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10 Amazing Vintage Photographs of Istanbul That Depict 1930s Turkey

Istanbul has one of the richest histories of any city. It is the only city in the world that spreads over two continents. The Bosphorus (river) divides the European and Asian parts of the city. The city has been used as a maritime mainstay for nearly 2,500 years, where it was an important stop along the Silk Road.

When the Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923, the capital was moved from Constantinople to Ankara. Since 1930, the native name "Istanbul" has been the sole official name of the city in Turkish and has since replaced the traditional name "Constantinople" in most western languages as well. Below is a collection of 10 amazing photos of Istanbul in the 1930s:

1. A live entertainment on the streets of Istanbul, 1930

Acrobatics was one of the most popular live entertainments in the Ottoman Empire. They were usually the member of the guild of Janissaries, and they were making money from giving performances out on the streets, especially when it was Ramadan evenings, religious festivals as well as imperial weddings and circumcision festivals. They remained popular during the republican times as well. In this photo above by Selahattin Giz in 1930, you can see a live entertainment on the streets of Kadırga neighbourhood.

2. The first Fire Brigade Department of Istanbul

The first fire brigade department, called as the Tulumbacılar Ocağı, was established during the reign of Ahmet III. This department was abolished in 1826 along with guild of Janissaries but after the Hocapaşa Fire erupted, the fire brigade department was re-established as a small fire brigades in each neighbourhood. After the Turkish Republic state was founded in 1923, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality decided to modernize the department. For this, the municipality bought a water-pumping set from the German company. Taken in the courtyard of Dolmabahçe Mosque on 14 January 1931, the photo shows control examination of new water-pumping sets.

3. Süleymaniye Mosque, ca. 1930s

In this photo, you see the Süleymaniye Mosque with the view of the Golden Horn from the Beyazıt Tower. The photo is said to be taken in 1936. Süleymaniye Mosque is one of the masterpieces of architect Sinan, the Ottoman’s greatest architect. The empire’s greatest sultan, who was Suleiman the Magnificent, wanted to show his magnificence with an everlasting building. He ordered the construction which began and completed in the 1550s.

4. Nakiye Elgün, the Oldest Woman Educator of Turkey

In this photo, you see Turkey’s one of the oldest woman educator who is reading the declaration of the rights of the child at the Taksim Square in 1930. Nakiye Elgün was born in 1882 in Istanbul and died in 1954. After the political rights were given to women in 1934, she was elected as Erzurum deputy and entered the Parliament with 17 women deputies. They were the first women deputy in Turkish Parliament took place between 1935 and 1939.

5. Valens Aqueduct, 1936

What you see in this photo is the Valens Aqueduct in 1936. You may be surprised due to the houses in front of the aqueduct because they don’t exist anymore. They were all demolished because of the construction of the Atatürk Boulevard which passes under its arches today. The Valens Aqueduct is a Roman aqueduct which was the most important water-providing system of the Constantinople during the Eastern Roman period. It was used by Byzantines as well as the Ottomans and it is now Istanbul’s one of the most important landmarks.

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10 Amazing Vintage Photographs of Istanbul That Depict 1930s Turkey


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