New Publication: Arkitektura Osmane në Shqipëri (1385-1912)
Machiel Kiel, Arkitektura Osmane në Shqipëri 1385-1912 (Ottoman architecture in Albania 1385-1912), transl. into Albanian by Holta Vrioni, Islamic Architecture and Heritage Preservation Series no. 2, IRCICA, Istanbul, 2012, 494 pp., illustrated
Dr. Machiel Kiel’s book titled Ottoman Architecture in Albania was published by IRCICA in its original English edition in 1990. The Centre now has the pleasure of publishing its Albanian edition, revised and expanded by the author. This edition will make it possible that the book serves more widely in its own geographical context by researchers whose working language is Albanian. Albania is a Member State of the OIC and IRCICA since 1992.
This is the third book published by IRCICA in the Albanian language. The papers of the Second International Symposium on “Islamic Civilisation in the Balkans” which was held in Tirana, Albania, in December 2003, were published in three volumes, whereby the second volume, Punimet e Simpoziumit të dytë Ndërkombëtar Qytetërimi Islam në Ballkan, contains the thirty papers in the Albanian language. In 2009, the Albanian edition of IRCICA’s major publication titled History of the Ottoman State, Society and Civilisation was published, under the title Historia e shtetit, shoqërisë dhe qytetërimit Osman.
The present book is one of the pioneering studies made by Machiel Kiel on the architectural heritage of the Balkans, in particular the heritage dating from the Ottoman period. This edition contains the Albanian translation of the “Preface to the English edition” which was authored by Prof. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, followed by Dr. Kiel’s Historical-Topographical Introduction about Albania which constitutes Part I of the book. Part II is the main body, “A Survey of the Monuments of Ottoman Architecture”, according to the regions – 23 regions. Part III has the Conclusion. At the end of the book the reader finds a “Conclusion to the Albanian edition” written by Machiel Kiel, together with a Bibliography and a Glossary.
In his preface to the Albanian edition, IRCICA Director General Dr. Halit Eren recalls that although trade and cultural contacts between the Muslim world and the Balkan peoples date back to the early centuries of Islam, the Islamic faith spread in the region with the influence of the Ottomans, who introduced it through the administrative, legal and public institutions; meantime, commercial, social and intellectual exchanges also played a role in the expansion of Islam in the Balkans. “The Ottoman heritage is predominantly Islamic but as a consequence of the multicultural coexistence that was provided for by the Ottoman political system, it incorporates the heritage of other cultures. The legacy of this cultural diversity is observable as a living element in the languages and traditions and as a tangible asset in built structures and the physical environment of the region.” Research on Balkan history supported by studies on the written heritage, comprising archive documents, manuscript and printed literature, and on the built heritage, including the architectural structures and the related records and inscriptions, gives evidence of the peaceful coexistence achieved by peoples of different faiths and cultures in this region throughout the centuries of Ottoman history. This theme comes under focus at IRCICA for its relevance within the history of Islamic civilization in general, Islamic architecture, cultural and administrative institutions, Ottoman history, and history and culture of the Balkan region.