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Book Reviews / Turkish Historical Review 2 (2011) 79–93 87

Nadya Danova (ed.), Балканите между традицията и модерността.

Административни, социално-икономически и културно-просветни
институции в балканските провинции на Османската империя
(XVIII–XIX век) [The Balkans between Tradition and Modernity.
Administrative, Socio-Economic, Cultural and Educational Institutions in the
Balkan Provinces of the Ottoman Empire, 18th –19th Centuries] (Sofia:
Gutenberg Publishing, 2009), pp. 291, ISBN 978-954-617-078-1.

This volume is a collection of articles following a joint project between

Bulgarian and Macedonian scholars carried out in 2006–2008.
The article by Evelina Razhdavichka deals with the significant role of nine-
teenth-century Balkan fairs in the domestic and international trade of the
Ottoman Balkan provinces (the volume, kind, and origin of the commodities
sold at the fairs of Uzuncovo, Eski Cuma and Prilep) as well as with their
function as a specific social space where news and ideas were accumulated and
then transmitted throughout the provinces. Svetlana Doncheva examines the
economic functions and administrative and fiscal responsibilities of the
Christian guilds in Edirne and Pazarcik (in Thrace) and in Bitola and Skopje
(in Macedonia), including the participation of some of the guilds of Bitolia
and Edirne in political events connected with the foundation of the Bulgarian
Exarchate. On the basis of an analysis of mainly tevzi defters, Gergana
Georgieva focuses on the municipal governing of Sofia and Bitola in the early
nineteenth century – on the main figures in the urban governing, the infra-
structure, communication system and space organization of the provincial
administration and the lack of high specialization and bureaucratization in it
as well as on the important role of local notables in the decision making pro-
cess. The article by Dragi Georgiev is dedicated to the administrative structure
of the Ottoman vilayets of Selanik, Manastır and Kosovo (which territories are
nowadays included in six Balkan states). The author is especially concerned
with the inclusion of non-Muslims in the administrative councils of these
vilayets and their sub-units: sancaks, kazas and nahiyes, an important moment,
according to him, in the transformation of the Ottoman ruling system and its
ideological basis. Silvana Sidorovska-Chupovska examines the development of
the educational institutions in Ottoman Macedonia during the nineteenth
century. The focus of the study is on the evolution of these institutions, with
the appearance of different types of schools, including modern secular ones, in
whose organization and functioning as public institutions the author is mostly
interested. In another article dedicated to education, through the analysis of
the main activities of school boards of trustees of Bulgarian schools within
Ottoman lands and the Trustees’ Committee of the Bulgarian school in

© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2011 DOI 10.1163/187754611X570981

88 Book Reviews / Turkish Historical Review 2 (2011) 79–93

Bolgrad in the 1860s and 1870s, Rumiana Radkova draws a parallel between
the organization and management of the Bulgarian schools within the borders
of the Ottoman empire and those founded by Bulgarian emigrants in
Bessarabia. Orlin Sabev focuses on nineteenth-century Ottoman Turkish doc-
uments dealing with four cases of book theft. According to the author, the
infringement of the law because of books proves in an unusual way not only
their high material value at the time but also their importance as a source of
knowledge, ideas and information. The petitions written by victims of such
illegal acts as well as the decisions taken by the Ottoman authorities to put an
end to, to prevent, to investigate these acts and to punish the offenders reveal
interesting aspects of Ottoman daily life. Ahmed Šerif ’s article, based on pub-
lished and secondary sources, is dedicated to the development of the vakıf
institution in Macedonia during Ottoman rule. The author points out that in
Macedonia the initial establishment and the diffusion of vakıfs was contempo-
rary to the development of the Ottoman timar-sipahi system, together with
the colonization and Islamization of Macedonian towns and that the ones
which persisted in time were those with important economic activity. Elizabeta
Koneska gives an overview of the different stages in the development of the
Bektaşi order in Macedonia: since its emergence in the Balkans, preceding the
Ottoman conquest, through its flourishing and institutionalization around
the middle of the sixteenth century, when several tekkes were opened up, its
drastic decline after the janissary corps was abolished in 1826 and up to its
contemporary revival since the 1990s. In the second half of the nineteenth
century many ethnic Albanians joined the order and when Mustafa Kemal
Atatürk prohibited the tarikat communities in Turkey, the centre of the
Bektaşis was moved to Tirana (1925). According to the author, the Ottoman
Turks’ withdrawal from the Balkans and the period of the two world wars were
marked by a gradual dying out of several Bektaşi communities and a more
drastic decline took place in the middle of the twentieth century, when many
disciples of the Bektaşilik turned to the Sunni Islam. From the beginning of
the 1990s a revival and gradual revitalization of Bektaşi communities set in,
with several active Bektaşi tekkes such as Arabati tekke in Tetovo, Hıdır Baba
tekke in Kichevo, and Dikmen Baba tekke in Kanatlartsi. The article by Nadia
Danova deals with the role of Protestant ethics in the formation of the modern
ethical codex of Bulgarians. On the basis of numerous primary sources and
secondary literature she delineates the activities of the Protestant missionaries
in the Ottoman empire, mainly in the Balkans, during the nineteenth century,
the compromises they made and the failures they sometimes faced. The bril-
liant analysis of the sources, using the history of mentalities’ approaches and
methodology, allows the author to argue that, despite numerous obstacles, the
Book Reviews / Turkish Historical Review 2 (2011) 79–93 89

Protestant missionaries contributed considerably to the modernization of

mentalities, everyday life and the educational system in the Balkans.
The volume is a useful collection of studies, the result of the joint efforts of
historians from different research institutions in Bulgaria and Macedonia (the
Institute for Balkan Studies and the Institute for Historical Studies, both insti-
tutes of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the Institute for National History,
Skopje and the Museum of Macedonia, Skopje) to study the main character-
istics, functioning and roles of different economic, social, administrative, reli-
gious and cultural institutions in the eighteenth– nineteenth century Ottoman
Balkan provinces not as specific and unique for the respective societies and
communities, but from a more general perspective, trying to thus overcome
the narrow national approaches in the study of the Ottoman period in the
history of the Balkans.

Svetla Ianeva
New Bulgarian University, Res. Quarter Ovcha Kupel
21, Montevideo Street, Sofia 1618, Bulgaria
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