One pulled the sultan’s watch from the belly
of a fish, another made severed heads converse with
spectators... Such were the famous magicians of
The Ottomans were very advanced in the art of illusion,
as they were in the other branches of the performing
arts. During the empire’s decline however
Western culture tended to dominate these unique
arts. Consequently, as the Ottoman art of illusion
was waning, accomplished foreign artists began making
frequent visits to Istanbul. We would like to tell
you about some prominent figures from this world
The daily papers are our most important source for
the subject. Since the first daily appeared in 1840,
we will focus here on the magicians that came starting
from this date.
DID BOSCO DISAPPEAR IN ISTANBUL?
Bartolomeo Bosco, an Italian magician and one of
the 19th century’s most famous conjurors,
came to Istanbul in 1839.