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In his ground-breaking study, Bodman characterized these two groups as having had negligible political influence in the years between and The same could be said for some of the minority merchant dynasties which came to prominence contemporaneously with the Muslim notables. Both groups, often allied with one another, tied their fortunes to those of the central government rather than opposing it. As such, their survival through the end of the nineteenth century mirrored the resiliency of state authority in the city. The Ottoman state's ability to reassert its presence in Aleppo adds credence to those historians who look to Asia to understand the dynamics of the historical processes of the eighteenth century.

Despite the setbacks it suffered, the Empire was still capable of acting to reverse the process of its own unravelling. Undoubtedly, Europe had a role in all of this, but it would seem that in the case of Aleppo, its influence was only secondary to that of the central government.

Aleppo as an ottoman provincial center. Perhaps the most distinctive feature of Aleppo's political life in the Ottoman period was its administrative separation from its historically more dominant rival, Damascus. There is some ambiguity as to when this occurred, but it was a political fact when Sultan Siileyman visited the city in The removal of northern Syria from its political dependency on Damascus by imperial fiat meant that the inhabitants of Aleppo were largely free to evolve their own power relationship with the capital, unencumbered by developments to the south.

While continuing to be linked culturally to Damascus, Cairo, and the Holy Cities of the Hijaz, the city formed important economic ties to southern Anatolia which outweighed those it enjoyed with southern Syria. The wealth that Aleppo generated in the first century of Ottoman rule was an attractive prize for aspirants to more global political ambitions.

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Ironically, given the relative fealty offered by Aleppo's political elite to the central government in the eighteenth century, the city served as the locus for two of the most formidable challenges the Ottoman state faced in the seventeenth century. As they would later do, Ali Pasha based his strength on tribal levies, seemingly had visions of regional autonomy, if not independence, and sought to involve the Europeans in his scheme Rafeq, The second revolt, that of Abaza Hasan Pasha which ended with his death in , was one of a disgruntled Ottoman official and its venue in Aleppo had little to do with the city or its inhabitants.

Both revolts indicate that the state was already experiencing the internal contradictions of its own imperial system. That they resembled so closely the more damaging revolts of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries seems to vindicate those who see the slow dissolution of the empire as having been based in the domestic and structural weaknesses of the Ottoman state rather than in its shifting external relations. But whatever the ultimate historical cause of either rebellion, neither had any lasting effect on society in Aleppo, or the pursuit of power in the city.

Political control in Aleppo was vested in the first two centuries of Ottoman rule in the hands of the representatives of the state, the governor and his military entourage composed of professionals sent out from the capital. With the exception of the Europeans, the other groups often overlapped and intermarried so that the indigenous economic and religious elites were not easily distinguished.

By the middle of the eighteenth century, those patterns while maintaining the facade of the older order, had changed.

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One of the most important of these changes for the balance of political power in the city was that the military forces stationed in the province were increasingly of local origin. This transformation had come about gradually as the Empire suffered fiscal and military downturns that hindered the center from effectively exercising control over its periphery.

A City Left in Ruins: The Battle for Aleppo

For Aleppo, located as it was in close proximity to various tribal groups : bedouin, Kurds, and Turkmen, this meant the loss of effective control by the governor over his province. The breakdown in order in the countryside altered what the central government expected of the city's inhabitants in terms of their own defense. Thus in , when a band of Sheyhlii Kurds, reportedly consisting of musketeers, threatened the city, the professional garrison was dispatched along with that of the city Marash to repel the tribesmen while the inhabitants of Aleppo were required only to provide financial support AS 1, p.

Thirty-five years later,. This pattern was to be repeated periodically in the city until the implementation of direct conscription, first during the city's occupation by Ibrahim Pasha and later by Istanbul in AS 39, p. This need for extra levies led to an increasing militarization of the province with the proliferation of bands of armed men whose services could be bought. In the city of Aleppo, the reduction in troops that the capital could provide led to the swelling of the ranks of the janissaries with the enlistment of locals as well as rural migrants who had been drawn into the city.

The janissaries quickly emerged as one of the two activist political factions in the city in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The geographical base of the janissaries was in the eastern quarters of the city and many of those identified with the corps in the local court records had Kurdish or Turkish names which hint of tribal origins.

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Nonetheless, in an order from listing those who had fled the city under charge of participating in the janissary revolt of the previous year, persons coming from the eastern suburbs predominated, but almost all of the city's quarters were represented and where it is possible to tell from family names, Arabic speakers were seemingly in the clear majority AS 35, pp. The dynamics of the struggle were not purely locational, ethnic, nor a case of urban interests versus rural newcomers, although elements of all of those categories can be identified as contributing to the perpetuation of solidarity within the two blocks.


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Furthermore, while economic rivalries added to the hostility vented in the streets as janissary pressure on the established guild structure was resented and resisted, their mutual antagonism and rivalry can not be explained away through a economic class analysis as the two group's membership seems to have been drawn from roughly comparable economic classes. Rather than monolithic factions, both identities appear to have been relatively fluid and while it is possible to generalize about the membership of each group, it must be remembered that there were many different degrees of clientage at work and that individual loyalties might shift with changes in the political climate.

That there was little, if any, proto-class consciousness at work was indicated by the infrequency of cooperation between the two. This status had sprang from their position as religious authorities and functionaries, and as administrators of many of the city religious endowments. Additionally, local Muslim families profited from Aleppo's location as a trade entrepot and had prospered.

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Throughout the seventeenth century, those were largely in the hands Ottoman officials and soldiers in the form of credit relationships with the villagers. By the beginning of the eighteenth century, the process was well under way and much of the province's revenue was increasingly diverted into the hands of the tax farmers. This, in turn, forced the governors to levy even more of the extraordinary taxes on the city's population, creating economic and social hardships on almost everyone else.

The Ottomans and their descendants were not the only ones to profit from these changes in revenue procurement. By the middle of the century, this transferral of much of the fiscal system of the province into local hands was consolidated with the repeated appointment of Aleppines to the posts of mutesellim and muhassil of the province. Effective political power did not immediately accompany this increase in status, however. Rarely uniting out of class self interests, they could wield little political influence and were so limited to acting as mediators between the warring factions, or between those factions and the government.

To learn more, view our Privacy Policy. Log In Sign Up. Building and Deconstructing Authenticity in Aleppo. Nora Lafi. Gebaute Geschichte. Please quote as such. The concept of authenticity, as defined in international circles between the s and the Nara Conference on Heritage, has been one of the main instruments used to define policies aiming at heritage protection during the last few decades.

Today is unfortunately not the first time that Aleppo is the theater of large-scale urban destruction and of acts of war traumatic for the population. From the revolt to the resistance against French colonial occupation in the s, bombings and repression have caused great damage on 1 Randolph Sarn, Authenticity and Historic Preservation. Implementation Guidelines, in: Journal of Architectural Conservation 6 , pp. Rock of Faith or Shifting Sands? In: Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites 2 , pp. Historic Cities from the s, in: Contemporary European History 19 , pp.

The earthquake also resulted in severe destruction and counts on the sad list of deadly events in the history of the city. Knowledge of this chain of events has to be part of all reflections on the nature of historical authenticity in Aleppo: the city, including some of its most revered monuments, labeled medieval, has been partially destroyed and rebuilt several times. On various occasions, the city has been reconstructed in accordance with specific practical and ideological choices.

The inertia of such choices conditioned, at least partially, the local echoes of the notion of authenticity that was elaborated since the middle of the 20 th century. The very definition of the dimension of the historical heritage of the built environment was made in all these contexts, as part of broader reflections on reconstruction and urban transformation. Processes of urban modernization, which in Aleppo have often been very aggressive against the built heritage, also contributed to weakening the historical substance of the city, as well as in its very definition in terms of nature, extension, and governance.

As scholars have illustrated, the modern definition of heritage is also a mirror of the definition of a modern city that has often directly contradicted its relationship to the historical urban fabric and to the structure and morphology of the urban built environment. For example, the inertia of the design of a protected area in contrast to an area of urban transformation is huge.

The notions of authenticity and its content, nature, and ambiguities have to be analyzed in accordance with this framework. Ottoman Urban Modernity and the Historical Built Heritage of Aleppo Every time the city was transformed, even before the Ottoman era, this process involved an interpretation of the past.

In Aleppo, all transformation processes were indeed historically linked to previous processes of transformation. Those of the Ottoman era echoed medieval transformations, for example. In the nineteenth century, the word was used to create an Arabic word for archeology. The word was used in the twentieth century to create an Arabic equivalent of the French word patrimoine.

Every building or amenity with a public function was the object of an institutionalized administration that collectively, and in the framework of the old regime municipality, followed all potential problems and renovation enterprises. A History, London Kanun Halep. After the earthquake, one of the deadliest in the history of mankind, 12 during which many ancient buildings were destroyed, the reconstruction programs enacted by the Zengid and then the Ayyubid and Mamluk dynasties used the ruins of the ancient city as a reservoir of building materials for the reconstruction.

توین بى و ابن‌خلدون

Authenticity in Aleppo, as it was constructed in the context of perceptions elaborated in the 19 th and 20th centuries, was indeed initially the result of traumatic destruction and practices of reuse. C , h. M , S , Ca , Ra , They were also the reflection of a kind of pact of imperiality between Istanbul and local elites.

The instrument that regulated the relationship between urban property, power, and the visions of the future of the city was indeed that of the waqf, in which euergetism the practice in which urban notables offered public amenities to the city as an act of civic and pious generosity, but also to reinforce the civic aura of their family and to consolidate their patron-client relations and policies of urban transformation converged.

It planned a dynamic evolution of the built environment, just as in medieval times, but with the additional dimension of full integration into Ottoman procedures of urban governance. Present-day conceptions of authenticity have to take into account this dimension and to avoid static visions. The waqf system was indeed one of the major expressions of an old-regime municipal system and the point of encounter between the imperial sphere and the civic organization of the local notability.

Thanks to this system, the city evolved during the Ottoman classical age in a way that integrated new buildings into the medieval built environment. Modernity was first embodied in the rise of new perceptions of the urban space and in the use of new techniques of surveying and mapping. Aleppo in the 18th Century, New York , p. Family and Society in Ottoman Aleppo , Austin , p. Jahrhundert, Beirut ; Stefan Weber, Damascus. Ottoman Modernity and Urban Transformation , vol. Ottoman Aleppo , Leiden , p. An Ottoman form of urban transformation developed during the nineteenth century on the basis of such new expertise.

The late Ottoman period was one of intense reflections on the relationship between the city as it was and the city that might be transformed by ideas of modernity and techniques such as regularization and planned extensions. New or newly defined professions, such as engineering and architecture, emerged, as well as new decision-making processes.

What remained was the definition of the competences of the municipality beledyie , reformed between the s and the s, in a sphere in which local notables were the most prominent figures. The new municipal institutions were the result not only of modernizing reforms, but also of the negotiation of a new pact of imperial belonging between local notables and Istanbul.

This pact also aimed at protecting the city against foreign appetites. Signs of modernity were introduced in the city during the last decades of the nineteenth century and in the early twentieth century: new squares, tramways, new infrastructural networks for public services, new streets. At this moment, the medieval city began to be conceived as a static element of the urban landscape. Until then, it had been seen in a more dynamic way: integrated into the daily functioning of the present. Modernity introduced a caesura between the past and the present.