Postal History


The stamp shown below (Scott Iran No: 586) was published in 1917 as a local stamp during the 1916-17 Ottoman Empire occupation of Kirmanshah, a region of Iran.

History of occupation: Air exploration and surveillance missions were continuing while land operations and planes were being transferred. On June 9, 1916, during an air reconnaissance in the vicinity of Kasrışirin, it was discovered that the enemy had withdrawn from Kasrışirin and camped with a force of 200 tents mostly cavalry between the road and the river, eight kilometers to the east of Kasrışirin. Upon this discovery, the Army Command ordered the attacking Turkish forces to follow the withdrawing Russian forces. The 13th Corps defeated the Russian rear forces and invaded Geylan.

    On June 16, 1916, during the reconnaissance flight in the vicinity of Paytak and Kirend it was reported that enemy rear forces were 4.5 kilometers to the west of Paytak, cavalry and infantry units were between Paytak and Kirend, 600 tent military camp was around Kirend, and the Turkish forces had advanced to four kilometers east.

    On the morning of June 17, 1916, an air reconnaissance team flying to Arunuabad via Paytak discovered light Russian fortifications around the Paytak, and an army of about 500 tents between Kirend and Paytak. After these discoveries, Turkish troops completed their preparations and started general assault on the morning of June 27, 1916. The 13th Corps following the retreating enemy, invaded Hadrunuabad on June 29th and Kirmanshah on July 1st. In the face of these offenses, the Russian forces began to fortify the passage 15 kilometers east of Kirmanshah.

  From here they advanced and settled in the Hemedan region in the middle of August. However, on February 28, 1917, when it was evident that the British were going to attack again in Iraq, it was requested that the 13th Corps be moved to Baghdad defense through Hanekin. Thus, the Corps, started to evacuate Iran and withdrew from Kirmanşah on the night of March 10th.  


The civilian and military postal routes in the Ottoman State were laid out in three main routes. Taking Istanbul as the starting point, the routes were laid out in the form of right, central and left routes in Anatolia and Rumelia. They are connected to each other by secondary roads.

THE following amusing description of business at the Post office in Constantinople is from the Cologne Gazette. It may be remembered that the different European States have each their own postal establishment in the Turkish capital. The German office there however performs the postal service not only for subjects of the Emperor William but for the Turks themselves as well. The Turk is well known to be a lover of ceremony and how little this feature contributes to the despatch of business may be gathered from the following account of an incident of frequent occurrence at the German Post office at Pera. In London or any city of Western Europe the transaction would be concluded in half a dozen words: “Two shillings worth of foreign stamps please.”  “Change for half a crown.” “ Thank you!”  In Stamboul this sample transaction assumes the following form: –

Tughra 1 Piaster

As published in Stamp-Collector’s Magazine (Vol. V) August 1st, 1867

From Le Timbre Poste

To some of our readers the above title will probably seem an enigma. They may search, perhaps in vain, for the hand of which we speak. Yet it is there, though different in appearance from those we know. It is, in fact, the curious design occupying the centre of each of these stamps – its name ‘Thougra.’

The ‘Thougra’ is the signature of his majesty the Sultan, ordinarily written in black, sometimes in red, and frequently in letters of gold, and is found upon coins, passports, &c., as well as upon the stamps. The first sultans used to make rough impressions, with the five fingers of one hand, at the foot of their decrees, and Mahomet II placed his fingers, wet with blood on the columns of Saint Sophia, at the capture of Constantinople in 1453. Of these early finger seals, and of the impressions of the conqueror's fingers on the mosques, the arabesque pattern in the centre of the stamp is representative.



liannos city post

In early 1860, the postal service of the Ottoman Empire went through a dramatic reorganization to issue stamps and distribute the post. The speed of the reorganization had created distribution problems specifically in the areas where foreigners were living. The most important problem was the education of the postmen. The postmen of the Ottoman Empire did not have any problems reading or writing in Turish with the Arabic alphabet but they were having difficulty with addresses written in Latin alphabet. It would have not been fair to all the postmen to know multiple foreign languages and ability to read and write in Arabic and Latin. This situation forced the postal service to outsource the distribution of the post to a local Greek businessman Liannos. After completing all the paperwork in August of 1865 Liannos formed the local post distribution company “Liannos et Cie” to distribute the mail in Istanbul. The company signed a 6 year contract starting from December 1865.