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Sinop


Communal organizations    EN

Author: KARA TUGBA
Greek community EN
Jewish community
Armenian community EN
Bulgarian community
Polish community
German community

*Assist. Assoc. Professor,  University of Sinop, Sinop, Turkey

The districts in Sinop, as in other Ottoman cities, were defined in accordance with the city’s development and geographical expansion. According to archival evidence the non-Muslim districts were concentrated from the suburbs outside the Sinop Fortress. The various districts of the city were identified according to the people’s religions. In this way, Sinop's districts were referred to as Christian neighborhood”, “Rum community” and “Sinop central district Rum people”to describe the non-Muslim districts in the 19th century. These terms distinguished the Muslim and non-Muslim districts of the city[1].

According to archival documents dated 1487 where we learn the first information regarding Sinop in the Ottoman era, it is understood that seven of the twenty districts in the city were inhabited by non-Muslims and two of them were inhabited by both Muslims and non-Muslims. However, the population movements caused significant changes in the population composition of the districts. Tables 1 and 2 based on the Ottoman ledgers of the revenues of the city indicate some of the transformations in the Tanzimat era. For example the Balatlar District, which was inhabited by Muslims and non-Muslims in the mid-18th century, had turned into a Muslim district by the mid-19th century; Muslim Nesi village, which had eleven houses, was also added here. The Arab District was inhabited by non-Muslims along with the Balatip District which was identified as a separate district. Likewise, Kalafat District, which wasn’t included in the non-Muslim district in the past century, was shown as a newly established district from the middle of the 19th century [2].

Table 1. Muslim Districts in the Tanzimat Reform Era

Item No

District Name

House Count

Item No

District Name

House Count

1

Arasta

16

8

Meydankapu

35

2

Arslan

53

9

Saray

49

3

Balatlar

54

10

Şekerane (Şekerhane)

44

4

Câmi-i Kebîr

94

11

Şeyh

29

5

Kalayazısu

24

12

Tayboğa

33

6

Kapan

47

13

Temirlimescid

37

7

Kefevî

41

16

Ulubeğ

49

Total

329

Total

605

Table 2. Non-Muslim Districts in the Tanzimat Reform Era

Item No

District Name

House Count

Item No

District Name

House Count

1

Arab

112

4

Balatip

9

2

Ayaklı

52

5

Kalafat

65

3

Ayanikola

62

6

Meryemana

67

Total

226

Total

367

Source: Selim Özcan, “Tanzimat Döneminde Sinop’un Sosyal Ekonomik Yapısı”, (Phd Thesis, Ondokuz Mayıs Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü, I Section, ss. 36-37.

These districts, come up with the same names in the 1830 population revenue ledger. However, another three Muslim districts were recorded in the book and one of them was inhabited by Coptic population. It is also seen that there is a non-Muslim district recorded in the book called Ermeniyan. The same information was also included in Sinop’s census papers from 29 September 1836. Also the numbers and names of the districts stated in the Sinop revenue ledgers of 1848 are the same as the ones found in the 1844-1845 ledgers. Only the non-Muslim districts are presented as suburbs of 356 houses and not separately by name. The total number of non-Muslim houses in the ledgers was 367 [3].

It is understood that the number of districts have constantly changed in Sinop from 1487 to the mid-19th century. It can be said that this situation was firstly caused by the amalgamation of some districts, and secondly by the population movements due to migration. For instance, it is seen that Kalafat and Balatip districts, which weren’t among the non-Muslim districts at the beginning of the 19th century, were recorded as new non-Muslim districts in the middle of the 19th century. The Armenian and Coptic districts, which had been present in the past years, weren’t there in the mid-19th century. It seems that the population of the aforementioned Armenian district was blended into the other non-Muslim districts. Considering the structure of the districts of the city, the population were made up to 70% Muslims and 30% non-Muslims [4].

Some of the Sinop districts were named after the mosques and the prayer rooms, which were established in the core of the Muslim districts in the same way that churches formed the core of the non-Muslim districts [5]. The districts of Cami-i Kebir, Kefevi ve Temürli Mescid are the ones that were named after mosques and prayer rooms. Among the non-Muslim districts, Ayanikola was named after a church and Meryemana is district which reflects the religious aspect [6].

As it can be seen, some of the Muslim districts that were present in the pre Tanzimat era city, have been included in the districts that were established with new names by administrative partitions and the development and expansion of the city outside the walls. And some of these such as Cami-i Kebir, Kefevi, Meydankapı and Kaleyazısı existed maintaining the same names to this very day. The districts, which were inhabited by the Rums those days, are now inside the borders of a district established with the name of Yenimahalle. In this era, the city has made a big progress towards the eastern suburbs [7]. It is noticeable that the intense settlement seen in present day in Kefevi District and Yenimahalle is moving toward Ada District [8].

 


[1] İbrahim Güler, “XVIII. Yüzyılın İlk Yarısında Sinop (İdarî Taksimat ve Ekonomik Tarihi)”, (Phd Thesis, Marmara Üniversitesi Türkiyat Araştırmaları Enstitüsü, I Section İstanbul 1992), p. 51.

[2] Selim Özcan, “Tanzimat Döneminde Sinop’un Sosyal Ekonomik Durumu”, (Phd Thesis, Ondokuz Mayıs Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü, Samsun 2007), s.36.

[3] Ibid Selim Özcan, s.37.

[4] Selim Özcan, “XIX. Yüzyılın Ortalarında Sinop’taki Gayrimüslimlerin Sosyal ve Ekonomik Yapısı”, OTAM, 30/Güz, 2011, s.151.

[5] Ibid Selim Özcan, s.152.

[6] Ibid Selim Özcan, Tanzimat Döneminde Sinop’un Sosyal Ekonomik Durumu, s.41.

[7] Ibid Selim Özcan,s.42.

[8] Fulya Üstün Demirkaya- Ömer İskender Tuluk, Eflatun’un “Kurbağa”sı Sinope’den Sinop’a: Kaynaklara Göre Sinop Kentinin Fiziksel Gelişimi, METU JFA, 2012/1, 29: 1, s.61.


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