Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, was the capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. The Bosphorus straits divides the city into a part that sits on the European continent, and a larger part on the continent of Asia. The militarily and economically strategic position of the city, on the western portion of the Silk Road, and on the shipping route between the Aegean and Black Seas, has kept it cosmopolitan and prosperous since its foundation 660 BCE, when it was called Byzantium. In 330 it became Constantinople, the capital of the Roman Empire, named for Emperor Constantine the Great. The Ottomans conquered the city in 1453/857 AH and renamed the city Istanbul. It served as their capital until Ankara became the capital of the modern nation of Turkey.
Tansuğ, Feryal. '"English abstract of 'A City: Istanbul, 101 Structures'". Translated by Aysu Dincer. In Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi. 28. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
Yenal, Engin and German, Murat. Bir Kent: İstanbul 101 Yapı. İstanbul: Yapı Kredi Yayınları, 2001, 357pp.
A City: Istanbul, 101 Structures
Bir Kent: İstanbul 101 Yapı
The book provides historical and spatial information on the most striking examples of Byzantine and Ottoman buildings in Istanbul. The authors criticise and gives examples of the distorted urbanisation and complicated urban organisation in the city. The photographs occupy as much space as the articles and the fact that the buildings under discussion are photographed from various angles provides the book with visual material of good quality. 101 examples of all types of architectural structures are presented, including palaces, mosques, churches, fountains, baths and houses, which were built in the city at various times, in different styles using a number of techniques.
These structures are examined under the following topics: Sur-i Sultanı, Topkapı Palace, Sultanahmet and its vicinity, important structures in the area from Haliç to the Marmara Sea, the area within the city walls, the area outside the city walls, historical structures at the northern gate of Haliç, Galata-Pera, Bosphorus-Rumeli, Anatolian-Asian side and Üsküdar–Kadıköy. While giving this information, the authors also includes some analysis from historians of architecture.
When discussing works from the Byzantine and Ottoman periods, the authors provides details about the architectural qualities and historical background of Byzantine churches that have been turned into mosques. At times, they do not give references when providing historical information and employs a distinctive language with frequent exclamation marks to emphasise thier personal opinion. With its wealth of visual material, the book offers introductory knowledge to the main historical structures of the city and will make for a pleasurable read.