The Beginning of Modern Municipality in Cyprus and the Municipality of Nicosia in the Tanzimat Era
Keywords: Cyprus, Municipality, Nicosia Municipality, Ottoman, Ihtisab
Cyprus, an Ottoman island as of 1571, was an important port of call in Mediterranean trade during the Tanzimat era, which occupied a unique place in the history of Ottoman modernization. The attempts for modernizing the state resulted in establishment of many new institutions in the Ottoman state. One of them is the modern municipial councils . The process of establishing the modern municipalities that started in Istanbul soon developed including the provinces.The reform attempts aiming to re-establish a centralized administrative mechanism, which was the priority motivation behind the Tanzimat modernization program, the disintegration or languishing of the classical institutions carrying out the municipal services, and the new urban needs in some port cities resulted by the increase of commercial relations between the Ottoman state and the European countries, were the factors shaping the process of establishment of the municipal councils in Cyprus during the Tanzimat Era. The current study in this context is about the establishment conditions of the modern municipal councils in Cyprus during the Tanzimat era and the Municipality of Nicosia in the last years of the Ottoman administration.The study was prepared under three basic headings.The fi rst section contains the Ihtisab institution representing the municipal services in pre-Tanzimat era and its refl ection in Cyprus.In the second part, the establishment process of the modern municipalities in Cyprus was examined during the Tanzimat period in the context of beginning of the Ottoman modern municipality. In the third and last chapter, as of 1877/1878, the operation of the existing municipal organization in Nicosia, the administrative center of the island, was examined.The work mainly relies on the Prime Ministry Ottoman Archive and partly on the Kyrenia National Archives documents. As a result, the Nicosia market council (çarşı meclisi), established by1862, constitutes the beginning of the founding period of modern municipalities in the island. Due to the fact that it was a foreign trade port city of the island, a similar initiative of early municipalities took place in Larnaca (Tuzla), where consuls and foreign merchants were stationed. By 1870, municipal governments were established in Larnaca, Limassol, Kyrenia, Paphos, Famagusta and Kythera districts together with Nicosia which had the largest market of the island besides being the administrative center.