Galata and Pera, Levantine World, Ottoman Culture, Italian travelers, Architecture


The aim of this paper is to present the urban and architectural environment in the cosmopolitan Istanbul’s districts of Galata and Pera throughout the impressions left by some Italians travelers who spent some period in the Ottoman capital throughout the 19th and the early years of the 20th century. This historical period has been chosen and analyzed in order to show the changes and development of Istanbul in those years through several Italian ‘eyes’ and ‘voices’ who witnessed at that time some important transformations in the Ottoman culture, highlining the coexistence of different world, such as the Turkish Muslim society and the ‘Levantine world’, a mixture of several cultures and religions, including Jewish and Christians. Through their detailed and accurate descriptions, many travelers witnessed the daily life of the ‘Levantines’, the urban environment in which they lived and the architecture they built, as well as their traditions and customs among the Muslim Turks. Following a chronological order, this paper will focus on travelers who described spaces and architecture in some areas of Istanbul such as Galata and Pera, defining and encompassing the culture of those Levantine communities.



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