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This guide is intended to provide a few starting points to assist you with your research on Turkey and the Ottoman Empire. It contains English as well as Turkish and where available, Ottoman Turkish language material on issues related to the history, cultures, languages, and arts of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic.

In this guide, researchers of Ottoman literature and history, of Turkish popular culture, of Islam in Turkey, or of the growth of secularism and the republic, as well as those interested in the contemporary Turkish scene, have at their disposal a signpost to a variety of resources and information.

Image result for Ersari–Beshir prayer rug Turkmenistan 2012 Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell

Ersari–Beshir prayer rug, early 19th century

©2012 Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

Cornell University

Featured items from our collection

A 1929 Cornell thesis, written by Sahire Mouhtar, the first Turkish woman to earn a non-medical PhD.


Mouhtar, Sahire Fatma, 1903-  Means of travel and transportation in the Ottoman empire. Published: [Ithaca, N.Y.] 1929. Description: 223 l.: 28 cm.

CORNELL MAGAZINE:  “'29 PhD-Sahire F. Mouhtar of Istanbul, Turkey, exact date unknown; director of school in Istanbul; first woman in Turkey to earn a PhD. '29.”



Coat of arms of the Ottoman Empire

دَوْلَتِ عَلِيّهٔ عُثمَانِیّه

Devlet-i ʿAliyye-yi ʿOsmâniyye

The rise of a new empire can often be a result of the vacuum of power that a previous empire leaves behind. The Turks, or the future Ottomans, had become the  dominant power in the Middle East and South Eastern Europe in part because of their extraordinary political and military organization, but mainly because of the exhaustion of the old neighboring empires, Christian Byzantium and Muslim Abbasid Caliphate.

Turks, or Turkic peoples, are the principal descendants of large groups of nomads who roamed on the steppes of Central Asia to Asia Minor during the early centuries of the Christian era.  By the eleventh century, the nomadic soldiers living in Iran and western Anatolia gradually formed a confederation in the region of modern Iran, called the Seljuk confederation. They managed to expand their dominions from a small principality in northwestern Anatolia on the borders of the Byzantine Empire into one of the great empires of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Europe and Asia. From 1299 to 1923 the Ottoman Empire extended from northern Hungary to southern Arabia and from the Crimea across North Africa almost to the Atlantic Ocean. The reign of Suleiman I (The Magnificent) in the 16th century witnessed an outpouring of the literary arts and architecture, which in turn influenced European culture. The following centuries saw the gradual decline of the Turkish state as wars successively reduced the empire. The downfall of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of the modern secular Republic of Turkey in 1923 changed the nature of the state, its society, its culture, and its literature in fundamental ways. From the rise of the Ottoman Turks in the thirteenth century through the declaration of the Republic in the 20th Century, fascination with Turkey grew and with it, a desire for information about it. 

Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Flag Turkey animated gif 120x90

Conversion of Maliyya, Islamic and Christian dates

Conversion of Maliyya, Islamic and Christian dates. The Maliyya (or Maliyye, Maliye) calendar became the official calendar in the Ottoman Empire by order of Selim III in 1789 A.D., but it was already in use since 1677 A. D. It is based on the Julian calendar concerning the lengths of the months and the leap years. The beginning of the year was the 1st of Adar (corresponding to 1st of March in the Julian calendar). At the beginning of each year the number of the year was chosen to be identical to the year of the traditional Hijri calendar at this day. Therefore after approximately 32 years a jump in the number of the year occurred (e. g. after 1220 followed 1222 and after 1254 followed 1256). This rule was broken in 1888 A.D. when it was decided to continue the sequence of years without a gap. Therefore in the following period until the abrogation of the Maliyya calendar in 1928 there is a difference in the number of the years in the Maliyya and the Islamic calendar of up to three. In addition to the Gregorian calendar, the Julian calendar is provided for didactic reasons, or eventually for the conversion of historical Julian dates (e.g. form Protestant countries of from Russia).


Featured. Noteworthy

213 Ottoman Turkish books on the Internet Archive platform. This collection includes not only classical literature but also works of popular fiction, on religion and law, translations of foreign works, and dictionaries. [Duke University Libraries, Ottoman-Turkish Literature collection].


Muteferriqa Servet-i Fünûn Collection

Muteferriqa is a modern full-text search engine for Ottoman Turkish. It features high-quality Ottoman Turkish Periodicals content and minimizes research time shuffling through pages. When complete, Servet-i Fünûn Collection will include over 1100 issues of the periodical, spanning the years 1891-1926 covering TUFS Hakkı Tarık Us Digital Collection's said title.


Abdul-Hamid II Collection of Books and Serials Gifted to the Library of Congress

In 1884 Sultan Abdul-Hamid II gifted the Library of Congress with a collection of Ottoman Turkish, Persian, Arabic works that he had richly embossed with this inscription in English, French and Ottoman: "Gift made by H.I. M. the Sultan Abdul-Hamid II to the national library of the United States of America through the Honorable A.S. Hewitt Member of the House of Representatives A.H. 1302-1884 A.D."

Abdul-Hamid II collection of photographs of the Ottoman Empire U.S. [Library of Congress]

Images of the Ottoman Empire: the photograph albums presented by Sultan Abdulhamid II [the British Library, U.K.]

Osmanlı Arşiv Video HD - Ottoman Empire Rare Archive Footage

Ottoman-Era Photographs Take on New Meaning in Their Digital LifeThousands of images from the Pierre de Gigord Collection are now accessible online [The Getty Research Institute]

Digital Sources for the Study of the Ottoman Empire and Turkey

[Click here to download the overview of Digital Sources for the Study of the Ottoman Empire and Turkey.]

Atatürk's Speech that Recreated a Nation | Bir Milleti Baştan Yaratan Nutuk (10. Yıl Nutku) Background Music: Samuel Barber - Adagio for Strings ENG: In the speech he gave on 29 October 1933, the tenth anniversary of the Republic of Turkey (The Tenth Year Speech), Kemal Atatürk emphasised that thenceforth Turkish national culture would be developed, positive sciences and fine arts would be studied and worked on

Middle East Curator

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Ali Houissa
174 Kroch Library
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY, 14853
(607) 254-1614