The management of the dead underwent major transformations in early modern Istanbul, owing to rapid population growth and its consequences in the city's urban layout. Starting around the turn of the sixteenth century, the majority of the urban dead began to be buried outside the city walls in the newly emerging communal graveyards. As the physical space of the living and deceased residents of the capital gradually came to be separated, death and burial rituals started to be performed by individuals outside the immediate family or community members of the deceased. This was especially the case for those who did not have family or community ties in the city. This article examines the ritual processes by which corpses were prepared for interment, through washing, shrouding, and burial; how funerals, coffins, tombstones, and graveyards were managed; and how individuals, communities, and institutions participated therein. In particular, the author's goal is to question (1) how urban transformations led to modifications in death and burial rites; (2) how those rites became professionalized and impersonalized through the early modern period; and (3) whether these changes created new relationships between the living and the dead in the physical, mental, and emotional landscape of Istanbul.

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