-
6,, whereupon the íormer capital oí Ottoman Lurope` was íurther degraded to only a
.avca/ oí the Danube rita,et a decade later ,I·ano·a 2004c:¯03,. Ridiculed as merely a
large ·illage, in 18¯9 Soíia ,not 1arno·o, was surprisingly elected to be the capital oí the
Bulgarian principality. 1hessaloniki`s crisis at the end oí the eighteenth century was not
as dramatic but, still, its role as an international port declined, partly due to established
trade routes being interrupted by the re·olutionary and Napoleonic wars, partly
probably also as a result oí the general downturn in the Ottoman economy in that
period ,laroqhi 2004b:125,.
3.2. Provincial notables and merchants as ´new¨ patrons of representative
1he most important changes in Ottoman society and go·ernment since the sixteenth
century had been gradual, unintended, usually unrecorded and thereíore poorly
understood`, judged McGowan ,1994:658,. 1he eighteenth-century Ottoman
leadership was unable either to deíend eííecti·ely what was leít oí the empire, or to
reíorm the system in a manner which took account oí the changing world order.` 1he
centre`s weakness had become ·ery ob·ious to the pro·incial elites aíter the Russian-
1urkish war oí 1¯68-¯4, and McGowan ,1994:645, noted it as an irony that the climax
oí coníusion and misrule in this century coincides with the reign oí the íirst real
reíormer, Sultan Selim III ,1¯89-180¯, |harbinger oí a new line oí sultans raised to
go·ern outside the cage system`|. 1his well-meaning but irresolute sultan pro·ed unable
to master the spiral oí ·iolence and disorder in his most important pro·inces and
instead allowed rising pro·incial warlords and Mamluk elites to íind their own
solutions.` 1he a,av were no longer simply ser·ants oí the empire, but instead quite
ready to take a role in deciding its íate.` ,McGowan 1994: 666,
1he origins oí the a,avti/ remain obscure. 1he word itselí is an Arabic plural reíerring
to eminent personalities, and originally the íriends oí the prophet Muhammad. 1he
Ottoman-1urkish use oí the term, reíerring to the most distinguished inhabitant oí a
district or quarter, is usually translated as a notable`. \hile a,av are noted in numerous
towns and ·illages already during the se·enteenth century, it is only at the time oí the
Austro-1urkish war oí 1683-99 that the term acquired a more speciíic connotation. It
came to be used to reíer to certain wealthy indi·iduals elected by the people to act as
intermediaries between the local populace and oííicials oí the Porte, especially in
matters oí íinance, taxation, and military recruitment, as well as to shield them írom the
consequences oí corruption. Neither their precise íunctions nor the nature oí these
elections are known, but it is clear that the a,av was an urban íunctionary not íormally
recognized by the go·ernment, but reluctantly accepted. Oíten poweríul enough to
secure the remo·al oí a pasha who ignored their ad·ice, they constituted an element oí
municipal go·ernment. 1hroughout the eighteenth century, howe·er, the a,av gradually
e·ol·ed into a poweríul landed quasi-aristocracy. ,Sadat 19¯2:346-¯,
1he outbreak oí the war with Russia in 1¯68 had íorced the Porte to e·entually grant
the a,av oííicial status in exchange íor otherwise unobtainable men and supplies. 1he
go·ernor ,rati, oí the pro·ince in which the a,av administered o·er a township ,/a¸a,
coníirmed the election by the award oí a document upon payment oí a íee, selling the
a,avti/ as a source oí re·enue. 1he /aai, pre·iously responsible íor such duties as local
security, pro·isioning oí towns and troops, and the collecting oí taxes, was now
restricted to matters oí Muslim law. 1he a,av had purchased tax-íarming leases,
gradually con·erted tax re·enues into personal income, and e·entually turned the land
itselí into an extralegal íorm oí pri·ate property through the acquisition oí deeds and
titles írom the peasants. \ith an increase in power, they resorted to armed mercenaries,
largely Albanians. 1he çiftti/ ,íarms, were con·erted to commercial agriculture with the
introduction oí new cash crops - principally cotton, wool, corn, tobacco, and wheat -
and it was on the basis oí this economy that the export trade ílourished, much oí it
illegal, as the exportation oí grain was generally íorbidden by the Ottoman go·ernment.
lor more comprehensi·e treatises on the a,av, see also Suceska ,1965, and Ozkaya ,1994,.
Oí course, all a,av were Muslims, but their backgrounds diííered. Quataert ,2000:46-¯,
categorized the pro·incial notables into three groups, only two oí which are rele·ant íor
the Balkans: 1, descendents oí persons who had come to the area as centrally appointed
oííicials, put down local roots,
and through negotiations with the central go·ernment
gained the legal right to stay, or 2, prominent notables whose íamilies had been among
the local elites oí an area beíore the Ottoman period. In some cases the sultans had
recognized their status and power at the moment oí incorporation, íor example, as they
did with many great landholding íamilies in Bosnia.`
Besides the a,av, McGowan ,1994:669, identiíies a second elite, the by-product oí
increased trade, as more consequential`: nati·e men oí iníluence appearing in more
than one guise - as merchants, as money-lenders, and sometimes as tax-collectors, and
landholders.` An interesting coalition between the Muslim a,av and the mostly Christian
merchants e·ol·ed. Comparing Ismail Pasha oí Seres and Osman Paz·antoglu at Vidin,
McGowan ,1994:666, notes that both were on good terms with the merchants and
tradesmen oí their respecti·e towns, to whom they oííered the best chance íor security
and peace.` As long as the a,av were able to íulíil their íunction oí supply and
protection, they and the merchants shared what Sadat ,19¯2:355, called a communality
oí ·ested interests`. Ií the peasants were the ·ictims oí the a,av, the merchants were
their natural allies.
Quataert ,2000:46-¯, notes this as a marked ·iolation oí central state regulations to the contrary` but
appends that central control indeed had ne·er been as extensi·e or thorough as the state`s own
declarations had suggested. Oííicials did circulate írom appointment to appointment, but . not as oíten
or regularly as the state would ha·e preíerred. Nonetheless, such appointees to positions oí pro·incial
authority, whether go·ernors or timar holders, remained in oííice íor shorter periods in the sixteenth and
se·enteenth centuries and longer periods during the eighteenth century.`
Sadat ,19¯2:356-¯, also noted another coalition, a strange triangle oí Janissary-guild-ayan`, which
e·ol·ed |i|níused with the Bektashi mystique` when Muslim artisans enrolled in the Janissary corps,
pro·iding them with status and the right to bear arms, and the decay and corruption oí the religious
It was a characteristic oí the e·ol·ing Ottoman bourgeoisie that it came to be split along
religious lines: a non-Muslim commercial bourgeoisie and an Ottoman Muslim
bureaucratic bourgeoisie. Goçek ,1996:34,3¯,44-45,, howe·er, maintains that the social
status oí both groups diííered, that oí the Ottoman merchants was signiíicantly lower
than that oí the administrators, who had the sultans` delegated authority íor two
reasons. lirst, the Islamic religious attitude toward making large íortunes through usury
was negati·e. Second, compared to the skilled labor oí the artisans, the merchants`
proíits írom charging interest were regarded as unearned gain, proíiteering.` She íurther
explains this with the Ottoman perception oí material culture ha·ing been
embedded in the Islamic maxims, which saw goods as a means to an end, as a means
to support oneselí and one`s dependents without burdening others. It was not the social
art oí procuring goods or the number oí goods so procured that the Qur`an objected to.
Rather, it was the use to which these goods were put, the interpretations attached to
them, that the Qur`an oíten took issue with: the goods had to be used piously, with
modesty. lor the beneíit oí society.`
Lewis ,1961:35,, on the other hand, explained this split less on religious grounds than
with the structure oí the empire inherited:
In the military empire, at once íeudal and bureaucratic, which they had created, the
Muslims knew only íour proíessions - go·ernment, war, religion, and agriculture.
Industry and trade were leít in large measure to the non-Muslim subjects, who
continued to practise their inherited craíts.
1hus the stigma oí the iníidel became
institution` did not lead to a secularization oí Muslim society, as among the Christians, but to a more
o·ert expression oí religious heterodoxy, the traditional Islamic íorm oí social protest.` She thus remarks
it as a contradiction that while the Bektashi and Janissaries were consolidating their reactionary coalition
with orthodoxy, the same Der·ish order was experiencing a re·olutionary, interconíessional re·i·al in
Albania and northern Bulgaria.`
It should be mentioned that this statement certainly represents a ·iew which, in its total claim, has been
largely deconstructed in more recent scholarship successíully demonstrating that considerable numbers oí
attached to the proíessions which the iníidels íollowed, and remained so attached e·en
aíter many oí the craítsmen had become Muslim.`
1he Balkan merchant is oí course not a phenomenon that appeared o·ernight.
Stoiano·ich ,1992:1, reminds us that the origins oí an Orthodox Christian merchant
class in the Balkans can in íact be traced back to the íourteenth and íiíteenth centuries,
but it was not until the eighteenth century that such a group became suííiciently strong
in wealth and number to capture a good part oí the trade oí lungary, southern Russia,
and the eastern Mediterranean.` 1he commercial re·olution oí the se·enteenth and
eighteenth centuries` ,Sadat 19¯2:34¯, is e·en more astonishing as it deíied the general
downward trend in the Ottoman economy. 1he turn írom prosperity to economic
depression had occurred between the 1¯60s and ¯0s, and naturally also had a negati·e
impact on construction and cultural acti·ity. Among the aííected were the pious
íoundations, which sustained not only mosques but schools, con·ents, and libraries, and
thereíore were one oí the pillars oí cultural liíe in the Ottoman Lmpire. In the
eighteenth century the state oíten minimized payments or sometimes coníiscated
properties to íinance wars. 1he only solution leít to the íoundations to keep generating
income was to raise the rents oí shops ,which oíten íormed part oí endowments,, but
this only bewildered the shop-leasing craítsmen, who were equally aííected by the
economic crisis. As a consequence many endowments were not able to keep up ser·ices,
some e·en íell into ruins, as there were no íunds íor repairs. But this also does not
mean that the Ottoman dynasty and the notables reírained írom endowing monumental
complexes aíter 1¯¯0, these just assumed more modest dimensions. ,laroqhi
1995:31,255-6, In the pro·inces the most signiíicant building projects oí this period are
Muslim merchants traded in Venice ,Kaíadar 1986,, 1hessaloniki ,Ginio 2000,, and many other cities.
Dimitriadis ,2006:13¯, reports the 1urkish element` in mid-nineteenth century 1hessaloniki to ha·e
controlled as much as one third oí the commercial acti·ity oí the city.
not anymore patronized by centrally-appointed go·ernment oííicials, but by selí-
appointed notables erecting monuments not in the praise oí god or the Sultan but to
3.2.J. Architectural patronage of the ayan and its place in Ottoman art
3.2.J.J. Ioannina under Ali Pasha
It is around 1800 and under the íamously rebellious Ali Pasha that the city oí Ioannina
in Lpirus achie·es unprecedented prosperity. Go·erned since the íiíteenth century by a
succession oí pashas chosen írom same loyal local 1urkish íamily, under Ali Pasha the
city was ele·ated to the most important town in Albania, ií not in the whole oí Greece,
with a population oí about thirty thousand, mostly Greek and mostly engaged in trade`,
wrote Plomer ,19¯0:48-9, in his 1be íiov of ]avviva oí 1936. Ali could not ha·e chosen
a more suitable place to establish himselí in than Jannina, its appearance being halí
splendid and halí squalid, its climate subject to sudden changes and ·iolent extremes, its
situation oí great strategic ·alue, and its history consisting largely oí acts oí tyranny and
cruelty.` Ali was no exception, roasting personal enemies on the spit and burning to the
ground entire ·illages. \et, Skiotis ,19¯1:223, appends, he was also in·ariably presented
as an enlightened and progressi·e ruler with a capacity, rare among his caste, to learn
and adapt írom the modernizing \est. Most oíten mentioned are his achie·ements in
the íields oí public order and security, justice, trade and commerce, transportation, and
education.` As most studies, howe·er, ha·e concentrated on Ali the man, considerably
less iníormation is a·ailable on the quasi-state he created.
At the peak oí his power in 1812 he ruled o·er a population oí one and a halí million in
a large area north oí Attica and south oí the line Durrës-Bitola-1hessaloniki, and could,
in case oí a crisis, íield 40,000 hardy mountaineers, generally considered among the
best troops in the Lmpire.` ,Skiotis 19¯1:220, Aiming to be classed as a true world
ruler worthy oí the accolades oí a Napoleon`, he also set about to lea·e a physical mark
on his lands, as lleming ,1999:44-5, narrates:
Upon assuming the title oí pasha oí Ioannina |in 1¯8¯|, he embarked on an ambitious
program oí public works, building roads and lodges, impro·ing communications routes,
and encouraging trade. |le| was clearly interested to some extent in portraying himselí
as a bene·olent and protecti·e ruler who impro·ed the lot oí his people by opening
their lands and decorating them with architectural splendors ... Summer homes and
secondary residences were built íor him in all major towns íor tactical reasons and in
smaller ·illages íor sentimental reasons. lor example, Ali built one oí his most
sumptuous secondary residences in his nati·e ·illage oí 1ebelen. In addition to
íacilitating his |írequent| tra·els, such structures pro·ided the local population with a
physical reminder oí its o·erlord`s power o·er them . Ali had tea-houses and lodges
established along the primary tra·el routes and pa·ed the prime road írom Ioannina to
Pre·eza on the Adriatic coast. In 1804 Leake reported that the route between Ioannina
and 1rikkala had khans along its entirety, at inter·als oí about one hour`s tra·eling time
. 1hese public works projects, along with the dramatic reduction in brigandry in the
area, made Ali`s territories accessible to íoreign and domestic mercantilism.`
Conspicuously absent írom this account oí Ali`s building projects are mosques, and Kiel
,19¯8:548, sees the works oí Ali Pasha as largely restricted to a number oí castles
,Jannina, Pre·eza, Porto Palermo, Butrint, Gjirokastër, 1epelene, etc.` But we know
that, at least, Ali restored the late sixteenth-century lethiye mosque in 1¯95 |Ill. 3.¯.|,
located right next to his .ara,.
1he exterior is not particularly elaborate, but an
elongation must ha·e taken place during this rebuilding. 1he portal is a ·ery simple
recess íraming a double-arched door ,the original portico has not been preser·ed,. 1he
Ií not great palaces or mosques, se·eral minor and utilitarian works are, howe·er, indeed preser·ed
írom Ali`s rule in Ioannina. 1hese include the huge ca·alry school ,Souíari Sarai`, presently reno·ated to
house the city archi·es,, the power-magazine building, a ruined veare.e kitchen, and the building usually
identiíied as treasury` and a stone-built kitchen house, both belie·ed to ha·e íormed party oí Ali`s
palace. 1he mosque, veare.es, and tvrbes named aíter a íounder Aslan ,Lion`, Pasha, howe·er, do not
reíer to Ali ,the Lion oí Jannina`,, but date to a se·enteeth century ruler. lrom Ali`s time íurthermore
sur·i·e two commissions oí his son Veli Pasha: the restoration oí a mosque and the construction oí a
medrese, both bearing his name.
octagonal drum ,supporting an eight-sided rooí, a later replacement oí a dome·, is
especially high, and the windows are not anymore pointed but circular, as with other
pro·incial mosques oí the period, and particularly in the wider Albanian region.
Noteworthy in this respect, howe·er, are the slightly double-S cur·ed ·oussoirs oí the
windows on the ground íloor. \e can thus notice some íeatures known írom the
Ottoman Baroque` period in the capital, although generally the lethiye at Ioannina
bears little resemblance with the mosques built at Istanbul at the same time.
someone like Ali Pasha, who challenged the Sultan`s so·ereignty, the dimensions oí this
prominently located ediíice are surprisingly modest.
On the other hand, his palace or rather palace complex` was anything but modest.
Destroyed in 1822, when Ali was o·erthrown and beheaded by the Sultan`s íorces,
illustrations and descriptions oí this structure íortunately sur·i·ed in the accounts oí the
numerous westerners ,including Lord Byron, who ·isited the capital oí this intriguing
On these engra·ings |Ill. 3.4. & 3.5| we can see the extent oí this complex,
uníortunately, howe·er, we cannot coníirm what Cambridge`s Re·erend lughes ,cit. in
Stoiano·ich 1992:35, noted in 1814, namely that the palaces oí Ali and his two sons
were not only in the best style oí 1urkish architecture` but, íar more interestingly, that
these were also painted in the most gaudy colours`.
\e also know the name oí Ali`s
In the íile íor this monument at the Cultural Library oí Lpirus and Southern Albania`
,www.epcon.gr,interreg, we are iníormed not only that two marble pillars in the lethiye mosque
probably came írom the Byzantine church oí Archangel Michael, but also read oí internal plastered or
painted decoration`, illustrations oí which could, howe·er, not be obtained íor this study.
On western ·isitors at the court oí Ali Pasha, see also Marinescu ,1998,.
Also Pouque·ille ,1820:56, noted the palaces oí Ali`s sons to be in the general mode oí 1urkey` but
with the peculiarity oí ha·ing been adorned with paintings in íresco, executed by Armenians,
productions períectly adapted by their absurdity to the taste oí the princes their admirers. One, íor
example, o·er the entrance oí Mouctar's palace, represents him surrounded by his guards, assisting at the
execution oí a man suspended on a gibbet. 1his piece is not, howe·er, held in such estimation by the
connoisseurs as another, exhibiting a landscape, in which his excellency appears in the midst oí a groupe
oí horses, oxen, mules, and asses - the usual society oí that illustrious personage. In the palace oí his
younger brother, Veli Pasha, the scenes are oí a diííerent character, camps, piles oí human heads, colours,
chieí architect, Petro Korçari ,oí Korçë,, who is credited with many building projects,
including that oí the .ara,s, se·eral íortresses, and a mosque at Souli castle near Parga
,see Shuteriqi 19¯8,.
Next to Ali, also Ioannina`s Greeks assumed a remarkably acti·e role in the patronage oí
public commodities. lleming ,1999:48, gi·es the example oí the prominent Zosimas
brothers who íounded institutions íor higher education, endowed schools, and
underwrote the local priesthood. As a result, Ioannina came to gain such a reputation as
a place oí letters that it attracted students írom throughout Greece. Virtually all
contemporary accounts agree with Miller`s assessment that to Ioannina Greece owes
the resurrection oí education . All Greek authors were either nati·es oí Ioannina or
pupils oí the Ioannina school.`` Promer ,19¯0:¯2, highlights the local Argyri íamily,
whose head Anastasi had made a lot oí money in trade and had used it well in ·arious
charitable and public ser·ices: he had íounded a hospital, established a íund íor poor
prisoners, to whom he sent a hot dinner e·ery Sunday, and built roads and bridges. le
had been on excellent terms with Ali, who had treated him as a íriend.` Llaborating on
Ali`s relationship with the local Christians, Promer ,19¯0:55, writes: Unlike his
predecessors, he surrounded himselí with Albanians and Greeks. le liked the Greeks
sieges in which the bombs are larger than the houses. 1he cieling oí his sleeping apartment exhibits at
once the sun, the moon, the stars, a comet with its blazing tail, and the thunderbolt darting athwart the
hea·ens. Aly's own palace is adorned in a much better style, with arabesques in good taste.` lrashëri
,2006,, extrapolating írom Shuteriqi ,19¯8, and tra·ellers` accounts, describes the complex as íollows:
|1|he architectural ensemble at Ioannina Castle ,1805, destr. 1822,, consist|ed| oí íi·e palaces ,seraglios,,
oí which the Litharici and the Qoshk |~/ö,/| were recorded as the most beautiíul. As in all his palaces,
the ground íloors had ·ery high and thick stone walls, characteristic oí the Albanian tower` type oí house
... 1he upper storeys, which were lit by many big windows, contained: a hall oí ceremonies, 49 m long in
the palace oí Litharici, halls íor entertaining Muslim guests, special pa·ilions oí octagonal design with
alco·es in the corners, as at the Qoshk, íor entertaining non-Muslims, a hall íor the ruler and the
members oí his íamily íurnished in the local taste, rooms íor the exhibition oí trophies, and ser·ants`
rooms. Marble was pre·alent in the interior, while the upper storey was painted on the exterior.
Stylistically the Ioannina ensemble combined Islamic and western Baroque elements, with íorms írom the
18th-century Albanian town house. Ioannina was his |Korçari`s| most representati·e work, but the palace
,1806, destr. 1821, at Pre·eza, built with marble írom the ancient city oí Nicopolis, was considered the
most beautiíul oí his palaces.`
because many oí them were rich, and he appreciated their adaptability and suppleness oí
A contemporary depiction oí the Argyri íamily`s mansion at Ioannina |Ill.
3.6.| illustrates how the residence oí a wealthy local Greek must ha·e looked like. It
must also be due to the patronage oí Ioannina`s well-to-do that, mentioned by
ladjimihali ,1949:32,, in 1800 also a cathedral` was built. la·eyrial ,see Llsie
2001:2¯3, íurther mentions that in 1813 Ali himselí ordered a church to be built in
Calicoudési` in honour oí the Vlach-origin monk Cosmas who, beíore being impaled
by Kurd Ahmet Pasha oí Berat in 1¯¯9, had predicted Ali`s great career which must
ha·e secure him Ali`s de·otion.
Luropean tra·ellers had recorded Ali Pasha`s Ioannina as a city oí between 30,000-
50,000 inhabitants, with 16-19 mosques ,three oí which sur·i·e,, 6-8 churches, 2
synagogues, and 5 te//es ,Araíat 198¯:1¯¯,. Due to the de·astating íire oí 1869 we are
uníortunately leít with little insight on the urban architecture oí Ioannina oí this period
,cí. Dimitriadis 199¯,, sa·e íor what remains on depictions on engra·ings and
Cambridge`s Re·erend lughes ,in Stoiano·ich 1992:25,, íor example,
had in 1814 not noticed much di·ergence írom other Ottoman towns:
1he interior oí the city, like all others in 1urkey, disappointed our expectations: its
houses are not built íor external show: that part oí them which is turned towards the
street consists almost entirely oí bare wall . |S|till howe·er a much greater degree oí
It is also oíten mentioned that Ali Pasha used Greek as the language oí his court. According to one
tra·eller, Ali himselí could both read and speak Greek, while, next to his mother-tongue Albanian ,then
only a spoken language,, could read Ottoman. Greek was also the mother tongue oí most local Muslims
,1urkoyaniots`,, probably íor descending írom Christian .i¡abis con·erted towards the mid-se·enteenth
century. ,Anastassiadou 2004:282, Araíat 198¯:1¯8, Skiotis 19¯1:22¯,
Nonetheless we know oí at least one preser·ed example oí residential architecture írom Ali`s period:
the louse oí the Despot`, the residence oí a 1urkish íamily, íeaturing an arched stone-staircase entrance
so typical íor Albania. 1his íeature can also be seen at the equally well-preser·ed Ottoman-period library-
neatness and stability was ·isible in the habitations oí Ioannina than in those oí any
other city we ha·e yet ·isited.`
Comparing western tra·ellers` descriptions oí places in 1hessaly and neighbouring
Lpirus írom around 1800, McGowan ,1994:¯00, comes to conclude that the degree oí
íoreign iníluence upon these merchants was une·en`. 1he ·isitor to a Vlach ·illage oí
1hessaly had reported that |t|he wealthier inhabitants are merchants, who resided
abroad many years ... and who, aíter a long absence, return with the íruits oí their
industry to their nati·e towns, which they thus enrich, and in some degree, ci·ilize.` A
contemporary ·isitor to Ioannina, howe·er, judged that |t|he domestic manners oí the
Greeks oí Ionnina |sic| ha·e in general been little aííected by the long residence oí
many oí the merchants in íoreign countries. 1hey are almost identical with those oí the
1urks`. Lpirus, in íact, already had a long history oí international trade, with nearby
Italy in particular, and Venice as the primary link. Many wealthy Ioannite íamilies
maintained residences both in Ioannina and abroad. As a result oí the pro·isions írom
the Küçük Kaynarca treaty with Russia, the Greeks shipping magnates prospering in
Black Sea trade maintained Ioannina as a natural hub, which made the city share in their
increased wealth. Ií lleming ,1999:46, then writes that its trade re·ol·ed to a good
extent around the import oí luxury items írom the west, it would be saíe to assume that
some oí the items remained in the salons oí Ioannina`s merchants. Ali`s strategy to keep
the commercial connections írom being transíerred elsewhere through emigration was,
reportedly, to not allow a whole íamily to lea·e the area. In that way the remaining
members ,and their property, would guarantee return ,Araíat 198¯:1¯8,.
3.2.J.2. Vidin under Osman Pazvantoglu
1he second most oíten mentioned a,av oí the Balkans is Osman Paz·antoglu ,also
Pas·anoglu, oí Vidin.
By the mid-1¯90s he had established himselí as the leading
power in the northern Balkans, controlling much oí the area between Belgrade and
Ldirne. Zens, who holds that Paz·antoglu prepared the ground íor the Serbian uprising
in the same way that 1epedelenli Ali Pasha laid the íoundation íor the Greek re·olution
oí 1820, sees the diííerence to other a,av in the Balkans in the strategic ·alue oí
Paz·antoglu`s land and capital`, Vidin. Not only did it enjoy easy access to
neighbouring \allachia, Serbia, and the Austrian border, it was also central to many oí
the trade and communication routes oí the region. \hen Ottoman íorces besieged
Osman`s íortress on the Danube in 1¯98, he could hold out íor eight months,
undeíeated, as the íailing siege was unable to pre·ent supplies and íood írom crossing
the Danube into the city. le continued to íortiíy Vidin and íormed a militia oí 12,000
loyal and well-trained soldiers oí ·arious backgrounds - Albanians, Bulgarians,
Bosnians, 1urks, allegedly e·en lrench oííicers and soldiers, as the British belie·ed -
and paid them himselí írom the taxes he le·ied. 1he promise oí lower taxes was chieí
reason he enjoyed the support oí the rea,a, whereby he also collected additional
re·enues by continually raiding \allachia and eastern Serbia. lor many íormer
janissaries the liíe oí brigandage he oííered was more appealing than íarming or li·ing
oíí a meagre salary. Not only because oí his enormous wealth and prestige, he came to
see himselí as the greatest oí the a,av in the Balkans, but also on account oí the ·arious
As Bajraktare·ic ,2004:284, stresses, not Osman but in íact his íather was an a,av. Osman himselí
became the de-íacto ruler oí the Vidin ¡a,ati/ not by appointment but by íorce. 1he use oí the term a,av
remains ambiguous, as must be stressed, but there is no place íor a more detailed discussion here. lor
brieí discussions on terminology, see also Skiotis ,19¯1, and Sadat ,19¯2,.
communications he had with íoreign en·oys. Both lrance and Russia sought to
establish a consulate in his city. ,Zens 2002:83,93-4,99,103,
Although, as Zens ,2002:96, re·eals, in 1¯94 alone the ,e,bvti.tav in Istanbul had issued
íour fetra calling íor his capture and annihilation oí this rebel and godless traitor` who
had no respect íor any authority or Islam, it is to the Bosnian-origin Osman that
I·ano·a ,2004b:20¯, relates the ílorescence oí Vidin as a centre oí Islamic culture`.
But next to the construction oí a mosque, a veare.e, and a library, I·ano·a also mentions
that he repaired the íour main roads going out oí Vidin and regulated the city street
network, pro·ided the town with cbe,ve. or íountains, as well as a vo.tv/ and Sebil with
an ice-house |and built| a stone tomb oí the local hero oí 1urkish íolklore, Salaheddin
Baba.` 1he most unusual oí his building projects, howe·er, were probably the barracks
constructed in cruciíorm shape between 1¯98-1801 by lrench and Polish builders
,Ugrino· 2004:35, íor Paz·antoglu`s garrison.
1he mosque |Ill. 3.8.|, built by ,and named aíter, him in 1800-1, has a dedication to his
íather Omer and an inscription íor which the poet Mahir was commissioned ,I·ano·a
2004b:20¯, as well as a íew other noteworthy íeatures. Instead oí the more slender
Ottoman porticoes, Osman`s mosque is entered through a massi·e arcade with square
At the same time he is not unpopular among the Greeks, íor he íirst sa·ed the Greek re·olutionary and
poet Rigas leraias ,Velestenlis,, with whom he had íriendly and close relations, írom the ·engeance oí the
\allachian prince ,in whose domain Osman plundered,, and later, this time unsuccessíully, tried to sa·e
him írom being strangled by the Ottoman authorities in Belgrade. Rigas had come to know lrench
re·olutionary ideas among the Greeks oí Vienna, and maybe it is thus due to his iníluence that Pundeíí
,1994:104, writes oí Osman issuing maniíestoes in the phraseology oí the lrench Re·olution to win
popular support`. Oddly, he adds: Paz·antoglu helped to spread the message oí liberty, equality, and
1he /ova/ at Vidin, most probably the one identiíied by Mijate· ,198¯:22, as the /ova/ oí Inceli
Ahmet Bey Zogu` ,now the municipal museum,, also dates írom the second halí oí the eighteenth
century, but írom beíore Osman`s time. 1hat it, howe·er, looks as dating írom the mid-nineteenth
century is reportedly due to a late nineteenth century reconstruction in which it acquired some elements
írom Bulgarian National Re·i·al architecture. ,cí. http:,,dutch.disco·er-bulgaria.com,Articles.aspx·
columns, o·er which we see not a dome but a íour-sided rooí. Although the o·erall
appearance oí the structure is rather bulky and modest, ceilings and doors are adorned
with wood-car·ings. Lckert ,1989:25¯, also mentions that the minaret is not topped by
a crescent but with a heart, and relates this with the will to pronounce independence
írom the Sultan. Stajno·a ,19¯9:61, also mentions that the Ak Cami` was repaired by
Osman in 1¯99-1800, as an inscription on the building ,presumably demolished in the
1he library |Ill. 3.9.|, built in compound with the mosque and, according to Stajno·a
,19¯9:60,, close to his /ova/, is also a ·ery simple building holding a domed square
room entered through a stone-made porch, topped by a small dome and resting on two
columns. 1he inscription, íramed with stylized íloral ornaments consisting oí tulips and
patterns oí interlaced lea·es and also composed by Mahir, who mentions the building as
one oí the useíul works accomplished` by Osman ,transl. in Stajno·a 19¯9:64,, gi·es
the building date as 1802-3, but more interesting is that the library was in íact a public
library bringing together all books accumulated in the town, with the donation oí the
Paz·antoglu íamily as core collection ,I·ano·a 2004b:20¯,. Stajno·a ,19¯9:66-¯, stresses
that it in íact was a court library`, as Osman wished it to be known in the inscription,
and moreo·er comes to call it a íamily` monument, as Osman dedicated the library to
his íather, so that his soul may rest in peace`, not in his |own| praise, as was customary
in Ottoman building practice.`
3.2.J.3.. Shkodër and Prizren under the Bushatli and Rotulla
In the Albanian lands, se·eral poweríul local íamilies came to the íoreground as well
between the 1¯50s and 1830s. 1he Rotullu dynasty ruled Prizren, while Prishtina and
Gjilan ,Gnjilane, were ruled by the Gjinolli, who became so poweríul in the early
nineteenth century that they were called the second rulers oí Koso·o aíter the Sultan.
But only one local dynasty could ,and did, ri·al and challenge the power oí the Sultan,
the Bushatli, who ruled írom 1¯5¯ to 1831. Mehmed Bushatli came to power as
go·ernor oí the Shkodër sancak ,incl. areas in western Koso·o, in 1¯5¯. An
independent-minded indi·idual, his plans were subsequently resumed by his son
Mahmut upon his death in 1¯¯5. 1he latter succeeded in conquering parts oí southern
Albania and Koso·o a decade beíore he died in 1¯96. 1hat |p|opular history in the
\est has taken too little interest in this extraordinary man, compared with the attention
it has la·ished on his southern counterpart, Ali Pasha`, Malcolm explains with the íact
that he was ne·er ·isited by Romantic Lnglish tra·ellers.` ,Malcolm1998:1¯5-6,
lis main architectural legacy is the Kursunlu Camii ,alb. `bavia e Ptvvbit, |Ill. 3.10.|, the
largest mosque oí Albania, and an exceptional building also in other respects. Built in
1¯¯3,4 by Bushatli Mehmed Pasha Plaku, the íounder oí the iníamous Bushatli íamily,
it was clearly inspired by the Sultanic mosques oí Istanbul, as the otherwise rare
courtyard layout suggests.
Kiel ,1990a:231, suggests that such íorms were chosen by
Mehmed to demonstrate his power, the vibrab was inspired by Sinan`s works, and the
More speciíically about the inspiration is the In your pocket instant guide` íor Shkodër ,2006:23,,
which claims the model to ha·e been the Sultanahmet mosque. Gi·en the relati·ely modest dimensions oí
the mosque at Shkodër, this is oí course a bra·e comparison.
conser·ati·e, sharply pointed Ottoman arches are in contrast to that oí most mosques
built in this period which returned` to semi-circular arch íorms.
But the mosque was
not to be the only embellishment Mehmed commissioned íor his town. le also
established a large çar,i complete with veare.e and library ,Lyice 19¯6:¯6, see also Luzati
1998,, but the location was not wisely chosen. llooded e·ery year, the town e·entually
had to be mo·ed to where the modern city stands at present. Kiel ,1990a:231, also dates
the walls oí the Shkodër íortress to the same period, the last quarter oí the eighteenth
century, and notes that the decorati·e niches abo·e each centre arch oí the gates,
íeaturing tulips and an accolade arch reminding us oí the works oí the Lale De·ri` but
pre·iously thought to be Venetian, are also really the eighteenth century work oí the
In Prizren, despite interíerences by the Bushatli oí Shkodër, the Rotulla íamily had
remained in power since the 1¯¯0s. lrom 1809-36 the town was ruled by Mahmut
Pasha, the most important oí this dynasty, who erected a large mosque, a ve/teb, a
veare.e, and also rebuilt the mosque in the Prizren castle. le íought in the suppression
oí the Serbian and Greek re·olts, but then sided with Mustaía Bushatli and was deíeated
by Ottoman íorces. lis brother Lmin Pasha Rotulla succeeded him and remained in
charge till his death in 1843, without heir, and the rule oí the íamily ended. In 1831
Lmin constructed the last great mosque oí Prizren, named aíter himselí, and a íourth
,Kiel 2004:339, Interestingly, the architecture oí the íormer íollows the model
oí the local Soíu Sinan Pasha mosque írom 1614,5. In the interior we íind painted
Kiel ,1990a:204-5, also noted diííerent construction techniques in north Albania írom those used by
the masters írom the Pindos mountains in the middle and south oí the country. In the north, and the
examples he gi·es are the 1¯¯0s Kursunlu at Shkodër and the 1830s mosque oí Abdurrahman at Peqin,
these appear more Dalmatian.
\hen the e,atets were reorganized in the 1840s, Prizren then replaced Skopje as the .avca/ capital,
whereby the town grew considerably, and was considered by some to be the capital oí Albania.` ,see
Kiel 2004:339, and 1990a,
landscapes ,including a mosque, trees, curtains, etc., stretching around the lower parts
oí the domes and semi-domes. 1he Soíu Sinan Pasha mosque, on which that oí Lmin
Pasha was modelled, is painted in a ·ery similar mode, and must ha·e been decorated at
the same time and probably by the same artist |Ill. 3.32-3|. 1he paintings already display
a ·ery realistic mode oí depiction, and are rather diííerent írom the interiors oí other
mosques in Koso·o or Albania ,which will be discussed in greater detail in the next
section,. Blue takes a much more important place, while elsewhere black, yellow, and
red appear to predominate.
3.2.J.4. Preliminary conclusion and a note on Mehmet Ali's külliye in
In conclusion, we note that there was no thing as a typical a,av mosque`, as the greatly
diííering designs herein discussed show. Closest to contemporary trends in Istanbul, and
this only due to some rather minor íeatures ,arches on ground íloor, elongation,, is the
mosque Ali Pasha ,re-,built next to his palace complex in Ioannina. 1he Pas·antoglu
mosque at Vidin clearly had no imminent Constantinopolitan model in mind, and is
massi·e and simple instead oí playíul or elaborate. 1he mosque oí Lmin Pasha at
Prizren was simply modelled aíter the early se·enteenth century mosque oí Sinan Pasha,
which still dominates the town`s skyline. Bushatli`s Kursunlu mosque at Shkodër
intentionally íollowed an outdated model, that oí the classical sixteenth-century sultanic
/vtti,e in the capital, not to underline allegiance to the Sultan, but to stress own
1he architecturally most interesting building project oí this period, howe·er, was
patronized by an Albanian whose selí-reliance pro·ed equally problematic íor the
Ottoman rulers. Mehmet Ali was not an a,av, but ne·ertheless came to rule Lgypt in
much oí the íirst halí oí the nineteenth century. 1he /vtti,e |Ill. 3.11-3.16| he
commissioned to be built in his hometown oí Ka·ala, while he himselí resided in Cairo,
is an unusually grand architectural statement íor the period and its diííicult
circumstances. 1he date oí construction is usually gi·en as 1800-11 ,cí. 1uran and
Another example oí a sur·i·ing mosque built by a wealthy Bulgarian a,av, which could not be included
but should be mentioned, is the Saat Cami ,in reíerence to the nearby clock tower, at 1argo·iste ,trk. Lski
Cuma, built by a certain Mollazade. It is the only oí íormerly 16 ,admittedly much more primiti·e,
mosques to sur·i·e ,Kiel 1990b:112,.
Ibrahimgil 2001:121, Ay·erdi 1982:236-¯,, but the latter also mentioned an inscription
reading 1808 on the door. \hile 1uran and Ibrahimgil ,2001:122, report that all
buildings are in the Ottoman Baroque` style, Sezgin ,19¯3:115-6, identiíies
characteristics írom two diííerent periods: a ·ery classical appearance oí veare.e and
ivaret ,kitchen íor the poor,, while the mosque reportedly íollows the Ottoman
Baroque`. Most remarkably, the ea·e oí the drum swings with the windows, a íeature
that can be seen at the 1¯69 Zeynep Sultan mosque in Istanbul, but is much more
typical oí medie·al Orthodox churches in the Balkans and Byzantium ,e.g. the twelíth-
century church oí St Nicholas at Kursumlija, Serbia,. 1he outer wall íacing the citadel is
cur·ed around the portals in a way similar to that around the Nuruosmaniye, with which
it also shares the ele·ated lateral arches on all íours sides, but their saddle-íorm is closer
to Byzantine prototypes, and with the traditional portico in íront oí it, the sea íaçade
achie·es a similar eííect as the 1830s catholicon oí the Rila monastery. 1here is no
iníormation about the architect, but Sezgin ,19¯3:118, belie·es it to ha·e been a
1urkish architect`, and indirectly goes as íar as suggesting the Armenian-origin
architect Krikor Balyan, who had been commissioned with se·eral residences and also
the Nusretiye mosque during the reign oí Mahmud II. But with the Nusretiye we can
see only ·ery íew similarities, íor it represents already another stage in Ottoman
architecture, and it moreo·er appears rather unlikely that a court architect would ha·e
built a structure in a pro·incial town íor an indi·idual like Mehmet Ali, who by 1800
really was not yet likely to ha·e been in the position to patronize such a project. Born
the son oí a soldier and tobacco trader, and a mother írom the íamily oí the town
go·ernor, Mehmet Ali most probably did not dwell in po·erty. But it was only in 1801
that he was among the contingent recruited in Ka·ala to join the Ottoman íorces in
Lgypt, becoming deputy-commander oí an Ottoman-Albanian battalion dispatched to
íight the lrench in Lgypt. Only then began his spectacular rise, appointed ,or
acknowledged` as, ·iceroy oí Lgypt in 1805, and it was only aíter his /vtti,e at Ka·ala
was supposedly íinished, thereby aíter the 1810s, that Mehmet came to enjoy a peak oí
power ,cí. 1oledano 2004,. 1hat Kiziltoprak ,2006, gi·es the date oí the ra/fi,e
,íoundation deed, oí the complex as 1813 íinally pro·es impossible the year 1800 as the
date oí the start oí construction. 1he date 181¯-21, gi·en in a restoration report by the
Imaret lotel` ,2006,I:1,, into which it has been transíormed in recent years, appears
much more reasonable in terms oí the buildings` architectural character as well. 1he
authors oí this report equally belie·ed the turco-baroque iníluences` to be an indicator
that the architect should ha·e been írom Istanbul`. Aíter all, Mehmet Ali had also
commissioned se·eral Greek and 1urkish artists írom Istanbul to decorate his palaces in
Cairo ,Renda 1998:106-8,. lis identiíication with things Ottoman, despite his
questionable allegiance to the Sultan, becomes most apparent in his better-known
building project oí the 1840s Muhammad Ali mosque at Cairo, which had renounced
the post-Mamluk mainstream that had pre·iously characterized Cairene architecture íor
a more Ottoman appearance.
Ií these two projects are compared, the one in Cairo is
much more the monument oí a ruler, while that at Ka·ala, low-rise and distinguished by
its social-educational and not primarily religious or representati·e íunction, is that oí a
Mehmet Ali`s buildings in Ka·ala, though at some point certainly in a deplorable shape,
sur·i·ed in a country that was not particularly íond oí preser·ing its Ottoman past íor
the simple reason that Mehmet, a local, openly challenged the Sultan`s authority. lis
On Mehmet Ali and the arts, see also \iet ,1949,.
Beldiceanu-Steinherr and Giannopoulos ,2004:¯¯6, cite an Ottoman document that re·eals that he had
the re·enues oí the nearby island oí 1hassos assigned íor the upkeep oí his endowment at Ka·ala,
including a school, a madrasa , a mosque, a library and a soup-kitchen ,imaret`,. It is indicati·e oí the
social íunction that characterized this structure that it came to be known as Mehmet Ali`s Imaret`, not
Mehmet Ali`s mosque`.
/ova/ ser·es as a museum, his tomb remains in the yard, and next to a neo-Byzantine
church oí questionable appeal he is represented with an equestrian statue. But not all oí
the independent-minded notables in the Balkans ha·e enjoyed a similar aíterliíe. laroqhi
,1995:260, rightíully noted that, as these notables` commissions were built with the goal
to underline their power and position, this was also exactly the reason why many oí
those buildings closely associated with indi·iduals íell into ruins or were e·en torn down
aíter they lost their power. 1he a,av remain as a symbol oí the centre`s inability to
eííecti·ely control e·en the least distant regions, and this period has thus been labelled
as a period oí imperial decay, with the a,av as its motor. But how was it really íor
ordinary subjects to li·e under their rule·
\enisehirlioglu ,2006:321,326,, in her article on the architectural patronage oí a,av
íamilies in Anatolia, arri·es at a íar less negati·e conclusion than most Ottomanists`
assessment oí de·elopments in the age oí the a,av: Villages and towns ílourished under
their patronage and in some cases whole geographical areas were populated íor the íirst
time under their authority.` 1he patronage oí the Karaosmanogullari íamily ,Aegean
Anatolia,, íor example, co·ers a large range oí building acti·ities and demonstrates
how this notable íamily íelt the need to pro·ide íor ·arious aspects oí social and cultural
liíe oí the region, and endowed and distributed parts oí their income íor this purpose.`
Is the centro-centric` approach to the role oí the a,av in Ottoman cultural history to
Ií we íurther compare the patronage oí a,av in Ottoman Lurope with that oí their Asian
counterparts we íind that in the Balkans there is no example like the palace oí Ibrahim
Pasha at Dogubeyazit ,on the 1urkish-Iranian border,, a real palace on which three
generations oí Pashas had built until 1¯84, and which curiously shows ornament in
Baroque spirit consciously merged with Seljuk rather than Ottoman íorms imported
írom Istanbul ,laroqhi 1995:260,. 1he actual conclusion to this section must be that,
just as many sub-topics in this thesis, the architectural patronage oí the Rumeli a,av
would merit a separate study, also in order to pro·ide íor more than the superíicial and
íragmentary sur·ey oí monuments produced by them that could be compiled here. Such
undertaking would also be necessary to support the argument that, as it appears írom
the pictures oí interiors and architectural details compiled, largely írom pre·ious studies,
by \enisehirlioglu ,2006,, somewhat paradoxically, a Baroque` spirit may in íact ha·e
been more apparent in the a,av architecture in the Asian parts oí the empire than in the
3.2.2. 1he 1hessalo-Lpirote-Macedonian region in the last quarter of the
\hile in the chapter co·ering the second quarter oí the nineteenth century
de·elopments in 1hrace will take the most prominent place, íor the last third oí the
eighteenth century the íocus in·ariably shiíts to the west oí the peninsula, more
concretely an area co·ering the historic regions oí Lpirus, 1hessaly, and ,mostly the
western part oí, Macedonia. 1he reason is the emergence oí an Orthodox merchant
class in this part oí the Balkans which, according to Stoiano·ich ,1992:42, produced
more carters and merchants in the eighteenth century than any other Balkan area oí
comparable size.` 1he Macedo-Vlach` merchants oí this region had in íact traded with
Italy and engaged in trans-imperial commerce beíore the eighteenth century but, as held
by Stoiano·ich ,1992:63,, they did not achie·e distinction until the 1reaty oí
Passarowitz ,1¯18,. Kienitz ,19¯2:259, names se·eral íactors íor the de·elopment oí
Greek` commerce in the eighteenth century: a longer absence oí wars with Austria
aíter the peace oí 1¯39, the loss oí Venice as a serious competitor, and, last and
probably least, a desire íor oriental` goods at the western Luropean courts
\hile McGowan ,1994:669, asserts that in many places, as at Larissa and Salonica, it
was common practice íor such prosperous íamilies to buy protection írom some
poweríul Muslim`, industry could thri·e in a íew geographically isolated communities
leít alone by bandits and go·ernments alike. In the second halí oí the century
Macedonia and 1hessaly may ha·e exported roughly halí oí their grain, cotton and
tobacco production. Local merchants, mainly Greeks and Vlachs, held a quasi
monopoly on the o·erland export oí wool and cotton to western markets. As Luropean
merchants were uníamiliar with the ways and languages oí the Ottoman peoples they
depended on local brokers and carters to dispose oí their merchandise in the Balkan
interior as well.
1he newly acquired wealth resulted in the replacement oí íormerly
modest huts with more representati·e dwellings íurnished in the 1urkish manner` but
already with reíerence to the \est, oíten Vienna, which they had come to know
,Stoiano·ich 1992:21-22,41, As íor the mechanisms oí iníluence and íactors oí
transíormation in the process oí dislocation, \alkey ,1990:119, had concluded the
|1|hose li·ing abroad were to be hea·ily iníluenced by the artistic and íormal ideas oí
the countries in which they íound themsel·es. Returning home or in simply remitting
money to impro·e the íamily home, they would lea·e instructions to the master builder
to include such-and-such an element, such-and-such detail. \ith the owner`s
description, and with the builder`s knowledge ,either írom his own tra·els or word oí
mouth within the Guild, this request would be translated into the new house in an
appropriate and oíten daring way.`
In the late eighteenth century, in íact, a whole quarter oí Ottoman exports went to
Austria ,cí. Goçek 1994:88,, where Greek` colonies had emerged in major towns.
Ottoman residents in Vienna numbered 50-60 in 1¯60, but Stoiano·ich ,1992:56,
estimates that by 1¯83 they must ha·e increased to perhaps e·en ten times this
number`. 1he Balkan merchants in the labsburg lands did, howe·er, not come írom
Luropean merchants ha·e usually preíerred to deal with Ottoman Christians rather than Muslims in
their trade enterprises, which has oíten been explained as a preíerence on religious grounds. Rather, they
chose to deal with non-Muslim merchants because they were aíraid that contracts entered into with an
Ottoman Muslim would be struck down in an Islamic court, where the word oí a Muslim was worth more
than that oí a Christian ,see Goçek 1996:9¯,. An additional reason must ha·e been that Ottoman
Christians were simply more likely to be ·ersed in Luropean languages than their Muslim co-subjects.
Con·ersely, also merchants írom Vienna came to settle in the Ottoman Balkans in the late eighteenth
century, as the example oí the Jewish Arie íamily ,Samoko·, demonstrates. 1his, howe·er, should ha·e
been an exception.
the wretched ·illages oí Macedonia`, as some had speculated, but mostly írom the
upland communities oí the Lpirote-Macedonian-1hessalian region ,Stoiano·ich
,1992:38,. It was not merely coincidental that the wealthier Greek merchants resided in
cities outside the Ottoman Lmpire ,e.g. Vienna, 1rieste, Amsterdam, íor, in the words
oí Stoiano·ich ,1992:52,, both person and property were insecure in 1urkey and thus
both person and property like good money` oíten íled to areas oí greater security. |A|
balance between the accumulation and concentration oí capital could not be achie·ed in
the Ottoman Lmpire. As a result, both the prospect oí Ottoman economic growth were
thwarted and ·irtually eliminated until the middle oí the nineteenth century.` Gi·en the
circumstances, it was ·ery diííicult íor a group to succeed more than locally. Ottoman
mercantile capital was large and growing, but also widely dispersed, and a good part oí it
was externalized, di·erted to other states.
A part oí the íamily, howe·er, always
remained on Ottoman territory.
1he classical example is the 1hessalian town ,oíten ·illage`, oí Ambelakia. In 1¯¯8 its
inhabitants organized themsel·es as a joint-stock company íor the purpose oí exporting
cotton yarn, spun and dyed in the community, to Germany and Austria.
than 1,500 inhabitants in 1¯83, it grew to 6,000 in only two decades oí prosperity
,Stoiano·ich 1992:18,21,. Kienitz ,19¯2:261, sees it as an indicator íor the intensi·e
Stoiano·ich ,1992:21-2, appends: \hen, at the close oí the eighteenth century, a number oí Greeks
opened soap, macaroni, or other íactories,` they íounded the new ·entures more írequently in the ports
and towns oí the Ukraine or southern Russia than in their nati·e towns.` Sadat ,19¯2:355, holds the
1urkish habit oí coníiscation` accountable to ha·e discouraged conspicuous consumption and,or
in·estment . Commercial capital was either rein·ested in trade or sent abroad.`
Jela·ich ,1983:1¯6, calls Vienna the major center` oí Greek cultural re·i·al in the eighteenth century.
It was also in the labsburg metropolis that the íirst Greek journal appeared in 1¯93 ,Ortayli 1994:101,,
while Greek books were printed there already since 1¯83 ,Jela·ich 1983:1¯6,. Also the íirst Bulgarian`
printed book with a purely secular content, the ´tevatografia oí lristiíor Zeíaro·ic, had been published in
Vienna in 1¯14 ,Macdermott 1962:61,. Ortayli ,1994:34,2¯, sees the reason íor Austria assuming such an
important role in the cultural de·elopment oí the Balkan Christians in the eighteenth century in that the
labsburg Lmpire under Maria 1heresia turned its attention írom western to Southeast Lurope. In part,
he explains the attraction as due to the cultural ílourishing oí western Sla·s in the empire.
relations Ambelakia had with the German-speaking world that one oí the leading
íamilies ,the Ma·roi, had their last-name translated into the German Schwar,t,z`.
is thus the Georgios Schwartz` mansion |Ill. 3.1¯. & 3.18.| that ser·es as architectural
monument to Ambelakia`s golden age. More than its architecture, it is the interior which
impresses in its richness oí painted decoration ,including depictions oí Istanbul and
Venice, in a style whose genesis will be discussed later in this chapter. 1he Schwartz
mansion is íurther interesting because we know in this case how long it took íor an
elaborate house like this to be completed: íi·e years ,~seasons, íor the building, and
three years íor painting and decoration ,\alkey 1990:188,.
Just like Ambelakia, the 1hessalian towns oí 1yrna·os and nearby 1saritsani ílourished
through trade with textile,
while Kastoria and Siatista, both in Macedonia ,which really
made no diííerence at that time,, dealt with íur.
Metso·o in the Pindos mountains, on
the other hand, was wealthy not because oí local production but because oí trade
acti·ity oí its more successíul sons ,such as the A·eroíí íamily, abroad ,Kienitz
1he communication between Ambelakia and Vienna was directly maintained through a courier ser·ice,
circulating e·ery 15 days and ·ia Zemun ,near Belgrade,. 1ra·ellers had also reported the presence oí
Germans` in the mountain ·illages` oí that region ,spouses·, and that German was generally`
understood. In this area many German loanwords ha·e been preser·ed into the twentieth century,
including many words related to household items and íurniture, such as "íirhan" ,írom German
"Vorhang" ~ curtain,. See 1urczynski ,1959:23-6 and reí.,
According to Bammer ,1982:35-6, and reí., it was in íact built between 1¯8¯ and 1¯98 ,equalling 11
years, which again does not imply that it could ha·e not been built and decorated at diííerent times within
this period, and by the team oí Ioannis Xarbinos, presumably a local to the region. Oí the painter-
decorator only the initials L. L.` are known. Built as the residence oí the Ambelakia cooperati·e, the
Schwartz mansion also íuctioned as the headquarters oí which in this institution`s íour decades oí
1he success oí these towns is explained by Lawless ,19¯¯:523, through that both enjoyed judicial and
administrati·e autonomy granted to them at the time oí the 1urkish conquest.` More speciíically on this
matter, see Kiel ,1996,.
Interestingly, already by the late se·enteenth century L·liya (elebi reported the houses in Kastoria's
Christian quarter to be grand seraglios oí a strange and curious nature. All the houses on the shores oí
the lake possess boatsheds and enclosed balconies. 1he seraglios are mansions with ports, and with one
íloor abo·e the other in the Constantinople style.` ,cited írom http:,,www.macedonian-
19¯2:260,263,. Aíter 1800, howe·er, the total number oí Greek merchants in Central
Lurope declines ,Stoiano·ich 1992:56,. German markets, and then e·en the Ottoman
markets, came to preíer the cheaper British cotton, but also the Napoleonic wars did
their part. In 1811 Ambelakia was annexed and hea·ily damaged by Ali Pasha ,a íate
shared by Moschopolis decades earlier,, and 1yrna·os and 1saritsani were haunted by
epidemics in 1813. Jakob Philip lallmerayer ,in Kienitz 19¯2:261-2, obser·ed in 1841,2
that one third oí 1yrna·os` houses had disappeared since the beginning oí the century,
and parts oí the town had transíormed into íields and pastures. 1he legacy oí this
period and this new` merchant class in the southwest Balkans, howe·er, are a
considerable number oí their mansions to this day. More than on the íaçades, their
íormer wealth can be seen in the oíten highly ornate interiors, mostly showing the same
decorati·e program as those elsewhere in the empire ,to be discussed in the next
In only íew cases, at least in Greece, we also íind paintings on the íaçade, an example
being the Poulkos mansion in Siatista |Ill. 3.21 & 3.22| which, built in the 1¯50s, must
ha·e been one oí the earliest examples oí a wealthy house in this town. In terms oí
architecture it is a typical Ottoman house` with a ground íloor oí stone, a plastered
upper íloor with projections, and a rather ílat rooí with o·erhanging ea·es. Next to the
top windows, which are exceptionally large ,almost as large as the lower windows,, we
íind painted decoration ,not necessarily írom the same date,: ships and geometric motiís
which, ií we ignore the Christian cross oí course, are closer to those íound it earlier
mosque interiors than to the later merchant houses oí Plo·di·. In the bas o,n,das`
,main room, írom trk. ba,oaa, we íind another curiosity: \hile depictions oí
Bammer ,1982:125, suspects that the la·ish use oí colours in these houses was also conditioned by that
many oí the owners entertained cotton mills and tanneries, whereby otherwise expensi·e colours could be
used extensi·ely and cost-eííiciently.
Constantinople are a írequent íeature oí mural paintings in /ova/s oí the late eighteenth
century and beyond, here it appears as ií the city is depicted during the Ottoman
conquest oí Constantinople, which could be suggested írom the lack oí minarets, while
the red dragons ílying in a darkened sky may represent the malicious conquering íorces.
It should be noted, howe·er, that such depiction is an absolute exception. In Christian
as well as Muslim houses usually a harmonic Ottoman Istanbul, complete with minarets
and mosques, is depicted. 1hese examples sur·i·e in a íew mansions in this region,
most notably at Kozani, Kastoria, and Siatista.
3.3. New trends in architectural decoration
3.3.J. 1ransformations in Ottoman art and its dissemination to the
1he most signiíicant change in the embellishment oí residential and religious spaces
around 1800 occurs not in architecture itselí but in architectural decoration. Renda
,19¯¯:263, 19¯8:¯11, attributes this marked change to an interest in Luropean
architectural motiís which started at the beginning oí the eighteenth century. Painted
íloral decoration, mostly consisting oí bowls oí íruits or panels oí ílowers, could be
íound on the walls oí residences already in the se·enteenth century, but it is in the
second halí oí the eighteenth century that this genre comes to be replaced by a more
monumental type oí mural painting, applied directly on plaster. Among the new motiís
are most prominently landscapes, oíten topographical representations oí Istanbul,
depictions oí mosques, and less oíten other towns, all eníramed in Baroque motiís.
Although this kind oí painted decoration had been well documented by Luropean
tra·ellers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it was not taken up as a serious
subject oí study until the 19¯0s. In opposition to the lack oí interest encountered
among scholars until that date, Renda ,19¯¯:265, insists on its signiíicant role in the
history oí 1urkish art, íor it represents the phase oí transition írom the ,írom that point
on declining, art oí miniature painting, used in the illustration oí handwritten books, to
painting in the western sense, on can·as. Gi·en that in the Ottoman house` decoration
was a program oí the interior and not the íaçade, as pre·iously discussed, this trend
unquestionably deser·es mention as an important phenomenon in the architecture and
·isual culture oí the late Ottoman Balkans.
Because the íirst examples oí this style are íound in Istanbul, Renda ,19¯¯:263,
concludes that this art was initiated in the capital. 1he earliest examples date írom the
mid-eighteenth century, with murals in the 1opkapi Saray`s barev section íorming the
largest group. But also outside in the palace, íor example in the 1¯50 /ova/ oí an
Armenian íamily oí notables, narrow íriezes with landscape elements can be íound. In
the pro·inces, the earliest known example oí írieze-type landscapes was íound in a
residence in Bursa dating írom 1¯68 ,Renda 19¯8:¯14,. In the later halí oí the century
also larger compositions íramed with Baroque cartouches came to be ía·oured, but
notwithstanding size or íorm, the content remains similar: seaside mansions or small
kiosks on the Golden lorn or the Bosphorus, bridges or íountains, boats, and birds.
1he colours are restricted to shades oí green, brown, and blue. In the techniques
employed, Renda ,19¯¯:263,265, sees a deíinite indication that the artists were aware oí
western methods oí perspecti·e`. 1he reason íor the speciíic choice oí landscapes,
while e·idently approaching western modes oí expression, she suggests, lie in social and
religious restrictions on monumental representations oí the human íigure, as well as
certain Ottoman traditions in topographical painting. \estern commentators, as
illustrated by Kreiser ,19¯8:549-51,, had re·iewed this restriction on íigural
representation as the main obstruction to the emergence oí a successíul` school oí
painting in the Ottoman Lmpire. le, howe·er, could locate only a íew` examples oí
/aai protocols in which a non-Muslim is ad·ised to dispense with images` ,probably
reíerring to icons, and an altar in his home.
Problematic in the study oí this kind oí art, Renda ,19¯¯:264-5, admits to the diííiculty
oí identiíying the artists responsible íor these paintings, as iníormation is scarce or non-
existent, e·en íor the royal residences, where these artists íigure neither in archi·es nor
payrolls. But as there is no e·idence oí íoreign artists until the mid-nineteenth century,
she concludes that at least the earlier examples were certainly works oí local artists,
probably trained in the Istanbul workshops under íoreign iníluence. Notwithstanding
the ethno-coníessional origins oí patrons or artists, these works display a strong unity in
expression in a ·ast territory between the Danube and the Nile. Renda`s sur·ey oí
buildings írom ·arious parts oí the empire has shown that this new wa·e oí painting
spread rapidly íorm the capital during the reign oí Selim III ,1¯89-180¯,, and links this
dissemination with the a,av, as it was
only natural that the pro·incial elite should íollow the example oí the capital in all
aííairs and build in their home towns buildings to equal, e·en at times to surpass, those
in the capital. 1hereíore, mural paintings and landscapes are íound in se·eral buildings
including mosques, tvrbe., libraries, ,aairrav. and especially the houses oí the upper
classes in Anatolian and Rumelian towns. Most oí the murals dating írom the period oí
Selim III are similar in style to those in Istanbul, suggesting that at íirst, artists írom the
capital were employed by local patrons. 1he írieze and the panel type landscapes were
both used widely, some being ·iews oí Istanbul, although representations oí local towns
were also common . During the íirst halí oí the 19
century buildings with murals
increased in number and pro·incial styles emerged showing that local craítsmen started
to íollow the models írom the capital. Subject matter and style took a local íorm and
can be considered as examples oí íolk art. . A íew examples . show a similarity in
style suggesting that they must be the works oí a group oí artists . 1he majority oí
murals, howe·er, reílect indi·idual styles. Pro·incial artists were more strongly bound to
the esthetics |sic| oí the traditional art oí miniature painting, but their eííorts to create
depth, although primiti·e, are encountered in all these murals and they should be
e·aluated as the pro·incial ·ersions oí a new concept in pictorial art.`
laroqhi ,1995:95, íound it noteworthy that these eighteenth century pashas, who sought
to rule most autonomously in their` pro·ince, did vot pick up on the regional culture oí
Among the examples írom the Balkan pro·inces sur·eyed and illustrated by Renda
,19¯¯,19¯8,1996,1999, are houses in Kastoria, Siatista, Ambelakia, Verria, and Plo·di·, as well as mosques
in Skopje, Bitola, 1eto·o, and Samoko·. Some oí these will be dealt with in greater detail in the íollowing
chapters, appended by the examples gi·en by Kiel ,1990a, íor the Albanian lands and other examples
íound in Bulgaria and Macedonia. In Bosnia and Serbia examples íor this decorati·e art are rarer, the
reasons íor which will be explored in Ch. 4.
that pro·ince, but culti·ated the connection with Istanbul, particularly in cultural
matters. 1hat panoramas oí Istanbul were a preíerred motií in their reception rooms,
she sees as e·idence supporting this assertion. Moutsopoulos ,196¯:108,, writing not
about pro·incial rulers` but merchants` houses, attempts a more narrati·e illustration oí
the character and reception oí these interior mural paintings` in the mansions Verria
,western Macedonia,, where the íinest examples date írom the early nineteenth century:
1he themes which interest the popular artist concern íar oíí cities, especially Venice
and Constantinople. le paints houses, great numbers oí them, either singly or all
together, using a somewhat elementary íorm oí perspecti·e . Ships, oí all sizes, shapes
and kinds are a second ía·orite theme . And they are beautiíully done, with billowing
sails and ílags in unknown harbours, ready to sail and loaded with all sorts oí goods.
And as the winter approached, the old men would sit on their low seats by the blazing
hearth and tell their grandchildren about the long ·oyages the sailors made to carry the
ílax írom Verria to Constantinople and the Black Sea, about the armed schooners on
the long haul to Zemoun, about the attacks oí the Albanian brigands, about the halt at
Bitolia. So, íollowing the panorama oí the painted parlour írieze, they ga·e ·i·id
presence to the íar-oíí world they dreamed, oí the distant world which always attracted
the best men oí Macedonia, great grandíathers, grandíathers, íathers who, in íar-oíí
lands, enjoyed the best conditions, the íreedom to absorb new ideas and to become
acquainted with new ways oí liíe íar írom sla·ery under the 1urkish tyrant. 1hus it was
that they were able íreely to de·elop their innate abilities and thus it was that an outlet
was pro·ided íor the commercial genius oí the Greek race.`
1hat in the ornately car·ed wooden ceilings oí these houses Moutsopoulos ,196¯:109,
also belie·ed to identiíy a strong arab iníluence`, he attributed to the íact that in the
pro·inces the same masters and craítsmen had worked in the construction and
decoration oí mansions and mosques alike. And indeed, it appears noteworthy in this
le then adds that aíter the great íire oí 1854 the murals became more con·entional and only a distant
recollection oí the traditional ideas sur·i·es.` It should be mentioned that none oí the interior mural
paintings at Verria ha·e been preser·ed. Only the Manolakis house`s ha·e been documented by
Moutsopoulos beíore it disappeared by 196¯. ,Moutsopoulos 196¯:109,
context that landscape paintings íigure íar more oíten in pro·incial mosques than in
those oí the capital. \as this kind oí decoration then really more oí a phenomenon oí
the Balkan pro·inces, less oíten also íound in Anatolia, than oí a general trend in
Ottoman architectural decoration emanating írom the capital, as most trends did·
laroqhi ,1995:266, concedes the possibility that in Istanbul these might ha·e íallen
·ictim to later restorations.
Another eighteenth century inno·ation that, ií we íollow Bakirer ,2001:4,, has its source
oí dissemination in the a,av as well, are the stained-glass top windows ,rer¸ev, with
elaborate stucco grilles with glass insets, oíten seemingly imitating the Ottoman
Baroque` arch íorms ,semicircular but widening and turning at the corners,. Bakirer
,2001:12, dates these to the Selim III period ,1¯89-180¯,, with examples being his
1opkapi wing dating írom 1¯90 and the Aynalika·ak Palace repaired` during his reign.
Ií we accept that the typical mansions oí Gjirokastër and Macedonia-1hessaly, which
oíten display ·ery similarly elaborated top windows, date írom the late eighteenth
century, the conclusion would be that, at least in this period, the trends írom the capital
spread ·ery íast. It is also interesting to note that next to Gjirokastër we íind many ,ií
not most, examples íor these embellished top windows ,or painted fav· ·ersions oí
these! |Ill. 3.1¯.|, in the 1hessalian-Lpirote-,west, Macedonian region, presumably
dating írom shortly beíore and around 1800. 1hey apparently do not íigure much in
1hat more conser·ati·e íorces were not particularly íond oí such unorthodox decoration is illustrated
by the restorations` oí mosques damaged in the \ugosla· conílicts oí the 1990s, sponsored by
philanthropists` írom the Arab world, where charmingly decorated Ottoman interiors ha·e gi·en way to
almost completely whitewashed interiors. As these destructions took place only recently, the original
character oí these mosques had luckily been documented and published in earlier decades. In some cases,
as in the Gazi lusre·bego·a at Saraje·o the Saudi restoration has been re·ersed again ,see also
archnet.org entry Gazi lusre· Bey Complex` and related links,. A diííerent example írom within
1urkey, mentioned by Kiel ,et al. 2001:6,, is the catastrophic restoration` oí the Lski Cami in Ldirne
whose lo·ely, coloríul 18th- and 19th-century decoration was replaced by a soulless pseudo-Ottoman
decoration in two dull colors: Nescaíe-with-milk and Nescaíe-without-milk.` 1he reasons íor such
undertaking he, howe·er, does not see in religious moti·es, but in the simple íact that the work was done
by architects oí the Pious Lndowments Directorate alone, while art historians were not consulted.
what is preser·ed east oí 1hessaloniki, much closer to the capital.
1his only supports
the argument oí a regional disparity between the \est and Last oí the peninsula, with
the íormer preser·ing much oí the houses írom its period oí prosperity in the last third
oí the eighteenth century, and 1hrace with the most splendid examples oí architecture
írom aíter the 1820s. Oí course, this does not mean that all towns in the western part
lost their signiíicance. Berat in Albania, íor example, ílourished in the íirst halí oí the
nineteenth century as a centre oí craíts production, whereby it achie·ed a rather
diííerent appearance than the nearby Gjirokastër, whose best-known houses` shape
dates írom a halí-century beíore that. 1he houses oí Berat, as most nineteenth-century
houses in the Ottoman domain, do not ha·e top windows anymore, as glass - pre·iously
a luxury good - e·entually became a·ailable to broader segments oí society. 1hereby the
top windows, in·ented to pro·ide the main room,s, with natural light while making
minimal usage oí the expensi·e glass, became obsolete.
Mural paintings will be íound in the houses oí the wealthy in the Balkans until the end
oí the Ottoman period, but the time-írame set in this work ,1¯00-1850, does still make
sense, as aíter the mid-nineteenth century, in a time oí institutionalized westernization,
the artistic programs de·elop in a diííerent direction. Decorators oí the late eighteenth
and íirst halí oí the nineteenth century still used the traditional brushwork technique
using paints mixed with water and glue or egg-yolk, taking up the traditional /atevi,i
A contemporary ,and habitually reíerred to, example in the Anatolian pro·ince is the (akiraga konagi
at Birgi. It should be noted that this /ova/ has been dated diííerently: as late eighteenth century ,cí.
Bakirer 2001:13, in reíerence to Lldem, and to the 1830s ,cí. Kuyulu 2000:3, in reíerence to Renda, Arik,
and herselí,. Ií we compare with the examples írom Lpirus and 1hrace, and accept their dating, the
explanation that the mansion dates írom the late eighteenth century but the íacade decoration írom the
1830s appears most reasonable.
1he early nineteenth-century tra·eller Leake ,196¯:144, reported that in Ioannina a ·ery bad kind oí
glass` ,as well as e·ery thing but the stone and the mortar`, was imported írom 1rieste and liume
,Rijeka,, while seldom seen in Asiatic 1urkey`. In Greece, howe·er, it was rendered necessary by the
long winter.` Also the window glass íor the mosques and palaces oí Istanbul had been imported írom
Venice ,Goodwin 19¯1:113,.
decoration oí geometric and íloral motiís and applying to landscapes and still liíe. In the
second halí oí the century, howe·er, western-type oil painting comes to be preíerred,
and techniques oí Luropean painting are applied with more skill and precision. \hat
concerns the themes, now also íoreign-looking landscapes as well as hunting scenes, in
which animals and sometimes e·en human íigures are depicted in small dimensions,
become popular. Residences become increasingly íurnished with Luropean-type
íurniture, which is íree-standing, in contrast to the typical Ottoman built-in cupboards
and multi-íunctional spaces, and also paintings come to be hung on the walls, which was
not a widespread íeature in the Ottoman house` until the later nineteenth century. Due
to these spatial changes within the reception room, painted decoration comes to be
concentrated on the ceilings oí rooms, or on panels near the ceiling. At that time also
íoreign artists also came to work in the Ottoman palaces at Istanbul, while entertaining
workshops in Galata, where their skills and techniques were passed on to local masters.
,Renda 19¯¯:264, 1998:103-105, 1999:320, On their way to Istanbul, where many little-
known Luropean artists íound work at that time, they occasionally also stopped in the
Balkan pro·inces and taught locals in western painting skills, ií they had not already
studied abroad themsel·es. So had, íor example, 1oma Visano· Moler` ,írom the
Viennese pronounciation oí the German Maler` ~ painter,, who was trained in Vienna
in the second halí oí the eighteenth century and thereupon íounded the Bansko
School` oí painting in Bulgaria. Also the painting school oí Samoko· had de·eloped
aíter its íounder`, lristo Dimitro·, had, aíter studying iconography on Athos, gone to
Vienna. lis son, Zahari Zograí, the most important representati·e oí the Samoko·
School, then íurthered his knowledge oí western modes by taking lessons írom lrench
artists tra·elling to Constantinople in the 1840s. ,Rosko·ska 1982:130,
Doytchino·,Gantche· 2001:59, Gradually, craítsmen in the Balkans came to be better
iníormed oí styles, trends, and techniques in Lurope, which is duly reílected in their
works aíter this period. Beíore that, howe·er, we detect the consolidation a regionally
íairly coherent expression oí a late Ottoman Balkans art.
3.3.2. 1he Albanian lands at the peak of Islamic culture in the Southwest
It has been noted earlier that the Albanian lands pose an exception to the rule oí
architectural-typological Ottomanization` oí the Balkans. In most oí the region this
was a de·elopment oí the íiíteenth and sixteenth centuries, coinciding with the spread
oí Islam which subsequently generated a need íor Muslim religious inírastructure.
Albania, only the eighteenth century up to 1830,40 was a time oí large-scale
,Kiel 1990a:290, among the Albanians, whereby groups oí masters
could do nothing else but build and decorate new mosques etc. and a great consistency
oí style emerged in Albania íor the íirst time.`
\hile not pro·iding a wholesale
deíinition, in ·arious parts oí Kiel`s work on Albania we come to understand what he
means by reíerring to this speciíically Albanian style: unusually spacious porticoes,
rounded rather than pointed arches, uncon·entional capitals, the law oí the periphery`
iníluencing the appropriation oí Ottoman íorms, a partial sur·i·al oí pre-Ottoman
Byzantine and Dalmatian building traditions blended with an oriental concept oí
In Ottoman Albania prior to the eighteenth century neither a colonization with 1urks nor con·ersions
to Islam had taken place on a larger scale. Ottoman art was thereíore only represented by a loosely knit
network oí administrati·e settlements ,the .avca/ capitals, such as Vlora, Llbasan, Ohrid, Shkodër, Pec,
etc.,, usually around a pre-Ottoman castle, where we íind some works oí the íiíteenth and sixteenth
centuries. 1he largest monuments oí Ottoman architecture in this period are works oí military
engineering, a situation characteristic oí Albania. Kiel thence describes Ottoman art as remaining
basically a íoreign, imported art, the subtle play oí lines and sensiti·e code oí aesthetics oí which were
ne·er íully understood . 1he country was too íar away írom the centres oí gra·ity oí the empire to íeel
direct contact and inspiration.` ,Kiel 19¯8:542-5,
1he literature mostly explains this de·elopment with a policy oí Islamization as a means oí paciíication
in these unruly peripheral areas aíter the 1690s, and,or with hea·y new taxes laid on the Christians,
dri·ing many subjects into accepting the íaith oí the conqueror ,cí. Malcolm 1998:164-5,. Apart írom
socio-economical moti·es, Kiel ,19¯8:546, also mentions the work oí ·arious der·ish orders as a mo·ing
íorce behind this con·ersion.
In another article, Kiel ,19¯8:1¯, indirectly suggests that the reason íor some mosques írom the early
nineteenth century being spared destruction is because their style ,wall paintings, was considered
decoration`, and some Baroque iníluences coming írom both Venice and Central
\hile calling this Albanian` style a truly national art` as well as local and
pro·incial and e·en sometimes un-Ottoman` ,1990a:290-1,, he identiíies the builders
and decorators as local groups oí ambulant masters, usually Valachians and Christian
Albanians írom the ·illages in the Pindus Mountains |Greece| at the point where
Albanian territory meets the lands inhabited by Sla·s and Greeks. 1hese masters were
trained in the construction and decoration oí churches, mansions and mosques alike, all
showing the same cosmopolitan style.`
1he period between 1¯80 and 1840 Kiel
,1990a:5¯, then classiíies as the period oí greatest ílourishing oí Ottoman-Albanian
art`. 1hat it assumes such a speciíic character he attributes to the pro·incial origin and
orientation oí its patrons, which were no longer Ottoman oííicials, educated in the
capital and in touch with the latest architectural de·elopments, but . members oí the
local íeudal aristocracy, the Derebeys oí Bushatli, Ali Pasha, Kurd Ahmet and Rotullu,
all with strong local ties. Other patrons were the relati·ely iníluential guilds oí the
principal craít centres oí the country, and also local people.` ,Kiel 1990a:290,
A considerable number oí noteworthy works are íound in Berat, now largely preser·ed
due to a museum town` status granted by the Albanian go·ernment e·en during
communism. 1he town witnessed a particular prosperity in this period due to craíts and
trade being highly de·eloped, while it achie·ed political signiíicance as well when it was
made .avca/ capital instead oí in the decayed Vlorë ,A·lonya,. \ith a population oí 14-
As illustrati·e examples oí this art outside Albania, all írom between the 1¯90s and 1830s, Kiel
,19¯8:548, mentioned the Coloured Mosque` and the Sersem Ali baba ,or Arabati Baba`, te//e in
1eto·o ,Macedonia,, the mid-nineteenth century A·zi Pasha mansion in Bardo·ci near Skopje, the
Prizren Rotulla Lmin Pasha mosque, numerous mansions oí the Greco-Albanian Christian merchants in
Kastoria, and the monastery oí the loly Virgin between Kastoria and llorina ,rebuilt in 1813,.
Somewhat less enthusiastic than his general assessment oí their work, Kiel ,1990a:291, then notes this
situation as characteristic íor the time oí decay oí the Ottoman Lmpire`, and that in the classical 16th
century, at the time the Süleymaniye complex was built, not a single master came írom this mountain
16,000 Berat was considered a large town in its time ,Kiel 1990a:51-2,. All mosques in
Berat thus date írom this golden age` between the late eighteenth and early nineteenth
centuries, but the Mosque oí Beyazit ,as the name suggests, is apparently an older
íoundation, the rebuilding oí which Kiel ,1990a:5¯, belie·es to be contemporary with
the Bachelors` Mosque, thereby írom around 1820, as exempliíied by the ornamentation
typical íor this period.
Nonetheless, it is only second to the decoration íound at the
lal·etiye te//e |Ill. 3.23.| that Kiel ,1990a:52,63-4, ranks the qualities oí the Beyazit
mosque. Built by Kurd Ahmed Pasha in 1¯82 or 1¯85, íor him it is perhaps the íinest
tekke oí the country.` Its .evabave ceiling, co·ered with a multitude oí inlay work and
gilded, painted and sculpted elements oí the highest quality`, belongs among the ·ery
best oí the Balkans`. 1he upper sections oí the íour walls are adorned with a broad belt
linked with the ceiling by imitation wainscoting íilled with ornamental ílower designs.
1he whole work is in the best tradition oí 18th century Ottoman decorati·e art which
continues much oí the great íinesse oí the works oí the Lale De·ri, the so-called 1ulip
Only some 18th century rooms in the 1opkapi Saray in Istanbul can be
compared with the extraordinary íeeling íor detail and quality as exposed here at this
ceiling in Berat.`
1he possibly best-known Ottoman-period structure at Berat, howe·er, is the Bekarlar
Camii ,Bachelor`s mosque, |Ill. 3.24-26|.
Lrected in 182¯-8
by Süleyman Pasha oí
Another somewhat more curious rebuilding project was the great mosque at Lezhë ,Alessio,.
Pre·iously a Gothic cathedral con·erted in the last quarter oí the sixteenth century, Sultan Selim III
sponsored the reno·ation which, according to Kiel ,1990a:192-3,, was nothing more than an attempted
reconstruction oí the íormer church. Another minor` structure írom that period mentioned by Kiel
,1990a:182, is a tvrbe at Krujë, where we íind three windows in the gracious style oí the Ottoman
Baroque` and decorati·e painting in the interior, with an inscription mentioning the date 1¯80.
Kiel ,1990a:290,, howe·er, also notes that the great art oí the Lale De·ri` itselí went almost
unnoticed in Albania` in his suggestion oí a pro·incial scope oí Albanian architecture.
\hy this mosque came to be known as that oí the Bachelors`, the organization oí unmarried men
who did military duty but li·ed írom the work oí their hands in time oí peace`, is - according to Kiel
Vlorë, íor Kiel ,1990a:¯0-1, it counts among the most remarkable creations oí
Ottoman-Albanian art.` A rare pri·ilege, the building has beneíited írom research and
restoration works in 1960s and ¯0s. Mural decoration co·ers the greater part oí its
outside walls and also the interior, with ·ery colouríul paintings representing imaginary
1urkish cities, mosques, palaces and ri·ers with boats íloating on them, as well as panels
with rich íloral moti·es, garlands, bouquets and draperies. |In| a íew places are
representations oí mosques inspired by the great imperial buildings in Istanbul, but as a
whole, the themes oí the paintings in the interior are less secular than those on the
outside, where we e·en íind battle scenes.` Next to the decoration the plan oí the
Bachelors` Mosque appears noteworthy as well. Because it is built onto a slope it has
two stories. 1he prayer hall is accessed írom the upper le·el, while the ground íloor with
three arcades accommodates shops to generate income íor the upkeep oí this
íoundation ,Koch 1989:211,, a pragmatic solution encountered as well in the roughly
contemporary Coloured Mosque` in 1ra·nik ,to be dealt with later,.
In the Albanian capital 1irana only one Ottoman mosque has sur·i·ed the loxha-
1he Mosque oí Lthem Bey |Ill. 3.2¯-29|, begun in the 1¯90s and coinciding
with the transíer oí the seat oí the 1optan íamily, the most poweríul íeudal íamily oí
Central Albania, írom Krujë to 1irana. It was to pro·e oí principal importance íor the
later de·elopment oí 1irana, till then an insigniíicant Ottoman-íounded small town, and
the patron`s intention to contribute to the re·i·al oí the town through the íunding oí
,1990a:¯3, not known, but in Albania the Beqars appear to ha·e been an important element in society, in
Berat they clearly were.` Koch ,1989:211,, on the other hand, identiíied the bachelors` as an association
oí policemen and night guards in the bazaar oí Berat.
Koch ,1989:211, mentions that the inscription 182¯` in íact reíers to a repair`, and suggests that this
may ha·e been the date when the decoration was painted, while the structure itselí could be írom the
Kiel ,1990a:250, reíers to iníormation pro·ided by the nineteenth-century tra·eller Von lahn ,1854,,
who noted se·eral gaily-painted` mosques in 1irana. 1hese, lamentably, ha·e not been preser·ed.
this mosque is e·en stated in the inscription ,Kiel 19¯8:544 and 1990a:250,. Koch
,1989:124, suspects that the delayed completion oí the building, whose construction
stretches o·er three decades, was due to conílicts with the Pasha oí Shkodër. According
to the same author, the dome was completed in 180¯ aíter the initial patron Molla Bey`s
death. lis son Lthem then continued the project, adding portico, rooí, minaret, and
interior paintings beíore 1821, whereas the paintings on the exterior date írom 1823.
1he central-domed prayer hall plan is íar írom unusual, but it is odd that the outer
portico was built around only two sides oí the building. Kiel ,1990a:251-2, suggests that
this may ha·e been due to contemporary circumstances, pre·enting the builders írom
erecting a íully symmetrical building. 1he style oí the capitals oí the columns connecting
the rounded ,not pointed, arches he identiíies as oí local origin and not related to
Ottoman building tradition.` Not only the interior, but also the portico is completely
painted with stylized plant and ílower motiís in soít red and green colours. Kiel
,1990a:252, íinds the style oí these paintings íinished in 1822,3 somewhat ·ulgar at
close quarters`, but assesses the mural paintings in the prayer hall as e·en more
1he entire suríace oí the walls and the dome is co·ered with brilliantly preser·ed and
radiantly executed ornamental paintings as íound in no other place in the country. 1he
background has the soít colour oí sand against which the dominant brownish-red and a
little soít green contrasts harmoniously. Intricate ílower designs mingle with pictures oí
íantastic cities and great mosques, the subject-matter being ·ery much the same as that
seen in the rich interiors oí old 1urkish houses preser·ed in Verria, Kastoria and Siatista
in Macedonia, or those in the Bulgarian cities oí Plo·di·, Kopri·stica or Smoljan, and in
many places in Anatolia. 1he painted interior oí the 1irana mosque certainly belongs to
the same groups oí master builders and painters írom the Albano-Valachian ·illages oí
the Pindus Mountains, who since the late 1¯th century monopolised the art oí painting
íor religious as well as ci·il purposes |and is a splendid example| oí a local ·ersion oí
oriental art blended with Baroque elements in a proíusion oí ·igour and in·enti·eness,
but still connected with the main stream oí late Ottoman art.`
It must ha·e been the same artists that re-decorated the interior late sixteenth-century
ladum mosque |Ill. 3.30| at Dako·ica ,Gjako·a, in Koso·o, íor we íind there
exceptionally similar patterns, e·en the same empty landscapes with cypresses. But more
numerous than the íew redecorations oí older structures are the new mosques built in
this period oí expansion oí Islam in the Albanian lands. Next to the mosques at Prizren
and Shkodër already discussed in the section on the a,av, these include the Red
Mosque` oí Sinan Aga at Pec ,1¯59-60,, the Ilijaz Kuka Mosque at Prizren ,1¯92,, the
\asar Pasha mosque at Pristina ,1832,, but also the sixteenth-century Suzi (elebi
mosque and the Gazi Mehmet Pasha mosque at Prizren must ha·e recei·ed their
wooden porticoes in the decades around 1800. Most oí these structures include painted
decorations typical íor the period, although alone three oí the abo·ementioned must
ha·e been already ,re-,decorated at a later point, aíter the mid-nineteenth century. As
examples íor redecorations oí íiíteenth and sixteenth-century mosques in the íirst halí
oí the nineteenth century the examples oí the latih mosque in Prishtina and the
Bayrakli mosque in Pec |Ill. 3.31| can be mentioned.
1he latter is particularly
interesting, íor it displays a striking similarity to the decoration oí the Serií lalil Pasha
Mosque at Sumen, but it also has similarities with other mosques in the Albanian region:
landscapes with cypresses, depictions oí a mosque, and the common ·egetal patterns.
Also the spandrels oí the vabfit ,with rounded arches, are decorated, a sight resembling
what we íind in churches aíter the 1820s.
Such redecorations are oí course not restricted to Albania and Koso·o. As examples in Macedonia can
be mentioned the Muradiye in Skopje and the mosque oí Isa Bey in Bitola, in Bulgaria the old mosques`
,Lski Cami, at Jambol and Stara Zagora. 1he latter ,also called lamza Bey Cami,, mentioned by Kiel
,19¯4:63¯,, is also interesting in another regard: 1his early íiíteenth century mosque, one oí the oldest in
the Balkans, seems to ha·e been exposed to an attempt to baroquiíy` not only the interior but the
exterior as well. 1he twel·e windows in the drum oí the dome were enlarged and cut into an o·al shape.
It should be addressed that nearly all the mosques in Koso·o mentioned here were damaged to ·arying
degrees, many completely, during the last decade. Some are now restored with íunding írom abroad, with
1urkey assuming a prominent role.
Next to present-day Albania and Koso·o, Albanians also li·ed in much oí northwest
Greece but also as íar south as Athens and some Aegean islands. 1hese, howe·er, were
predominantly Orthodox Christians, whereby we would look in ·ain íor monuments oí
Islamic architecture closely related to those in Albania. 1o the north the Albanian
settlement area extended into what gradually became part oí Montenegro towards the
end oí the century, the areas oí Podgorica, Ulcinj, and a part oí the Sandzak region ,split
between Serbia and Montenegro,. But next to Albania proper and Koso·o it is in the
western halí oí the Republic oí Macedonia that we íind important Albanian-Muslim
monuments írom that period, and particularly in 1eto·o, not íar írom Skopje. Oí two
íairly well-known structures there, the earlier one is the Arabati Baba te//e ,~ der·ish
lodge, |Ill. 3.34|, also called Sersem Ali Baba tekkesi, oí the Bektashi order. lirst
mentioned in a ra/vfvãve oí 1¯99, it was ob·iously built at an earlier date, Cerasi
,1988:98, mentions around 1¯¯0`. 1he buildings themsel·es, howe·er, must ha·e
recei·ed their present shape and decoration in the early nineteenth century, maybe in
the 1820s. In this complex se·eral structures are worth mentioning, most importantly
maybe the central ,aairrav which, really more than a normal íountain, is extended to a
colonnaded rectangular pa·ilion with a raised platíorm íor ceremonies to be held in the
outside during summer months. 1he spandrels, resting on wooden columns supporting
S-cur·ed arches, are adorned with painted decoration typical íor this region and period,
and are íound on se·eral oí the complex buildings. Similar patterns we íind on the
tower`, which consists oí a ground íloor oí stone and an ele·ated seating area abo·e it.
A írieze with painted decoration and rosettes runs around the le·el abo·e the windows.
Much de·otion was dedicated to the intricately car·ed ceilings in many oí the buildings
oí the complex, but especially to the highly ornate entrance oí the ,aairrav. Palikruse·a
and 1omo·ski ,1965:209-10,, without íurther elaborating on their assumption, belie·e
that the work was done by the well-known masters írom the Mala Reka region east oí
Debar. It seems noteworthy that these are held to ha·e been Muslims, the Macedonian-
speaking 1orbesi, which poses an exception to the masters so íar mentioned, which
were all Orthodox Christians.
1he other, better-known, structure in 1eto·o is the Alaca Camii ,Sarena dzamija,
Colored Mosque`, |Ill. 3.35-¯|. 1he date oí its íoundation is not known with certainty,
but may ha·e been the as early as the end oí the íiíteenth century. 1he date most oíten
gi·en in non-expert sources, howe·er, is the se·enteenth century, which is e·idently
wrong íor its present shape acquired later ,clearly in the nineteenth century, through
rebuilding and redecoration. Ay·erdi ,1981b:¯6, mentions masters írom nearby Debar
as the artists to ha·e painted interior and exterior oí this structures, and suggests a date
between 1818 and 1822, while Ibrahimgil ,1995:250, suggests, in line with other sources,
that the present shape dates írom the 1830s. It appears not too unlikely that the same
artists may ha·e worked in 1eto·o at both structures at the same time. On the other
hand, this region abounded in qualiíied artists. Ibrahimgil ,1995:250,, next to
mentioning the ·ersion oí a master Nikola oí 1eto·o being responsible íor the design,
also cites a curious theory, admittedly held by some rather prominent \ugosla· scholars
,Redzic, Zdra·ko·ic,, that the artists responsible were Italians.
Ay·erdi ,1981b:¯4-5, also notes the Alaca mosque`s contemporanity with the
Sulejmanija at 1ra·nik |Ill.4.16|, equally nicknamed Colored Mosque` íor its painted
íaçade. But sa·e íor the íact that both are rectangular and rooíed ,not domed, buildings
with painted íaçades, the mural paintings oí the mosque at 1ra·nik ha·e a ·ery diííerent
character, making it unlikely that they were built by the same masters, which Ay·erdi
might ha·e wanted to suggest. In 1ra·nik íloral motiís dominate, painted in a rather
naï·e manner and less sophisticated technique, and with almost no reíerences to
anything Baroque. 1his is diííerent in the 1eto·o mosque, where Baroque motiís can be
íound next to landscape paintings and other elements typical íor the period and the
area. In the interior all suríaces are completely co·ered with painted decoration. 1ruly
baroque balconies add to the ílamboyant eííect.
\hile Ay·erdi ,1981b:¯6,, in his usual disgust oí anything post-dating the classical`
sixteenth century, íinds it íar írom being beautiíul`, the 1eto·o mosque is really a ,ií
not the, masterpiece oí late Ottoman Balkans decorati·e art which has íew competitors
in terms oí the maturity oí style, possibly only the Rila Monastery, where masters írom
the same region ,Debar, worked. But we should also note that the decorati·e programs
diííer on three parts oí the structure: the portico ,north wall, with Ottoman Baroque`
arches and paintings on white suríace, ha·ing close parallels in many places oí the
southern Balkans írom Albania to Bulgaria, the interior, where we basically íind the
same motiís but also much richer colours as well as landscape paintings ,Istanbul and,
curiously, Venice,, the exterior side walls on the \est, Last, and South, where the style
clearly diííers. 1hese walls are arranged in rectangular panels íilled with diííerent colours
and more geometric schemes ,star-shaped rosettes,, thereby showing little resemblance
to the decoration oí the portico and the interior. Could they ha·e been painted at a later
point, and,or by diííerent artists· Ibrahimgil ,1995:251,, attempting a comparison with
roughly contemporary mosques in Anatolia,
maintains that in the Asian examples the
iníluence oí Ottoman miniature painting is more ·isible, while the Balkan examples
show a stronger iníluence oí western Baroque, and belie·es that this has do to with
1he mosques he mentions are, next to the Beyazit mosque at Amasya, the lizir Bey mosque in Soma
,in the Aegean hinterland, and the Basça·usogu mosque at \ozgat ,north-central Anatolia,, built in 1¯91-
2 and 1800-1, which Renda ,1999:31¯, also holds to be the íirst examples oí decorati·e programs
otherwise known írom residences are used in mosques. lor a brieí ,and mainly photographic, discussion
oí similarities between Balkans and Anatolia in terms oí this art, see Arik ,2002,.
painters working in Macedonia not ha·ing been too íamiliar with 1urkish decoration
3.4. On the ´architects¨ and ´painters¨ of mansions and mosques in the
late Ottoman Balkan provinces
1o identiíy the persons responsible íor the construction and decoration oí the works
hereupon mentioned, and to clariíy the use oí terms, the distinction between an actual
architect and that oí the master builder - called vai.tore. in Macedonia and Lpirus, /atfa
,helper`, same Arabic root as caliph`, in the capital, in Anatolia and sometimes in
Bulgaria - must be made. Oí the two, writes Cerasi ,1988:8¯,, the architect was apt to
be the more cultured and better integrated into oííicial institutions, the master builder
belonged to a socially broader sphere. |By| the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
master builders were oíten called upon to assume íull responsibility íor public buildings,
though their works íor pri·ate clients continued to outnumber their public projects.` In
reíerence to Bernard Lewis` thesis that the decline oí Ottoman culture at the beginning
oí the nineteenth century was restricted to court culture, whereas popular culture
continued to retain its ·itality íor many decades, Cerasi ,1988:88, declares that in the
pro·incial towns the master builders were the symbol oí that ·itality.`
Anhegger ,1954:90, traces their origin to some areas, in which some ·illages or
population groups had almost exclusi·e worked as itinerant builders.
1hat at that time
It should be noted that this is also a rather liberal interpretation oí what Lewis ,1961,1968:35,
originally wrote: |1he| apathy oí the Ottoman ruling class is the more striking when contrasted with the
continuing ·igour oí their intellectual liíe . It is not until the end oí the eighteenth century and the
beginning oí the nineteenth that we can speak oí a real breakdown in the cultural and intellectual liíe oí
1urkey, resulting írom the utter exhaustion oí the old traditions and the absence oí new creati·e impulses.
And e·en then, behind the battered screen oí courtly con·ention, the simple íolk arts and íolk poetry oí
the 1urks continued as beíore.`
As the area they tra·elled írom, Anhegger ,1954:90-1, mentions a region with northern Macedonia as
centrepiece, stretching westward into central Albania, while experienced masters hailed írom Kolonje
,Greek-Albanian border region,, Debar, or Kastoria. \hile this roughly coincides with where other
authors locate these builders` ·illages, he íurther adds the mountainous lands between the upper Struma
and the Mora·a, and some places north oí Kjustendil ,Bulgarian,Pirin Macedonia,, the Rhodope
whole ·illages or towns specialized in one craít is no big exception, ií we íollow
Moutsopoulos ,196¯:102-4, on Macedonia: Castoria and Siatista were occupied
exclusi·ely with the íurrier`s craít, Dimitsana made nothing but gunpowder, Stemnitsa
had metal íoundries and goldsmiths, Cosmas, in the Kinouria area made the combs íor
wea·ing looms. In Lpirus, the inhabitants oí Soupikia were all coopers, and the people
oí Zagoria were specialised in nature-healing and o·en-building.` le then mentions a
large number oí little-known ·illages in northern Lpirus and western Macedonia as
areas oí Greece which produced the greatest builders, including the ·illages around
Kozani, llorina, and Siatista, and íurther singles out lionades as home oí renowned
painters with a tradition in the painting oí ikons |sic|` and 1yrna·os, where wood-
car·ing was a traditional occupation.` lrom these ·illages boulakia`, groups ,~ trk.
bötv/, oí builders set out,
usually aíter the carni·al season, to begin jobs which had been arranged in ad·ance by
the head oí the guild. At the head oí e·ery group . was the íirst master-builder. 1hey
stayed away írom their ·illages until mid-No·ember when they usually returned to look
aíter their land. Lach group oí koudaraii consisted oí 10-20 building craítsmen. But
there were sometimes larger groups oí up to 100 íor the big projects. 1hey ·isited the
big towns and built the bridges, the cara·anserai, the roads and aqueducts. 1he routes
íollowed by these groups are oí special interest, íor they bear witness to the spread oí
local building techniques and, especially, oí design and e·en the íoreign iníluences
which the building craítsmen probably brought back with the írom their tra·els abroad.
It would seem, howe·er, that the craítsmen usually built in accord with the tradition oí
the place where they worked, with the materials they íound on the spot and, oí course,
íollowing the instructions oí the owner.`
mountain ·illages Bracigo·o and Siroka Laka, as well as Zlatina ,close to Sumen and Varna,. lor an
excellent ií brieí account oí work migration ,prominently including builders, in the late Ottoman Balkans
írom an ethnological-historical perspecti·e and based on secondary sources in the Sla·ic languages
,thereby excluding Greece,, see Palairet ,198¯,.
\hile Kiel ,1990a:252, goes as íar as to state that master builders and painters írom
the Albano-Valachian ·illages oí the Pindus Mountains |had| since the late 1¯th century
monopolised the art oí painting íor religious as well as ci·il purposes`, Cerasi ,1988:89,
positions the beginning oí the heyday oí Balkan mason corporations` in the late
eighteenth century and in the western parts oí the peninsula. All oí them were
organized as tra·eling coníraternities oí masons and carpenters, oíten belonging to the
same íamily, town, or ·illage. In more than one case, the íamily or ·illage corporations
... had a secret language which extended írom building nomenclature to e·eryday terms.
1he best-known companies worked o·er a ·ast territory, e·en as íar as Cairo.`
moreo·er attests them openness to íoreign iníluence ,Italian in Lpirus and Central
Luropean in Macedonia and Bulgaria,`. As íew oí the more íamous master builders
were born or raised in towns, Cerasi ,1988:89-90,, signiíicantly, notes it as a paradox oí
Ottoman ci·ilization - centered in towns and dominated by towns - that its architectural
culture should ha·e been almost entirely produced by ·illagers.`
Malcolm ,1998:203-4,, upon noting that among the Albanians oí Prizren the terms
Vlach` and Gog` ,stone-mason, were used interchangeable, remarks that the craít oí
Similarly exotic, \alkey ,1990:119, mentions that the team oí Kominos Kalía was in·ited to Jerusalem
in 1808 to restore the church oí the loly Sepulchre. Palairet ,198¯:46, mentions a song sung by the
women oí Galicnik ,near Debar, where reíerence is made to their men working íar, íar away in
Another actor which played a role in the architectural production in Ottoman cities was the town
architect` ,oííicially chieí architect oí a region`,, as researched and portrayed by Orhonlu ,19¯8,. As íar
as can be understood, their duties included mainly control oí the guilds oí construction ,builders,
carpenters, stonemasons, whitewashers, bricklayers, tile makers, timber merchants, marble cutters, stone
cutters, glaziers, etc.,, pre·iously a responsibility oí the /aai, as well as the technical aspects oí
construction business in their regions or cities and the solution oí conílicts occurring among the members
oí the guilds oí construction. No one could start building without a certiíicate issued by the town
architect. In the Ottoman Balkans this íunctionary íigured in Belgrade, Vidin, Plo·di·, Komotini, Ldirne,
1ekirdag, and Ahiyolu ,Pomorje near Burgas,. 1hey were centrally appointed by the chieí architect in
Istanbul, but recommended to him by local administrators. Also non-Muslims were appointed to these
posts. Orhonlu suggested the establishment oí this oííice to ha·e taken place in the se·enteenth century,
being related to the urbanization mo·ement` oí that century, but Necipoglu ,2005:15¯-8, has íound
e·idence íor the existence oí such ,or a ·ery similar, oííice in places like Skopje or Saraje·o already in the
stone-masonry was one rather unlikely skill de·eloped by Vlachs in this region`, gi·en
their pastoral-nomadic traditions. But ií we look at the areas oí Vlach settlement in the
Macedonian-Albanian-Greek border region, írom which so many oí the tra·elling
builders hailed, it appears plausible that they were pushed into the building industry
exactly because this mountainous region could not ha·e suííiciently supported extensi·e
agriculture. 1he Vlachs` pastoral-nomadic traditions` Malcolm reíers to may ha·e only
íurther supported the choice íor such proíession.
But also one occupation did not
necessarily preclude the other, as the obser·ations oí a tra·eller ,in Lawless 19¯¯:525-6,
ha·e shown. Visiting 1rikala in the early nineteenth century, he noted that some 1urks
let rooms out to Vlachs who came down to the plain with their ílock in the harsh winter
months and took up employment as artisans or labourers. Ií we belie·e \alkey
,1990:118, that, on a·erage, a building troop could complete only a large house or a
small church, we can guess how large the demand íor these workers must ha·e been.
\hile the aíorementioned excursion to Cairo should ha·e been an exception,
ladjimihali ,1949:30, maintains that builders-decorators írom the va.toroboria ,masters`
·illages`, oí Lpirus and western Macedonia worked as íar as Bucharest, Istanbul, e·en
It seems worth mentioning that these nomadic-pastoral traditions` were by that time not already a
thing oí the past but, ií we take the Vlachs oí northern Greece as example, sur·i·ed e·en into the second
halí oí the twentieth century. See, íor example, Sanders ,1954,. 1he building-craíts traditions oí these
societies must ha·e lost their importance much earlier with the arri·al oí modern technologies. It is,
howe·er, still interesting to notice that the interwar mayor oí Skopje was an architect írom the ·illage oí
1resonce in the Debar region, which had produced so many master builders in the late Ottoman period.
Ií there is any connection at all, this may be a case in point to suggest that in some areas preíerences íor
certain proíessions persisted. \hile these groups` end is easier to explain, little iníormation is pro·ided
about earlier centuries and the origins oí these groups. Moutsopoulos ,196¯:102, holds that the builders`
guild was the only one neither discontinued nor disrupted upon Ottoman conquest, because oí the
recognized need íor new buildings. And indeed, the accounts oí Ousterhout ,1999, and Bouras ,2002, on
master-builders in Byzantine times sound ·ery much like those on Ottoman times, sa·e íor the places oí
origin. 1he earliest building that I ha·e come across as being attributed to Valachian or e·en Albanian
master builders`, thereby likely to be írom the region which has íigured so much in this respect in the
eighteenth century and beyond, was íor supposedly being responsible íor the mosque oí Ibrahim Pasha
,1616,¯, at Razgrad, while Kiel ,1991a:496-¯, íinds dubious, but also cannot exclude that they may ha·e
\alkey ,1990:118, hence belie·es it to ha·e been a record that alone in the season oí 1¯95 the team oí
Demos Zoupaniotis could build three churches.
Asia Minor. \as it because oí these tra·elling masters that Bucharest acquired a more
Ottoman appearance, as is held particularly íor the second halí oí the eighteenth century
,cí. Berindei 1994:38,, when the Danube Principalities were more closely linked to the
Ottoman mainstream under the rule oí the Phanariotes· Streetscapes aligned with
typical Ottoman houses` in Bucharest ha·e only sur·i·ed on engra·ings írom the íirst
halí oí the nineteenth century. 1he late eighteenth century bav oí Manuc Bey ,lanul lui
Manuc, |Ill. 3.39|, howe·er, sur·i·es as a testimony on an Ottoman iníluence` in the
architecture oí this period. Built by a rich Bulgarian-born Armenian, standing in the
spacious courtyard we are reminded oí ·ery similar examples south oí the Danube and
on the opposite halí oí the peninsula. It is only here that Bucharest appears to ha·e
been an Ottoman core land. \e e·en íind the same painted motiís on the galleries`
walls but also, untypically, low-relieí stucco ornament ,a later addition·,. 1he only really
local` elements are the steep rooí and the galleries` arch-íorms, which could be íound
in earlier examples oí \allachian architecture, but they do not really change the o·erall
Ottoman character oí this bav, or at least its inner courtyard.
\hile the scholars pre·iously cited name a ·ariety oí ·illages as the homes oí these
masters, most oí which were located in a region where Albanian, Greek, Vlach, and Sla·
,Macedonian-Bulgarian, areas oí settlement met. It thus comes as no surprise that
diííerent authors ·oice diííerent interpretations on the ethnic identities oí these builders.
Acculturation must ha·e been a normality within the Balkan Orthodox Christian
community`, but a lellenization - in this region where Greek was the lingua íranca
particularly in commercial contacts - may ha·e been the most likely ad·ance. lor the
inhabitants oí the Debar region it has been suggested that these were actually Vlachs
which had been sla·icized in time ,cí. Koukoudis 2003:435-6,. Da·ido· ,1991:180, also
mentions the case oí a Greek master in lungary adopting a Serbian name. Lthnic`
identities within the Balkan Christian Orthodox community` were certainly more íluid
than can now be imagined. But our masters must ha·e been much less aííected by such
processes as the merchants were. lellenization essentially went hand in hand with social
mobility. L·en ií located in regions whose settlement pattern had been as much Vlach,
Sla·, or Albanian as it has been Greek, the mansions that ha·e been preser·ed today are
known as the houses oí wealthy Greeks. In this context it should also be noted that,
e·en ií craítsmen came írom nearby, the building oí houses was at that time still a ·ery
costly aííair ,cí. McGowan 1994:¯00-1,.
One oí the problems associated with studying these tra·elling craítsmen is what to call
them: builders, decorators, builders-decorators· Apparently they must be considered a
single phenomenon, as most authors assure us that they were in oíten responsible not
only íor the building but all tasks related to it ,or at least the coordination oí which,,
including painted and car·ed decoration. Versed in these skills, the same persons
worked in the building and decoration oí houses, mosques, and churches, but they also
painted icons ,with which the painted decoration in the houses oí this period has close
to nothing in common, whereby we may assume that they learned se·eral styles or
modes oí painting in the course oí their training,. At the same time the iníormation
oííered about indi·iduals, and ií really one person may ha·e been ·ersed in all these
arts` at the same time, is meagre.
\e might be best ad·ised to illuminate one case where the biography oí one builder-
decorator does not share the íate oí most, anonymity, and also iníormation on the
condition in which he worked and the people he worked with is a·ailable: the case oí
Aleksi Rilec ,írom Rila`,, as documented by Daskalo·a-Obreteno·a and Obreteno·
,2005,. lis surname` is already a misnomer ha·ing led some to the conclusion that he
was írom Rila. In íact he was born near Debar in 1¯60, where he íirst had learned the
craít oí wood-car·ing. In his twenties he had already worked at Rila, maybe Athos, and
other monasteries and churches in Macedonia and western Bulgaria. But we know that
he also íabricated liturgical íurniture`, employing the wood-car·ing skills he acquired
earlier in his career, and maybe he e·en built some houses íor pri·ate persons in the Rila
·illage. In 1816 he was again in·ited to work in restorations in Rila, which had been
plundered in the 1¯60s and ¯0s. 1here he remained until 1819 as a chieí master with
experience. lis coordination was recorded in a memorial slab describing Aleksi ,in
church Sla·onic, as both arhitekton` and chieí master builder`. Aíter a de·astating
íire haunted Rila in 1833, it was again rebuilt under Aleksi`s super·ision. lrom this
period date se·eral new additions, including beautiíul kiosks projecting írom the
galleries oí the northern and western wings |Ill.4.5|. 1hese were created by another
master írom Debar ,·illage oí Lazarpole,, a man named Krustju, who also eternalized
his own name in a írieze. As Aleksi was not able to íinish the restoration in the íoreseen
time, other good builders` were in·ited. More than their names, it is their places oí
origin that interest us, these were Pa·el írom Kimin near Kastoria and Milenko írom the
·illage írom Blatesnica ,near Rila,. Pa·el was then recorded as arhitekton` oí the
Church oí the loly Virgin ,S·eta Bogorodica,, but at the same time also signed himselí
as protomaistor` and maimar` ,a corruption oí the 1urkish vivãr ~ architect,
\as this the time in which we ha·e to situate the transition írom master-builders to
architects`, that is, the perception oí this proíession in a more western sense, and does
In Serbia and Bosnia also veivar, ostensibly similarly deri·ed írom the 1urkish vivãr, was used íor
master-builders and architects.
1his is not to say that arhitekton` was henceíorth the common designation. L·en in the 1850s the
íamed Andreja Damjano·, later most oíten called an architect`, signed himselí as proto-majstor` ,cí.
ladzie·a-Aleksie·ska and Kasapo·a 2001:18,.
it stand in imminent causal connection with the more liberal attitudes oí Ottoman rulers
toward church architecture aíter the 1820s· 1he Rila monastery may be a bad example,
as Ottoman restrictions oí Christian architecture traditionally applied less to monasteries
than to the more problematic ,re-,building oí churches in urban areas. 1he mid-
nineteenth century works oí Andreja Damjano· ,also írom a well-known íamily oí
builders-decorators írom 1resonce near Debar, in Macedonia, Serbia, and Bosnia, or, in
Bulgaria, the íamed Usta` ,trk. íor master`, Kolju liceto ,írom Drjano·o near
1arno·o, already appear more like architects in the western sense: well-known by their
names alone ,and not only by the reputation oí their ·illages or areas,, and, with a íew
exceptions, íor the íirst time in centuries building monumental churches in urban
centres, in which we íind already two di·ergences írom practices only a íew decades
\riting about art and architecture in the Balkans between 1¯00 and 1850 we must
acknowledge that our knowledge oí the indi·iduals who produced these works is íairly
limited, while at the same time they are not always as anonymous as is oíten portrayed.
Mostly illiterate, they leít no personal accounts. It is thus diííicult to trace their works
beyond monasteries ,where records were more likely to be kept,, and most oíten they
did not sign their names perhaps because they were not expected to do so.
important tentati·e conclusion is that the residential and religious architecture and art
dealt with here was íor the most part produced by builders-decorators írom non-urban
Again this is not uni·ersally true. \alkey ,1990:118,, írom the region and literature he co·ered,
concluded that the master oí the team would oíten lea·e his signature car·ed into the house, e.g.
Kosmas írom Zoupani` ,~ Pentaloíos near Kozani, or, more pretentiously, 1heodoros Zoupaniotis,
the great star írom Zoupani`. In some cases we also íind car·ed íaces in the stone work oí some house,
which may represent the builders, clients, or no one in particular.
backgrounds and without a íormal training.
As such, they almost certainly did not
enjoy the social position an architect enjoyed in the \est. At the same time, the quality
oí many works attests a high le·el oí sophistication. \e also notice a change in the
relationship patron,architect in terms oí association. \ith the possible exception oí the
highly acclaimed Sinan, in Ottoman architecture the patron enjoyed the credit íor a
building and not the architect,s,, who in the ·ast majority oí cases remain,s, completely
1his has been considered a general íeature oí eastern` ,including
Byzantine, art history, ·is a ·is its western counterpart, where the emphasis has been on
the artist, an artist history`, rather than art history`.
1hat this pattern appears to
change in the period oí a yet incoherent western impact on the cultural liíe oí the
Balkan peoples seems noteworthy. 1hat some oí these masters may ha·e been ·ersed in
two or three oí these craíts` - architecture, plastic, painting - may, on the other hand,
only be an accidental parallel with some geniuses oí the western Baroque ,Bernini,
lischer ·on Lrlach, Asam brothers,, but may well ha·e similarly beneíited a certain
unity oí style within indi·idual projects.
Apparently, almost all oí these builders-decorators were Orthodox Christians, with a
considerable portion hailing írom the Mala Reka region around Debar. 1hey appears to
Although we speak oí schools` ,e.g. Bansko School, Debar School, etc., they certainly did not enjoy a
íormal training but a learning by doing`, a process, howe·er, oíten described as lengthy and rigid. By no
way should they thereíore be called selí-taught`, as is oíten done.
1his relati·e indiííerence towards architects-builders-decorators may be exempliíied by that Muslim
patrons were e·idently not bothered by the íact that an Islamic house oí prayer was built by the hands oí
iníidels, and not sla·es ,which, írom the point oí ·iew oí a conser·ati·e endower, would ha·e positi·ely
underlined religious hierarchies,, but paid workers. As Kiel ,1990c:xiii, stressed, sometimes they were,
depending on their experience an reputation, e·en better paid than Muslim workers. Cerasi ,1988:88,
moreo·er assures us that Christians were also members in the sultan's ba. workshop, producing the works
oí architecture commissioned by the Ottoman rulers, and not only as Islamicized aer,irve.
Goodwin ,19¯1:201-2,, while admitting to strictest protocol to diminish the importance oí the
indi·idual beíore God`, holds that the Ottomans were still íreer than other Islamic states, where the
names oí any artists are hard to íind, but they were not concerned with indi·idual rights howe·er much
some personalities contri·ed to emerge and radiate.`
ha·e achie·ed particular prominence in the decades aíter 1800, while prior to that the
·illages in the Pindos mountains and surrounding areas are most oíten reíerred to. As
we know with certainty, howe·er, both these regions produced masters that worked all
o·er the southern Balkans írom the Adriatic to the Black Sea. In the íirst halí oí the
nineteenth century íurther art schools` emerge in Bulgaria, most prominently those oí
1rja·na, Bansko, and Samoko·. But e·en then, with good masters so close at hand, the
work oí masters írom Debar and Kastoria - or in íact írom the ·illages around these
centres - was still sought aíter in Bulgaria up to the mid-nineteenth century, as we ha·e
seen in the case oí Rila monastery.
Mobility emerges as a major íactor and problem in the art historiography oí the Balkans,
particularly between the Balkan Renaissance` period aíter 1¯50, with the problem that
so many oí those who created the most splendid works oí art were not írom the
country íor which an art history needed to be written once the nation-building project
began. Problematic is also that íor a long time ·irtually all trends, apart írom those
directly connected to church-related works, emanated írom Istanbul, including those
understood as western imports, such as the murals with landscapes. L·en ií at times
lrankíurt or Venice rather that Constantinople were depicted, this íormed part oí a late
Ottoman phenomenon, with Ottoman techniques employed. On the mechanisms oí
dissemination oí trends írom the centre to the pro·inces Cerasi ,1999:123,,
extrapolating írom the results oí Stajno·a`s research, had concluded that no·elties were
íirst experimented with in the imperial court, then had some success in Istanbul, and
íinally spread into the pro·inces. louse types had a slightly diííerent mo·ement because
oí the action oí the builder squads.` 1hereby, we can gi·e these local builders credit not
only íor the dissemination oí trends, but also íor their de·elopment and consolidation.
Mobility oí artists had, oí course, also existed in Lurope in the Age oí Baroque, ií we
think oí the work oí Italian architects in Vienna aíter the mid-se·enteenth century ,an
Italian colony`,. But the unity oí art created in the Balkans írom the late eighteenth to
the mid-nineteenth century renders any approach other than the regional ,read trans-
national`, íairly íragmentary ií not questionable. \e could not imagine a Bulgarian
National Re·i·al` without the contributions írom Debar, Kastoria, or Athos, all outside
the boundaries oí the modern Bulgarian national state. 1he case oí Albania where, ií we
belie·e Kiel, íor more than a century ·irtually all works oí art and architecture had been
produced by the same masters írom the Pindos mountains in Greece, is somewhat
similar, e·en ií he is among the íew to claim that among these were also Christian
Albanians, and not only Vlachs ,or Greeks`,.
1he chapter comprising the de·elopments between the 1¯¯0s and 1820s grew to be the
longest and, not only in terms oí di·ision, the most complex. 1his reílects not only a
new dynamic in economic and cultural aííairs and a more comprehensi·e record in the
historiography oí the region, but also a new dynamic triggered by the gradual dissolution
oí established patterns and actors oí cultural and artistic production. 1he best art is no
more monopolized by the religious sphere and patronized by an administrati·e class in
close connection with the imperial centre, but by newly prominent ,though not new,
groups: the a,av and the merchants. A third group, the brigands, is signiíicant íor
architectural history as well, not only because it decimated the architectural record oí the
past, particularly in Bulgaria, but also because their actions resulted in a more deíensi·e
appearance oí dwellings in many places.
As we ha·e seen, the tower house` emerges not because oí terror by the 1urks` but
by groups oí roaming bandits which the go·ernment could not control. 1hat this in
many areas was not only a problem oí the eighteenth century, and under Ottoman rule,
has been suggested by architectural historians maintaining that this íorm had already
existed in Byzantine times. In other cases we ha·e seen that the emergence oí the
íortiíied dwelling, as in the Albanian lands or the Peloponnesus, had sometimes more to
do with local íeuds than Ottoman terror or unmanageable brigands. 1hat much oí this
insecurity centred on the western parts oí the Balkan Peninsula, where some
mountainous regions had ne·er been under the tight control oí the Ottomans ,as can
also be seen írom their non-partaking in the Ottoman tivar-system,, is not that
surprising. 1hat around and aíter 1800 the anarchy reigned in areas ·ery close to the
capital must, howe·er, be taken as e·idence íor the decay oí the Ottoman system and
the inability oí its administration. 1he reaction to this situation may not ha·e been
prompt but was still incisi·e. By the mid-nineteenth century some territories that had
been nominally part oí the Sultan`s domain íor centuries e·entually become integrated
parts oí the empire íor the íirst time, ironically, only decades beíore the empire`s
\hile the brigands naturally recei·ed a negati·e e·aluation ,except íor where they were
mis-interpreted as íreedom íighters íor the national cause,, íurther researches into the
role culture and the arts played in the political and personal designs oí the a,av still
promise to yield interesting íindings. 1his, howe·er, should be the subject oí a separate
study integrating Ottoman sources ,and the important literature thereupon already
produced mainly by \ugosla· and Bulgarian scholars,, local chronicles and íolklore, the
impressions and descriptions oí the numerous western ·isitors, as well as the buildings
themsel·es, which, as we ha·e seen, can indeed pro·ide us with iníormation on the
personal ambition and taste oí the patron, more than they would enlighten us about
general de·elopments in the context oí Ottoman architecture.
Concerning merchants and artists ,builders-decorators,, it is hard to o·erlook the
predominance oí the southwest Balkans ,Lpirus, 1hessaly, western Macedonia, in the
last third oí the eighteenth century. \hy this comparati·ely small and curiously
mountainous region emerges as perhaps the most dynamic region oí the empire in
terms oí commerce and craítsmanship` should be the íocus oí a separate study. An
explanation may begin with the nature oí the terrain, which would not ha·e supported
extensi·e agriculture. 1hereby, work migration became a long-standing íeature oí this
region, both íor the merchants as well as the groups oí builders-decorators, which oí
course also resulted in a diííerent dynamic oí exchange, both with the Ottoman and
non-Ottoman world. Also here the connection between economic potency and the
increase oí skilled builders-decorators is e·ident. In the íirst decades oí the nineteenth
century, howe·er, this region loses its prominence to central Bulgaria, where the riches
are again based on textile trade, but guilds and artisanship play a greater role in the local
economy. \e will then also note a transíer oí skills, in a íew cases also persons ,e.g.
Greek merchants resettling in Plo·di·,, and possibly also stylistic originalities írom the
southwest Balkans to the central Bulgarian districts, where many oí the most dynamic
centres will again be relati·ely small settlements - sometimes called ·illages, sometimes
towns - in mountainous expanses.
\et another new dynamic is encountered in the Albanian lands at this period. Our
knowledge oí this subject has remained limited íor a long time because oí, on one hand,
the lack oí interest in late Ottoman decorati·e art and, on the other, due to the isolation
oí Albania írom the outside world during the loxha go·ernment. Now we can
determine that also monuments in neighbouring Koso·o and Macedonia íormed part oí
a general trend in this part oí the Balkans and in this speciíic period. 1he con·ersion oí
a large part oí the population to Islam necessitated this population`s pro·ision with the
rele·ant inírastructure. In this long neglected corner oí Ottoman Lurope this art, almost
predictably, assumes a reasonably distinct character. \et, as can be seen írom the
examples mentioned, it did also not de·elop in absolute isolation írom general trends in
post-classical Ottoman art. More than in architecture, inno·ation is yet again most
·isible in the decorati·e programs embellishing structures which are seldom oí really
linally, much can ,and should, still be written about the li·es and the work oí the
itinerant builders-decorators. lere, most documentation is a·ailable in the languages oí
the region, while to Lnglish- and 1urkish-readers it remains a rather unexplored subject.
Cerasi`s article íate Ottovav .rcbitect. ava Ma.ter·ßvitaer. ,1988, may ha·e been the íirst
attempt to treat the Balkan builders in the context oí late Ottoman architectural history.
As he could not directly access the publications in Bulgarian-Macedonian and Greek,
this article oí course lea·es much to be desired, but - as can be seen írom this article
íeaturing in the reading lists oí some 1urkish uni·ersities` syllabi - it still ser·es its
purpose in that it pro·ides a basic reading íor those not ·ersed in the Balkan languages.
Another important contribution has been the article by Palairet ,198¯,, which looks at
the topic írom the perspecti·e oí work migration. Vasilie·`s book ,1965, on the
builders, decorators, and wood-car·ers oí Bulgaria ,including Macedonia,, despite its
age, seems to still be the most comprehensi·e treatise on the subject, but, a product oí
its time, is oí course lined with anti-Ottoman sentiment. In more recent decades
additional studies on indi·idual masters ,lice·, Kane·, Damjano·, Korçari, etc., or
regions ,cí. the Cree/ 1raaitiovat .rcbitectvre series, or the books and articles oí
Moutsopoulos, where builders-decorator oíten take an important place, ha·e been
published. 1he íuture goal oí a ,necessarily polyglot, researcher should be to integrate
this íragmented body oí literature into a regional, Ottoman-historical context and
narrati·e. 1his would be not solely a study oí one oí many proíessional groups in the
Ottoman Lmpire, but essentially an answer to the question oí the identity oí the people
that produced the architectural landscapes, the íace` oí the Balkans that we ha·e come
4. Reorganization (1anzimat) and Rebirth (vàzrazdane)
1he last period to be co·ered here is the 1820s to 1850s. By that time Ottoman control
o·er many territories pre·iously included in this sur·ey was considerably weakened or
already ended. An independent neo-lellenic state, co·ering Attica, central Greece, and
the Peloponnesus, emerged aíter a decade-long struggle. Oí the other historical regions
írequently mentioned here, 1hessaly was only to join the modern Greek state in 1881
,despite objections by its Vlach inhabitants,, and large parts oí Macedonia and Lpirus in
1914. \allachia and Molda·ia íormally remained under Ottoman suzerainty íor another
halí-century until 18¯8, but the rulers were no longer appointed írom Constantinople.
In 1859 both principalities elected the same ruler ,now domnitor`, and were
henceíorth called the United Principalities oí \allachia and Molda·ia`, and e·entually
Romania`. Serbia also gradually achie·ed íar-reaching autonomy within the empire and
e·en became a threat to neighboring Bosnia which, despite mo·ements íor autonomy -
the only case where such enterprise was motored by Muslim subjects - remained an
integral part oí the empire until occupation by Austria-lungary in 18¯8.
\hile around 1800 architectural phenomena were still largely shared on a regional basis,
aíter the 1820s a greater range oí diííering, more indi·idualistic expressions e·ol·ed. In
the south, in Bulgaria and Macedonia, where this period came to be known as the
|national| re·i·al` or Renaissance`, this was partly due to the Christian subjects
successíully re-claiming urban space, either through elaborate residences or newly built
or re-built houses oí worship under the patronage oí wealthy merchants and surpluses
generated by the prosperous guilds. In \allachia and Serbia, both on the border with
Austria and enjoying íar-reaching autonomies, soon a modest ·ersion oí Luropean
Classicism in the íorm oí residences built írom solid materials superseded pre·ious
Ottoman customs, and are thereby not longer oí concern to us. In the case oí Serbia,
howe·er, this de·elopment did not take place without a short but interesting period oí
transitional architecture. In neighboring Bosnia, likewise sharing a border with the
central Luropean empire, the iníluence oí the \est or oí de·elopments in the Ottoman
south Balkans, howe·er, seems to ha·e been almost negligible. Possible reasons íor this
will be explored later in this chapter, which will begin with a discussion oí
interpretations oí how the re·i·al period` in the culture oí Bulgaria and Macedonia
4.J. 1he ´Bulgarian National Revival¨ and its architectural manifestations
Oí the groups oí structures mentioned in this thesis the Bulgarian National Re·i·al
louses` are probably the best known. 1hereíore, instead oí mere description, we shall
concentrate on the interpretation oí this architecture in- and outside oí regional trends
in the Ottoman Balkans, where some problematic readings exist, as will be discussed.
1o understand the de·elopment oí a Bulgarian National Renaissance` in its political as
well as cultural and artistic implications we will íirst be concerned with the
historiography oí this process, írom which our modern understanding oí which deri·es.
Its beginning is usually situated in the second halí oí the eighteenth century. But were
people during the century aíter that really aware oí a national re·i·al taking place· And
did they know that they themsel·es as well as the material culture they produced íormed
a part oí it· Daskale· ,2004:1, maintains that the Bulgarian Re·i·al`s interpretation as a
process oí the íormation oí the Bulgarian nation - or, in contemporary parlance, its
re·i·al, awakening, coming to its senses, being brought back to liíe, resurrection, etc. -
began |only| in its íinal phase`, the 1860s and ¯0s, when the Bulgarian exarchate ,and
thereby a Bulgarian nation, was established ,18¯0, and people started looking back at
the Re·i·al as a historical process. 1hose who had taken an acti·e part in this process
usually dated its beginning only to the 1820s coinciding with Mahmud II`s reíorms. In
18¯1 an iníluential article appeared by Martin Drino· who is regarded as the íirst
In Bulgarian, publications on the Re·i·al Architecture` abound. Pars pro toto could be mentioned
Arbalie·`s oíten cited work oí 19¯4. In western languages, howe·er, íew comprehensi·e studies ha·e been
produced. Péew`s Alte läuser in Plo·di·` oí 1943, a summary oí his pre·ious studies re-issued in
German by the archaeological institute oí litler Germany ,allied with Bulgaria in \\II,, seems to still be
the main reíerence íor scholars to whom the Bulgarian sources are inaccessible. Despite the bre·ity, Péew
deli·ered a comprehensi·e sur·ey lea·ing only íew questions unanswered, while also being reíreshingly
de·oid oí unnecessary romanticism and ideology.
proíessional Bulgarian historian. le traced the beginnings oí the Bulgarian Re·i·al to
1¯62, to Paisij lilendarski`s Istorija Slo·enobolgarska` ,Sla·o-Bulgarian listory,. 1his
was widely accepted despite later attempts to shiít back the beginning oí this period
back to 1¯00 or e·en 1600 ,proto-Re·i·al` and,or early Re·i·al`,. 1he term
ra¸ra¸aave ,mostly translated as re·i·al`, but actually better and also oíten translated as
rebirth` ~ Renaissance`, itselí was íirst used in 1842 in a pamphlet appearing in
Russian in Saint Petersburg, but long competed with other designations such as
awakening` or resurrection`. Post-liberation` ,i.e. aíter 18¯8, historiographers then
selected a glorious, heroic image oí the past and projected it onto the collecti·e
consciousness in such a poweríul way that it came to be accepted as the sacred truth` by
íuture generations.` ,Daskale· 2004:2,5,12,100-1,
In critically re·iewing this de·elopment, Daskale· touches upon an important subject,
namely that historical processes are not always as linear as historiography has interpreted
them. 1his problem includes the use oí the term Renaissance` in suggesting a belated
,through Ottoman bondage`, relati·e oí the Renaissance in Lurope. 1his is not only a
matter oí translation oí ra¸ra¸aave, but an actual reíerence many Bulgarian authors ha·e
made in writing oí the cultural de·elopment oí their nation in this period. \hy this is
somewhat problematic shall brieíly be discussed here.
1he mo·ement in Italy was a conscious process oí re·i·al oí the classical heritage,
perhaps most ·isibly in terms oí architectural culture it was also a reaction against the
barbarous` Gothic. In the Bulgarian case, íollowing Daskale·, the Bulgarian
Renaissance` was, íor the most part, an assessment oí a period once it came to be seen
as a historical process. \e also can hardly discern a real reaction in terms oí art and
architecture, rather a largely regionally shared and ·ery gradual íurther de·elopment oí
an established type. 1he ·iew oí a Bulgarian Renaissance Architecture` catching up to
Luropean achie·ements in the nineteenth century also somewhat competes with the
·iew that Ottoman classical architecture did not materialize in total isolation írom the
Italian Renaissance, but shared some striking similarities.
Other than the general
western principles oí plan and decoration that íiltered through Ottoman building
practices, no direct iníluence oí the Luropean Renaissance on Bulgarian mid-nineteenth
century houses can be detected. One general problem seems to be that, rather than in
the context oí the architectural history oí the late Ottoman Balkans, this íorm is most
oíten interpreted emotionally:
1he structure, ornamentation and decoration oí the Re·i·al houses reílect the ideas,
the emotions and the aspirations oí a nation stri·ing íor íreedom and independence.
1he buildings oí the period are stamped with the people`s optimism, inward spiritual
strength, indomitable resol·e and hopes íor a better and happier liíe.` ,Arbalie·
1he iníluence oí the Ottoman Baroque`, or oí Istanbul in general, is not always but
oíten entirely dismissed. Doytchino· and Gantche· ,2001:51,, íor example, maintain
that the iníluence oí the 1urkish Baroque` ,1¯30 to 1808`, on the Bulgarian
was not considerable because the Bulgarian style e·ol·ed through
Such ·iew is held by prominent scholars like Goodwin and Necipoglu, but is also strongly disagreed
with by Cerasi ,1999:126,, who sees
absolutely no sign oí Renaissance íorms or schemes in Ottoman architecture ,the role oí
Renaissance artists has certainly been o·erplayed, and there ha·e been too many íacile iníerences
regarding the contributions oí Bellini and lilarete in Istanbul,, and there is no single architectural
work which bears the imprint oí a major Renaissance concept. 1he plan oí the latih complex ...
and its arid grid, íor which the name oí lilarete ... has been e·oked, ha·e none oí the distincti·e
íinesse oí either Ottoman or Italian monumental architecture. Its regularity is just a scheme with
no conceptual or linguistic implications, as ií some architect or tra·eler had gi·en an oral
description oí lilarete's ideas and some other architect or builder had simply conscientiously
applied the little he had iníerred írom those íew phrases.`
\hat was perhaps the íirst comprehensi·e discussion oí nineteenth century art and architecture in
Bulgaria under the banner Bulgarian Baroque`, and thereby most probably instrumental in the
establishment oí this notion as scientiíic íact, see the still írequently cited work by Bice· ,1955,:
identiíication with the western Baroque and a negati·e attitude toward the Ottoman
So it is, somewhat ironically, exactly the mural paintings during the
Bulgarian Re·i·al` that íor authors like Arbalie· ,19¯4:350, constitute the best
e·idence oí the uni·ersal cultural and economic re·i·al, the people`s aspiration to
períection, national íreedom and independence.` 1he peculiarities oí residential
architecture in Bulgaria in that period, admittedly, are apparent and not at question, but
it is e·idently less the interior than the exterior that distinguishes the mid-century /ova/s
in Bulgaria írom designs in the wider region. 1hese íeatures include, most
distinguishably, the cur·ed ea·es and gables and the painted decoration on the íaçades,
in combination with the oíten períectly symmetrical layout. 1hese are, admittedly,
íeatures that can be seen in other parts oí the Balkans in that period as well - the
characteristic, cur·ed ea·e and,or çi/va we also see on buildings in Berat |Ill.3.24|,
Belgrade |Ill.4.14|, Xanthi |Ill.4.6,4.9|, Blagaj ,near Mostar, |Ill.4.8|, Ohrid |Ill.4.¯|, or in
Dako·ica - but in Bulgaria they really constituted a perceptibly broader phenomenon.
Interestingly, but without íurther elaboration, Péew ,1943:22,, writing oí Plo·di·, states
that painted house-íaçades were in íact typical íor the Ottoman lands in that period, the
decorators being tra·elling masters írom Plo·di·, Debar, Constantinople, or
1hessaloniki, but that the greater part was painted o·er in later decades.
the question whether such painted íaçades really existed, on a widespread le·el, not only
1his is not to say that the wish íor artistic reíerence to Lurope was not articulated as such. Preser·ed
is, íor example, a contract írom 1836 in which the patron instructs the wood-car·er I·an Paskula írom
Debar ,alternati·ely identiíied by Vasilie· 1965:2¯2 as Joan Paskula` or Jani Paskulis` írom Metso·o in
Greek Macedonia, to produce the iconostasis íor the church oí SS Constantine and lelena in the style oí
Vienna ,po ·ienski obrazec`, ,see larbo·a 2002:130,.
Kizis ,1992:16,38, íinds in the cur·ed íeatures oí houses south oí the Rhodopes, in the Greek part oí
1hrace, a northern 1hrace iníluence`, yet holds that they were built by Lpirot or Constantinopolitan
craítsmen in the local architectural idiom which with the passage oí time was hea·ily iníluenced by
Luropean styles`. Cur·ed ea·es pronouncing entrances in the style known írom Plo·di· can also be seen
on churches, and e·en in Albania, as in the church oí St Mary in Berat |Ill.4.13|.
Péew`s work írom the 1940s, íor example, also shows the house A.C. Kojumdzioglu without its
characteristic painted íaçade ornament, signiíying that it must ha·e been recreated some time later.
mainly in Bulgaria but also in other parts oí the empire, and simply are not known to us
as they were plastered or painted o·er later. But why, then, should they ha·e only been
preser·ed in such a large number in Bulgaria·
1he making oí the Re·i·al louse` into a national arteíact has also touched upon the
speciíic locations and situations in which this architecture, as well as the ideology
supposedly accompanying it, ílourished. An imperati·e pillar oí Re·i·al historiography
is that it was not borne in the large Ottoman urban centres ,thereby under cultural
pressure` by Greeks and,or 1urks, but in isolated mountain settlements,
small craít and trade towns inhabited by Bulgarians, íar írom the great roads and
preser·ed írom 1urkish attacks and colonization. Although these towns were not large,
the manner oí production, the social structure and culture in them were urban in
Oí how these settlements came into being ·arious heroic and less heroic readings exist.
Representati·e oí the Bulgarian ·iew is what Rosko·ska ,19¯¯:1¯9, writes oí
Kopri·stica, one oí the centres oí the Re·i·al:
Due to the hard times and uncertain li·ing conditions during the epoch oí Ottoman
domination a part oí the country`s Bulgarian population was íorced to withdraw írom
the lowlands and to settle in ·arious naturally protected mountainous sites. 1hat is
precisely how the town oí Kopri·shtica came into being.`
According to Stamo· ,19¯¯,, more than ¯,500 historical monuments dating írom the National Re·i·al
Period ,which Stamo· strangely dates to the end oí the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, ha·e
lor that we oíten, as with the cases in northwest Greece, read oí these places as ·illages` is due to
their oííicial status, which Ga·rilo·a ,1999:28, explains with the authorities` ill-disposition to recognize
as towns localities without Muslim inhabitants - according to the principle: no lriday mosque, no town.
Such circumstances account íor the otherwise inexplicable ·illage status oí such localities as Kaloíer,
Sopot, Llena, Kotel, Panagyurishte, 1rya·na, and many other small but economically, culturally, and
politically acti·e Bulgarian towns situated in the densely populated ·alleys along either side oí the Balkan
Much to the contrary, Kiel ,1985:2¯, explains the consolidation oí these exclusi·ely
Christian-Bulgarian settlements in the Sredna Gora and Balkan mountains with a
purposeíul settlement policy by the Ottomans. Attracted to these places by tax and
other pri·ileges, these aerbev;a)ci ·illages in places commanding the roads were
established to guard the mountain passes ,aerbeva). 1hese ·illages then turned into craíts
and trade centres in time, and the places Kiel mentions oí ha·ing ílourished in this
manner ,Drjano·o, Llena, Ltropole, Gabro·o, Kaloíer, Kopri·stica, Kotel, Panagjuriste,
1ete·en, 1rja·na, and Zera·na, are identical with those towns instrumental in the
Re·i·al. 1his can hardly be coincidental.
lor Kiel ,1990b:84, their emergence was
part and parcel oí the Ottoman policy oí internal colonization and urbanization.` On
their signiíicance in Bulgarian nationalism, Clarke ,1945:14¯, moreo·er holds that,
although the small mountains were the nurseries oí nationalism, it was in
Constantinople that the mo·ement was íocused, at any rate until the Porte recognized
the Bulgarians as a distinct vittet.`
\hereas recurrently all eighteenth and nineteenth century houses in Bulgaria, e·en the
most typically Ottoman, are designated Bulgarian national re·i·al houses` or,
somewhat less problematically, houses oí the national re·i·al period`, the house-type
most representati·e íor this indubitably remarkable cultural re·i·al seems to ha·e
reached these towns as an export ,cí. Ga·rilo·a 1999:142, Rosko·ska 19¯¯:52, Biche·
Another alternati·e explanation is oííer by Palairet ,199¯:38,: 1he withdrawal oí population into the
hills, particulary during the se·enteenth centuries, was not prompted solely by insecurity or oppression in
the lowlands. \hen population density was low or íalling and land abundant, the hills oííered a more
salubrious climate than the marshy lowlands, their soil was easier to clean, and supplies oí water and
timber more ample. 1he produce oí the hill economy was augmented by long-established domestic
1961:68,, namely írom the region`s multi-ethnic primate city oí Plo·di·.
that set this house type apart írom the typical ,or earlier, Ottoman house`, whereupon
it is associated with western and oíten Baroque iníluence, are, in addition to the
elaborate ceiling ornamentation and wall paintings íound in earlier merchant houses
elsewhere in the Ottoman domain, as íollows: symmetrical arrangement,
aíorementioned cur·y íorms on the ele·ation, mostly in cvvba or çi/va ,sometimes both
horizontally and ·ertically rounded, and ea·es, íaçades painted with occidentalizing
motiís, sometimes apparently imitating stucco ornamentation ,e.g. window heads, in a
one-dimensional way, o·al room íorms ,írom a clearly Baroque input,, and also the
western orientation reílected in choice and origin oí íurniture, resulting in a culturally
hybrid room equipment.
But to understand the society which produced this
architecture, rather than to describe its íeatures in greater detail, we shall ha·e to look
into the historical and cultural context in which the Plo·di· houses`
Péew ,1943:33, mentions another export destination oí the Plo·di· house, not to the Bulgarian
mountain towns like Kopri·stica, but to the nearby Rhodope ·illage oí Dermendere ,also lerdinando·o
or Par·enec,, which had become a popular country residence oí the wealthier Plo·di· citizens during the
hot summer months. 1hese residences were usually two-storied and, built by the same masters, looked
much like the mid-century town houses. Some oí these also had large gardens and stables.
In íact, Péew ,1943:26, maintains that in Plo·di·, without exception`, all buildings írom between the
late eighteenth century and the mid-nineteenth century íeature a symmetrical room arrangement, and links
this with trends spreading írom nearby Istanbul.
1his situation is described by 1odoro· ,1998:IV,22,2¯, as íollows: |L|lements oí Viennese liíe - - the
chairs, candlesticks, glassware, and china írom Czech and Saxon manuíacturers - - which were to become
typical íor Bulgarian and Greek merchants and entrepreneurs oí the íirst and middle decades oí the
nineteenth century . were placed alongside the copper ·essels skilíully made by local craítsmen . In
general the prosperous representati·e oí the Bulgarian bourgeoisie was trying to catch up with the already
consolidated urban bourgeoisie in the rest oí the Balkans in both liíe style and social status. Certain
íeatures in the way oí liíe oí the rich 1urks were not alien to him either.` 1odoro· ,1998:IV,2¯, also
includes a note on the change oí íemale dress: 1hough slowly, alien` íashions also crept into the
wardrobe oí women in the late 1850`s. 1he urban woman gradually mo·ed away írom the ·illage
woman.` In the 1940s Péew ,1943:2¯, still saw goods írom Vienna, such as chairs, couches, tables,
mirrors, or sil·erware in many houses.
lor Goodwin ,19¯1:441, pro·incial residences like the /ova/ oí Plo·di·, which closely íollow the
plan oí the quasi-religious (inili Kiosk`, were the counterparts ,ri·als`, oí the ,ati oí the Bosphorus.
the most representati·e examples dating írom the second and third quarter oí the
nineteenth century, came into being.
In contrast to the mountain towns, Plo·di· was a ·ery old city, but the old Plo·di·` we
speak oí emerged in the late eighteenth century. Accounts oí the Plo·di· a century
earlier greatly diííer, as illustrated by Péew ,1943:¯,9,: a western tra·eller had seen a city
oí 40,000 and oí a sad` appearance, with windowless houses built oí wood and other
cheap materials - a temporary architecture renewed e·ery 40-50 years - spotted with
older stone-built churches, inns, and baths. L·liya, howe·er, ·isiting Plo·di· at roughly
the same time, called it the most beautiíul oí cities oí Luropean 1urkey, a large and rich
centre oí commerce, and mentioned 165 palaces`
oí a,av. 1wo centuries later
Plo·di·, still ,and probably e·en more so, a dominant regional centre oí commerce,
attracted much immigration írom its rural surroundings but also many merchants and
builders írom the western halí oí the southern Balkans ,Macedonia, Lpirus, etc., in
search íor lucrati·e business and work. 1his process was a part oí a regional shiít oí the
economic balance in ía·our oí the Bulgarian lands. Bulgarian merchants, howe·er, did
not achie·e prominence until the 1830s. Stoiano·ich ,1992:42-3, identiíied íour
principal reasons íor this:
1, 1he population oí the Black Sea and Aegean coasts was mainly Greek, 1urkish, Jewish, or
Armenian, 2, Bulgaria was the hinterland oí íour major Ottoman cities - Istanbul, Adrianople
,Ldirne,, Phillippopolis ,Plo·di·,, and Soíia - each oí which needed the production oí the
Bulgarian peasantry and consequently set limits upon the export oí rural production beyond the
coníines oí the Lmpire, 3, Greek, Jewish, and Armenian merchants possessed ·irtual monopoly
1he dating oí houses in the Ottoman Lmpire, in general, has been a problem. Péew ,1943, and
Rosko·sa ,19¯¯,, íor Plo·di· and Kopri·stica, both report examples írom the eighteenth century`, but
the íirst precisely dated examples they mention are írom the 1820s. 1his is mostly due to the inscriptions
on the houses themsel·es, which at that time become common. Interestingly, Rosko·sa ,19¯¯:169, states
that they usually íollow the Muslim calendar, while in some cases also both ·ariants can be íound.
le is indeed using the term .ara,, not /ova/.
rights to the trade oí Istanbul with the eastern Balkans, and 4, little oí the produce oí Bulgaria
could be marketed in \allachia, Serbia, or Bosnia, because oí the basically similar agricultural
production oí the íour areas.`
At least until about 1¯50 the role oí Bulgarian traders thus remained negligible. It was at
this time that the Greeks and Bulgarians oí mountain ·illages like Stanimaka
,Aseno·grad,, Melnik, Razlog, Panagjuriste, Kopri·stica, Karlo·o, and Gabro·o began
to make long commercial odysseys to Russia and lungary. Many oí these ·illages ,or
small towns, then suííered harshly, or were completely destroyed, in the unrest oí the
/ara¸ati period. Some places, howe·er, could quickly reco·er. Kopri·stica, íor example,
a centre oí large-scale li·estock husbandry, was thoroughly destroyed by bandits, but
could reco·er rapidly because most oí its capital - ílocks oí sheep on pasture in 1hrace
or artisan goods sent by cara·ans íor sale in Istanbul and Anatolia - had remained intact.
By the 1830s this ·illage` had maybe 5,000 inhabitants and íurnished Plo·di· with
some oí its merchant dynasties`. 1he /ara¸ati period had not only resulted in migration
mo·ements to \allachia, but then also to the depopulated ·alleys.
solely between ·illage and city, a more expanded exchange oí goods began between
indi·idual towns and production areas on both sides oí the Balkans mountain range,
and between Macedonia and the ports on the Danube.
By the 1840s areas like
Plo·di·, Sli·en, or Samoko· represented an enormous workshop operating less íor
Romanian cities like Bucharest, Braila, or Braso· had in íact played an important role in the cultural
de·elopment oí the Bulgarians ,see Crampton 199¯:64-5,. Clarke ,1945:144, e·en belie·es that the
Bulgarian emigré |sic| colonies north oí the Danube played somewhat the same role in the Bulgarian
renaissance as the north-oí-the-border Serbs oí lungary did in the Serbian`. Ne·ertheless, Clarke
,1945:154, appends that around 1800 the Bulgarians in \allachia were known as Sarbi` ,Serbs,,
supporting his suggestion that the strict separation between these two groups is a more recent
Lawless ,19¯¯:529,, howe·er, maintains that ,at least íor 1hessaly, which he writes oí, a true urban
system did not emerge until long aíter the end oí Ottoman rule: lar írom ser·ing the rural areas around,
the towns were economically parasitic, and, as the home oí the landowning class, much oí the wealth
írom agriculture was concentrated there. Lach town, íurthermore, ser·ed only the surrounding area and
because oí the poor communications there was little or no diííerentiation in the ser·ices which each town
oííered, and little or no economic competition and interaction between diííerent centres.`
domestic consumption than íor the general Ottoman regional market.
1992:43, 1odoro· 1983:212-3 and 1998:IV,21,24-5, Detrez 2003:32,
Plo·di·, a large accessible urban centre located in the 1hracian plain, became a target oí
considerable immigration in this period, which ultimately also changed the ethno-
coníessional make-up oí the city. By 1850, at the peak oí Plo·di·`s prosperity, howe·er,
the Orthodox Christians, numbering around 40,000, constituted only a slight majority
o·er the Muslim population ,Detrez 2003:33,. Insight into the composition and
identiíication oí the Plo·di· society oí the mid-nineteenth century can be aííorded írom
Mora·eno·`s Record oí the Plo·di· Christian population in the city and oí its common
institutions, according to oral tradition` ,186¯,, as studied by Detrez ,2003,. le,
according to selí-deíinition oí the persons he inter·iewed, di·ided Plo·di·`s Orthodox
Christians into not only Greeks and Bulgarians but additional categories: gvaita.
,hellenized Bulgarians, apparently also a selí-designation,
and tavgera. ,ethnic Greeks
írom the region, as opposed to the Greeks` hailing írom elsewhere,
1aken the Danube Vilayet ,much oí northern Bulgaria and the Dobrudja, as example, by the 1860`s
only 19° oí the working population ,oí which we ha·e knowledge oí, engaged in agriculture, almost as
much as those engaged in trade ,16°,, but altogether less that those engaged in artisan and manuíacturing
branches ,46°,. 1he percentage oí those who sold their labour reached about 36°. ,1odoro·
larbo·a ,2002:135, dates the appearance` oí the grécomanes` among the Bulgarians into the
eighteenth and beginning oí the nineteenth century. 1he reason íor this process she explains with the
desire íor integration into the higher cultural le·el oí the Greeks. As language` oí the gvaita., Mora·eno·
speaks oí gudilski`, which the linguist Detrez ,2003:38,, on examples gi·en by Kara·elo·, identiíies as a
weird mixture oí Bulgarian, Greek and 1urkish words.`
1he di·ision between Greeks` and tavgera. is moreo·er accounted íor by Detrez ,2003:31-2,36,: 1he
tavgera. ,named so aíter their widespread occupation oí wine-growing, hail írom the nearby mountain
town oí Aseno·grad ,Stanimaka, and its surroundings, whereto a great part oí Plo·di·'s Byzantine
Christian ,mostly Greek, population had settled aíter Plo·di· had been taken by the Ottomans. 1he íew
persons identiíied by Mora·eno· as lellenes` came írom Macedonia, Lpirus, 1hrace, e·en Athens and
Ionian or Aegean islands. 1he existence oí holders oí passports oí the neo-lellenic state, howe·er, do
not oííer deíinite indication oí ethnic identities, as many gvaita. had Greek passports, the Bulgarians
generally did not. A íew inhabitants oí Plo·di· were also Russian citizens, including Greek-speakers.
1he numerical relation between these groups in Plo·di· ,center and periphery, was, in Mora·eno·`s
count, as íollows ,by households,: 23¯ Bulgarian, 163 gvaita., 58 tavgera., 53 Bulgarian parents with gvaita
children, 4 both Bulgarian and gvaita, 21 Greek. ,Detrez 2003:34,
1830s onward, the upward social mobility oí many Bulgarian immigrants e·entually
resulted in a power struggle with the Greeks and the hellenized Bulgarians, as the
Bulgarian immigrants, mostly peasants írom the hinterland, resisted hellenization and
demanded church ser·ices in Bulgarian. 1here was much hostility between the
Bulgarians and the gvaita., but the de·elopment oí Bulgarians turning gvaita. was
ongoing, and essentially seen as a íorm oí social promotion rather than as a
renouncement oí one`s ethnic identity. 1hereby, when members oí a Bulgarian íamily
became gvaita., Mora·eno·`s account pro·ides no e·idence that this would ha·e
pro·oked tension or riíts within the íamily. ,Detrez 2003:33-5, But language did not
constitute the main distinction between the gvaita. and the Bulgarians, ií we again íollow
Detrez ,2003:38,41-2,, who maintains, based on Bulgarian not Greek sources, that
all Plo·di· citizens spoke Greek, including those with an acti·e sense oí Bulgarian
awareness and who were opposed to the spread oí lellenism in the city . Bulgarian
was spoken only in some Plo·di· neighbourhoods and by the ser·ants, in the city centre
households that spoke Bulgarian were rare . Beíore the 1850s in Plo·di· there was
little serious resistance oííered to the use oí Greek as the common language oí the
entire urban elite, e·en by those members oí that elite who allegedly possessed an acti·e
sense oí Bulgarian consciousness. \hat those people actually possessed was Bulgarian
etbvic awareness, which did not constitute an obstacle to speaking Greek in e·eryday liíe
and adopting the Greek urban liíe style . L·en íamilies who had preser·ed a sense oí
Bulgarian consciousness did not object to sending their children to schools where they
were taught in a language that was not their mother tongue. As elsewhere in Bulgaria,
the íirst demands to ha·e Bulgarian education were inspired more by pedagogical than
by nationalist considerations. All this again indicates that prior to the 1850s and
obligating national consciousness was still absent . Gi·en the íact that nations were
still in the process oí íormation, it would be an anachronism to deíine the gvaita. in
national terms - as Bulgarians` or Greeks`. 1hey were Bulgarians by ethnic origin,
but Greeks in the sense oí Rovaio. - Orthodox Christian`, or in the sense oí city
dweller` or member oí the urban social elite`, meaning which the word Rovaio. had
acquired in the nineteenth century.`
On acculturation in mid-century Plo·di·, and how his Bulgarian barbarism` was
pruned, the Kopri·stica-born Ljuben Kara·elo·, an important íigure oí the National
Re·i·al`, leít a personal account ,translated in Detrez 2003:3¯-8,:
Really, tell me, can a Bulgarian wear a pair oí |íull-bottomed and tight legged| breeches
and a red belt, when the Graecoman ci·ilization required long and high-bottomed
/araravi ,trousers, with a multitude oí decorations and a yellow belt with a knot in the
middle· Among the Graecomans it was considered a disgrace to wear a woollen jacket
lined with sheepskin, and Stanyo attempted to reíorm me and gi·e me a Plo·di·
appearance. le bought me blue trousers, a yellow belt, shiny shoes and a purple íez.
1he only shortcoming was my socks. L·eryone knows the great descendants oí the
Byzantine empire wear cotton socks, tied below the knee, like women, and my woollen
socks írom Kopri·shtica were short, so the shins oí my legs remained completely bare.
But anyhow, íor 500 Grosches Mr. Stanyo made me a Greek.`
lrom all this one is tempted to assume that those who built the íamed Plo·di·
mansions could hardly ha·e called themsel·es Bulgarians`, e·en ií e·idently oí
Bulgarian origins, and that such branding is a reading-back into history. 1his is not to
say that these houses should be considered Greek` or 1urkish` instead. Rather, they
simply íormed a part oí a late Ottoman Balkans artistic trend that had diííering
maniíestations in diííerent localities oí one region, created íor the upper crust oí a
ethnically di·erse, pre-national society by an ethnically di·erse group oí artists and
1hence Detrez ,2003:39-40, concludes, that instead oí a Bulgarian or Greek ethnic state the gvaita.,
who were also the most íierce proponents oí the use oí the Greek language in church and at school` and
identiíied with the Constantinopolitan Patriarchate, probably would ha·e preíerred the Ottoman Lmpire
or a successor state in the íorm oí a restored Byzantine Lmpire as a homeland. 1hey did not diííer, íor
that matter, írom the majority oí the wealthy Greek urban establishment all o·er the Ottoman Lmpire.`
Not only residences but also mosques in Greece, Macedonia, and Albania
equally íorm part oí this art. 1his, unsurprisingly, resulted in some curious outcomes.
One oí which, sometimes mentioned in the same sentence with the roughly
contemporary coloured mosques` in 1eto·o and 1ra·nik, is the Bayrakli mosque at
Samoko· |Ill.4.1¯,18|, which Kiel ,1990b:128, íound to be a curious structure, looking
more like some sort oí rich house than an Ottoman mosque`. 1his mosque had been
rebuilt and redecorated by local ,Bulgarian, masters in the 1830s. During a restoration
oí the mosque these masters` signatures, scratched into the soít lime oí the íirst layer,
were disco·ered. 1he building oí the Bayrakli coincided with the bloom oí the Samoko·
School oí painting, oí which the interior and exterior painted decoration is one oí the
most important examples.
As pre·iously mentioned, this school oí painting had had
more direct connection with western art, through its íounder lristo Dimitro· studying
in Vienna in the 1¯¯0s and, more than a halí-century later, his son Zahari taking lessons
in painting írom lrench artists who were tra·elling to Constantinople.
It is this one oí
lrom the names pro·ided by Péew ,1943:34-40, we see that the persons who had these houses built
were not only oí Sla·,Bulgarian but oí Bulgarian, Armenian, and oíten Greek origin ,or orientation, in
these case oí the hellenized Bulgarians,. 1he owner oí the Ma·ridi louse, one oí the most oíten depicted
Plo·di· houses, may íor example ha·e been the gvaita oí the name oí Cerne· ,black`, that, as
Mora·eno· reported, changed his name ,Detrez 2003:39,. More generally, Detrez ,2003:35,, noticing the
írequent inter-ethnic marriages between Albanians, Bulgarians, Greeks, and Vlachs in Plo·id·, also
suggests that no great store was set by loyalty to one`s ethnic community, although we may assume that
e·eryone was períectly aware oí his own ethnic aííiliation and that oí his íellow citizens`.
lrom the tevettvat registers oí Samoko· in 1845 ,published by Iane·a 2004, a íew interesting
conclusions can be made on the socio-economic status these painters-decorators ,registered as nakkas`,
enjoyed. In this town oí almost 8,000 inhabitants, in íact only 5 households depended on the income oí
its head as decorator. 1his, howe·er, seemed to ha·e been a rather prestigious and lucrati·e occupation,
as the a·erage household income oí a decorator was 834 kurus, almost twice as much as the a·erage
income oí those engaged in manuíacturing, trade, and ser·ices ,484,5 /vrv,,. Oí the more than 60 craíts
proíessed in Samoko· by mid-century, only the drapers ,çvbaci, oíten Jews, and the candle-makers ,vvvcv,
had higher a·erage household incomes than the decorators, who also brought home more than íour times
as much as the 40° oí Samoko·`s population who Iane·a characterizes as low income` íor earnings oí
less than 200 /vrv,. But they also earned more than those engaged in textile production and trade, on
which the town thri·ed. Striking is also that they had an a·erage income 3-4 times as high as the local
builders,carpenters ,avtger and aogravaci,, whereby we may conclude that their ser·ices must ha·e been
really considered a luxury rather than necessity.
Art histories oí the late Ottoman Lmpires are multi-sited histories. Although a Bulgarian school oí
painting`, works oí the Samoko· masters can thus be íound in southeast Serbia ,cí. Popo·a 2005, or
northern Greece ,Athos, prominently, as well.
the last domed mosques built in the Balkans, but, with its painted exterior and almost
Byzantine church-like appearance, a monument oí its own.
\ith Samoko· pro·iding some oí the most sought-aíter decorators oí this period,
builders írom the Rhodope mountain ·illages assume a prominent ,ií not dominant,
role in much oí 1hrace and beyond.
Oí these, the giíted builders oí Bracigo·o were
perhaps the most íamous, achie·ing region-wide popularity aíter building the bridge
o·er the Marica ri·er near Pazardzik ,1atar Pazarcik, in 1¯99. At íirst they only built in
the surrounding region, in and around Plo·di· and Pazardzik, but they soon broadened
their area oí work to most oí Bulgaria, \allachia, Ldirne and Istanbul. Based in the
Rhodopes, their presence there, howe·er, did not reach back long. In the second halí oí
the eighteenth century Bracigo·o had recei·ed around 150 íamilies írom around
Kastoria and Korçë, íleeing írom the terror oí Ali Pasha oí Ioannina. Most oí the
settlers came írom the builders` ·illages oí Omocko ,now Li·adotopos, near Kastoria,
and Oresce, and they continued their proíession in 1hrace. By 18¯5, still, 393 out oí
3,054 inhabitants worked in construction ,and ií we assume a household size oí 5
persons, that would mean that around two thirds oí the ·illage`s households would ha·e
been supported by a member working in this proíession,. Due to their region oí origin,
the mountains oí western Macedonia ,Albania`
,, they were locally called
Albanians`, their distinct dialect Albanian`. ,Berbenlie· 1963, esp. 11-21, lrom the
list oí names pro·ided by Berbenlie· ,1963:18-19, we can, howe·er, see that these were
lor the builders oí 1hrace, Moutsopoulos ,196¯:102,, as should be mentioned, identiíied completely
diííerent areas oí origin than had Anhegger ,1954:91, and Péew ,1943:42,, who stressed the role oí the
Rhodopes. It is ·ery probably that Moutsopoulos speaks only oí the Greek portion oí 1hrace when he
writes that there the builders came írom írom the Soíides in the Vizii |Vize| district, Souili ,Souli,,
Ortakioi and Adrianoupolis.`
1his is not as curious as it may sound íor, historically, the toponym Albania` had little coincidence
with the territory oí the modern nation state but was sometimes applied to include not only Koso·o and
western Macedonia but e·en Montenegro and Lpirus.
really Sla·s. So, in conclusion, it can be said that a group oí Macedonian Sla·s írom
present-day Greece were instrumental in the National Re·i·al`
oí Bulgaria, where
they were called Albanians`
Among the assistants írom the Balkan range that came to work with them was the
Drjano·o-born Nikola lice·, nicknamed Kolju liceto, probably the best-known builder
oí the Bulgarian Re·i·al. More than in 1hrace, he worked in north Bulgaria ,especially
around 1arno·o, and much in Romania ,\allachia and Dobrudza,. Aíter mid-century
he also worked íor the Ottoman state, as locally represented by the reíormist Midhat
Pasha, and íor his bridge o·er the Bjala recei·ed the Meciai,e medal. In the new
Bulgarian principality, aíter 18¯8, he then spent his last three years as city architect` oí
1arno·o, ha·ing changed the usta` or maistor` titles íor architect` in his signature.
A Baroque cur·iness can be noticed throughout much oí his work, whereby the term
íicer./a /obitica ,the lice· sweep` or yoke`,
came to used íor the wa·y rooí-lines
and pediments that characterize many oí his buildings |e.g. Ill.4.2¯|, including one oí his
last works, the /ova/ oí 1arno·o ,18¯2-4,, an almost western building ,as many oí the
pro·incial /ova/s aíter mid-century,. ,1ulesko· 2002,
\hat concerns the elaborately car·ed ceilings oí Plo·di· houses, Péew ,1943:30,42,
states that most craítsmen responsible íor these came írom the Balkan mountains -
1hat the apparent bloom in the art oí this region at that time was supposedly stimulated by |national|
re·i·al ideas` ,i¸/v.tro r Ma/eaovi;a be .tivvtiravo ot ra¸ro¸aev./ite iaei`, is, íor example, held by Vasilie·
,1965:14¯,. le íurther states ,1965:¯40-1, that the representati·es oí the schools oí Debar, Samoko·,
1rja·na, and Bansko created the so-called Bulgarian National Re·i·al style` as they leít works with
speciíic national spirit, in strongly expressed national style.`
But not only the masters írom Kastoria but also those írom Debar, as Vasilie· ,1965:14¯, coníirms,
were called Albanians` in Bulgaria.
In a rather romantic interpretation, 1odoro· ,1966:¯,22-3, belie·ed lice· to ha·e drawn the
inspiration íor these graceíul cur·es` írom the íorms oí the mountain range behind his nati·e Drjano·o,
maintaining that lice·`s teitvotir is not a Baroque meander, and is not be íound on any \est Luropean
írom 1rja·na, 1ete·en, Llena, and Zera·na - but also írom Kastoria and Debar, and
that among the builders those írom the Rhodopes and Macedonia played a íar more
important role than those írom the Balkan mountains.
Interesting is also the
iníormation pro·ided by Papoulia ,et al. 1994:Ch.¯.2, that Plo·di· indeed had a large
number oí guilds, but that that oí the aovtgeriae.
-masons, though one oí the oldest
guilds in Plo·di·, was íounded only in the closing decades oí the eighteenth century. It
did not ha·e a written charter because most oí the masons were illiterate migrants írom
elsewhere. According to Péew ,1943:42, a unique item íor Bulgaria, a chronicle íor the
Plo·di· builders` guild co·ering the years 1850-1906 has sur·i·ed. Lntries were written
in Greek ,in Péew`s judgment a bad Greek`, until 1880 and aíter that in Bulgarian. It
recorded 440 masters on the occasion oí a guild celebration and, generally, listed all
masters regularly paying their membership íees. lowe·er, only íirst names are
mentioned, and iníormation about íamilies and li·es are lacking. Nonetheless it can be
seen that most members were indeed Sla·s írom 1hrace and Macedonia. 1he guild not
only represented them proíessionally but also contributed to public welíare, íor example
by pro·iding íor a ·oluntary íire-íighting team.
In the ceiling ornamentation, oíten with ·ery high ,hanging`, relieí, Péew ,1943:2¯, discerned two
motií programmes: one displaying complicated geometric and ·egetal patterns, co·ering the whole space,
and the other, more pronouncing the middle oí the room, with a star-like pattern, which reminded him oí
the sculpture and ornament oí contemporary car·ings in churches. Péew ,1943:42, íound the ceilings at
1rja·na, though less majestic than those oí Plo·di·, ·ery precisely worked, but also characterized more by
the iníluence írom the Orient than oí \estern Baroque. 1hereby he indirectly suggests that, ií not írom
the carpenters írom the Balkan mountains, the more western-looking works must ha·e been produced by
the western Macedonian craítsmen working in Plo·di·. Interestingly, also larbo·a ,2002:130,, while
recognizing the simultaneous impact oí trends spreading írom both Istanbul and Vienna, attributes the
western iníluence on Plo·di· architecture as due to the masters coming to Plo·di· írom Debar in western
Macedonia. Ií this is a íact, could this ha·e been due to the Macedonian-Lpirote-1hessalian region, and
íoremost its Christian merchants as patrons and thereby gi·ing directions to the masters they
commissioned, ha·ing established direct cultural connections with the \est ,Vienna, oíten, but also the
borders with Venetian and Austrian territories in the \estern Balkans were not that íar, decades earlier
beíore similar de·elopments took place in the eastern halí oí the Balkans·
1his was the designing íor the building craítsmen in 1hrace, while in Lpirus and western Macedonia
they were known as koudarei` ,Moutsopoulos 196¯:102,.
By the 1830s the guilds, still controlling much oí the economic acti·ity, began to
generate their own disposable surpluses. 1hese then came to be spent on what could be
broadly called public works`, including new churches ,not anymore the modest
typically single-aisled but now larger and oíten three-aisled churches,, reno·ations oí
monasteries ,with that oí the Rila monastery becoming a great symbol oí the Bulgarian
Re·i·al,, schools, and urban commodities such as íountains and, ·ery ·isible, clock
towers showing the time according to Christian rather than Muslim modes, a symbol
oí cultural selí-assertion and modernity as well as a material attestation oí recent
,Crampton 199¯:59,. Unlike sometimes stated, clock-towers in the
Ottoman Lmpire were not an inno·ation oí the nineteenth century. Already in the
sixteenth century some Balkan towns like Banja Luka or Skopje, the latter with a clock
brought írom conquered lungary, had clock-towers ,Krese·ljako·ic 195¯,. 1here were
usually built next to mosques, as ra/if ,endowments,, and an early concentration oí such
structures we íind particularly in Bosnia and lerzego·ina, where their shape has oíten
been linked to the Italianate campanile oí the neighbouring Adriatic coast.
1his is not
to say that the resurgence oí this type in the eighteenth and íoremost in the nineteenth
centuries was not understood as a marker oí modernization in the 1anzimat era oí
reíorms ,which it undoubtedly was, but that it was not an in·ention oí this period.
\hate·er its prehistory, particularly in Macedonia and Bulgaria this trend leít some
remarkable monuments reílecting the general architectural ,including Baroque`, trends,
next to some more rustic examples. Reílecting the baroque cur·iness oí contemporary
In a more nationalist interpretation, these clock towers are considered as demonstrati·e
constructions, built to express and díend |sic| the Bulgarian national presence, allegiance and selí-
coníidence, and to show the desire oí the Bulgarian people íor national and cultural íreedom. 1hese
towers are the psychological accents, which Bulgarians oppose to the oííicial Islamic architecture oí the
Ottoman in·aders.` ,Rosko·ska 2003:109, lor Biche· ,1961:5¯,, the reasons were more practical: 1he
íixed working hours |in the commercial districts|, which were strictly obser·ed, led to the simultaneous
opening and closing oí the stores. 1o keep the proper working hours, howe·er, e·ery merchant had to
know the exact time. 1hus the clock tower emerged as a child oí necessity.`
lor a sur·ey oí clock towers in Anatolia, see Acun ,1994,.
designs oí houses and churches, noteworthy are the clock-towers in Prilep ,1858, and
Bote·grad ,1866, |Ill.4.23| near Soíia, both oí which ha·e become signature landmarks
íor their respecti·e cities and are claimed to be the most beautiíul oí their kind in their
respecti·e countries. 1he structure in Prilep ,Macedonia,, renewed aíter a íire in 1856,¯,
has an inscription ,published in Kiel 1990c:VIII,1¯0, írom 1863,4 which proudly
reads: Not e·ery place has a clock to strike the hours`. Stylistically, Kiel
,1990c:VIII,1¯1, íinds that it belongs to circle oí architecture oí the sturdy but
ne·ertheless elegant Neoclassistic |sic| style oí the Macedonian Re·i·al Period oí the
century . rather than to late Ottoman art.` 1he really Baroque íeature is in íact
not the octagonal tower itselí, but the drinking íountain below it |Ill.4.24|.
la·ing already mentioned Macedonia, it must be stressed that these lands must be
considered part oí what has come to be called the Bulgarian National Re·i·al as well.
Skopje, íor example, was a decidedly Bulgarian city in the church conílict.
1830s the Sla· guildsmen demanded a Bulgarian instead oí a Greek Metropolitan, and
then built a church íor use only by Bulgarians, S·eta Bogorodica ,Our loly Mother oí
God, in 1835. ,Adanir 1994:159, Destroyed in \orld \ar II, it sur·i·es only in older
illustrations |Ill.4.25| where we see an interesting building oí rectangular plan oí modest
size, pitched rooí, blind arcades with semi-circular arches on the ground íloor, and
o·erall a building that, though not as a church, may not look out oí place in Italy. 1he
team responsible íor its construction was that oí Andreja Damjano· ,1813-18¯8,, the
most íamous representati·e oí the Renzo·ski-Damjano·i íamily oí builders and icon
By the 1830s Skopje had a population oí around 10,000, still nothing compared to the 60,000 beíore
the Austrian in·asion, but at least twice the number it had a halí-century earlier. Adanir suggests the
re·i·al oí the o·erland route through the Balkan interior during this period ,Napoleonic wars, as a reason
íor this growth. Among the towns oí Macedonia, howe·er, it ranked only behind 1hessaloniki ,60,000,,
Bitola ,40,000,, Seres ,25,000, and Stip ,20,000,. ,Adanir 1994:156-¯,
painters írom around Debar.
1his church was only a modest prelude to the truly
monumental structures he would design` in the íollowing halí-century in much oí the
Balkans, but particularly in Serbia and Bosnia, where he built the Orthodox cathedrals
oí Mostar and Saraje·o in the 1860s and ¯0s, both in a hybrid mix oí Byzantine and
Baroque íorms and much reminiscent oí the Serbian Baroque` churches that had been
built in Austria during the pre·ious century.
1he architecture oí the churches does not
concern us much, since they already show a maturely occidentalized emancipation írom
Ottoman-period models aíter mid-century, when many oí the restrictions on church
building had been liíted ,which will be discussed in greater detail later in this chapter,.
Useíul, howe·er, is the insight lilipo·ic ,1949, pro·ides on how the choices íor designs
were made at that time. \hen Damjano· negotiated with the Orthodox parish oí
Saraje·o o·er the design oí a new church he was asked to deli·er a plan or drawing.
Rather than doing this, howe·er, Damjano· ad·ised them to see as examples the
churches he built in in Nis and Smedere·o, and promised he would construct an e·en
íiner one íor them. \hen the parish oí Mostar, who also planned the construction oí a
cathedral but was not satisíied with the work oí another master-builder írom
Macedonia, then asked Damjano· íor a design, he sent them to Saraje·o to see the
cathedral he had just íinished there. lilipo·ic, howe·er, belie·es that some kind oí plans
must ha·e been used in the construction oí these churches. Although churches were
e·idently his speciality, Damjano· and his team also built secular structures. In the
Mostar church one íresco painting is attributed to him as well. \hile working in
Damjano·, howe·er, was born in Papradiste near Veles ,central Macedonia,, whereto his íamily,
originally based in the Reka ·illage oí 1resonce, had mo·ed in the later eighteenth century. le was also
buried in Veles, next to the church built by himselí.
1o Serbia he had mo·ed in 1851, his íirst project being the church oí Smedere·o ,1851-5, on the
border with Austria. In this context it is interesting to note that the 1urkish` builder Damjano· had been
gi·en preíerence o·er the Austrian` ,Czech, architect Jan Ne·ola, whose original design íor the church
had been dismissed by the parish, who then decided to opt íor a builder more íamiliar with the Orthodox
Sla·s` medie·al church heritage. ,Kadije·ic 199¯:1¯,
Saraje·o, he was also commissioned with the repair oí the clock tower and the building
oí the Krsla barracks ,later demolished,. Oí the latter Damjano· had a model built oí
wood and, when taking it to Istanbul to show it to the Sultan ,only aíter it was built,
he was reportedly decorated by the ruler - an honour already Andreja`s great-grandíather
had had íor ha·ing painted an appreciated portrait oí the Sultan ,Vasilie· 1965:151, -
and was conceded the right to wear a sword.
1his was because the sultan, surprised at the high cost oí the building, had asked the responsible pasha
to justiíy the expense, whereby Damjano· was asked to craít a model and accompany the pasha to the
capital to show it to the ruler ,ladzie·a-Aleksie·ska and Kasapo·a 2001:19,. 1he sultan, apparently, was
pleased with the design.
low these masters presented their ideas to their patrons has been a subject oí discussion, as detailed
architectural drawings are rare íor the whole Ottoman domain up until the nineteenth century. lice· had
presented to Midhat Pasha a wax model oí the bridge o·er the Jantra he was commissioned to build,
whereupon Cerasi ,1988:94, asks: Could this ha·e been an Ottoman tradition·` \alkey ,1990:118,
mentions that in the case oí the builders oí northwest Greece no drawings were made either. 1he only
written e·idence oí their work is a number oí one-page documents each describing the number oí rooms
to be built, how many special doors, how many íireplaces and a schedule oí payment and bonuses.` In the
case oí Damjano·`s church at Nis, howe·er, a careíul ií basic drawing írom 1856 by the master exists
,published in ladzie·a-Aleksie·ska and Kasapo·a 2001:15,. Interesting is also the case oí the 1rja·na-
born Genco Kane· ,dealt with in greater detail by Koe·a 198¯,, who had learned how to make technical
blueprints oí buildings when working in construction projects super·ised by íoreign-trained engineers in
neighbouring Romania ,Biche· 1961:¯8,.
4.2. Serbia under Milos Obrenovic
\hile in the south Balkans írom the late eighteenth century onwards cultural inno·ation
had been borne and patronized chieíly by an emerging urban merchant class, Serbia
,~the principality in central Serbia, had neither cities, sa·e íor the Ottoman garrison
towns oí Belgrade and Uzice, nor cosmopolitan merchants.
A wealthy class oí
Serbian merchants had existed in old Serbia` ,Koso·o, prior to the eighteenth century,
but many oí these indi·iduals had migrated northwards to Austria with the retreating
labsburg troops aíter the íailed occupation oí Ottoman lands in the late se·enteenth
century. 1here, many Serbs continued to prosper, soon controlling a large portion oí the
trade. \ith Koso·o soon becoming repopulated with Albanians, and gradually acquiring
a Muslim character, the area thereaíter coming to be identiíied as Serbia was the central
region between Belgrade and north oí Nis, thereby north oí where the medie·al
kingdoms had been centred. \hen this region ,Sumadija,, especially aíter the 1¯60s,
began to raise pigs íor export to Austria to satisíy demands pre·iously met by lungary,
Sla·onia, and the Banat, we see the emergence oí a rural middle class oí battle-trained
pig merchants, halí merchants and halí warriors`.
Austro-Ottoman agreements oí
In the 1830s and 1840s only some 6° oí Serbia`s population li·ed in cities ,cí. \erolympos 1996:1¯,.
In Danube Bulgaria, at the same time, the urban population should ha·e been around 20° ,cí. Palairet
199¯:28,. In the otherwise surprisingly urbanized Ottoman Balkans, particularly in Serbia a trend íor de-
urbanization was noticeable írom the late eighteenth century onwards. According to estimates a·ailable to
Palairet ,199¯:28-9,, Belgrade`s population declined írom some 6,000 houses ,30,000-55,000 inhabitants,
in 1¯¯¯ to only ¯69 ,¯000 inhabitants, in 1834. Uzice declined írom maybe 20,000 inhabitants in the late
eighteenth century to 2,490 in the 1860s, when this ,until then still predominantly Muslim, town was
·acated írom its Muslim inhabitants. But e·en beíore the expulsions in 1863, Uzice`s population would
already ha·e declined to 4,100. \hile beíore the time oí the Serbian Uprising the urban population in the
Belgrade ¡a,ati/ must ha·e accounted íor 2¯° or higher, aíterwards it shrank to maybe 5°.
Despite the lack oí urban centres oí commercial prominence the ¡a,ati/ oí Belgrade, the later
principality, was íairly prosperous due to its íertile land, and e·en attracted migrants. Judah ,199¯:50,8¯,
cites estimates according to which in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries maybe halí a million Serbs
came escaping po·erty írom the mountains oí Montenegro and lerzego·ina or írom Koso·o and the
.avca/ oí No·i Pazar, including the íamilies oí the later rebel leaders Karadorde and Obreno·ic. Between
1815 and 1833 alone the Serb population in the region is belie·ed to ha·e doubled, partly certainly due to
Milos` policy oí distributing land to immigrants and reíugees.
1¯84 and 1¯91 íurther stimulated Serbian trade, gi·ing rise to this class which then was
to íurnish the uprising oí 1804 with some oí its most prominent leaders. ,Stoiano·ich
1his re·olt, unlike oíten later interpreted, had not begun as a spontaneous nationalist
uprising but as a protest against the unruly Janissaries, who had had dominated the
¡a,ati/ oí Belgrade until the 1¯90s. \ithdrawn by Selim, Serbia then was wisely
administered by an enlightened but íirm lajji Mustapha, who rebuilt the churches and
encouraged trade.` ,Swallow 19¯3:21, 1his ruler oí Greek extraction` - something
which Castellan ,1992:234, íound noteworthy - was also popular among Serbs, earning
him the title Mother oí the Serbs`. lowe·er, when Selim allowed the Janissaries back
to Serbia to íight the rebel Paz·antoglu and restore order in 1¯98 Mustaía Pasha and
some senior oííicers were assassinated. Anticipating large-scale massacres, a peasant
uprising broke out under the leadership oí Karadorde in 1804. Aíter nine years oí re·olt
the Ottomans regained control o·er Serbia, only to íace another uprising in 1815, led by
Milos Obreno·ic as Karadorde had íled to Austria. In se·eral stages ,181¯, 1830, 1833,
Serbia was made an autonomous principality ,under Ottoman suzerainty but emptied oí
its Muslim population,
with Milos as hereditary ruler. Partly contemporary with the
Greek re·olution and the Greek enlightenment, Scopetea ,1991:204,, howe·er, suggests
the Serbian re·olution and the Serbian enlightenment to be studied as two parallel and
mutually independent complexes.` 1he enlightenment took place in Austria under the
guidance oí wealthy Serbs, the re·olution was an uprising brought about by peasants.
Milos, characterized by Jela·ich ,1983:239,, was not an educated man, he could not
1hat those Muslims li·ing in the principality but not connected to the Ottoman garrisons would ha·e
to sell their property and lea·e was speciíically spelt out in clauses in the documents by which the sultan
íormally granted autonomy to Milos. Beíore the íirst uprising maybe some 40,000 Muslims had li·ed in
the ¡a,ati/ next to 250,000 Serbs. ,Judah 199¯:¯5,8¯,
read or write. Nor had he experienced liíe outside the Ottoman Lmpire. \ith this
background he naturally adopted Ottoman examples in running his state, essentially he
acted like a 1urkish pasha.` lis autocratic and oíten brutal rule resulted in a rebellion
against him, in which a constitution was demanded. Inaugurated in 1835, along with a
ílag and a ministry oí íoreign aííairs, it had to be withdrawn at the demands oí the
Sultan, Russia, and Austria. 1hough Milos might ha·e lacked a wider ·ision, se·eral
interesting architectural and urbanistic` projects took íorm during his reign ,1815-
1839,. \e will ha·e a brieí look at three ensembles` emerging under Milos: the .r¡./a
raro. at Belgrade, the 1opcider complex` near Belgrade, and the Mito.er revac at
1he core oí the Serbian suburb ,.r¡./a raro., oí Milos` Belgrade was just outside the
íortress. Along one street, Kralja Petra, three buildings írom between the 1820s and 40s
remain, representing a spectrum oí builders írom Macedonia, írom Serbia, and írom the
Austrian towns just across the border ,Zemun, Pance·o,.
1he earliest oí these is the
present-day Kaíana ·`, built in 1823 by Milos íor his commercial consultant Petar Icko
by Greek` builders in a typical Balkan style`. 1he other is the palace` oí Milos`s wiíe
Ljubica |Ill.4.14|, built between 1829 and 1831 under the super·ision oí his personal
builder ladzi Nikola Zi·ko·ic, and some workmen írom Pance·o who are possibly, or
at least in part, to be credited íor some oí the palace`s occidental íeatures. It is this a
structure oíten mentioned in the same paragraph with the houses at Plo·di·, which it in
íact mostly pre-dates. Most noteworthy is the cur·ed projection on the íirst íloor and
Krunic ,1996:26, mentions avvaeri ,carpenters, írom Struga, Debar, and Veles ,all in the present
Republic oí Macedonia or, anachronistically South Serbia` or Old Serbia`, and that these brought
house-types írom the south. Dvvaer must be a corruption oí the 1urkish avtger ,as also coníirmed by
Krese·ljako·ic 1935:98,. In the translation oí Ottoman texts írom Bosnia, Nagata ,19¯9:61,¯9, had noted
that locally the G in avtger had been replaced by a ,modern 1urkish, C ,÷ avtcer,, as in the regional dialect
the Ottoman-1urkish K ,or G, in this case, was oíten substitutde with a C ,or the soíter D, in this case,
\ith the U naturally becoming an U ,as the U does not exist in Sla·ic pronounciations,, the L, less
rationally, must ha·e become an N.
the rigorous symmetry. Discrete mouldings on the íront íacade, otherwise exhibiting the
typical whitewash oí the Ottoman house`, betray a Central Luropean iníluence. 1he
interior again is more traditional` with its wood-car·ed elements oí typically late
Ottoman character. Also by name it is not yet a palace or court ,as later royal projects,
but a /ova/. Just across the street we íind the main Cathedral ,183¯-40, |Ill.4.28| dating
írom a period - according to Mane·ic ,19¯2:¯, a time aíter the mid-1830s - when Milos
not anymore entrusted his building projects to the local selí-trained builders but to
íoreigners`, that is, mostly Serbs or other Sla·s írom Austria. 1he odd blend oí
classicist ,pediment, and Baroque ,bell tower, has oíten been noted, and a German`
iníluence is e·en ·isible on the írescoes in the interior.
Although his ,or in íact his wiíe`s, /ova/ in the Serbian quarter is the most
representati·e residential building oí Milos`s reign, so curious that e·en Le Corbusier
íound it worth drawing, the prince` ,a questionable but customary translation oí the
Serbian /ve¸, himselí chose to reside in the íairly remote 1opcider area, supposedly to
not be too close to the 1urkish garrison in the citadel. 1here, aíter 1831, Milos had a
residence built íor himselí |Ill.4.15|, a church, a park, coííeehouse, and army barracks.
Despite the solid building materials used, Akin ,2001:148, still attests the 1opcider
residence the continuation oí Ottoman traditions, which she identiíied in the ceilings,
benches, cupboards, and niches, and a hall resembling a central .ofa.
Aíter the second uprising, Kraguje·ac ,not Belgrade,, the hub oí the central Serbian
Sumadija region and the epicentre oí the uprising, had ser·ed as the capital oí the
Serbian /ve¸ between 1818 and 1839, grew considerably. Se·eral buildings materialized
in the area now called Milose· Venac`: a court, a high school, a theatre, an arsenal,
barracks, a theatre, and a new church. Built as early as 1818, this church was still oí ·ery
modest dimension as a mosque was in its ·icinity.
At that time Milos still seems to
ha·e asked íor permission. 1he churches oí the 1830s, howe·er, already lea·e little trace
oí such considerations, coinciding with the new autonomies achie·ed, and a shiít oí
interest towards Serbia`s real urban centre, Belgrade.
In terms oí secular architecture the period until the 1860s was then characterized by
what Mane·ic ,19¯2:8, described as a pro·incial Luropean Classicism, miniature
·ersions oí palaces. 1hereby it must be comparable to the ·ulgarized` ·ersion oí
Luropean Classicism proíessed by local builders that Popescu ,2004:32, speaks oí íor
Romania aíter the 1820s. 1he years around 1860, howe·er, then again mark a proíound
change. In Belgrade the Captain Miso building is the íirst true palazzo` oí Luropean
dimension in the capital, and the wealthy Serb merchant community oí 1rieste built a
large cathedral, setting the neo-Byzantine` style that was henceíorth to dominate
Serbian religious architecture and thereby putting an end to the century oí Baroque`.
In the second quarter oí the nineteenth century, howe·er, Serbia appeared to westerners
like Paton as a mixture oí German and 1urkish. 1he /ova/ oí Sabac, íor example, he
reported to be
a large building, in the style oí Constantinople, which, with its line oí bow windows,
and kiosk-íashioned rooms, surmounted with projecting rooís, might ha·e passed
muster on the Bosphorus. On entering, I was ushered into the oííice oí the collector, to
await his arri·al, and, at a íirst glance, might ha·e supposed myselí in a íormal Austrian
kanzley |~chancellery|. 1here were the ílat desks, the strong boxes, and the shel·es oí
coarse íoolscap, but a pile oí long chibouques, and a young man, with a slight
Northumbrian burr, and Ser·ian dress, showed that I was on the right bank oí the Sa·e
1he present building oí the Stara Crk·a ,Old Church,, remodelled in 190¯ in a neo-Byzantine-Baroque
spirit and with addition oí a belíry, bears little resemblance with the original structure, sa·e íor its
. I accompanied |the pandour| until we arri·ed at a house two stories high, which we
entered by a wide new wooden gate, and then mounting a staircase, scrupulously clean,
were shown into his principal room, which was surrounded by a di·an a la 1urque, but
it had no carpet, so we went straight in with our boots on. A German chest oí drawers
was in one corner, the walls were plain white-washed, and so was a sto·e about six íeet
high, the only ornament oí the room was a small snake moulding in the centre oí the
rooí. Some oak chairs were ranged along the lower end oí the room, and a table stood
in the middle, co·ered with a German linen cloth, representing Pesth and Oíen`. ,Paton
It was this a ·isual culture in transition, and Cerasi ,1999:131, has íound it paradoxical
the non-Muslim middle classes . bred ·ery un-Ottoman nationalistic ideas,
enthusiastically con·erted to \estern house appliances and gadgets, dressed in public in
the Luropean íashion, yet up to the íourth quarter oí the nineteenth century, built
houses ·ery traditional |read Ottoman| in their outer aspect. 1he /ova/. oí the ruling
house in Belgrade in the íirst halí oí the nineteenth century and a íew decades later the
socalled |sic| Plo·di·-lilibe symmetrical house type built by Bulgarians and Greeks ...
are prooí oí the relati·e indiííerence oí cultural patterns to political iníluence.`
On the occasion oí Paton`s ·isit to the tax collector`s house in Sabac, a border town
with Austria, he recorded a simpler explanation:
\e are still somewhat rude and un-Luropean in Shabatz,` said Gospody Ninitch, íor
such was the name in which the collector rejoiced. Indeed,` quoth I, sitting at my ease
on the di·an, there is no room íor criticism. 1he 1urks now-a-days take some things
írom Lurope, but Lurope might do worse than adopt the di·an more extensi·ely, íor,
belie·e me, to an arri·ing tra·eller it is the greatest oí all luxuries.` lere the ser·ants
entered with chibouques. I certainly think,` said he, that no one would smoke a cigar
who could smoke a chibouque.` And no man would sit on an oak chair who could sit
on a di·an:` so the Gospody smiled and transíerred his ample person to the still ampler
di·an.` ,Paton 1845:9¯,
Paton also ·isited other houses in Sabac, and interestingly, also saw wall paintings
showing Constantinople, here, right on the Austrian border, and in the house oí an
Orthodox bishop, while suggesting that this may ha·e been a general íeature oí houses
in this, and probably many other towns.
\e had now arri·ed at the house oí the Bishop, and were shown into a well-carpeted
room, in the old 1urkish style, with the rooí gilded and painted in dark colours, and an
un-artistlike panorama oí Constantinople running round the cornice.
I seated myselí
on an old-íashioned, wide, comíortable di·an, with richly embroidered, but somewhat
íaded cushions, and, throwing oíí my shoes, tucked my legs comíortably under me.
1his house,` said the collector, is a relic oí old Shabatz, most oí the other houses oí
this class were burnt down. \ou see no German íurniture here, tell me whether you
preíer the 1urkish style, or the Luropean.` . \e now took our lea·e oí the Bishop,
and on our way homewards called at a house which contained portraits oí Kara Georg,
Milosh, Michael, Alexander, and other personages who ha·e íigured in Ser·ian history. I
was much amused with that oí Milosh, which was painted in oil, altogether without
chiaro scuro, but his decorations, button holes, and e·en a large mole on his cheek,
were done with the most painíul minuteness. In his leít hand he held a scroll, on which
was inscribed Usta·, or Constitution, his right hand was partly doubled a la íinger post,
it pointed signiíicantly to the said scroll, the íoreíinger being adorned with a large
diamond ring.` ,Paton 1845:111-4,
It should be assumed that ií Paton had seen a Byzantine Constantinople without the Ottoman
minarets, he would ha·e speciíically noted this.
4.3. 1he Bosnian exception
Bosnia appears to go a diííerent way in the period aíter 1¯00. De·elopments in Bulgaria,
Albania, or Macedonia in the íirst halí oí the nineteenth century, with a íew debatable
exceptions ,see below,, seem to ha·e had no real impact or counterpart in this region.
Although the pro·ince closest to Lurope`, Luropean iníluence on the architecture oí
the post-classical Ottoman period seems almost negligible in Bosnia. lor Cerasi
,1988:91, it is due to the area`s conser·atism that, similarly to Koso·o, not only the
western idiom but also that oí Istanbul` was reíused, and the íundamental concepts oí
the earlier Ottoman town and architecture` were kept. |\alled| street íronts and
middle-class houses strictly di·ided into barev and .etavti/ were common in the
nineteenth century aíter they had disappeared elsewhere.` 1he conclusion he thereupon
makes is signiíicant:
|I|nno·ations originating in Istanbul penetrated more easily along the most important
routes and in the li·eliest urban system ... Inno·ation and conser·atism were not a
matter oí religion or nationality, but oí school and taste and oí contact with the capital.`
In the speciíic case oí Bosnia, howe·er, additional reasons may be sought in historical
de·elopments as well, namely in continuities and disruptions oí cultural production and
its protagonists. Aíter Bosnia was taken by the Ottomans in 1463, Ottoman architecture
and typology soon entered the country, making it an outpost oí classical Ottoman
culture in the north. At the same time, howe·er, the cultural and economic liíe oí the
Bosnian Catholics ,later Croats`,, which at the time oí conquest still íormed a majority,
was not interrupted. Local merchant íamilies like the Brnjako·ici, Grure·ici, or
Brajko·ici continued prospering trade relations with Dubro·nik, but also the lranciscan
monks, equipped with pri·ileges and guarantees by the conqueror, remained ·ery acti·e.
1hey built churches and monasteries, schools to íight illiteracy, and de·eloped a rich
literary production. Books printed in Venice ,in the Bosnian Cyrillic íont, were also read
by a considerable number oí people. At the same time also paintings, now still íound in
monastery depots, were commissioned írom artists in Venice and Austria. But also local
artists were trained in the style oí the Italian Renaissance. 1he presence oí Bosnian
Catholics in the cultural liíe oí Bosnia recei·ed a catastrophic blow only later, through
the incursion oí their Austrian co-religionists in the late se·enteenth century. \hen
Prince Lugene e·entually retreated to north oí Danube and Sa·a, the majority oí
Bosnian Catholics decided to íollow him out oí íear oí retaliation, putting an end to the
predominance oí the Catholics in the urban commercial middle class, a role then
gradually claimed by Serbs, Vlachs, and Greeks. 1he Bosnian lranciscans remained in
the country but were henceíorth met with distrust on the part oí the Ottomans íor
íeared coalitions with the Austrians.
,Lo·reno·ic 1998, esp. 121-36, Malcolm 1994:69-
Aíter 1699 Bosnia became a borderland with Austria and at the same time more
Muslim`, not only as a result oí emigration oí a part oí its Christian population but also
through large-scale immigration oí Muslims írom the coastal and Pannonian regions -
Croatia, Sla·onia, Dalmatia, lungary - now held by Austria and Venice. In the
nineteenth century Bosnia then became the main destination íor Muslim reíugees
expelled írom neighbouring semi-independent Serbia. 1hat tra·ellers described the
Muslims oí Bosnia as paranoid` and íanatic` does not really surprise in this context,
L·en ií less ·isibly, the lranciscans continued to play a signiíicant role in the cultural history oí Bosnia.
In the eighteenth century the íirst historiographical works, not anymore mere chronicles, appeared. An
important mid-nineteenth century íigure was I·an lranjo Jukic. le íounded the íirst secular school, a
cultural association, and a journal. In 1842 he sent a draít íor a Bosnian constitution to the Sultan,
resulting in permanent exile.
neither does the supposed conser·atism. It is plausible that this political situation
resulted in a general climate in which Bosnian Christians simply did not ha·e the
possibilities oí expression they claimed in places in the southern Balkans, that is, much
closer to the imperial capital ,as the Bulgarian mountain towns,. But the comparati·ely
minor role Bosnia had in the intra- and trans-regional commerce certainly also played a
Aíter 1699 not only the prominence oí the Bosnian Catholics came to an end, but also
the predominance oí an established Ottoman urban centre oí cultural production.
De·astated by Austrian troops, Saraje·o lost its role as pro·incial capital to the small
1ra·nik in central Bosnia.
Now seat oí the Ottoman ·izier in Bosnia, 1ra·nik
de·eloped as a íairly new centre at the expense oí Saraje·o, resulting in a prospering oí
craítsmanship and commerce, while aíter 1800 also becoming seat oí lrench and
Austrian consulates írom 1806-20 ,as narrated in I·o Andric`s no·el Bosnian
chronicle` ,. Promoted írom the status oí /a.aba ,small town, to ,ebir ,large town,, e·en
by 1850, when the capital was again permanently mo·ed back to Saraje·o, 1ra·nik
would only ha·e a population oí some ¯,000 ,Popo·ic 2004:5¯3,.
\ith the Süleymaniye at 1ra·nik dating írom that period already discussed ,Ch 3.3.2,,
one contemporary but ·ery diííerent mosque is the one built by lusein Kapetan
Gradasce·ic, an initially loyal /a¡vaav ,írontier military chieí, in northern Bosnia.
During his rule oí little more than a decade his hometown Gradacac, íor almost a
century ruled by his íamily, became one oí the most prosperous captaincies in Bosnia.
Indicati·e íor this changed situation is that Mulic ,1998,, in his essay on the urban de·elopment oí
Saraje·o, mentions no single e·ent or building írom the period 169¯-18¯8. Nonetheless, Saraje·o in the
eighteenth century de·elopped rather interestingly, into what has been called a city state` or guild
republic`, where the Ottoman ·izier could only stay as a guest, and only íor three nights ,see ladzijahic
le was also popular among the area`s Christians, permitting them to build new ·illage
churches and schools e·en without the appro·al oí the Sultan. le entered the political
scene in the late 1820s when he was gi·en responsibilities in the e·ent oí aggression
towards Bosnia in the Russo-1urkish war, as well as deíence against potential aggression
írom Serbia. Aíter the Sultan had then gi·en the autonomous Serbia six districts that
had traditionally belonged to the Bosnian pro·ince, he came to be in·ol·ed in the so-
called Bosnian autonomy mo·ement`, oí which lusein became unoííicial head. le
o·erthrew the Bosnian ·izier, took the capital 1ra·nik and Saraje·o, and mo·ed íurther
to Koso·o where he dealt a hea·y deíeat to the imperial army under direct control oí
the Grand Vizier. 1he selí-proclaimed Commander oí Bosnia, chosen by the will oí
the people` was then deíeated by íorces gathered in lerzego·ina and had to ílee to
Austria, but remains one oí the most popular íigures in Bosnian national history.
lusein also undertook a couple oí building projects in his home-town, most
prominently the restoration oí the castle and his residence, with bricks brought írom
nearby Austria, but he also built a clock-tower ,1824, and a mosque ,1826,. 1his
mosque is a central-domed square building with a three-domed portico and a rather tall
minaret, as ·ery typical íor Ottoman Bosnia. 1he really unusual elements are the portal
and the vibrab |Ill.4.20,21|, where we íind ·arious motiís ,·ases oí ílowers, cypresses,
ribbons, geometric íorms, car·ed into the stone.
1he heads oí portico and vibrab are
cur·ed rather indi·idualistically whereby they ha·e been linked to the 1urkish
Baroque` with which they, howe·er, ha·e little in common. Ay·erdi ,1981:164-5, who,
predictably, íinds these íeatures extremely ugly`, notes the Rococo` elements, but
suggests that such style may ha·e been due to the closeness to the Austrian border or,
As a result oí an unproíessional restoration in 1996 part oí the relieí was lost due to an o·er-painting.
admittedly less plausibly, because lusein may ha·e wanted to win o·er the Sla·s with
A minor but ·ery interesting work sometimes linked to the 1urkish Baroque` as well
,apparently out oí lack oí alternati·e associations, is íound in the courtyard oí Banja
Luka`s lerhadija mosque ,destroyed in 1993, |Ill.4.10,11|. Demolished in 1955, the
beautiíully decorated canopy o·er the well íortunately at least sur·i·ed on postcards and
photographs which, although írom roughly the same period, already show diííerent
states oí decoration. 1he painted postcard shows a style untypical oí Bosnia, but ·ery
much reminiscent the decorati·e programs we íind in the southern Balkans. Could it
ha·e been produced by craítsmen írom Macedonia or Bulgaria, maybe in the second
quarter oí the nineteenth century, as could be suggested írom similarities in style with
mature works íurther south· Although we otherwise íind íew works in such spirit in
Bosnia, we know that masters írom the south also worked in the northern regions oí
the Ottoman domain, Bosnia, Serbia, and \allachia. In any case, it is a diííerent style
írom what we see in 1ra·nik on the Coloured Mosque`, which has been brieíly
discussed beíore, or the tvrbe there, which both take a similar íorm but are decorated in
diííerent patterns. Other than the cases mentioned, no other structures with painted
exteriors seem to exist in Bosnia.
lrom an example oí an interior oí a wealthy citizen`s
/ova/ in Saraje·o |Ill.4.22|, we can at least be sure that painted decoration also existed
Ay·erdi also notes that the inscription is in bad 1urkish, and content-wise rather indi·idualistic.
A somewhat unclear ií interesting case is that oí the (arsi mosque in Stolac, with a porch wall painted
with naturalistic motiís. Built by Sultan Selim in 1519, it was reno·ated in 1¯88-9, as stated in the
inscription ,see Mujezino·ic 1998:36¯-8,, where it is reported that the conqueror oí Lgypt had built it in
íine íashion, but there came the need íor repairs, and e·eryone anxiously awaited its reno·ation ... 1his
ediíice is painted with íine adornments and resembles a beauty clad in silken garments`, a rapturous
reno·ation oí the mosque in a new mode!` lasandedic ,1990:12, see also 9-11,, howe·er, has been told
that the present paintings date írom 1968, when local craítsmen íirst copied the paintings, and then
reapplied them to the reno·ated walls. It is thus not clear ií we can really conclude much on the 1¯80s
shape írom this 1960s repainting`. In 1993 the mosque was destroyed and later rebuilt without the
here in house interiors. lowe·er, in the case illustrated, these assume a slightly more
conser·ati·e stand. Such kind oí decoration must ha·e also existed outside Saraje·o as
can be concluded írom the obser·ations oí our oíten-cited tra·eller Paton ,1845:143-4,
made in Z·ornik ,on the border with Serbia, in the 1840s. le reported oí the pasha
ha·ing his /ova/ decorated by a house-painter` írom Montenegro, accompanied
,aided·, by a German ,írom Austria·,. \hen he had halí accomplished his task,
howe·er, the pasha accused him oí being a Ser·ian captain in disguise` and threw them
into prison. Paton does not mention any íeatures oí that decoration, as he could not see
it. It is still interesting to note that also here, in the deepest pro·ince, the íashion oí
painted decoration was popular, and that the painters were a Montenegrin and a
German, both not the typical nationalities íor such work in the Ottoman Balkans.
1he last monument oí concern to our narrati·e is the der·ish te//e at Blagaj near
Mostar, rather well-known since it is popular among tourists. It is usually dated to the
se·enteenth century, which is true íor its íoundation, but in its present shape dates to
the mid-nineteenth century. lor Ay·erdi ,1981:64,, íollowing the not ·ery helpíul
chronological sequence along western styles, the repair oí 1851 was not in the Baroque
or Rococo but in the ampir` ,írom ír. Lmpire`, style.
\ith the usually elaborate
ceilings with íolk motiís in the interior, the most noteworthy íeature on the exterior is
the cur·ed gable, much in the way we íind it on houses in Bulgaria, íeaturing an o·al
disc in the tympanum. Celic ,1953:189-93,, who restored the building in the 1950s,
belie·es the 1850s shape to ha·e been in the spirit oí the Istanbul Baroque`.
Untypical, because the men oí Montenegro reportedly regarded as derogatory any work sa·e that oí a
pastoral or military nature. Craíts were practiced mainly by immigrants, who consequently enjoyed high
wages because oí lack oí labour market competition. L·en beíore \\I, trade and commerce were largely
in the hands oí Muslims and Albanian Catholics. ,Palairet 199¯:148,
Ay·erdi ,1981:65,, indignant at his Bosnian colleague Dzemal Celic`s allegation that the Bosnians were
not ·ery pleased that the 1urks brought their Baroque-Rococo styles írom Istanbul, counters with the
accusation that the Bosnians produced the worst works in this style.
Mujezino·ic ,199¯:335-43, in íact coníirms that the sheikh at that period, the Indian`
Muhamed, was indeed sent írom Istanbul, allegedly to spy on unruly íeudal lords in
Ií a pro·isional conclusion is to be made, it would not be wrong to say that the
examples in 1ra·nik ,mosque and tvrbe, and Gradacac ,mosque, show a rather
indi·idualistic style with íew imminent contemporary parallels, while the ones at Blagaj
,te//e, and Banja Luka ,,aairrav, could ha·e been iníluenced by trends in the southern
Balkans. Still, these íew examples are also not enough íor a ·alid generalization.
4.4. 1he ´return¨ of the monumental church
Up until now little space has been de·oted to Christian religious architecture. 1his is, oí
course, partly due to restrictions laid upon their subjects by the Ottoman administration,
which hindered the construction ,or e·en the repair, oí churches, and thereby
doubtlessly seriously obstructed the de·elopment oí church architecture well into the
nineteenth century. 1o understand the basis íor these restrictions we ha·e to go back
another one and a halí millennia, to the rules set Abu laniía, the íounder oí laneíite
Sunnism ,to which the Ottoman sultans adhered,, who stipulated that, when cities taken
by Muslims had not ·oluntarily submitted, churches were to be coníiscated.
Construction oí new churches was not allowed in towns and cities or in the ·icinities at
a distance less than 10 miles. It was also agreed that churches generally should not be
bigger than mosques, whereby many monumental churches were also con·erted into
mosques. In exclusi·ely Christian settlements there was seen no reason íor the ban on
church building, but in mixed communities such projects were barred. Any de·iation
írom the law would lead to the destruction oí the building, and it was usually the ·igilant
local Muslim community that instigated such orders.
Sometimes local administrators
also simply did not grant permission íor repairs, although they should ha·e. ,Grade·a
1he Byzantine city oí Didimotihon ,Dimetoka,, later birthplace oí Bayezid II, íor example had
·oluntarily submitted, whereby not only the Greeks` houses and the íortress were spared but also the
church was preser·ed ,Grade·a 1994:19,.
On two ·ery diííering accounts oí how ,and why, a newly, legally or illegally, built church in Bijeljina
,northeast Bosnia, was torn down by local Muslims, see Golen ,2001:239-40, and Paton ,1845:121-2,.
As harsh as these regulations may sound, the realities slightly diííered as more recent
research has shown, while exceptions abounded.
\hile we oíten read oí a general ban
oí church building in Ottoman Lurope, Bouras ,1991:111, attests a ·ast wealth oí
monuments sur·i·ing írom the 1urkish period`. Kiel, on the íoreíront oí scholars
pleading íor a reconsideration oí established ·iews on the negati·e impacts oí Ottoman
laws regarding its Christian subjects, howe·er, also concedes that these regulations
a íormidable obstacle to the de·elopment oí Orthodox Christian art, or rather
architecture, because there were no regulations concerning the decoration oí the interior
oí the church with íresco or al secco paintings. On paper they were an obstacle at least.
\et the actual situation diííered greatly írom those on paper. lere we immediately
touch upon the problem that those who ha·e written about the status oí the Christians
under the Sultans and who are largely responsible íor the existing ideas about that
status, were Stubengelehrten` who worked coníorming to the old-established tradition
oí writing history: no documents no history. \et the Balkan pro·inces abound with
e·idence that shows us that the reality was rather diííerent: the multitude oí ·illage
churches oí all kinds and the monumental monasteries, decorated with exquisite
paintings.` ,Kiel 1985:192,
Grade·a ,1994:25,28, also points out to e·idence which pro·es that Christians,
sometimes successíully, tried to build new churches, by relying on the laxness oí
authority and the diííiculty oí control, or sometimes just on bribery.
During liíetime oí St Pimen Zograíski , íor example, the sultan permitted the Christians in western
Bulgaria to íreely ,re-,build churches, whereby 300 churches and 15 monasteries were built or reno·ated
in the area oí Soíia alone ,Grade·a 1994:26,. \hen Serbs ,and,or Vlachs, migrated into Bosnia in large
numbers in the íiíteenth and sixteenth centuries also quite a íew monasteries and churches were allowed
to be built ,Grade·a 1994:28,. At the end oí the se·enteenth century the Koprülü ·iziers made repairs
easier, by rejecting the pre·ious prohibitions that Christians had to use used stones and timber íor repairs
,Karaca 1995:34,. Mustaía III, on the occasion oí the íesti·ities oí his son, also allowed his subjects to
repair their churches íor a duration oí 10 days ,Karaca 1995:35,. Another strategy, Moutsopoulos
,196¯:99, suggests that it was due to the ·irtual in·isibility oí the architecturally unassuming churches oí
Verroia and Kastoria that these two towns managed to acquire the largest number oí churches in all oí
As can be pro·en by Ottoman and Bulgarian sources as well as archaeological íindings, aíter the
de·astations oí the /ara¸ati age the Christian subjects launched a large campaign to restore their churches,
local religious leaders and communities did what the administration íailed to do.` \hile
not encountering such enmity between the coníessional groups, the subject oí bribery is
also touched upon by Leon Allacci, who was sent to the empire by the Vatican to study
churches oí the recent Greeks` in the mid-se·enteenth century. Read by Cutler
,1966:81,84-5,, he in íact regarded as extraordinary
the persistence oí the Greek rite under 1urkish domination and the lengths to which
the íaithíul went to rebuild collapsing churches and e·en, with bribery, to circum·ent
the Ottoman prohibition on the construction oí new buildings . Allacci suggests, in
íact, that many restrictions imposed upon the Greeks were honored rather in the
breach. Not the least contribution to peace was made by the relationship between
1urkish women and the Greek church. In exchange íor baptism oí their children, the
wi·es and daughters oí the Conqueror made sure that the light beíore the holy images
does not íail lest they suííer harm ... 1urkish women, he reports, compete to bring giíts
to the church.`
1he date 1¯00 again íigures, symbolically, as a boundary to what preceded it. Bouras
,1991:110,, speaking oí the change in the character oí architecture and painting aíter
that, belie·es that it was at this time that the post-Byzantine period |in Orthodox
church architecture| ended and the modern began.` Vyronis ,1991:30, reports oí ¯50
Greek painters acti·e in the eighteenth century, and that this were two and one-halí
times the number known íor the pre·ious century, but also that the numbers oí the
second halí oí the eighteenth century are íour times greater than those íor the íirst halí.
1his sudden rise in the number oí painters, most oí whom were oí rural origin, meant
a certain decline in the quality oí the art` or, in the words oí Bouras ,1991:109,, a
whereby they were also oíten enlarged, which at times resulted in conílicts with the local Muslims and the
Ottoman authorities ,Grade·a 1994:25,. At that time, howe·er, not only were some churches illegally
enlarged or rebuilt, some communities also tried to build completely new ones. Anscombe ,2005:93,, íor
example, íound an Ottoman document írom 1¯95 in which the Orthodox residents oí Stara Zagora are
accused oí building an unsanctioned new church, taking ad·antage oí the go·ernment`s preoccupation
with controlling both plague and bandits.
corruption oí the arts through the adoption oí a popular style`. Both make the
changed economic situation responsible íor the increase oí patronage in this period.
Grade·a ,1994:30, also makes a growing coníidence among the Balkan Christians to
claim all rights and possibilities pro·ided by the legislation in íorce responsible íor their
Re·i·al starting írom the eighteenth century.
In the nineteenth century the churches gradually wrestle back their place in urban space
and their possibilities íor artistic expression. Until the 1850s they still take the
inconspicuous íorms oí one- or three-na·ed hall churches without domes or bell
towers, thereby oíten resembling houses or íactories, but in many cases already assume
considerable dimensions. 1he aíorementioned S·eta Bogorodica in Skopje ,1835,, built
by Damjano·`s ta,fa ,team,
, is already a quite interesting statement.
1he church oí
S·eti Pantelejmon at Veles |Ill.4.26,2¯| which he built a decade later ,and íinished when
he was only 2¯!, already belongs to a diííerent generation.
luge e·en on the outside,
domes and towers are still omitted, but on the inside we íind, concealed írom the public
eye, interior domes and a decorati·e program capable oí challenging the most elaborate
works oí its day. 1wo decades later, the churches built under his super·ision in Saraje·o
and Mostar are already a íull-íledged architecture without restraint, dominating the
urban space they are set in with their multiple cupolas, bell towers, and largely Central
Luropean appearance. 1hese stages reílect the gradual loosening oí restrictions
Oí the íour sons oí Damjan, each was ·ersed in a diííerent craít: Gjorgji was a painter-decorator,
Andreja a builder, Nikola a wood-car·er ,re¸bar,, and Kosta both builder and painter-decorator ,ladzie·a-
Aleksie·ska and Kasapo·a 2001:11,
1he building oí this church had actually begun earlier, and under his íather, Damjan Renzo·ski, but
but se·eral times the 1urkish authorities ha·e stopped the building` ,ladzie·a-Aleksie·ska and
Kasapo·a 2001:21, and Damjan died in 1834-5`, whereby his son took o·er the project. Damjano·`s
Bulgarian counterpart and contemporary, Kolju liceto, came to his íirst big project in a similar way:
\hen, during the construction oí the St Nikola church in 1arno·o, the head builder got ·ery sick, the
team elected lice· to take o·er his task ,1odoro· 1966:40,.
lor ladzie·a-Aleksie·ska and Kasapo·a ,2001:49, it is the best renaissance work in the history oí
throughout the nineteenth century. 1he role oí the 1anzimat edict ,1839,, howe·er,
appears to ha·e been o·erstressed in its eííect on church ,re-,construction. Ií we look at
Istanbul ,cí. Karaca 1995:315-¯, in the decade beíore the 1anzimat and aíter the 1reaty
oí Adrianople ,1829,, the city witnessed a small boom in ,re-,building acti·ity. At that
time, during the reign oí Mahmut II, the ban on new buildings had been remo·ed.
lrom that point on a fervav was no longer needed íor simpler repairs, but only íor
rebuilding ,Karaca 1995:35 and Kiel 1985:49,.
Some churches ,re-,built during the second quarter oí the nineteenth century are already
·ery large, but it is not until aíter the Islahat edict oí 1856 that Christian architecture
regains monumental dimensions, ornamented íaçades, and characteristic traits such as
cupolas and bell towers. An immediate reaction to these changed realities we see in
Smyrna, by that time the empire`s second largest city, where in the same year the Islahat
was proclaimed the church oí St John ,Aya \orgos, acquired a dome and twin towers,
while Aya lotini was equipped with a huge campanile ,see Colonas 2005:99,. In the
capital, the Ayios Atanasos church ,1858, in the - by decree - exclusi·ely Greek quarter
oí 1ata·la ,Kurtulus, was the íirst church with a dome erected since the conquest. Both
these elements, dome ,pre·iously reser·ed íor Islamic buildings, and bell tower, so
signiíicant in the reclaiming oí urban space by the empire`s Christian subjects, are,
howe·er, not speciíied in the edict. In íact, gi·en its consequences what regards the
transíormation oí Christian architecture íollowing its proclamation, the text oí the edict
In the literature we can íind some coníusion o·er when the ban on church building was liíted. Biche·
,1961:64,, íor example, íirst claims this to ha·e been the the year when the 1anzimat Ldict was
proclaimed ,1839,, but then mentions new churches built in 1arno·o and Pazardzik already in 1836 and
still sounds rather restricti·e, as we can see írom the part reíerring to church building
Also in the Balkans, particularly in Bulgaria and Macedonia, the majority oí churches
built or re-built aíter 1856 boast a cupola and a bell tower, or e·entually acquire these
íeatures. Less close to the imperial centre, in Bosnia a somewhat diííerent dynamic can
be detected during the reíorm period. 1he archi·al study by Golen ,2001, pro·ides us
with useíul insight on how this process worked in Bosnia and lerzego·ina throughout
the nineteenth century. In Bosnia, the 1anzimat had only arri·ed in 1851, with reíorms
delayed by the local be,s. Soon thereaíter quite a íew requests íor the rebuilding and
building oí churches were submitted to the rati, including ·ery detailed descriptions as
well as justiíications íor these requests. Interestingly, all oí these belonged to the
Catholics, who lamented a pri·ileged position oí the Orthodox in this regard. An
inspector was e·entually sent to assess iv .itv whether the permissions should be
granted. Reasons gi·en to justiíy the ,re-,building oí churches was either that the
community had no church at all, that the present church was too small íor the increased
population, or that the churches had been destroyed by bandits. Additional explanations
gi·en in the written requests íor permissions included descriptions oí unía·ourable
In the towns, small boroughs and ·illages, where the whole population is oí the same religion, no
obstacle shall be oííered to the repair, according to their original plan, oí buildings set apart íor religious
worship, íor schools, íor hospitals, and íor cemeteries. 1he plans oí these diííerent buildings, in case oí
their new erection, must, aíter ha·ing been appro·ed by the Patriarchs or heads oí communities, be
submitted to my Sublime Porte, which will appro·e oí them by my Imperial order, or make known its
obser·ations upon them within a certain time. Lach sect, in localities where there are no other religious
denominations, shall be íree írom e·ery species oí restraint as regards the public exercise oí its religion. In
the towns, small boroughs, and ·illages where diííerent sects are mingled together, each community,
inhabiting a distinct quarter, shall, by coníorming to the abo·e-mentioned ordinances, ha·e equal power
to repair and impro·e its churches, its hospitals, its schools, and its cemeteries. \hen there is a question
oí the erection oí new buildings, the necessary authority must be asked íor through the Sublime Porte,
which will pronounce a So·ereign decision according to that authority, except in the case oí
administrati·e obstacles. 1he inter·ention oí the administrati·e authority in all measures oí this nature
will be entirely gratuitous. My Sublime Porte will take energetic measures to ensure to each sect, whate·er
be the number oí its adherents, entire íreedom in the exercise oí its religion.` 1he Lnglish translation oí
the Islahat edict is a·ailable at www.bilkent.edu.tr,~genckaya,documents1.html. 1he paragraph spaces in
the original text are omitted in my citation.
situations like that oí the inhabitants írom the Li·no region ha·ing to go across the
border to Austria íor ceremonies, people standing outside the church in the rain during
masses because churches were too small, or people praying in tents because no church
existed. Lxcept íor the case in Gabela ,lerzego·ina,, where permission was declined
because a mosque was nearby, all other requests were replied to positi·ely, whereby new
ones kept coming. Seeing the Catholics` success, soon also the Orthodox started
submitting requests, whereupon additional permissions were granted. Apparently ·ery
pleased with the new conditions, both Orthodox and Catholics sent letters oí gratitude
to the rati, the inspector, and e·en to the Sultan, who in turn issued a decree ,iraae,
expressing how pleased he was. At last also the Jews sent requests íor the enlargement
oí their synagogues. Golen ,2001:241, e·entually concludes that the rights oí the Islahat
edict were realized in Bosnia beíore its proclamation in 1856. le, howe·er, concedes
that also a large number oí churches had been built in Bosnia between 1820 and 1850.
Only aíter 1851, howe·er, did a real boom begin.
As can be seen írom the less complicated sub-di·ision oí this chapter, it is almost within
the boundaries oí the later nation-states that we could discuss the regions in question:
the still ·ery Ottoman-Muslim Bosnia, the - in stark contrast - predominantly rural and
Christian Serbia, and the Sla·-Greek region in the central and southern Balkans which is
now Bulgaria, Macedonia, and northern Greece.
1he residential architecture oí the Bulgarian Renaissance` has been a repeated subject
oí dispute between Bulgarian and 1urkish scholars, with the íormer insisting on its
national` speciíicity ·ersus claims oí the latter that these houses were typically
Ottoman. 1he truth, as so oíten, lies in the middle, as I hope to ha·e con·incingly
demonstrated. Certain íeatures oí these charming mansions are indeed much more
typical oí what now is Bulgaria than oí other Ottoman territories. 1hat the indi·iduals -
admittedly typically Orthodox Christians - who íirst brought this style to the scene
would ha·e proudly identiíied themsel·es as Bulgarians, howe·er, is íairly unlikely. Such
suppositions can now be aííorded in the light oí more recent scholarship more critically
approaching the historiography oí the National Re·i·al` or the pre-national realities oí
the mid-nineteenth century Balkans ,Daskale· 2004, Detrez 2003,, and not least by the
re-reading oí original ,Bulgarian, accounts írom that period, as we ha·e seen. Ultimately,
this should lead to a de-mythologization oí Balkan history, including the artistic history
oí this region and more speciíically the cultural context which produced this art.
lad the enterprising elements in Bulgaria really supported an ultimate independence,
they would ha·e been ill ad·ised, as the decline oí Balkan economies aíter secession
írom the Ottoman Lmpire and its markets, as demonstrated by Palairet ,199¯,, has
shown. 1his is not to say that these Orthodox Christian merchants should not ha·e
bred anti-Ottoman sentiments towards their Muslim co-subjects, who had always been
in a slightly pri·ileged position, or toward the distant ruler in the not-so-distant Istanbul,
but, then again, not really toward the Greek Patriarchate in Constantinople which,
howe·er despised by the Bulgarian peasants, had plenty oí support among, íor example,
the citizens oí Plo·di·. In the same ·ein, Detrez ,2003:39-40, has suggested that they
would ha·e preíerred, ií not the Ottoman Lmpire, a kind oí restored Byzantine ,or
Romaic`, Lmpire, as most oí the urban establishment oí Greek extraction or
orientation and Orthodox religion did in what remained oí the Ottoman domains. 1his
is not to say that the mass oí Bulgarians oí rural background would not ha·e preíerred a
selí-go·erning entity outside Ottoman control. But this was apparently less in the
interest oí the aííluent middle and upper classes, who contributed to the re·i·al` by
their patronage oí the arts and education, and under whom the Plo·di· house`
emerged and ílourished. Much clearer is in the case oí the itinerant masters that they did
not trouble much where, íor whom, or what - church, houses, or mosque - they were
commissioned to build or embellish. 1hat they later became national heroes` has
íortunately beneíited us in that much documentation has been made a·ailable about
them and their creations. 1hat they would ha·e seen their work as contributing to a
national cause, howe·er, is highly unlikely.
Concerning the study oí decorati·e art in the late Ottoman period, it was noticed that
also in Bosnia and Serbia the wall paintings - so well-co·ered in the publications on
Greece, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and 1urkey - indeed existed while generally not
mentioned in this body oí literature. low íar the examples írom Bosnia and Serbia still
sur·i·e and how íar they are really comparable to those íurther south must be the
subject oí a separate, íocused sur·ey. 1his concerns not only the residences mentioned,
but also the decorati·e art in mosques. \hile the examples írom Bosnia appear to ha·e
a rather heterogeneous character, there were also examples which reminded us oí the art
oí the capital or the south Balkans. \ithout Muslims there was oí course no new
Muslim architecture in Serbia. 1hroughout the nineteenth century the remaining
building work, e·en in Belgrade, was undertaken by itinerant workers írom the South,
by the 1830s already in competition with engineers írom the labsburg Lmpire - ethnic
Serbs or not. \hen Ottoman subjugation was replaced by local go·ernment, a clear
break ,back to Lurope`, did not occur immediately as is clear in the hybrid ·isual
described by the tra·eller Paton in the 1840s. Cerasi has asked the legitimate question
why the Balkan middle classes continued to build such basically Ottoman houses ií the
ultimate goal was to be western. In part this can be explained by the speciíic skills oí the
local builders-decorators, who still did all the work. 1he contemporary narrati·e source
cited, howe·er, also suggests that some Ottoman` íeatures were simply still ía·oured
o·er western modes. Although by now well-aware oí the ways oí the lranks, airav and
çibv/ were simply still preíerred o·er chairs and a cigar. 1his should suííice to
demonstrate the transition írom Ottoman models to Luropean ones was not a clear
break, not a matter oí dates when autonomy or independence were achie·ed, but a ·ery
gradual process stretching írom the later eighteenth century through much oí the
nineteenth century. 1hat the Ottoman Christians, once their economic potency
permitted, adopted the liíestyle oí the Ottoman-Muslim elite should ha·e íurther
impeded the swiítness oí such process.
Although the total claim that the Ottomans banned any church-building or repair
acti·ity is a myth, the ·ast record oí examples oí churches írom the Ottoman period
beíore the 1830s also makes clear that the architecture oí the Balkan Christians did not
de·elop much in these conditions. But, as Medako·ic ,1991:Ch.4, shows, also in íree`
Austria the Serbs sometimes had considerable diííiculties obtaining permissions íor the
building oí Orthodox Churches. 1hat Serbian architecture in Austria de·eloped along
the lines oí the art oí the hegemonic culture oí that empire, rather than organically`
írom their medie·al heritage ,as could be argued íor Romania, where Ottoman
restrictions did not apply,, may ser·e as an indicator. 1his, rather than the supposition
that the Serbs adopted the western Baroque because they were now íree and could re-
establish their connections with the western world, can explain artistic de·elopments in
Austria. Aíter all, it was not the Serbian Baroque` but the medie·al monuments - and
not the western-iníluenced ones oí the Raska school, but the later, and thoroughly
eastern ones ,Serbo-Byzantine and Mora·a schools, - that ser·ed as model when, in the
late nineteenth century, the Serbs were looking íor a style that best represented their
On this matter, see also the critical article by Pantelic ,199¯,, or the lengthy and more descripti·e book
by Kadije·ic ,199¯,.
Many oí the questions and problems raised and announced to be treated in the
introduction already anticipated the conclusions to be made here, and it is only leít to
the author to hope that the arguments ha·e been con·incing íor the reader. A
conclusion without sentences ending with a question mark is, howe·er, in many cases
not a good sign, so rather than to reiterate the suppositions made in the introduction, I
shall íocus on a íew additional questions raised throughout the process oí research.
One concerns the question oí periodization, and the conception oí a late Ottoman`
period stretching írom 1¯00 to 1923. As we ha·e seen, the art and architecture írom
aíter 1¯00 was ·ery diííerent írom the one it succeeded, but it was also ·ery diííerent
írom that aíter the 1850s, whereby a clearer distinction should be made.
architectural and other ·isual-cultural phenomena pre·iously discussed in detail, it is
another particularity oí the period 1¯18-1856` that it has its own urban ,or semi-urban,
and cultural centres, and that these are to a considerable extent already ·ery diííerent
írom those oí the late nineteenth century. Places mentioned o·er and o·er again in this
study - Kastoria, Debar, or Ioannina, not to mention once booming centres like
Ambelakia, Siatista, or 1yrna·os - while at that time e·en íamiliar abroad, are hardly
remembered or íigure in the history oí the twentieth century. Another problem
concerns the causalities íor the success oí speciíic places. In the case oí Smyrna, it has
been argued that it de·eloped and e·entually ílourished not because, but rather ae.¡ite
the Ottoman administration, which has been blamed with a general disinterest in
Arel ,1993,, íor example, writing oí the period between the 1ulip Lra and the 1anzimat, speaks oí
post-classical architecture`, while lamadeh ,2004:46-¯, sees in the eighteenth century the beginning oí
an early modern period`.
economic de·elopment planning ,cí. Goííman 1999,. In contrast to notions oí
suppression, exile, and ensla·ement, howe·er, in many cases mentioned here the
prosperity and ·itality oí places in improbably remote mountain areas oí 1hessaly-
Lpirus-Macedonia and central Bulgaria came about not ae.¡ite the Ottomans but, at least
in part, becav.e settlements like Moschopolis, Kopri·stica, or 1yrna·os had been
equipped with certain pri·ileges by the sultans or their relati·es that íostered their
Also in the case oí the Bulgarian mountain towns, icons oí the
National Re·i·al`, these had not come into being because proudly Bulgarian subjects
íled írom Ottoman suppression in the ·alleys to preser·e their national culture. Instead,
or at least many oí which, had originally de·eloped as part oí an Ottoman settlement
policy in which settlers were attracted by the granting oí certain ,economic, religious,
political, pri·ileges, whereby they gradually, and particularly aíter 1¯50, de·eloped írom
·illages into prospering secondary urban centres.
Other polarities between producti·e and destructi·e íorces in this period must be re-
assessed. lor the dark age` oí Ottoman control o·er its Balkan territories, the age oí
the a,av, we must admit to a limited knowledge oí what this period, usually portrayed as
chaos and tyranny, really meant in the li·es oí those li·ing under the a,av, or at least
those in the towns. As we ha·e seen, many indi·iduals did prosper economically, and
certainly not least because the local tyrants in part depended on their taxed income.
\hile usually identiíied with ·iolence, and íor a large part justiíiably so, we ha·e also
witnessed certain degrees oí interest not only in inírastructural and economic
de·elopment ,which pre·ious administrators apparently did not íind as necessary,, but
also in cultural aííairs`. \e ha·e also occasionally noticed a more relaxed attitude
On the pri·ileged towns in the Ottoman Lmpire, including some seldom mentioned parallels with the
autonomous towns emerging in medie·al Lurope, which in Orientalist writing ha·e oíten been juxtaposed
with the presumably solely despotically ruled Muslim` towns, see ladzijahic ,1961,.
towards the Christian subjects and the ban on church building. \hile pre·ious
scholarship has íocused on the destructi·e impact groups like the a,av, but also the
Phanariotes, had in their respecti·e areas oí iníluence, their positi·e iníluence remains
to be assessed, and it is to be expected that íuture research oí a more extensi·e scope
may yield interesting íindings. In the case oí the labsburg in·asion oí the Balkans in
the late se·enteenth century, on the other hand, it appears as ií the destructi·e eííect it
had on both the cultural production and de·elopment oí the Ottoman Christians and
Muslims has not been íully appraised. Besides the destruction oí great centres oí
Ottoman culture like Saraje·o or Skopje, the labsburg ad·ance and retreat also resulted
in a considerable íading oí those elements among the Balkans Christians that had
continued to play an important role in the cultural liíe oí the region e·en aíter the
conquest, patronizing the arts and, in the case oí the Bosnian Croats, entertaining ·i·id
contacts with the \est` ,·ia the Adriatic, e·en under Ottoman ensla·ement`. learing
retaliation aíter the labsburg retreat - as many oí them ,including the clergy, had
indeed supported the in·asion through instigation oí local rebellions - many then
migrated to Central Lurope, where they continued to exist as successíul merchants. But
that meant at the same time that these industrious elements were now missing in those
areas subsequently re-settled my mountaineers and reíugees, whereby these permanently
changed their character.
So has art in eighteenth century Ottoman Lurope really declined· 1he answer tends to
be subjecti·e in accordance with diííerent preíerences oí diííerent authors. \hat is true,
concerning mosque architecture, is that particularly aíter 1¯50 the structures no longer
display the strong unity in design that had characterized earlier centuries. Instead,
mosques like the ones mentioned in 1eto·o, 1ra·nik, Samoko·, Ka·ala, or Berat are
monuments to indi·iduality, expressions oí local-regional resources rather than
pro·incial de·iations oí ideas emanating írom an imperial centre. listorians oí Ottoman
architecture had traditionally shown little interest in such buildings, possibly also
because in nationalist constructions a strong national culture was thought to be best
represented by a strong unity in art. \esternization`, howe·er, would not yet play the
·ital role in the transíormations post-classical architecture underwent. Admittedly,
architecture in the Ottoman pro·inces was ne·er comparable to that in the capital, but
as an explanation íor the indi·idualist character oí post-classical mosques in the Balkans
we must credit íoremost local íactors, such as the regional mobility oí builders-
decorators, and a subsequent transíer oí styles and skills. \hat could not be considered
in the scope oí this study were contemporary de·elopments in the pro·inces east oí the
capital. In terms oí both architecture as well as decoration oí both mosques and houses
we íind stylistically related examples íoremost in western and north-western Anatolian
towns like Bursa, Birgi, Bademli, Kula, or Saíranbolu, but also íurther east.
decorated nineteenth century mosque interiors in the Pontus ,eastern Black Sea region,,
íor example, show some similarities with those in Albania on the diametrically opposite
end oí the empire.
1he houses oí Akçaabat ,near 1rabzon, could be mistaken íor the
Vlach merchant houses at Kruse·o ,western Macedonia,, while again other buildings in
that district, such as the \akupoglu Konagi at Sürmene ,1rabzon district,,
·ery much oí the íortiíied houses in the region oí Gjirokastër. 1he communication and
transíer oí trends and skills not only between Istanbul and the pro·inces or within the
Luropean pro·inces, but between the Luropean and Anatolian pro·inces is certainly a
topic which would require íurther attention.
lor a study oí wall paintings in Ottoman Damascus ·ery similar to those discussed in Istanbul,
Anatolia, and the Balkans, see \eber ,2002,.
lor plenty oí photographic material, see the in·entory by Sümerkan and Okman ,1999,.
It should be said that Bammer ,1982:39,, and the sources he cites, hold this /ova/, built around 1¯20
íor a Memis Aga, to be in a style not autochthonous` to the eastern Black Sea region, which would only
coníirm that this íorm reached this area as an import.
linally, we must ask through which channels the western iníluence` reached the
Ottoman Balkans. Ií we accept both that pro·incial administrators desired to ha·e their
residences decorated in the contemporary style oí Istanbul ,whereby they probably
would ha·e in·ited decorators írom the capital, as had Mehmet Ali,, and that also the
merchants demanded írom local builders to make reíerence to what they saw in Lurope,
there can be no one answer. 1he Baroque` in the Balkans must ha·e emerged írom a
much more multiíarious dynamic than just a direct or indirect iníluence írom one place
or the other. \hile the Renaissance had been dominated by Italy, in the Baroque the
national schools` oí Luropean countries played a íar more important role. In the same
way the Baroque` in the Balkans came through a ·ariety oí sources to which the region
had been exposed at diííerent times and through diííerent channels: írom lrance ,in an
Ottomanized` ·ariant spreading írom Istanbul,, írom Austria ,through indi·idual
exchange going hand in hand with trans-imperial commerce,, and,or írom Italy` ,the
Adriatic, including Venice and Dubro·nik, or Venetian possessions like Crete,. 1he íact
that the ·ery same persons who produced this art were constantly roaming within the
region makes this transíer ·ery complex and almost impossible to reconstruct with
1he transíer oí skills and ideas should also be considered, this must
ha·e taken place must ha·e taken place during each oí the building projects, both
between indi·iduals as well as between diííerent craíts which, as we ha·e seen, were
sometimes proíessed by one and the same person or group.
1here are also occasional reíerences to íoreigners working in construction in the Ottoman Balkans in
the nineteenth century, which could ha·e been another agent in the spread oí Luropean íorms.
liltebrandt ,in 1urczynski 1959:25,, íor example, met a German mason in Plo·di·, while 1odoro·
,1966:¯,40, and Biche· ,1961:¯3, write oí lice· wandering around with Italian masons, who were
appreciated because they knew how to make waterprooí mortar. Pouque·ille ,1820:56, noted that Ali
Pasha`s palace at Premiti was built by a renegade architect írom nearby Calabria ,Italy,. 1he German
decorator Paton ,1845:143-4, met in the Bosnian town oí Z·ornik has already been mentioned earlier.
lor such a wide range oí topics discussed it is diííicult to íind a single o·erriding
conclusion. It is only through íilling gaps in our knowledge oí the ·arious histories oí
this period that more satisíactory and conclusi·e results will be achie·ed. It is leít to the
author to recommend not simply to compare the monuments írom this period with the
more classical` art it succeeds but to acknowledge them as expressions oí the societies
by which they were created in this speciíic cultural-historical context. 1o explain the
wish íor westernization as the principal basis íor the Baroque-iníluenced transitional
·isual culture among the Balkan Christians, particularly aíter the 1830s, is unreasonable
íor at that time the Baroque in Lurope was long o·er. As an alternati·e explanation one
may well suppose that rather than ,or in addition to, cultural ambitions this style`
de·eloped as a mirror oí social processes in the late Ottoman Lmpire, and in
recognition oí the superior potential that the ·i·acious Baroque íorms oííered in terms
Ill.1.1. Istanbul, Sa'dabad palace, 1¯22, in reproduction ,engra·ing, by L'Lspinasse
Ill.1.2. Istanbul, Sultanahmet .ebit, 1¯28
Ill.1.3. Ne·sehir ,Cappadocia,, mosque oí Ibrahim Pasha ,1¯26-¯, ,Source: Goodwin,
Ill.1.4. Sumen ,Bulgaria,, mosque oí lalil Serií Pasha ,1¯44,
Ill.1.5. Sumen, lalil Serií Pasha mosque ,1¯44,, /ibte-wall with decoration írom later
period ,Source: 1opchie·,
Ill.1.6. Sumen, lalil Serií Pasha mosque ,1¯44,, painted window-head in prayer hall
Ill.1.¯. Sumen, íountain with leaded panels and cartouches, 1¯¯4 ,Source: 1opchie·,
Ill.1.8. Mogosoaia palace near Bucharest,1¯02 ,Source: Internet
Ill.1.9. Bucharest, Greek Church, eighteenth century, lithography
Ill.1.10. Bucharest, Sta·ropoleos church, 1¯24-1¯30, portico ,Source: Internet
Ill.1.11. Iasi, íountains at St Spiridon monastery, 1¯50s and 1¯60s ,Source: Internet
Ill.1.12. Belgrade, triumphal gate oí Charles VI, 1¯36
Ill.1.13. Belgrade, clock tower at Stambul gate, 1¯20s or 1¯30s ,Source: Internet
Ill.1.14. 1rebinje ,lerzego·ina,, clock tower oí Resulbego·ic Osman Pasha,
ct. ,Source: Pasic,
Ill. 1.15. Vienna, belíry oí church at Neulercheníeld, 1¯33-1¯53
Ill. 1.16. Ulcinj, íountain oí Sinan Pasha, around 1¯20 ,Source: Mehling,
Ill. 1.1¯. Istanbul, palace oí Molda·ian prince Dimitrie Cantemir ,beíore 1¯11,, detail oí
engra·ing ,Source: Cantemir,
Ill. 2.1. Istanbul, Nuruosmaniye mosque ,1¯49-55,, vibrab íaçade
Ill. 2.2. Istanbul, Nuruosmaniye complex ,1¯49-55,, library
Ill. 2.3. Vienna, Baroque burgher house ,built beíore 1¯12,, portal
Ill. 2.4. Istanbul, Nuruosmaniye mosque ,1¯49-55,, interior
Ill. 2.5. Istanbul, Nuruosmaniye mosque ,1¯49-55,, .ebit at entrance wall
Ill. 2.6. Istanbul-Usküdar, Ayazma mosque ,1¯5¯-60,, ele·ation, minaret with bulbous
Ill. 2.¯. Istanbul-Usküdar, Ayazma mosque ,1¯5¯-60,, interior
Ill. 2.8. Istanbul, mosque oí lekimoglu Ali Pasha, completed 1¯34, interior
Ill. 2.9. Istanbul, Greek house at lener ,Source: Gurlitt,
Ill. 2.10. Saraje·o, mosque oí Ali Pasha, interior ,Source: Internet
Ill. 2.11. Sumen, 1ombul mosque, interior, aíter 1¯40 ,Source: Internet
Ill. 2.12. Istanbul, Küçük Ayasoíya ,pre·iously the Byzantine church oí St Sergius and
Bacchus,, interior aíter redecoration in the 1¯60s
Ill. 2.13. Ohrid, Iconostasis oí St Naum monastery church, 1¯11 ,Source: Internet
Ill. 2.14. Skopje, iconostasis at St Sa·iour ,S·eti Spas,, 1828 ,Source: Internet
Ill. 2.15. 1royanski monastery ,Bulgaria,, door ,Source: Lckert,
Ill. 2.16. Rila monastery ,Bulgaria,, iconostasis ,Source: Lckert,
Ill. 2.1¯. Sremski Karlo·ci, synodal church ,1¯58-1¯62,, ele·ation
Ill. 2.18. Sremski Karlo·ci, synodal church ,1¯58-1¯62,, iconostasis ,Source: Internet
Ill. 2.19. Sremski Karlo·ci, Upper Church` ,1¯46,
Ill. 3.1. Pec ,Koso·o,, Kulla oí \asar Pasha, 1803 ,Source: lerscher,Riedlmayer,
Ill. 3.2. Gjirokastër ,Albania,, late eighteenth century house oí the Bakiraj in the Palorto
quarter, murals írom 1853 ,Source: Riza,1homo,
Ill. 3.3. Maldarasti ,\allachia,, Cula Duca, 1812, altered in 182¯ ,Source: Stoica,
Ill. 3.4. Ioannina, palaces oí Ali Pasha and his sons ,not extant,, engra·ing, early
Ill. 3.5. Ioannina, palace oí Ali Pasha ,not extant,, engra·ing, early nineteenth century
Ill. 3.6. Ioannina, house oí Nikolas Argyris, engra·ing, early nineteenth century
Ill. 3.¯. Ioannina, lethiye camii, end oí eighteenth century ,Source: Internet
Ill. 3.8. Vidin ,Bulgaria,, mosque oí Osman Paz·antoglu, 1800-1801 ,Source: Internet
Ill. 3.9. Vidin, library oí Osman Paz·antoglu. 1802-1803 ,Source: Internet
Ill. 3.10. Shkodër ,Albania,, Kursunlu mosque, 1¯¯3-4 ,Source: Internet
Ill. 3.11. Ka·ala ,Greece,, Mehmet Ali`s /vtti,e, 1800-11 or 181¯-21
,Source: Sezgin 19¯3,
Ill. 3.12. Ka·ala, mosque in /vtti,e oí Mehmet Ali, ·iew írom street
Ill. 3.13. Ka·ala, mosque in /vtti,e oí Mehmet Ali, ·iews írom harbour
Ill. 3.14 and 3.15. Ka·ala, /vtti,e oí Mehmet Ali, portals on wall íacing the citadel
Ill. 3.16. Ka·ala, /vtti,e oí Mehmet Ali, detail in interior oí mosque
,Source: Imaret lotel,
Ill. 3.1¯. Makrinitsa ,1hessaly,, Mouslilis mansion, 1833
Ill. 3.18. Ambelakia ,1hessaly,, Giorgios Schwartz mansion, late eighteenth century, top
windows and decoration on interior ,Source: Akin,
Ill. 3.19. Ambelakia, Giorgios Schwartz mansion, late eighteenth century ,Source: Akin,
Ill. 3.20. Gjirokastër, interior oí late eighteenth century mansion ,Source: Akin,
Ill. 3.21. Siatista ,Greek Macedonia,, Poulkos mansion, aíter 1¯50, painted decoration
on exterior ,Source: Internet
Ill. 3.22. Siatista, Poulkos mansion, depiction oí Constantinople ,Source: Internet
Ill. 3.23. Berat ,Albania,, lal·etiyye tekke, built in the 1¯80s, interior
,Source: Strazimiri et al.,
Ill. 3.24. Berat, Bachelors` mosque, 1820s ,Source: Strazimiri et al.,
Ill. 3.25. Berat, Bachelors` mosque, section ,Source: Koch,
Ill. 3.26. Berat, Bachelors` Mosque, 1820s ,Source: Akin,
Ill. 3.2¯. 1irana, mosque oí Lthem bey, 1¯90s-1820s, capitals oí porch
Ill. 3.28. 1irana, mosque oí Lthem bey, interior
Ill. 3.29. 1irana, mosque oí Lthem Bey, painted decoration in porch
Ill. 3.30. and 3.31. Nineteenth century redecorations oí sixteenth century mosques in
Koso·o: ladum mosque in Dako·ica and Bayrakli mosque in Pec ,Source: Unesco,
Ill. 3.32 and 3.33. Prizren, Soíu Sinan Pasha mosque ,16
century, and Lmin Pasha
mosque ,1831,, decoration írom the 1830s or aíter ,Source: Unesco,
Ill. 3.34. 1eto·o ,Macedonia,, Arabati Baba tekke, built,decorated between the 1¯¯0s
and 1830s ,Source: Oppeln,
Ill. 3.35. 1eto·o, Alaca camii, around 1820 ,Source: Akin,
Ill. 3.36. 1eto·o, Alaca camii balcony on interior ,Source: Mehling,
Ill. 3.3¯. 1eto·o, Alaca camii, section oí side wall ,Source: Sezgin,
Ill. 3.38. Debar, Monastery oí St Jo·an Bigorski, selí-portraits oí masters írom Debar
Ill. 3.39. Bucharest, bav oí Manuc Bey, around 1800
Ill.4.1. Plo·di· ,Bulgaria,, house oí A. Kojumdzioglu |Kuyumcuoglu|, 1840s
Ill.4.2. Plo·di·, louse Georgiadi, 1840s, íaçade with cur·ed projection
,Source: Cerasi 1999,
Ill.4.3. Plo·di·, louse Georgiadi, íloor plan with central o·al .ofa ,Source: Péew,
Ill.4.4. Plo·di·, louse oí I. Kojumdzioglu ,not extant,, íaçade toward courtyard
Ill.4.5. Rila monastery, projecting /io./, 1830s ,Source: Bozhilo· et al.,
Ill.4.6. Xanthi, house oí Muzaííer Salih Bey ,Source: Sezgin 19¯3,
Ill.4.¯. Ohrid, house with cur·ed ea·es-line ,Source: Pa·lo·ic,
Ill.4.8. Blagaj ,near Mostar,, Der·ish te//e, shape oí mid-19
ct. ,Source: Internet
Ill.4.9. Xanthi, houses with cur·ed íeatures.
Ill.4.10. Banja Luka, canopied ,aairrav oí lerhadija mosque ,not extant,, photograph
Ill.4.11. Banja Luka, canopied ,aairrav oí lerhadija mosque ,not extant,, postcard
Ill.4.12. Istanbul, 1opkapi complex, /ö,/ oí Osman III., mid-18
,Source: Cerasi 1999,
Ill.4.13. Berat, church oí St Mary ,Source: Koch,
Ill.4.14. Belgrade, /ova/ oí Princess Ljubica, 1829-31
Ill.4.15. Belgrade, /ova/ oí Prince Milos at 1opcider, 1830s
Ill.4.16. 1ra·nik, Colored Mosque ,Sulejmanija,, aíter 1815 ,Source: Internet
Ill.4.1¯. Samoko·, Bayrakli mosque, rebuilt and redecorated in the 1830s
Ill.4.18,19. Samoko·, cupolas oí mosque and church, both decorated by local masters
,Source: Rosko·ska 1982,
Ill.4.20. Gradacac, mosque oí lusein Gradasce·ic, 1826, portal.
Ill.4.21. Gradacac, mosque oí lusein Gradasce·ic, 1826, mihrab ,Source: Internet
Ill.4.22. Saraje·o, interior oí house ,Source: Grabrijan,
Ill.4.23. Bote·grad ,Bulgaria,, clock tower, 1860s ,Source: Internet
Ill.4.24. Prilep ,Macedonia,, íountain under clock tower írom 1850s ,Source: Internet
Ill.4.25. Skopje, S·eta Bogorodica ,not extant,, 1830s by Andreja Damjano·
Ill.4.26. Veles, S·eti Pantelejmon, 1840s by Andreja Damjano·, section re·ealing hidden
cupolas ,Source: Internet
Ill.4.2¯. Veles, S·eti Pantelejmon, 1840s by Andreja Damjano·, interior
Ill.4.28. Belgrade, Saborna crk·a,183¯-1840.
Ill.4.2¯. S·isto· ,Bulgaria,, Church oí the loly 1rinity, 1865-186¯ by Nikola lice·
,Source: Berbenlie· 1983,
Ill.4.28. Sopot ,Bulgaria,, SS Peter and Paul, 1846 by masters írom Bracigo·o
,Source: Berbenlie· 1983,
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