An Ottoman Sense of Place

Earlier this week, the Society was delighted to host a lecture by Professor Zeynep Yürekli-Görkay, titled “An Ottoman Sense of Place: Topographical Illustration between Europe and Iran”. Zeynep’s fascinating lecture highlighted the visual representation of towns and fortifications in a selection of fifteenth and sixteenth century Ottoman manuscripts, and the relationship of this representation to artistic trends in European, Persian, and Ottoman art. The lecture was further enlivened by a series of absolutely stunning illustrations from manuscripts in the collection of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. Zeynep’s lecture was followed by a series of questions from an appreciative audience, as well as a reception.

Prof Yürekli-Görkay delivers her lecture

The Society has recently been involved with another exploration of the way that Ottoman culture visualized the wider world, in the form of the new publication, Ottoman Explorations of the Nile: Evliya Çelebi’s ‘Matchless Pearl These Reports of the Nile’ map and his accounts of the Nile and the Horn of Africa in The Book of Travels. By Robert Dankoff, Nuran Tezcan, and Michael D. Sheridan, and published in partnership with Gingko Library under the Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt Fund, this book explores a major Ottoman attempt to explore and map out the Nile in the late seventeenth century. This project led to the creation of an elaborate map, with 450 rubrics, as well as a lengthy travel account. The book is available here (

The new RAS/Gingko publication under the Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt Fund

Next week, on Tuesday 27 March at 6.30pm, the society hosts another event: an illustrated lecture on “Buddhist Rock-Cut Monasteries of the Western Ghats”. This lecture marks the publication of a new volume on this subject by Dr Gethin Rees and Dr George Michell. We hope you will be able to join us for what promises to be a memorable occasion.