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“Constantinople
has three main
divisions,
Stamboul
on the
peninsula washed
by
the
waters
of
the Bosphorus,
the Golden
Horn
and
the Sea
of
Marmara— Galata
and Pera,
on
the
European side
of
the Bosphorus,
and Scutari
on
the
Asian
side, with
suburban
villages along
the Bosphorus
and along the
street-car and
railway
lines,
running
out
respectively from Pera and Stamboul and Scutari.
The towns
of
the islands are
also considered
within the city
precincts. The
larger
factories lie
on
the
outskirts of the city.
The
Golden
Horn, both on the
Stamboul
and the
Galata
side, handles
the commerce;
depots
are gradually creeping up the
Bosphorus.
The shipping
agencies and
banks,
for the most
part, are centered
in Galata;
the
wholesale houses, in
Stamboul.
Certain of
the Galata
houses
have
branch banks in
Stamboul.
The
bazaars
occupy the
first
slope
of Stamboul
up from the
outer bridge across the Golden
Horn. Hand
trades
are generally grouped
and are
located for the most
part
in Stamboul,
and in the
section of
Galata
between the
outer and
inner
bridges which
span the
Golden
Horn. Small shops are
usually clustered in
the
various defined quarters of Constantinople, though
they
are also found
promiscuously scattered over
the
city.

Most of the streets in Constantinople are narrow.
There is
one
main street from
Galata
winding up the
hill
to Pera, and
passing
through
that
quarter, which
must accommodate
a
street-car line and
vehicle
traffic,
besides
the sidewalks, actually
far
too inadequate for the throngs of pedestrians. Another
artery
even narrower
runs
the length of Galata. following the shore line.
Another
main street
runs
from
the
end
of
the outer Golden
Horn
bridge
up
to
and
along
the ridge of Stamboul;
on the
ridge it
becomes
the
most
commodious
street
in the
city.
The
street-car
system
follows
these
three main
streets
with
branches
towards the
outskirts.
Including
the street-car
line that
runs up
the
Bosphorus
six
miles
to
the
suburb Bebek,
the
lines
measure
in
all
about
seventeen
miles.

To the
uninitiated,
Constantinople
addresses spell confusion; they may bear
the
name of
the street, or
in lieu of
this,
so
often missing, especially
in Stamboul,
an address
may
simply
refer to the
district, or
to a Han;
the
latter corresponds
to the
American business
term
“building,”
as “Singer
Building,” etc.
The complexity
of streets and
business
blocks would
worry to despair
any
postal
service; for this reason postal service is less used by business firms than messenger service.  The Hans
and
other
business houses and
apartment houses
in Galata
and Pera,
as also in Stamboul,
are
of stone or
brick. These
buildings
average
two or
three stories; some
are
taller; and
recently
a few
six and
seven
story blocks have
been erected. An
inquiry
was recently
made of
an American
society, concerning
a contracting
firm that would undertake the erection of a fifty story building.
The
customer
wanted a building
“like in
America!”
for
an
apartment house.
The estimate was finally cut down to six
stories.

Dwelling houses
in Stamboul
for
the greater part were, until
recent
years, of wood.
Since
1908
devastating
fires
have
razed about 25,000 structures
in the
city,
and
it
is reported
that
no
wood
constructions
will
be
allowed on
the
burned
areas.
It is
also
reported
that the municipality intends
more
scientific
modifications
in
the
street
plans
of these areas.
A
few
frail
two
story
brick structures have
already
been
erected
in
these
seared spots.  

Needless to say, fire escapes are almost universally lacking. The large buildings, stone structures, are seldom the origin of fires. The wooden structures are small and there is seldom loss of life in a fire, though large districts of the city are destroyed in one sweep of flame, because fire fighting provisions are so largely lacking. The irregular firemen with their diminutive hand pumps are still the vanguard in the fire-fighting to the more deliberate regulars with their modern equipment. Since the war, the powerful apparatus of the allied armies has had telling effect in diminishing fire disasters.

Among
the
native business firms
overhead
expense
is
cut down
to the
minimum, and
the
capital and
activity of
a firm
can in nowise
be
judged
from the
office
space
and
accommodations. A
telephone
is
the
first
sign of
modernity.
Electric
lighting is
the
second step,
progressing
more slowly,
especially in
the
small shops of Stamboul, where
sun
time still
largely
regulates hours
of
work.
There are
not more than
a dozen
elevators
in
the
entire city including
the hotels, and
the running
of these is
qualified. Heating
is
primitive;
only a few
of
the larger hans and
hotels
are installing
central
heating plants. The
brazier,
partly displaced
by
the
small stove about the time of the Crimean
War, is
still
largely
used. Ventilation is
sacrificed to the
conservation of heat in
the
cool seasons.

The great
influence of
tradition in
the Orient
is
patent.
Adet,
custom,
has strongly resisted
foreign
influence. People
and government alike
are
permeated
with
the conservative spirit,
though
for
different reasons. The
system
of
government
in
Turkey
until 1908
was an absolute
monarchy;
the
fiat
of
the ruler
often
reinforced tradition,
rarely
set
it
aside;
there have
been only
spasmodic
and limited
periods of liberalness
and
development. The business world felt the despotic control.
The non-Moslem
subject
races especially
have
been affected
by
this,
and
large
enterprises have
in
general
not developed
normally through fear
of extra exactions; for the same
reason
the possessing of riches
has
been
made
as
unostentatious
as
possible
among
these
peoples, with
the
resultant lack of business accommodations
and
facilities
at the
present time.

Foreign
influence has
played
an important role in
the
development
of
the business life
in Turkey.
The
Capitulations, a political
modification
of Byzantine
economic policy,
which
have been the
special protection
of foreigners in
Turkey,
have assured
larger rewards
to foreign
than to other
capital, with
the
result that
the most considerable
firms in Turkey
to-day,
with
certain
exceptions, are foreign firms.
It is even stated that Russian refugee street vendors
have claimed
the tax exemption
accorded in an
eighteenth
century Russian
commercial treaty
with
the
Sublime
Porte.

The
three
factors enumerated
above,
custom, government, and foreign
influence in business
life,
are
not as such
peculiar to Turkey,
but
they have
a peculiar
relation here in most
illogically
reinforcing
or opposing
each
other in
business enterprises.
It is hardly necessary to state that, as
capital has
been
affected, there
has been
a reaction
on
the
condition of employees
of
capital.

Previous to 1908, under Sultan Abdul Hamid II especially, inventions and industrial improvements were looked on with suspicion by the Government. There was no electric lighting system, save for a few suburban steamers recently imported and for the Sultan’s palace and the Khedival palace on the Bosphorus. There was no telephone system, no local telegraph save for messages in Turkish, and no letter collections. Local mail service was not used by foreigners; business communications were carried on by messengers, and this method still largely prevails in the city. There were no electric street cars, though even before the underground service in New York there was a tunnel funicular between Galata and Pera. There were no automobiles in the city. The introduction of machinery was generally surreptitiously effected. Small shops and hand trades predominated. Since Turkey has been either at war or threatened with war every year since the revolution in 1908, these last two characteristics persist in the business life of the city to-day. The foreign commercial life has progressed more rapidly, yet still most of the actual labor of caring for cargo is performed by hand. Cranes for loading and unloading are few, and quay space and commodious depots are not adequate in normal times.

Constantinople
is
a cosmopolitan
city.
While on
a small
scale, in business
life,
racial distinctions
are
becoming
effaced
in the
labor organizations that are being formed,
and the
relation of employer
with employee is
largely
controlled by
the
dollar and
cent
reckoning of service,
a lingering
sense of paternalism, especially
in the
smaller shops, is
at times
evident. This
is
seen
either in greater
financial consideration of
employee,
or
in inadequate
compensation
for
service.

Baksheesh,
tips,
play
such a
large
part in
the
reward
of unskilled labor in Constantinople, as elsewhere in the Orient, — that
it
loses here
its
Western
signification of "gratuities,“ and
becomes in many
fields almost
synonymous with
"pay."”

–  Laurence S. Moore, “Some Phases of Industrial Life,” from Clarence Richard Johnson, ed., Constantinople to-day; or, The pathfinder survey of Constantinople; a study in oriental social life.  New York: MacMillan Company, 1922. pp. 167-172

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