The Serbian Archive has received 20,000 digital documents from the Ottoman period from Turkey.
All documents are in the Ottoman language, a mixture of Arabic, Persian and ancient Turkish. They reveal how many sultans were of Serbian origin and why Serbian was a diplomatic language in the Ottoman court.
Back during the Ottoman times, the sultan wrote the rules of the law, and all the officers of the empire had to adhere to these. There was a special room where the documents of the Ottoman Empire were written, the so-called tefterhane room, which was run by a person called tefterdar.
“The exhibition showcases a hundred documents and illustrative material. The oldest document preserved and exhibited here relates to the Smederevo sanjak and dates back to 1476. It is a detailed register, together with a miniature representing the conquest of the Belgrade Fortress in 1521,” says the exhibition’s author, Enisa Alomerović Hubanić.
All documents are kept in wooden and leather cases. “Administration in the Ottoman Empire was very complex and operations were carried out in various offices and sub-offices.
Also on display is the decree that was sent to Ilija Garasanin in 1881, in which the Ottoman Empire granted him some privileges because of his loyalty to the Empire.
The Ottoman Empire was founded in 1299 by the emir Osman Gazi. Serbian rulers and representatives of different rank have visited Istanbul several times. Milos Obrenović is depicted during his visit to the Ottoman Empire.
“In Istanbul, Obrenović received certain honours. The exhibition visitors will also be able to see Prince Miloš’ chest, which is kept in the Serbian Archive,” said the author of the exhibition.
Also on display is the order of Sultan Abdulmejid the First from 1858 and plans and sketches for the school in Belgrade, although there is no evidence that the school was later built.
“We have a draft of the construction of secular schools in Niš in 1854, as well as teaching rooms in the so-called “islahana” school, also in Niš, where Muslim and Christian children were educated and learned a trade,” said Enisa Alomerović Hubanić.
The Serbian Archive’s documents also reveal more information about the buildings from the Ottoman era, including those that are still preserved today. On Kalemegdan, there is an Ottoman tomb from the 19th century, and there is still a Turkish bath in Dorćol.
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