Last Ottoman dies, but the civilization endures

It was only a blip on the world news last week, but historians will remember it as the end of an era. Ertugrul Osman, the last heir to the throne of the Ottoman Empire, has died at the age of 97.

He was the last grandson of Sultan Abdul-Hamid II, and would have become Sultan himself if the caliphate hadn’t been abolished in 1922 as the remnants of the Ottoman Empire remade itself into the Republic of Turkey following defeat in World War One.

Osman reportedly never wanted to be Sultan, but if the empire survived he would have ruled over a civilization of great artistic achievements. The Ottomans may be a thing of the past but you can still enjoy Ottoman art, especially the architecture that graces all parts of the former empire, which once stretched west from Istanbul almost to Vienna, and south across the Middle East to Yemen and west into North Africa.

Ottoman architecture took its cues from Byzantium, an empire that ruled much of the area the Ottomans took over, as well as the refined styles of Iran. The gallery shows a sampling of what to expect as you journey through the former empire.