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Robert Elsie

Early Photography in Albania

 
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The Photo Collection
of Sultan Abdul Hamid II
Deutsch | Shqip

The Western Balkans
between 1876 and 1900

The Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II (reg. 1876-1909) ruled over a rapidly declining empire that included much of the western Balkans (Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia). Towards the end of his reign, he was paranoid about threats to his life, did not travel and indeed rarely appeared in public. To keep abreast of what was going on in his empire, he used an extensive network of spies and informers, and commissioned photographers to take pictures for him. When the sultan abdicated in 1909, his private photo collection was left in Yildiz Palace until it was eventually transferred to the library of Istanbul University. There it remained untouched for decades. We are grateful to Istanbul University Library for allowing us to present a representative selection of the photos from Albania and the western Balkans here (with pictures of Skopje, Kaçanik, Ferizaj, Prishtina, Shkodra, Podgorica and Ulqin), and to András Riedlmayer of the Fine Arts Library of Harvard University for his assistance with the captions. Most of the photos are undated, but seem to stem from the period between 1876 and 1900.

Skopje, Macedonia. “The town of Skopje (Üsküb).” Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90436-0001 (LEFT) Skopje, Macedonia. “The town of Skopje (Üsküb).” Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90436-0001 (CENTER) Skopje, Macedonia. “The town of Skopje (Üsküb).” Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90436-0001 (RIGHT) Skopje, Macedonia. “The citadel of Skopje (Üsküb).” Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90436-0003 Skopje, Macedonia. “View of the quay along the Vardar River in Skopje (Üsküb).” Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90623-0042 Skopje, Macedonia. “The great Stone Bridge across the Vardar in Skopje (Üsküb).” Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90623-0067 Skopje, Macedonia. “Wooden pedestrian bridge over the Vardar in Skopje (Üsküb).” Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90623-0070 Skopje, Macedonia. “The Vardar quay and the Burmali Mosque.” The Burmali Mosque, built in 1494, was torned down in 1925 by the Serbian authorities and replaced with a Yugoslav army officer’s club which was destroyed in turn in the 1963 earthquake. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90623-0072 Skopje, Macedonia. “Large tree left standing in the Vardar river bed in Skopje (Üsküb).” Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90623-0073 Skopje, Macedonia. “The new military hospital in the old citadel in Skopje (Üsküb).” Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90623-0068 Skopje, Macedonia. “Skopje [Üsküb], Rumelian Railways, Salonica–Skopje–Mitrovica line.” Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90635-0002 Kaçanik, Kosovo. “Kaçanik, Rumelian Railways, Salonica–Skopje–Mitrovica line.” Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90635-0001 Ferizaj, Kosovo. “Taken at the station of Ferizaj (Firuz Beg) on the Skopje–Mitrovica railway line.” Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90623-0037 Prishtina, Kosovo. “Prishtina railway station.” Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90623-0038 Shkodra, Albania. Centre of town. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90766-0057 Shkodra, Albania. The Bazaar of Shkodra (İşkodra). Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 91228-0023 Shkodra, Albania. The Lead Mosque (built 1773-1774) and the Bahçëllëk Bridge. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90766-0050 Shkodra, Albania. “A village near Shkodra (İşkodra) with a bridge over the Drin River.” The old five-arched Bahçëllëk bridge was constructed in 1768 by Mehmet Pasha Bushati and was destroyed by flooding in 1880. This photo was taken after its repair. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 91228-0024 Shkodra, Albania. Painting of the fortress of Shkodra. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90766-0049 Shkodra, Albania. Painting of the old town of Shkodra. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90766-0052 Podgorica, Montenegro. “Town of Podgorica – New Town (Yeni Varoş) side.” [Written on the inside right margin]: “(1) Road to Old Town (Eski Varoş).” [Written on the inside left margin]: “(2) Entrance of the New Market (Yeni Çarşı).” Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 91243-0100 Ulqin/Ulcinj, Montenegro. “The market and harbour quarter of the town of Ulqin (Ülgün) and part of the harbour.” The numbered captions immediately below the photo, right to left, keyed to numbers in photo, read: “(1) Imperial Ottoman Consulate, (2) Harbour-side Mosque, (3) Konak of the Voyvoda, (4) Konak of the Voyvoda, (5) Primary school (Mekteb).” Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 91243-0111 Ulqin/Ulcinj, Montenegro. “The town of Ulqin (Ülgün) with the harbour and market quarters. Harbour-side Mosque (İskele Cami-i  Şerifi).” [Written on the inside margin, right to left]: “(1) Imperial Ottoman Consulate, (2) Konak of the Voyvoda, (3) Harbourmaster's office.” Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 91243-0112 Shkodra, Albania. Customs building in Shkodra and bridge over the Boyana (Buna) river, before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90444-14 Cetinje, Montenegro. Danilo hospital and Žički Dom theatre, before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90418-55 Stari Bar, Montenegro. View of Stari Bar (Old Bar), before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90766-51 Virpazar, Montenegro. View of Virpazar on Lake Shkodra (Skadar), before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 91243-108 Montenegro. Bridge between Podgorica and Shkodra, before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90766-56 Nikšić, Montenegro. Inauguration of the Čar Bridge on the Zeta River near Nikšić, before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 91243-95 Podgorica, Montenegro. View of Ribnica River, Catholic Church (right), Debbaglar Bridge, government mansion (konak) and the Mirko Varosh Hotel (far left), before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 91243-99 Mitrovica, Kosovo. Mitrovica Railway Station, before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90635-17 Prishtina, Kosovo. Fatih Sultan Mehmed Mosque in old Prishtina, before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90623-24c(83) Mazgit, Kosovo. Mausoleum of Sultan Murad near Obiliq, before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90635-16 Veles, Macedonia. View of the town and railway, before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90635-4 Veles, Macedonia. View of Veles, before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90635-3 Monastir (Bitola), Macedonia. Centre of Monastir, before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90623-14b(52) Monastir (Bitola), Macedonia. Bazaar of Monastir, before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90623-15(55) Monastir (Bitola), Macedonia. Mansion (konak) of the provincial governor, before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90623-23d(80). Prilep, Macedonia. Monastery near Prilep, before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90623-22(76) Skopje, Macedonia. Municipal administration building, before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90436-9(11) Skopje, Macedonia. Government mansion (konak), before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90436-2(4) Skopje, Macedonia. Railway station, before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90436-12(14) Skopje, Macedonia. Military hospital, before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90436-4(6) Skopje, Macedonia. Gazi Isa Bey Mosque, before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90436-21(23) Skopje, Macedonia. Gazi Ishak Bey Mosque, before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90436-24(26) Skopje, Macedonia. Gazi Mustafa Pasha Mosque, before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90436-20(22) Skopje, Macedonia. Gazi Yahya Pasha Mosque, before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90436-23(25) Skopje, Macedonia. Karili Mehmed Bey Mosque, before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90436-25(27) Skopje, Macedonia. Faik Pasha Mosque, before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90436-18(20) Skopje, Macedonia. Murad Pasha Mosque, before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90436-19(21) Skopje, Macedonia. Sultan Murad Sani Mosque, before 1901. Sultan Abdul Hamid Photo Collection, Istanbul University Library, No. 90436-14(16) simple jquery lightboxby VisualLightBox.com v5.9

 

Die Fotosammlung des Sultan Abdülhamid II.
English | Shqip

Westliche Balkanhalbinsel
zwischen den Jahren 1876 und 1900

Der osmanische Sultan, Abdülhamid II. (reg. 1876-1909) herrschte über ein sich rasch auflösendes Reich, das auch große Teile der westlichen Balkanhalbinsel (Albanien, Kosovo, Mazedonien) umfasste. Gegen Ende seiner Herrschaft wurde der Sultan paranoid. Er reiste nicht mehr und zeigte sich nur selten in der Öffentlichkeit. Um sich über sein weites Reich auf dem Laufenden halten zu können, verfügte er über ein ausgedehntes Netz von Spionen und Informanten, sowie Fotografen, die für ihn Bilder des Vielvölkerstaates machten. Als der Sultan im Jahre 1909 abdanken musste, blieb seine private Fotosammlung erstmal im Yildiz-Palast in Istanbul. Später wurde sie der Bibliothek der Istanbuler Universität übergeben, wo sie jahrelang unberührt blieb. Wir sind der Bibliothek dankbar, dass wir hier eine Auswahl der Bilder von Albanien und der westlichen Balkanhalbinsel (Skopje, Kaçanik, Ferizaj, Prishtina, Shkodra, Podgorica und Ulqin) vorstellen dürfen. Ferner sind wir Herrn András Riedlmayer der Fine Arts Library von Harvard University für seine Hilfe mit den Bildunterschriften zu Dank verpflichtet. Die meisten Fotos sind undatiert, stammen wohl aus der Zeit zwischen 1876 und 1900.

 

Koleksioni fotografik i Sulltan Abdyl Hamitit të II-të
English | Deutsch

Ballkani Perëndimor
gjatë periudhës 1876-1900

Sulltani osman, Abdyl Hamiti i dytë (periudha e sundimit 1876-1909), mbretëroi mbi një perandori (përfshirë Shqipërinë, Kosovën dhe Maqedoninë) e cila po shkonte drejt shpërbërjes. Në fund të sundimit të tij, sulltani u bë paranojak. Nuk udhëtoi më dhe rrallë shfaqej në publik. Për t’u informuar për gjendjen e perandorisë, kishte një rrjet spiunësh, por edhe fotografë të cilët bënin foto të shtetit të tij shumëkombësh. Kur në vitin 1909 u detyrua të jepte dorëheqjen, koleksioni i tij fotografik ngeli në Jildiz-Saraj deri sa u transferua në Bibliotekën e Universitetit të Stambollit. Aty mbeti për vite i paprekur. I jemi mirënjohës Bibliotekës për mundësinë e paraqitjes këtu të një pjese të fotografive nga Shqipëria dhe Ballkani perëndimor (fotot e Shkupit, Kaçanikut, Ferizajt, Prishtinës, Shkodrës, Podgoricës dhe Ulqinit). Falënderojmë gjithashtu zotin András Riedlmayer nga Biblioteka e Arteve të Bukura e Universitetit të Harvardit për ndihmë në përkthimin e titujve nga osmanishtja. Shumica e fotografive janë pa datë, por duket se vijnë nga periudha 1876-1900.

 

 

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