High School, Monastir


This photograph from the Abdul-Hamid Collection in the Library of Congress shows a high school in Bitola, Macedonia, a city known in the Ottoman Empire as Monastir. Sultan Abdul-Hamid II (1842-1918) ruled the empire from 1876 to 1909. The Abdul-Hamid Collection consists of 1,819 photographs in 51 large-format albums dating from about 1880 to 1893. An avid collector and promoter of photography, the sultan appears to have conceived the work as a portrait of his empire for a Western audience, intended to highlight the empire's modernization. Well-known Ottoman commercial photographers such as Abdullah Frères, Sébah & Joaillier, and Phébus took the bulk of the photographs. Turkish military photographer Ali Riza Pasa and the Photographic Unit of the Imperial School of Engineering also contributed numerous images. Abdul-Hamid presented a copy of the survey to the Library of Congress in 1893 or 1894. He gave another, almost identical, copy to the British Museum (now in the British Library).

Last updated: April 18, 2012