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TURKISH JERUSALEM (1516-1917) - page 14 / 36





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Mehmet Tütüncü

The relation between the High Porte (as Istanbul was called) and Jerusalem was also important because Jerusalem was not only a Holy city for the Muslims (like Mecca and Medina) but it was also the Holy city of Christians and Jews. This multi-Holiness made otherwise strategically unimportant city very important for Turkish Rulers,.

Despite this importance only one Ottoman Sultan, Sultan Selim visited Jerusalem. But this was not uncommon. Because of power balances Sultans could not leave the capital. Even Sultan Selim did not visit the other two holy cities of Mecca and Medina. So it was only Jerusalem that was honoured with a Royal Visit of Turkish Sultan.

The First and only royal visit after Sultan Selim was by a Westerner and that was Kaiser Wilhelm II from Germany who visited it in 1898.

Until 9 December 1917 for more 400 years the city and Palestine lived peacefully under Pax Ottomana.

Despite this 400 year long rule of Turks in Jerusalem there are not many visible Turkish Architectural Works. No slender minarets or Royal Mosque as in Balkans was build. The reason for this was respect for the local traditions and because there was a congregational Mosque of Masjid el-Aqsa. No other Mosque could be built that could surpass the holy shrine. Never the less, the City of Jerusalem has still a visible Turkish Presence.

One of the best methods to mark a ruler’s sovereignty over a city is by putting inscription on places where people gather. Inscription is a visible stamp of the ruler.

There are also many inscriptions in the city’s strategic and prominent places.

Preservation of old City of Jerusalem as it survives today is the work of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent as called by Westerners


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