Ottoman Empire

Occupying British troops march past the Nusretiye mosque in Istanbul in 1920, as the Ottoman Empire collapses.

Across the Balkans, relics of Ottoman glory and decline, such as mosques, bridges and hamams, exist in various states of disrepair. Can they be brought back to life?

Getting and keeping the throne in the Ottoman Empire was no easy task. For a new sultan, the most foolproof method of securing power was to kill all other claimants.

Young Turk: Enver Pasha, c.1911. © Ullstein Bild /Getty Images.

The dramatic life of the outlaw and special agent Eşref Bey epitomises the end of the Ottoman Empire.

Detail of Djerba from Abraham Ortelius’ Map of the Mediterranean, 1570.

During a period of European peace, Spain sought to establish control of the Mediterranean. Yet a disastrous attempt to oust the Ottomans from North Africa threatened to accelerate the westward advance of Islam. 

Modern painting of Mehmed and the Ottoman Army approaching Constantinople

Over the last 30 years, western ideas about the Ottoman Empire have been transformed, just as Turkish attitudes towards the West have become increasingly negative, writes Erik Zurcher.

Lansing Collins describes how, in honour of a previous gift sent in the other direction, Elizabeth I presented Sultan Mohammed III with an elaborate clock, surmounted by singing birds that shook their wings.

The arrival in 1833 of a Russian fleet signalled Russian control for several years of the Bosporus and of the Turkish Empire, writes Lansing Collins.

Anthony Bryer takes a visit to Nicaea; The seat of early Church Councils and, for a while, of the Byzantine Emperors, it has a history stretching from the reign of Alexander the Great to the present day.

Anne Kindersley describes ‘a triumph of Good over Evil’; for Serbs it was a physical defeat against the Ottoman Turks, but a moral victory.

Portrait of English Turkey merchant Francis Levett

Sarah Searight describes how the Levant Company, which had received its first charter from Elizabeth I, did not surrender its monopolistic hold over trade with the Middle East until the reign of George IV.