Factors Affecting Land Transportation and Carrying in the Classical Period (1500 - 1800)
Keywords: Ottoman, transport, conveyance, roads, transportations vehicles
It is particularly emphasized four important points in this article aiming to reveal under what conditions the road transportation and transportational operations were carried out in the Ottoman Empire. First, the condition of the roads is discussed. Since there were no institutions directly interested in road construction and repair in the Empire, these works were carried out by the organizations such as, foundations, derbendjies, paviours and bridge builders. Nevertheless maintaining the roads and keeping them in open in difficult climatic conditions, carrying out grain and soldier transportation especially in the wartime without delay are all important for the state. For this purpose, the maintenance and repair of Menzils (billets) were not to be neglected and the castle organization has been used to ensure the safety of the roads. The second emphasized point is the security. Lack of road safety is one of the elements that stop transportation and trade. Being aware of this situation, the Ottoman Empire took some measures in order to keep communication and trade continue and built units such as caravanserai, derbend and fortress. There is a harmony between the Ottoman transportation technology that allows a distance of only 30-40 kilometres per day and the distances of these institutions. According to the mentioned speed and time, the state authority and security were tried to be provided through the caravanserai, derbent and menzil established on the main routes. Transportations in narrow road with inadequate transportation means were adversely affected by climatic conditions, especially during winters. At such times, transporta654 ABSTRACTS ABSTRACTS 655 tion and carriage came to a halt or caused rising on transportation prices. Not carrying the goods in time and desired place by animals and carriages that stuck in the roads, turned into very muddy places by snow and rain, could have caused many negative results. Not going of animals who had vital reserves in meeting the logistical needs of the army especially during wartime, even occasionally their being wasted, could cause the march of the army to slow down and even postponement of military expeditions. Failure to provide horses, camels, mules and car-like vehicles used in transportation services in the required amount is the last of the negative factors affecting the communication and transportation discussed in this research. There are several reasons for this. Epidemic diseases among animals, the state's extreme demands or low price offer and wars are some of the mentioned reasons. Although the Ottoman government tried to solve the above mentioned problems with its technological possibilities, it had not been successful enough, lagged behind the European countries especially after the 18th century.