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Crete Imprint / Botany – Agriculture / Citrus Growing: حديقه [Ḥadiḳa / The Garden]



A rare and until now underappreciated work on modern citrus growing, printed in Ottoman language, as a part of the program to modernize the agriculture of Crete


4°. 4 pp. [index], 172 pp. with charts and sporadic illustrations, bound with original brown wrappers, original marbled boards, new black calf spine (light staining and foxing, inner white margins with light water-staining and small holes from the previous binding, small tears in margins, original wrappers with small holes, minor loss to the white margins).


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This is a rare agricultural work on citrus growing, printed in Ottoman language on Crete. According to the introduction it was based on a Greek report by an author Duboissy or De Bassi, made for an agricultural inspector in Athens. The book gives an introduction on modern citrus growing and lists modern sorts of lemons and oranges.

The original report was made in the time of the attempts to modernize the agriculture of Greece and introduce various new citrus, in order to boost the country’s economy and compete with the other

Mediterranean countries in the export of the citrus. Unlike wine and olives, which die not transport well, Greece was hoping on their export of oranges and lemons. The first step was to make large reforms to their old fashioned rural agriculture under the influence of the West.

The major influences from the West came to Greece through France and Bavaria and the Bavarian prince Otto of Greece (1815-1867), who reigned as king of Greece between 1832 and 1862. His wife Amalia was a keen grower of citrus and formed a tight friendship with Theodoros Orfanidis (1817– 1886), a poet and professor of botany at the University of Athens. Orfanidis, schooled in France, was responsible for major improvements on the field of citrus growing in Greece.

Our book, printed in Ottoman language on the island of Crete, was probably printed with the same goal as the original Greek report, that is to improve and modernize the local agriculture and increase the export of citrus.

The book was printed in the official press of the Crete Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire. The press on the island was first founded late in the year 1830 or early in the following year by Ibrahim Pasha, a son of Muhammad Ali Pasha, the governor of Egypt. The press produced a newspaper Vekayi-i Giridiye in Ottoman and Greek language (see: Orhan Kologlu, “La presse turque en Crete”, in: Nathalie Clayer/Alexandre Popovic u.a. (Hg.), Presse Turque et Presse de Turkie…, Istanbul – Paris 1992, pp. 259-264). After this publication there appears to be a gap in the printing activity on the island until 1868, when another official newspaper in again both languages was issued. The title was Girid (Crete) and it was published until 1897, with the last years mostly in the Ottoman language.

In the last two decades of the 19th century there appeared to be a vivid printing activity on Crete. All the publications are rare today, as they were mostly printed for the inhabitants of the island.

Worldcat only lists one institutional example (Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden).

References: OCLC 777585068, BDK – MİL – ÖZEGE; 6559 – TBTK; 8987.

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