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The Last Imaret? An Imperial Ottoman Firman from 1308/1890

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the preliminary investigation of the Beşiktaş imaret, and an initial step in research on imarets in the later Ottoman period. As such, it has provided some clear indications about the impact of administrative reforms, new institutions, and changing notions of entitlements on one traditional mechanism for distributing free meals. The plan of this imaret also indicates the directions of change in the late Ottoman empire with regard to poor relief and social welfare distribution. By the end of the 19th century, benefits from charitable institutions seemed to be more directly aimed at the indigent, with people who deserved meals for other reasons separated out and served in different facilities or by other means. A public kitchen at this time comes to resemble more closely the soup kitchens for the poor, who are more stereotypically envisaged as the beneficiaries of large-scale charitable dining rooms.

Keywords: Beşiktaş imaret; food; Istanbul; Muslim; Ottoman empire



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