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    The Yildiz Albums of Sultan Abdulhamid: Mecca-Medina

    by Mehmet Bahadir Dorduncu
    * The Ka'ba and the Grand Mosque in Macca
    * The Prophet's Mosque in Medina
    * Cemeteries of Jannat al-Mualla and Jannat al-Baqi
    * Tombs of Khadija and Hamza
    * Beirut Port and the cities of Lebanon

    • PAPERBACK : 2012-12-12 • 140 Pages • 10 x 12 inches inches • ISBN 9781597840545
    • CATEGORIES Interfaith Dialogue, Backlist, Forthcoming
    • PRICE : $39.95
    • Buy This Book

    The most exquisite memories of the Ottoman history are brought back to life with an album of photographs from the Yildiz Collection. In the 1880s upon an order of Sultan Abdulhamid II, Mecca and Medina, the two sanctuaries of Islam, were photographed and catalogued, together with thousands of other frames that portrayed the Ottoman lands. There are over 80 photographs in the album showing us what these holy cities looked like in the 19th century and what they have lost over the course of time. Includes pictures of the Ka'ba and the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, cemeteries of Jannat al-Mualla and Jannat al-Baqi, tombs of Khadija and Hamza, Ajyad fortress and Ottoman barracks, Mina, Mount Arafat, the Beirut Port and the cities of Lebanon. The book has velvet cover similar to the original Yildiz albums of Sultan Abdulhamid II.


    With an introduction by Ilber Ortayli

    * The Ka'ba and the Grand Mosque in Macca
    * The Prophet's Mosque in Medina
    * Cemeteries of Jannat al-Mualla and Jannat al-Baqi
    * Tombs of Khadija and Hamza
    * Beirut Port and the cities of Lebanon..

    Review Hit Review —

    MECCA MEDINA: The Yildiz Albums of Sultan Abduihamid II BY MEHMET BAHADIR DORDUNCU

    The prominent status and location that the Ottoman Empire held in the world during the nineteenth century allowed its Sultans to have a keen interest in the use of photography, and soon after its invention was announced in France on August 1839, Sultan Abdul Aziz had the distinguished French painter Horace Vernet and a group of photographers journey throughout the land to capture images of his vast Empire. They finished their work by February 1840. After that a few non-Muslim citizens in Istanbul adopted photography as a profession. Some of these pioneers became in 1863, for the first time, the “Photographers of the Sultans”.

    The use of photography by various government offices continued on limited basis until Abdul Hamid II ascended to the throne in 1876. He ordered his ministers and governors to use this “new technology” (the camera) to report to him on projects and events throughout the Empire. They (lid, and this is how this huge collection came into existence. Obviously, that also provided the Sultan with a viable alternative to keep abreast of happenings in his land from Egypt to the Balkans and from Arabia to Caucasia. The author quotes Abdul Hamid II commenting on this application of photography, “Every picture is an idea. It can convey many political or emotional meanings which cannot be put in words, not in a hundred pages. Therefore, I benefit from these pictures more than from written documents.”

    But the reason behind this use of photography was not entirely Abclul Hamid ‘s interest in applying new technology. In fact, the real reason for it w as that he was unable to maintain an important tradition of the Ottoman Sultans—to travel periodically through the Empire to maintain control and assert the government’s power. But because of political turmoil, Abdul Hamid was unable to trawl outside of Istanbul and he had to resort to photographv to keep the Empire under his watchful eye.

    Today, there not many traces, in Makkah, Madinah and on the roads leading to them from Turkey and Baghdad, of the Ottoman civil and military projects which they did in four centuries of service to the region. The book in your hands brings those achievements back to life, for you.

    Some of the photographs were taken separately then brought together to create panoramic images of Makkah and Madinah. All pictures have captions that explain images using original captions in Arabic or old Turkish (which used Arabic alphabet). The book measures 12.5 x 10.4 inches in size, and the cover cloth is made of red velvet. All photos are reproduced, digitized and printed on quality paper.

    Published by The Light, Inc.; Somerset, New Jersey. First English edition (June I, 2006)
    Hardcover: 139 pages, Dimensions: 12.5 x 10.4 x 0.9 inches
    Reviewed by Hassan Ahmad

    If a picture is worth a thousand ords, what could be said of 36,000 (thirty six thousand) ones? This is the number of photos that comprise the Yildiz Albums Collection of which this book, Mecca and Medina: The Yildiz Albums of Sultan Abdulhamid II, compiled b7 Mehmet Bahadir Dorduncu, is one such album containing over eighty photos presenting a pictorial record of the two most noble cities for Muslims, Makkah, the Sacred City, and Madinah, the City Lighted, and the Road to Hajj. These photos were collected by order of the famous 34th Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II (d. 1918) during his reign from 1876 to 1909.


    Mehmet Bahadir Dorduncu
    Mehmet Bahadir Dorduncu

    Mehmet Bahadir Dorduncu is a freelance writer for young readers and adults.