Manuscripts that are amongst the most precious cultural assets of countries and one of the most authentic resources in scientific, artistic and cultural research are the works of art produced by manual scripts.
The subject we are dealing with in this array from papyrus to leather, from cotton sheet to paper is the works of art that are written on paper by hand. None of the manuscripts are identical unlikely to the printed works. As they are reproduced mostly by different persons one by one by writing, they display differences due to deliberate or fortuitous omission, adding of a word, or due to misspelling as a result of misreading.
The primary Islamic manuscripts come into being thanks to Hz. Osman who made the Quran copied and sent one copy to Medina and the other copies to Kufe, Basra and Damascus. The first manuscripts in Islam are these copies.
Later on, production of manuscript books developed and copyright and translated works in the field of poetry, language, interpretation, medicine and canon law started to be produced in addition to the works such as hadiths (Hadis-i Şerif) and canon law (Siyer-i Nebi). In order to render the manuscripts more readable, punctuation and spelling marks were used in the first century of the muslim calendar. In the second century though, the manuscripts were subject to some regulations by Halil b. Ahmed el-Farahidî.
Thanks to the invention of the paper by Chinese prisoners in the second century of the muslim calendar, production of manuscript developed quite a lot and papyrus was replaced by paper in the fourth century of the muslim calendar.
It is not possible to indicate a certain figure for the number of manuscripts in the Islamic World. Statistics about it are approximate estimations and are not definitive. Some resources providing information on the number of Arabic manuscripts were taken into consideration while ranking the countries. Accordingly, the countries which have the largest Arabic manuscript collection are respectively: Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Algeria.
Apart from these, there are also some other countries who have got moderate number of manuscripts such as Nigeria, Palestine, Jordan, Bangladesh, Kuwait, Qatar, Amman, United Arab Emirates, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sudan, People’s Republic of China, Russia and Indonesia.
TURKISH MANUSCRIPTS ABROAD
Many intellectuals of Turkish origin wrote innumerable works primarily in Arabic and then in Persian and Turkish since the first centuries of the history of Islam. There are 5.000 manuscripts in Egypt, Cairo Daru'l-Kutubi'l-Kavmiye, about 4.000 in University of Cairo, and many other manuscripts in Bibliotheque National in Paris, France; in British Museum and Chester Beatty in United Kingdom, in Berlin, Germany, in Leningrad Russia and Budapest Scientific Academy and National Library of Hungary even though their exact number is not known.
In countries which the Turks dominated for a long time, such as Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Iran, China and India, there are many manuscripts.
Countries which have Turkish manuscripts are as follows: Afghanistan, USA, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Algeria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Denmark, Finland, Holland, Iraq, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Northern Republic of Cyprus, Lebanon, Hungary, Egypt, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Syria, Yugoslavia and Greece. In conclusion, the number of Turkish manuscripts all over the world can be stated as far more than 100.000 volumes.
The first Ottoman libraries were built under the madrasahs. The first Ottoman libraries that are of our knowledge were established within the madrasahs built in Bursa and Bolu. In the Ottoman State, where the cultural development was at stagnation during the interregnum period, in the 15th century thanks to the madrasahs, mosques, and lodge libraries established during the reign of Murat II, a new Ottoman cultural life emerged. According to the charter of Darü’l-hadis madrasahs, built by orders of Murat II in 1430 in Edirne, there were 71 volumes of manuscripts here.
After Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered İstanbul, he strived for making the city an important cultural center of the Islamic world. Therefore, he transformed some Byzantine churches into madrasahs. He donated some of his individual books to these madrasahs.
The first library about which we have definite information is the one in Eyüp Mosque built by orders of Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 1459. Later on Fatih Sultan Mehmet had the Fatih Mosque built in 1463-1470 surrounded by eight madrasahs. He brought the classes in Byzantine churches to these madrasahs. The purpose was to build a central library in the mosque and to make it easier to use. The number of collections increased to 839 together with the books donated. Besides, he made up a collection in Topkapı with the books brought from Edirne.
There were also libraries established by public officials and popular intellectuals in other places of İstanbul and the Empire. These libraries were mostly located in cultural centers such as Edirne, Bursa, Amasya and Konya. Beyazid II had libraries built in Edirne, Amasya and İstanbul. Additionally, it is known that the contemporary public officials and intellectuals established libraries both in İstanbul and in Anatolia and Rumelia. Muhiddin of Alaiye, Atik Ali Pasha, Ahmed Çelebi and Müslihiddin Çelebi set up libraries in İstanbul. İshak Paşa (1489) Library in İnegöl, Noktacı-zade Mehmet Library (1492) in Edirne, İshak Çelebi (1506) Library in Manastır, Suzi Çelebi Library (before 1513) in Prizren and Hatuniye Library in Amasya are only a few of them.
No major effort on libraries is observed during the reign of Selim I. Libraries were set up in İstanbul and other provinces during the later years of the reign of his son Süleyman I. Sixteen madrasahs built in that period had libraries within.
By the end of 16th century, the number of libraries set up within the madrasahs increased. Most of these libraries were similar to those built in the preceding century. There were two different libraries in that period. The first one was built within the Cihangir Mosque in 1593 by Mahmud Bey. Excluding a few, all of the books in that library were in Turkish, which was the characteristic of this library. The second one was built by Murad II in İstanbul in the observatory (Rasathane) and it was a specialization library which used to possess only the works on astronomy.
The first independent library was established by Köprülü Fazıl Mustafa Pasha in İstanbul in 1678. Libraries were set up by Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Pasha, Amca-zade Hüseyin and Şeyhülislam Feyzullah Efendi. These three libraries were different from madrasah libraries in terms of collection and staff.
In the second term of the Sultan Ahmed III’s reign, which is also known as the Tulip Age (1718-1730), libraries were cared a lot. Ahmed III set up libraries in the palace and next to the Yeni Mosque (1725); his vizier İbrahim Pasha set up libraries in his madrasahs in İstanbul (1720) and in his hometown Nevşehir (1728).
It is noticed that libraries were developed further during the period of Mahmud I (1730- 1754). Libraries of Hagia Sophia (1740); Fatih (1742); Galatasaray (1754) are the most important ones within this period. Besides, many of the libraries remained today date back to the reign of Mahmud I: Libraries of Hekimoğlu Ali Pasha (1738), Hacı Beşir Pasha (1745), Hagia Sophia (1740), Atıf Efendi (1741) and Fatih (1742) are among those.
Most of the libraries that were established by the end of 18th century do not have a different feature; Libraries of Karavezir in Nevşehir (1780); Halil Hamit Paşa in Isparta (1783); Yusuf Ağa in Konya (1794); Raşit Efendi in Kayseri (1797); Vahit Paşa in Kütahya (1811) and Derviş Paşa in Burdur (1818) are among the libraries of that period. Mahmud II tried to take the libraries under State control as a part of the reforms he used to realize. However the State’s interference with the libraries was limited to controlling them and after proclamation of administrative reforms (Tanzimat), radical changes were made to libraries.
Libraries continued to develop from Tanzimat to the inception of the Republic (1923); nevertheless, libraries consisting of books published in Turkish and in foreign language, especially French, were established in many higher education institutions due western impact.
Turkey is the country which has the highest number of Islamic manuscripts in all sciences. It is estimated that Turkey has approximately 300.000 volumes of manuscripts. On average, more than 160.000 of these manuscripts are in Arabic; nearly 70.000 are in Turkish and more than 13.000 are in Persian. There are also manuscripts in Greek, Armenian and Syriac. Nearly 160.000 of manuscripts in Turkey are kept in 35 libraries affiliated to the General Directorate of Libraries of Ministry of Culture.
MANUSCRIPT LIBRARIES IN İSTANBUL
7 of the 13 manuscript libraries affiliated to the General Directorate of Libraries of Ministry of Culture are in İstanbul. There are approximately 105.000 manuscripts in these libraries.
Library of Süleymaniye
Köprülü Manuscript Library
Manuscript Library of Atıf Efendi
Manuscript Library of Ragıp Paşa
Nuruosmaniye Manuscript Library
Manuscript Library of Hacı Selim Ağa
Beyazıt State Library
Library of University of İstanbul
İstanbul Atatürk Library
Library of Kandilli Observatory
Yapı Kredi Bank Sermet Çifter Research Library
2.9. Manuscript Museums:
Library of Topkapı Palace Museum
Library of Turkish-Islamic Works Museum
Library of Archeology Museum
Museum of Divan (Aristocratic) Literature
Wakf Calligraphy Museum
Sadberk Hanım Museum
MANUSCRIPT LIBRARIES IN ANKARA
It was set up by Adnan Ötüken and opened to users in its premises in Saraçoğlu District on 16 August 1948. Its foundation charter was adopted on 29 Mach 1950. It has been functioning since 5 August 1983 in its modern premises at the last bus stop of Bahçelievler district.
National Library has totally 26.849 volumes of manuscripts and 8.924 religious registers within various collections.
University of Ankara Library of the Faculty of Language, History and Geography:
Institution of Turkish History Library
Library of Department of Religious Affairs
Library of the Institution of Turkish Language
Residence of the Presidency
Library of the Turkish Grand National Assembly
Anıtkabir (Atatürk’s Mausoleum)
PUBLIC LIBRARIES THAT HAVE MANUSCRIPTS:
Public libraries in Turkey are affiliated to the General Directorate of Libraries of the Ministry of Culture. Manuscripts are maintained at Manuscript Libraries and at some Public Libraries. Manuscript libraries:
Bursa İnebey Manuscript Library
Libraries in Konya:
Konya Yusuf Ağa Library
Konya İzzet Koyunoğlu Library
Konya Mevlana Museum
Konya Regional Manuscripts Library
Kayseri Raşit Efendi Manuscript Library
Sivas Ziya Bey Manuscript Library
Diyarbakır Ziya Gökalp Specialty Library
Amasya Beyazıd Provincial Public Library
Antalya-Akseki Yeğen Mehmed Paşa Library
Balıkesir Provincial Public Library
Çorum Hasan Paşa Provincial Public Library
Edirne Selimiye Manuscript Library
Erzurum Provincial Public Library
Kastamonu Provincial Public Library
Kütahya Vahid Paşa Provincial Public Library
Manisa Provincial Public Library
Trabzon Provincial Public Library
Manuscript cataloguing started after the Republic, in 1927; manuscript classification continued for 6 months and 8 years afterwards a second classification team started its activities under supervision of Prof. Helmut Ritter. However, these activities were remained insufficient.
In order to compensate this insufficiency, Project of “Collected Catalogue of Manuscripts of Turkey”, abbreviated as “TÜYATOK” was initiated in 1978 within the General Directorate of Libraries of Ministry of Culture in order to be able to place the manuscripts in our country under bibliographical control and to publish a general catalogue.
As it is indicated in the foreword of the first volume of TÜYATOK fascicles, it was planned to collect primarily the manuscripts in libraries and Museums affiliated to the Ministry of Culture and to have a full inventory of works in Turkish, Arabic, Persian and in other languages; and then in the second stage, it was envisaged to determine bibliographic identities of manuscripts in other organisations, institutions and private collections. In that way, it was designed to prepare catalogues of all manuscripts in Turkey.
Within the framework of TÜYATOK Project, it was noticed at the first stage that it wouldn’t be possible to complete the identification of manuscripts in a few years, the office was transformed into TÜYATOK Department in 1985 and studies were then carried out by this department. TÜYATOK Department started to function under the National Library from 1992 on; later on it was closed in October 2003 and affiliated to the National Library Department of Manuscripts and Rare Works of Art.
In the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, during the 26-year-period elapsed so far since 1978, the date on which the TÜYATOK Project was initiated and within the scope of the National Library Manuscripts Catalogues projects, totally 32 volumes of catalogues have been published together with seven volumes of catalogues pertaining to Provincial Public Libraries of Adana, Adıyaman, Afyon, Amasya, Ankara (Anıtkabir, Presidency, TGNA), Antalya, Balıkesir, Burdur, Çankırı, Eskişehir, Isparta, İstanbul (Ali Nihad Tarlan, Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Paşa, Amcazade Hüseyin, Hekimbaşı Musa Nazif Efendi and Mustafa Aşir Efendi collections), Ordu, Rize and pertaining to the National Library. Thus, the total number of books/periodicals that have been introduced so far by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism within the scope of TÜYATOK Project has increased to 31.866.
Therefore, all of the identity data on index cards pertaining to the collections, the catalogues of which have been published, together with totally 60.000 manuscripts/periodicals at the Ankara Adnan Ötüken Library, Ankara Cebeci District Library, Aydın Museum Libraries, Bursa İnebey Haraccıoğlu and Orhan Mosque Collection, Çorum, Diyarbakır, Elazığ, Erzurum, Gaziantep, İzmir, Malatya-Darende, Manisa, Manisa-Akhisar, Mardin, Nevşehir Ortahisar, Tokat, Tokat-Zile, Tranzon, Ürgüp Tahsin Ağa District Libraries, of which TÜYATOK index cards are available and catalogues have not been published; 91.866 manuscripts/periodicals in total, catalogues of which have already been published with their first and last sentences in Arabic letters, have been waiting to be revealed and used for scientific purposes. To this end, these have been carried into electronic format in 2004 and published in 2 CDs. Identity information in this CD has been opened to researchers in the web site of www.yazmalar.org. Thanks to this web site and the CD, the world of science has had a new reference source.
As a follow-up of TÜYATOK CD Project, identity data of totally 40.250 Turkish manuscripts, especially relating to Turkish culture and literature, that are being kept in 21 libraries in Turkey and in some libraries in USA, Russia, Bosnia, Egypt, Italy, Uk, France, Germany, Austria, Albania, Georgia, Iran, Spain, Tunisia, Iraq, Cyprus, Tatarstan and Kazakhstan have been selected and carried into electronic format in 2005. Thus, totally 132.000 manuscript identity data including those in the 2005 project have been submitted to users’ disposition at www.yazmalar.org.