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 'Daily Life in Old Istanbul'". Translated by Aysu Dinçer. In Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi. 41. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
Kayaoğlu, İ. Gündağ and Pekin, Ersu. Eski İstanbul’da Gündelik Hayat. İstanbul: Aksoy Yayıncılık, 1992, 158pp.
Daily Life in Old Istanbul
Eski İstanbul’da Gündelik Hayat
This is a compilation of articles by various writers. As stated by its editor, the aim of the book satisfies the need to understand the past in order to understand better the new city and the urban population produced by the changing socio-economic structures. The book comprises thirteen articles and a dictionary, and is illustrated by the pictures and drawings by various foreign artists. Most of the articles have previously been published in journals relating to folk culture, such as the Turkish Folklore Review.
The majority of the articles in the book focus on themes depicting the family and the women’s role in the family. They mostly relate to the daily life in the city, describing weddings, relations with neighbours, household management, post-natal customs, public baths and the sightseeing tours in Old Istanbul. However these are brief and superficial articles based only on the popular local narratives and have been written without consulting academic sources or references. The book can be considered as contributing to the existing studies on folklore as it draws attention to the much-neglected topic of women’s social roles in the past by compiling the works on their daily lives in various parts of the city.
Besides subjects like women and the family, the book also includes short essays on non-interrelated topics, such as Istanbul’s food culture, traditions of celebrations of religious holidays like Ramadan, the sacred nature of the neighbourhood of Eyup Sultan, gypsies and their mores. These articles provide folkloric information on the ways of life of the city’s Muslim population and their perceptions of life. These qualities make the book a good introduction to the social sciences.