Istanbul from the Footsteps of Travelers, Through the Eyes of The Tourist Guides! I – A Guide to Constantinople, Demetrius Coufopoulos

Guides were also preferred by travelers other than observations and memoirs in the 19th century. These guides, which contain practical information, tips and warnings about places to visit , were prepared to guide those who want to get to know new cities and those who will set off. They were intended to  make the lives of travelers and tourists easier, by including information such as hotels, restaurants, transportation and sightseeing routes. [1] The first book  prepared for travelers and tourists who wanted to travel to the Ottoman Empire was “a Handbook for Travelers in the Ionian Islands, Greece, Türkiye, Asia Minor and Istanbul in 1840”. It  was published by John Murray Publishing House in London. [2] After publishing the first travel guide in 1840, Murray shares details about Istanbul in the guides he published in 1845, 1854, 1878, 1893, 1895 and 1900. [3] In addition, Bradshaw published the “Hand-Book to the Turkish Empire” in 1870, “Konstantinopel und das westliche Kleinasien: Handbuch für Reisende” in 1905, “Harper’s Hand-Book for Travelers in Europe and the East” in 1862, 1871 and 1875 . [4]

In the first part of our digital exhibition, we will exhibit a guide  titled “A Guide to Constantinople”  [5] which was published by Demetrius Coufopoulos in 1895. Second, third and fourth editions of the book were made in 1899, 1906 and 1910. [6] The guide which was used in our exhibition is the 1906 edition. Coufopoulos states that at the beginning of his 1906 printed guide, he is from Istanbul and was a clerk in the past. He writes that he was a  translator and tourist guide and his address is “5 passage du Tunnel Pera”. In his guide, Coufopoulos describes Istanbul from a topographic and historical perspective. He gives practical information for the visitors to the city. Our local guide,  which includes information about Splendid Café, Café Luxembourg, coffee houses, Turkish baths, Odeon Theatre, Concordia Theater and the Turkish Theater in Şehzadebaşı, also gives information about pharmacists, doctors and embassies for the travelers so that they do not get into a difficult situation.  Coufopoulos states that the watercolor paintings in his book are from Professor Alexander Van Millingen’s book called “Constantinople” and that the paintings belong to Warwick Goble. We have the chance to  get some clues about the daily life of Istanbul in the paint pictures  he used in his guide.

While Demetrius Coufopoulos presents the beauties of the city to travelers and shares practical information about the city he managed to create a valuable work depicting Istanbul to future generations. As the “Following the Foot steps of Travelers …” project team, we wish you will manage to discover Istanbul step by step with our digital exhibition consisting of these two guides which are included in the Suna Kıraç Library Rare  Material Collection .

“A Guide to Constantinople” by Demeterius Coufopoulos was published in 1906

Advertisements from the “A Guide to Constantinople”

Pera and Galata maps from “A Guide to Constantinople” for travelers who visit İstanbul

While there is general information about Istanbul in the “A Guide to Constantinople” there is also information about translators and other guides…

An “Istanbul Beggar” from the brush of Warwick, whom many travelers include in their travel memories…

Cafes, baths, theaters and entertainment venues to visit in the city…

Sultanahmet Mosque, which was built by Sultan Ahmed I (1603-1617), by Sedefkar Mehmed Ağa, the chief Architect of the period.

A picnic area in Istanbul for travelers from the “A Guide to Constantinople”.

Hagia Sophia Mosque, which was built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I between 532-537 and converted into a mosque by Fatih Sultan Mehmed after the conquest of Istanbul by the Ottomans in 1453.


[1] Onur İnal, “19. Yüzyıl Seyahat Rehberleri’nde İstanbul”,” Osmanlı İstanbulu, II: II. Uluslararası Osmanlı İstanbulu Sempozyumu bildirileri, 27-29 Mayıs 2014, ed. Feridun M. Emecen, Ali Akyıldız, Emrah Safa Gürkan (İstanbul, İstanbul: İstanbul 29 Mayıs Üniversitesi Yayınları, 2014), 277 -278.
[2] Ibid, 278.
[3] Ibid, 279.
[4] Ibid, 280.
[5] Demetrius Coufopoulos, A guide to Constantinople (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1906).
[6] Ibid, 279-280.