Medieval Manuscripts: A Walk through 16th century Constantinople, Baghdad, and Aleppo

In the summer of 1534, Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent’s troops left Constantinople to conquer Baghdad, Tabriz, and Aleppo. The painter Matrakçı Nasuh portrayed their two-year journey down to the smallest detail. Do you want to see the Middle East through an illuminator’s eyes? Check out the interactive maps!

Sultan Suleiman’s troops passed 261 staging posts, walking through deserts, roaring rivers, and fortified towns. Every place had its charm: Aleppo seemed “a white pearl reaching for the sky”, with its tortoise-shaped brick wall that led to the inner city, where the crisp air mingled with the scent of lemons and bitter oranges.


Constantinople / Istanbul, the departure point, was bustling with art and monuments, some of which have sadly not survived, such as Güngörmez Church, a red-brick building close to the Hagia Sophia mosque.

If you want to discover what Istanbul looked like in the 16th century, and take a virtual walk through the wind-swept towns of Baghdad, Tabriz, and Aleppo, all you need to do is follow our interactive maps:


Five Hundred Years Ago in the Middle East

A Walk in 16th-Century Constantinople

To read the full story, please view the posts from Facsimile Finder: On the Footsteps of an Ottoman Sultan and Istanbul Through the Eyes of an Ottoman Miniaturist.

Our thanks to Facsimile Finder for helping us create this post. You can learn more about this manuscript and see more images by visiting their website.

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