Metadata dictionary

3 minutes read

This gazetteer is a transformation of tables in Tahir Sezen’s Osmanlı Yer Adları (Ottoman Place Names), available here and in many other places. This post presents some the metadata structure I’m currently using; for the most up-to-date version consult the data repository. It uses the following fields:

  1. Placename@tr (Sezen: İdârî Birimin Yeni Harflerle Adı) The name of the administrative unit in the Roman alphabet. While many places have just one name given, others have two or more variants, each of which appears in its own field (named Placename@tr 2, 3, 4, or 5). The current name of the place is given in all caps. There is also a Placename_notes field, containing Sezen’s comments. In many cases, this field should be amalgamated with the admin_unit_#_notes field.
  2. Placename@ott (Sezen: Eski Harflerle Adı) The name of the administrative unit in the Arabic alphabet. Only one name is given here, corresponding to the entry in placename@tr.
  3. Wikidata_url A link to the Wikidata page which corresponds (more or less) to the place in question. The lat/long coordinates and other data can be scraped from this link.
  4. Admin_unit_# (Sezen: Unvan) This field describes the position that the place occupied in the Ottoman administative hierarchy. The lowest numbers (i.e. Admin_unit_1) indicate earlier designations, the higher numbers (up to Admin_unit_14) indicate later designations. A dictionary of these terms appears below. In many cases, a year (or approximate year, or century) is given (admin_unit_#_year), corresponding to the date at which the place began to occupy its function. admin_unit_#_notes contains any notes that Sezen gives associated with this particular place and position.
  5. Belongs_to_#-# (Sezen: Bagli Olduğu Nahiye, Kaza, Sancak, Eyâlet veya Vilâyet) This field lists the superior administrative unit(s) to which the place in question belongs. I have broken each of these out into its own field, and they appear in sequence from subsidiary to superior. So, for instance, Belongs_to_1-1 contains Belongs_to_1-2.

Unvan Dictionary

The administrative units, roughly in order of frequency, with certain weblinks embedded.

NahiyeناحيهSubdistrictSubsidiary to kaza
KazaقضاDistrictSubsidiary to sancak
SancakسنجقSubprovinceSubsidiary to eyalet or vilayet
KöyكوىVillageused principally in the 20th century
KasabaقصبهTownused principally in the 20th century
Nahiye merkeziناحيه مركزىSubdistrict seat 
Kaza merkeziقضا مركزىDistrict seat 
EyâletايالتProvincebefore 1867
VilâyetولايتProvinceafter 1867
Eyâlet merkeziايالت مركزىProvince seatbefore 1867
Sancak merkeziسنجق مركزىSubprovince seat 
Vilâyet merkeziولايت مركزىProvincial seatafter 1867
ŞehirشهرCityhere, typically outside of the Ottoman empire
AdaآطهIslandoften also a sancak or kaza
MüdiriyetمديريتDepartmentof Egypt
Antik şehir Ancient city 
Başkent Capital city 
Müstakil sancak “Independent” subprovince 
Müdiriyet merkezi Department seatof Egypt
Başşehir Capital city 
SemtسمتQuarteri.e. of a city
Liman şehri Port city 
Antik kasaba   
Beylik merkezi   
Köy ve göl   
Muhtar idare   

Usage notes

Generally speaking, id numbers 100-199 are for major provinces, 200-499 for other first order administrative units, 500-999 for cities, 1000-1999 for second order administrative units (sancaks).

Sezen’s list contains a lot of material about foreign states and especially about the administrative hierarchy of the Turkish Republic. I have used the field Ott_or_not to tag these two entities. For the most part, I have done this by hand. I have excluded batches of sites that are listed as merkez in their first listing, however. This designation was particular to the Republic, as far as I can see. Under the Republican scheme, every province had a merkez ilçe (subprovince) with the same name as the province, and the same practice was used for districts as well. So, for the most part, I’ve labeled such places as part of the Republic of Turkey (thus not part of the Ottoman hierarchy).