“Reparation and Restoration: History of Istanbul” is an urban study about the changes that occurred in several structures, which has been built as layer upon layer within quite a long and undetermined period of time and has or has not reached us in the present day.

Even though the older word “reparation” (tamir) and the word “restoration” that became widespread in Turkish at a later time were used to define the same work in different times, they contain deeper definitions since they reflect different periods of time. Therefore, in the introduction part, the current use of the word “restoration” and the concepts that were encountered by utilising the meaning of this word throughout history will be addressed together.

By the nineteenth century, historical and cultural consciousness began to develop into a social sense and factors such as rapid changes, demolitions etc. in cities and buildings within the cities raised discussions with regard to the interventions that the historical buildings had been exposed to. Hence, these discussions that have reached us within the present day form the theoretical infrastructure of the notion of conservation. Within this context, since the conservation theory has been developed in the contemporary period, the interventions to the buildings of Istanbul during the Byzantine and Ottoman periods, as in many cities around the world, seems very different from today’s point of view. The word “restorasyon” (restoration) that was incorporated into the Turkish language by contemporary discourse can be defined as renovation, fixing and reparation of a damaged architectural structure in accordance with its original form. This word, which originates from the word “restauratio” in Latin, was transferred to Turkish from the French word, “restauration”. It is clear from the historical sources that there were different words that were conceptually utilised for the same meaning in the Ottoman Period. The intervention to antiquities was generally referred to as “reparation (tamirat) works”. The word “ta’mir” (“repair”) which originates from Arabic means developing, repairing or fixing a broken thing. Aside from the word “tamir”, following words are also used to express reparation activities: termim, taslih, tashih, meremmet, tecdid, tathir.1

Reparation and restoration history of Istanbul will be addressed and evaluated under the titles of Byzantine, Ottoman and Republic periods and their subheadings. In addition to general conservation problems that may be considered as widely effective, -such as abrasion of buildings and materials -this evaluation will also include the harm caused by people, earthquakes and fires as important factors that damaged the buildings of the city.

Throughout the long history of Istanbul, interventions to “improve/beautify” the city (demolitions and reconstructions) have been continuing since the early periods. Aside from these, sieges, occupations and riots, which had damaged the city and its buildings, should further be reviewed. However, due to the scope and extent of the article and given the long history of the city, it is inevitable that the mention of the interventions that caused substantial damages and their general effects will be rather brief.

The values which bring out the motives for conservation in the traditional world and the current world are different from each other. B. M. Feilden, who made a categorization with regards to the conservation of cultural assets and summarized it in accordance with today’s perception, listed these motives as emotional reasons, cultural reasons and utilitarian values. It is possible to argue that these labels existed in the past; however, they did not contain the subheadings which were detailed by Feilden afterwards.2 During the historical period, the fact that a building was usable or “useful” and the inclination to conserve it due to the economic difficulties of constructing a new one may have been considered as basic reasons to conserve a building. One of the factors that may be included in the emotional reasons is the type of conservation created by religious/spiritual emotions. Because of such reasons, it is necessary to indicate that since the beginning of conservation, there has been a notion of conserving individual buildings instead of today’s integrated conservation approach.

After the general definitions, conservation history of Istanbul can be reviewed under the following list of periods

The Byzantine Period
The Ottoman Period
2.1. From the Conquest of Istanbul to the nineteenth Century (1453-1800)
2.2. From the Early nineteenth Century to the Republican Period (1800-1923)
The Republican Period
Between 1923-1938
Between 1938-1950
Between 1950-1960
Between 1960-1973
Between 1973-1983
Between 1983-2002
Between 2002-present

These classifications were made according to the changes in the concept of conservation and the difference of approach in the Byzantine and the Ottoman periods; therefore, interim periods were not included. As to the Republican Period, classification was listed by considering the differences between the changing legal, institutional and executive approaches.

The Byzantine Period

This period commences with Constantine the Great founding the city in 330 and lasts until the Conquest of Istanbul by the Ottomans in 1453. It is not possible at this moment to verify whether the approach to old buildings was exactly the same or that there was more than one process throughout that period. Due to the relatively limited historical facts about that period, our prospect to make an evaluation about it is also restricted, and therefore the approaches about conservation and the circumstances of conserving/not being able to conserve the old buildings will be mainly verified through relatively known facts. As in many traditional communities, the reasons for prioritizing conservation in the Byzantine period can also be set forth as being due to functional/economical values and religious/economical values as indicated in the introduction. It is known that the city, whose founder is considered to be Constantine the Great, was not established on a completely empty area. As a continous reiterated method in history, some parts of the existing city were demolished and the new city was founded on it. In fact, this is a conduct that has been going on for centuries whereby the new administration’s desire of erasing the traces of the old one and constructing more flashy buildings is an ongoing practice even to the present day. Therefore, the reconstruction of the city which was founded in the ancient period and partly disappeared or was destroyed shortly afterwards, ought not to be evaluated from the perspective of the present day.

One of the most important occurrences that affected the buildings in the Byzantine period was the “Iconoclasm” movement that emerged around the years between 730 and 780. During the iconoclasm movement, which continued for about fifty years, icons and ornaments in the interior and exterior parts of the buildings were damaged. Sieges and occasional riots that occurred in the city were also other damaging factors for the buildings. It is well-known that the riots caused major damages to religious and civilian buildings. On the other hand, the greatest damage encountered in the city up to that time was the pillage by the Crusader army that arrived in 1204. During this pillage known as the “Latin Occupation”, many riches accumulated in the city were damaged. All movable objects were either carried away or destroyed. Furthermore, immovable civilian and monumental architectural products suffered major damages. Afterwards, the city lost its previous splendor. It is also known that the Ottoman army that sieged the city during the Conquest of Istanbul damaged the city walls. However, after the Conquest, the city walls were repaired in order to ensure the security of the city and additional walls were built in Yedikule neighbourhood.

The Ottoman Period

Between 1453-1800

In the reparation works carried out during the first stage under the Ottoman administration, it is possible to see the traditional society structure and traces of Ottoman building style. As stated by Madran, Ottoman society showed both positive and negative attitudes towards the conservation of cultural assets.3 While - as used in the modern discourse - “unconsciousness”, “indifference, apathy”, “religious bigotry” and “insufficient financial resources” may be listed as negative attitudes; conserving the buildings due to “religious values”, “buildings’ agedness value/quality of being ancestor heirlooms” and “their value of use” may be deemed as positive attitudes. Some of the existing churches that were transferred to Ottoman administration after the siege were converted to mosques by the government. After undergoing reparations, the churches that were converted to mosques were supplemented with added structures such as mihrabs (altar), minbars, minarets and etc. which are necessary components for mosques. In these construction works, which may be defined as annexes to historical buildings today, traditional construction techniques were utilised and annexes that were in harmony with that period’s architectural style were preferred. From this point of view, we may say that annexes that were not damaging to the buildings were constructed. On the other hand, mosaics and ornaments within the buildings were left as they were. Due to this attitude which reflects the concepts of conservation/respect from present point of view, embroidery and mosaics were partly covered with fabrics or plaster. Hence, they were able to remain intact to this day. It is important to note that it was not a common attitude then to not be disturbed by such iconography and to have left them unharmed. This conduct definitely grabs the attention of the historians. On the other hand, it is our understanding that new volumes that were added to the existing buildings in various dates were added by considering current practical uses/needs of the buildings. For instance, while Kocamustafa Pasha Mosque, which was a monastery in the Byzantine period, was being converted to a mosque, the main volume was maintained and the conversion was completed by adding a narthex and minaret.

The “Foundation” establishment/system continued to make its mark until around early 1800’s with its active works. This system firstly undertook the construction stage of public buildings and then their conservation and reparation works to maintain them in the future and it also offered effective services in Istanbul. Hassa Architects’ Guild, which was also an active establishment at the time, undertook the construction of sultans’ mosques as well as their maintenance and reparations.4 Since according to the judicial system of the Ottomans, immovable historical structures belonged either to the state or private property, the interventions to be made to the structures in private properties (reparations-demolitions) were left to the owner’s discretion. Since the foundations could only repair the properties that they owned, the reparations made through those means did not move beyond individual buildings/monuments. Therefore, aside from the ones that were carried out according to the edicts of sultans, the reparations made in the Ottoman Istanbul should not be considered as integrative interventions to the entire or part of the city.

1- The ceremony organized during the period of Sultan Abdülmecid on the occasion of the restoration of Ayasofya Mosque (<em>L’Illustration</em>)

In the Ottoman period, the exception being the civilian architecture products, state-owned buildings that were open to the public and constructed by the state and private foundation buildings had different reparation processes. In state-owned buildings, surveys and reports were prepared by Hassa Architects, then following the correspondence between Revenue Office and Grand Vizier, respectively, the Chief Architect was informed and application process started. At the same time, the Chief Accounting Office pursued the financial aspects of the process. Once the reparation works were completed, the work was concluded by executing surveys and comparisons. On the other hand, for private foundations, reparation request was conveyed to the qadi (Muslim local judge) by such foundation. The qadi reviewed the survey and delivered the reparation report with the request and then submitted these to the approval of the Council of State. Following the approval, the qadi transferred the work to the reparation supervisor and reparation works began. Once the reparation was completed, the survey and reparation report were once again conveyed to the qadi.5 Reparation processes which are briefly defined above were recorded on official documents. Most of our information about construction and reparation processes of the period was obtained from such books and documents. The documents and books found in the archives include books of imperial records, books of complaint, judgments and deeds, books of foundations, books of chief accounting office, books of construction, books of surveys, books of reparations, books of construction materials, books of expenses, books of worker fees, hatt-ı hümâyuns (imperial edicts), grand vizierate documents from the documents room of the Sublime Port, religious court records of foundation and internal administrations.6 We have been able to reach a great deal of information from aforementioned documents such as the dates of reparations to the buildings, which sections were intervened, manner of interventions, materials that were used, their amount, shipments, workmanships and costs of the reparation.

Aforementioned foundation system was also effective on the reconstruction of the city beginning from the period of Mehmed the Conqueror and while new buildings were constructed, some Byzantine buildings were repaired within the scope of this system. The most renowned of all is undoubtedly Church of Hagia Sophia, which was converted to a mosque. Annexes and reparations to the mosque were financed by the foundation established by Mehmed the Conqueror, to which the mosque had been affiliated.

In the Ottoman Period, state administration also took occasional measures against the interventions that damaged old buildings. The practices that damaged historical buildings, such as houses built on city walls and buildings adjacent to mosques were forbidden by firmans (imperial edicts).7 As stated by Madran, the sultans’ judgments against construction of buildings within a certain distance from major mosques may be included in this context. For instance, there was a judgment forbidding construction within at least a distance of 12,46 feet (3,80 meters) from mosques and masjids. The distance for Hagia Sophia Mosque was 86,94 feet (26,5 meters). Aforementioned judgments were passed either to avoid new settlements which damaged the existing buildings or to prevent wrongful land occupations. We may further note that such firmans also indicated that since foreign ambassadors reprimanded the constructions adjacent to the city walls, it should not be done.8 On the other hand, as to the judgments included in endowment deeds of foundations, it can be seen that the foundational works and sustainability of the public service offered therein were considered important. As can be deduced from the endowment deeds of such foundations, the titles regarding the conservation of the buildings which were regarded as “ancestor heirloom” and constructed in the name of important religious elders and the rulers are frequently mentioned since they trigger the idea of conservation.

When aforementioned judgments and similar firmans and endowment deeds of foundations which include these judgments are reviewed, it is possible to observe that the ongoing approach to conservation of buildings in the Ottoman culture differed widely from today. However, in comparison with European countries, the fact that there were no priorities in terms of conservation may be associated with the fact that life habits and cultural values differed from each other, and a perception was caused by a point of view that is completely shaped by need-benefit expectations.

2- Scene from the restoration works of interwoven column and the minarets of Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque)

Shortly after the Conquest of Istanbul, reparation of the city walls that had been damaged during the siege was prioritized. Furthermore, the buildings from the Byzantine period that still existed in the city were utilized after being repaired.9 Just as the Byzantine emperors, Ottoman sultans also showed prominent efforts for the reconstruction of the city. From that point forward, several buildings of various qualities were constructed in different parts of the city. Within that time, particularly within the city walls of Istanbul, old buildings in the existing area were demolished regardless of having been from the period of Byzantine or Ottoman and new buildings were constructed in their places. As a well-known example, Ayşe Sultan Palace and some parts of the Hippodrome were removed from the area on which Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque) was going to be built and the mosque and külliye (social complex) was placed there instead. These kinds of demolitions and reconstructions are frequently encountered in the Ottoman period. Particularly, multi-layer structure of the area within the city walls was repeatedly built upon due to the sultan’s and the establishment’s desires to mark their own seal in the city. Since this situation was mostly considered as reconstruction and renovation by the collective mind of society, it is understood that there was not a particular disturbance regarding conservation.

During the reparations made in the city, construction materials at the time were used and economic conditions were also taken into consideration in the choice of materials. For instance, a domed building whose top cover was originally made of lead would be covered with roof tiles instead of lead as an economic solution and use of a building would be prioritized, and vice versa. Also, the building reparations were carried out according to the prevailing architectural approach of the time. For instance, even if a mosque was built in the classical period, it would be supplemented by adding a baroque style entrance canopy, minarets, interior decorations or annexes. Similarly, since the place of prayer was deemed to be insufficient in Haseki Bayrampaşa Külliye built by Sinan the Architect in 1539; it was extended during the period of Ahmed I in 1612 with additions of a one-domed place of nearly the same size adjacent to the building and a narthex; in addition, the two buildings were connected with the area in-between and all were used as a single place. Similar practices can be seen in several buildings constructed in the Byzantine and the Ottoman periods.

Reparation works that were carried out following the major destruction in the aftermath of Istanbul earthquake of 1763 were also handled with similar approaches. In Fatih Külliye, which suffered major damage except for its courtyard with the fountain, it is possible to observe the traces of reparations made in the period of Sultan Mustafa III in the mosque and the tomb sections. Especially, the tomb of Mehmed the Conquerer was completely restored. Reparation works that were carried out in the aftermath of the Earthquake of 1763, perception of the period and building culture were extensively explored by Deniz Mazlum.10

Between 1800-1923

The reason that this process is handled as a second period in the restoration history is that the empire and the city were both undergoing a stage of radical changes in both mental and physical terms. Being examined under the titles of Westernization, modernization and etc. in sources, this process also involves changes in traditional social and state structure and also transformations caused by these changes. As stated by Madran, two transformations that were brought about in this stage are “producing written rules” and “institutionalization” efforts.11 Moreover, given the developing relations with Europe, this process had also been a period of time when influences of Western views in terms of conservation became evident. In this sense, due to its location and being a capital, Istanbul has been a city where all these changes were firstly observed and mostly tested.

In institutional terms, Ebniye-i Hassa Müdüriyeti (Department of Imperial Buildings) was founded to replace the Hassa Architects’ Guild in 1831 and the building guilds were liquidated in 1840.12 In the same period, all foundations were affiliated to the Department of Foundations in 1826. As of early 1860’s, city halls began to be established. In addition to its municipal services, the 6th City Hall, which was founded in Beyoğlu Istanbul as first of its kind, also intervened in the old buildings of the city through what was defined as improvement works; such as demolishing city walls in the Beyoglu district remaining from the Genoa period, selling lands and building new roads.

As of 1840’s, provisions regarding conservation were attempted to be passed through various legislative regulations. For the first time, according to the regulations of Ottoman penal code, which was finalized in 1858, fines and prison sentences were imposed on people who demolished or destroyed holy or monumental charity buildings.13 The Regulation on Antiquities (Asar-ı Atika Nizamnâmesi), which was issued respectively in 1869, 1874, 1884 and 1906, was firstly issued as a precaution to prevent immovable pieces and movable artifacts found in excavations to be smuggled abroad by European archeologists.14 Even though these legislative regulations developed in different dates, they are all an indication of an attempt to take not only archeaological artifacts, but all monumental artifacts under conservation. The regulation that was issued in 1906 remained effective until 1973.

3- The minaret of Süleymaniye Mosque above the gallery of which was destroyed (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Kültür A.Ş.)

Unfortunately, several buildings or building parts were also damaged during the reconstruction and road building works that were carried out in the city during 19th century. For instance, first of all, in the land where Üsküdar Harem Palace was located, small buildings belonging to the existing palace were demolished and the first ever urban arrangement works in the Western style were carried out in the city. Similarly, during the road expansion works carried out in Divanyolu and also through the interventions after Gedikpasha and Aksaray fires, old buildings and street texture of the city were changed. In similar works that were carried out as of 1850’s, surroundings of monumental buildings were attempted to be cleared out. At the end of the century, the major earthquake that occurred in 1894, fires, wars, the population which increased a few times compared to the beginning of the century due to migration and resulting financial troubles caused serious problems in terms of conservation and reparation of the city.

As of the second half of the century, restorations on monumental buildings were started to be carried out by foreign experts. The Fossati brothers executed reparations in Hagia Sophia between the years of 1847 and 1849; and restoration works on the Tiled Kiosk was undertaken by Leon Parville, who was a pupil of Viollet le Duc, in 1860’s; whereas restoration works of Ministry of War, the Sublime Port and Halkalı School of Agriculture, which was damaged in the earthquake of 1894, were undertaken by the architect D’Aranco between the years of 1894 and 1900. Aforementioned restoration works were among the first trials in terms of documentation and reparation works in the Western style and they carried the traces of the conservation notion, which was at that time also not completely organized in the West. Besides foreign architects, architect Kemalettin Bey, who was the Construction and Reparation manager of Department of Foundations, also carried out reparations in Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Fatih külliyes (complexes) as well as small-scale monumental buildings.15

4- Süleymaniye Mosque (2009)

The Republican Period

Restoration history of Istanbul in the Republican Period was classified according to the changes in paradigm. This classification model was based on the works of Nur Altınyıldız and it was prepared by adding the in-between process until present day; changing governments and legislative regulations in Turkey were decisive factors in the ordering process.16 We can indicate the following changes under seven stages that were ordered according to the following dates

At the first stage (1923-1938), following the regime change after the Ottomans and transfer of the capital city to Ankara, Istanbul was, in a sense, pushed into the background. In parallel with modernization/Westernization efforts of the period, the capital city of the old empire was neglected for a while. This negligence was based on both ideological reasons and economic conditions. Moreover, antiquities and conservation were not among the priorities of the newly-founded Republic.

In the second stage (1938-1950), the problems related to the foundation years of the Republic were somewhat left behind. During this process, demolition of the buildings around the antiquities and construction of new roads and parks became the agenda.

In the third stage (1950-1960), international expansions started as a result of transition to a multi-party political system in the country and the liberal policies. The government in charge at the time embraced the notion of “Reconstruction of Istanbul” and destroyed several religious and civil architecture products belonging to Byzantine and Ottoman periods in the name of opening new roads and beautifying the city. Even though some buildings were restored in honor of the 500th anniversary of the conquest of the city, a significant number of antiquities had been demolished and destroyed.

In the fourth stage (1960-1973), the increase in industrialization throughout the country and increasing migration from rural areas to the city caused destructive effects on the historical settlements of Istanbul. For instance, to facilitate the settlement of the new-comers, wooden houses which were civil architecture products were demolished and converted into apartment buildings. Lack of legal and intellectual barriers or insufficiency of the same, accelerated this destruction. During this process, occasional restorations were continued to be carried out on the monumental buildings in the city.

5- Sultanahmet Mosque (2004)

In the fifth stage (1973-1983), the conservation-related ideas which were internationally accepted by Venice Charter in 1964 were incorporated into the legislative regulations through 1710-numbered Antiquities Law. This law attempted to carry the sense of conservation from “individual buildings” to “conservation of historical environment.” The aim of the urban conservation areas that were designated by this law was to ensure integrative conservation. For this purpose, evaluation and registration studies were carried out in the city.

The sixth stage (1983-2002) is a period that is remembered for the 2863-numbered Conservation Law issued in 1983 as well as the demolitions and building of new roads for reconstruction of the city carried out by the ruling government and municipality of the period.

In the last stage after 2002, again, due to the change in government, economic structure and the 5226 numbered law that was issued, local administrations attempted to execute more active work in the matter of conservation. Then, in reference to Law No. 5366 on Usage of Timeworn Historical and Cultural Real Property with Restoration and Protection, the areas where historical buildings of the city accumulated were designated as “Restoration Areas.” Through this legislative regulation that caused many disputes, local administrations in Tarlabaşı and Sulukule, which are historical areas of the city, started practices that were not open to participation, but only had priorities for urban restoration.

6- Fatih Madrasas (2014)

7- Beyazıt Mosque (2014)

Developing economic conditions and legislative regulations after 2002 has enabled directorate of foundations and local administrations to allocate substantial budgets to restoration works and probably an unprecedented restoration campaign in the history of Istanbul was initiated. Undoubtedly, this situation is directly related to the conservative character of the then-recently-changed government and its emphasis on history. Tourism factor has also increased attention to historical places and accelerated this process. In addition, restoration-related projects in the city were also supported within the scope of the European Capital of Culture 2010 project. On the other hand, the desire to finish the works in such processes, within a short amount of time with insufficient workmanship and expertise, has caused some irreversible problems.

It is possible to say that after 2000’s, city-wide large-scale works have been carried out in the historical buildings, which had been neglected and could not be repaired because of ideological or financial impossibilities and other such issues in the previous century. In addition to major monumental buildings that are landmarks, a considerable part of small masjids, fountains, tombs, old tekkes (dervish lodges) within alleyways of neighbourhoods were restored or demolished, while the buildings in ruins were reconstructed according to the restitution projects prepared by utilizing the oldest documents and photos that could be found. As an example to the large-scale restorations that are part of this process, we should mention restorations of Edirnekapı Mihrimah Sultan Külliye and Fatih Külliye, which also suffered damages from the 1999 Earthquake. At first, foundation reinforcement works were carried out in both buildings which had been exposed to the effects of earthquakes throughout its history. In Mihrimah Sultan Mosque the minarets, which faced the risk of collapsing, were removed and rebuilt. Again, in both buildings, injection and other reinforcement treatments were implemented in structural components such as walls and domes. Süleymaniye Külliye, which is one of the landmarks of the city, have also undergone an extensive restoration including cleaning, reinforcement, completion and renovation works on the entire construction elements and ornaments from foundation to the top cover.

8- Nusretiye (Tophane) Mosque (2014)

9- Sinan Paşa Public Fountain (2014)

10- Kariye Museum (2014)

11- Fenari isa Mosque (2014)

A short list of examples to the large-scale restoration works carried out after 2002 is as follows: Süleymaniye Külliye, Edirnekapı Mihrimah Sultan Külliye, Yavuz Sultan Selim Külliye, Üsküdar Mihrimah Sultan Külliye, Beşiktaş Sinan Pasha Külliye, Little Hagia Sophia Mosque, Eyüp Sultan Mosque, Kılıç Ali Pasha Mosque, Arap Mosque, Ortaköy Mosque, Fındıklı Molla Çelebi Mosque, Nusretiye Mosque, Piyalepaşa Mosque, Hacı Beşir Agha Külliye, Haseki Hürrem Sultan Külliye, Şehzadebaşı Külliye soup kitchen and tombs, Sultan Ahmed Külliye Madrasah (Moslem Seminary), Atik Valide Külliye Madrasahs, Damat İbrahim Pasha Madrasah, Ekmekçizade Ahmed Pasha Madrasah and military buildings such as Selimiye (Scutari) Barracks and Kuleli Military High School were all restored and structure-based reparations were executed in court complexes such as Dolmabahçe Palace, Yıldız Palace and Topkapı Palace. The list given above includes not all, but a part of the restoration works executed between 2002 and 2013.

Within the stated period of time (2002-2013), particularly in the large-scale restoration works executed through the Directorate General of Foundations, more technical support was taken from related laboratories for detailed surveying and documentation as well as construction components and materials such as rocks, bricks, woods, mortar, plaster, paint etc. to be used in the buildings before and during the restoration works. On the other hand, the scientific commissions, which were founded in order to work on those reparations that contain problems from different areas of expertise, also started to guide the works effectively. The fact that this kind of working style, which was only seen in pilot works in our country, has become widespread helps to increase the level of restoration works.

Regarding the efforts on conservation, we should also mention reparation of civil architecture products within the city. Efforts on restoration of civil architecture products were increased due to the growing attention to the historical areas of the city such as the requests to inhabit historical buildings individually, the projects executed by the individual municipalities and the increase and variation in grants and credits given by ministries for project-applications. As part of the façade improvision/street arrangement works were carried out by municipalities whereby reparations were executed in the streets where historical houses were accumulated. Within the scope of the works executed through support of the wood workshops founded by municipalities, reparation activities were carried out on the wooden houses that are civil architecture products in accordance with maintenance and reparation permits. However, in similar works throughout the city, the fact that only façades of the houses were intervened and that the buildings without historical character were also covered with coating materials in order to maintain integrity of the street have been among the most criticized aspects of these kinds of practices.

Another subject that needs addressing with reference to the reparation and restoration history of Istanbul is the documentation of the historical buildings in the city. Institutionalization of these inventory works that may be defined as listing the assets owned by the city goes back to the early Republican period and the efforts that were implemented by antiquities commission archive, municipalities, universities and other public institutions still continue today. Besides traditional documenting methods, digital registration of current documents and publishing the data through Internet or as printed material is being continued via different channels. In addition to the physical conservation of Istanbul, the fact that the inventory works that could not be completed for years has significantly been completed carries much importance in terms of conservation.

In reference to the conservation of İstanbul, the following may be listed as current discussion points: Compliance with the criteria prepared by UNESCO in the areas designated as “World Heritage Site”; effects of the subway passing under the Historical Peninsula and the bridge built over the Golden Horn on the silhouette of Suleymaniye, which is one of the World Heritage Sites; effect of Marmaray on Üsküdar and the Historical Peninsula; reconstruction projects prepared for reconstruction/restoration of destroyed monumental buildings; and discussion with regard to the settlements that influence the silhouette of the Historical Peninsula.

Even though the article “Reparation and Restoration: History of Istanbul”, whose each word of the title may be evaluated individually and in more detail, is summarized from the past to the present under this short classification, it should not be forgotten that there are many details that have not been mentioned in this article. Consequently, being one of the oldest flourishing cities in the world means bearing witness to a dynamic reparation and restoration works.


1 As indicated by Ms. Mazlum in her study that in the documents prepared for the reparation works on monumental buildings in the Ottoman period it was made clear that in accordance with the nature of the reparation to be carried out, existing damages and the interventions to be implemented were classified and defined. (Deniz Mazlum, 1766 İstanbul Depremi Belgeler Işığında Yapı Onarımları, İstanbul 2011).

2 Bernard M. Feilden, Conservation of Historic Buildings, Burlington : Architectural Press, 2003, p. viii.

3 Emre Madran, Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nun Klasik Çağlarında Onarım Alanının Örgütlenmesi 16.-18. Yüzyıllar, Ankara 2004.

4 Ömür Bakırer, “Vakfiyelerde Binaların Tamiratı ile İlgili Şartlar ve Bunlara Uyulması”, VD, 1973, p. 113-126.

5 Madran, Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nun Klasik Çağlarında Onarım, p. 169-170.

6 Ayşe Üstün, “Osmanlı Arşivindeki İstanbul Cami ve Türbelerinin Tamirleriyle İlgili Belgeler”, (Doktora tezi, Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi, 2000), p. 2.

7 Ahmed Refik Altınay, Onikinci Asr-ı Hicri’de İstanbul Hayatı (1689-1785), İstanbul 1988.

8 Madran, Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nun Klasik Çağlarında Onarım, p. 36.

9 Halil İnalcık, “Istanbul”, EI2, vol. 4, 224.

10 See Mazlum, 1766 İstanbul Depremi.

11 Emre Madran, Tanzimat’tan Cumhuriyet’e Kültür Varlıklarının Korunmasına İlişkin Tutumlar ve Düzenlemeler: 1800-1950, Ankara 2002.

12 Ahmet Ersen, “Türkiye’de Tarihi Çevre Koruma(ma) Tarihi ve Rekonstrüksiyon Üzerine Düşünceler”, İBB Kudeb, Restorasyon Konservasyon Çalışmaları Dergisi, 2012, n. 12, p. 3-25.

13 B. Selcen Coşkun, “Cumhuriyet Dönemindeki Koruma ve Onarım Süreçlerine İstanbul’daki Anıtsal Yapılar Üzerinden Bir Bakış”, doktora tezi, Mimar Sinan Güzel Sanatlar Üniversitesi, 2012.

14 Ersen, “Türkiye’de Tarihi Çevre Koruma(ma) Tarihi”.

15 Coşkun, “Cumhuriyet Dönemindeki Koruma”.

16 Nur Altınyıldız, “Tarihsel Çevreyi Korumanın Türkiye’ye Özgü Koşulları (İstanbul 1923-1973)”, doktora tezi, İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi, 1997.

This article was translated from Turkish version of History of Istanbul with some editions to be published in a digitalized form in 2019.