The Book of Sublime Marvels of the History of Constantinople


Kitab al-Tuhfah al-Saniyah fi-Tarikh al-Qustantiniyah (The book of sublime marvels of the history of Constantinople) is a historical miscellany, which opens with a brief history of the city of Constantinople from earliest times to the author’s own day. It includes descriptions of noteworthy features, such as impressive buildings, gardens, cemeteries, bazaars, and opulent residential quarters. This portion of the work might be considered a guidebook for Arab visitors. The author expresses his admiration for the city and praise of the sultan in a way that seems aimed at binding the Arab reader to Ottoman imperial authority. The book follows traditional literary practice by referring to the city by its historical name, Constantinople (Ataturk officially renamed the city Istanbul in 1930). This first section of the book is followed by a genealogy of the Ottoman dynasty reaching back to the time of Adam. The third, and by far the longest, section of the book is a catalog of mankind’s achievements in government, industry, and the arts up to the 19th century. It is arranged in alphabetical order and is intended for the general reader. The book is dedicated to Sultan Abdülaziz (reigned 1861−76). Virtually nothing is known of the author except that he was a Maronite Christian from the historic Lebanese town of Dayr al-Qamr. The book was published by al-Ma’arif Press in Beirut.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

al-Ma'arif Press, Beirut


Title in Original Language

كتاب التحفة السنية في تاريخ القسطنطينية

Type of Item

Physical Description

209 pages ; 20 centimeters

Last updated: September 18, 2014