Ottoman Empire has a rich history going back to 1300. Until its collapse in the 1st World War it went through many changes; its fast expansion until the end of 17th century and its slow decline afterwards. Through the images in the antique maps and prints we see this change along with the incredible advancements in cartography and printing techniques.
We also see the history of the region before the Ottoman times, the Greek and Roman periods, on the maps and prints made centuries ago. Many of the cities and regions with their historic names are still preserved in these maps. Old city plans show buildings that no longer exist. People with their original dresses and environments tell us about their daily lives, customs and values.
We just imagine how it would feel like seeing the old cities and walking on their streets, talking to local people about their daily routines, and asking them about the joys and worries about their own time. We wonder about how it would feel like coming to Constantinople on a beautiful spring morning in a sailing ship, seeing the city for the first time and falling in love. Life passing by at a snail’s pace without cars, mobile phones, television, and amenities of the modern life.
Although the realities of those times are very different from those seen in these engravings at the end one cannot avoid being captivated with the nonchalant life as depicted in Melling’s illustrations or with the alluring views of J.F. Lewis.