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New perspectives to save cultural heritage
Altan, M. Orhan

C.Baytin 3 ,C.Canbay Tlirkyilmaz 3 ’, A.Kiran 3 , M.Tunbi? 3
3 YTU, Architectural Faculty, Istanbul, Turkey - (baytin,ccanbay)@yildiz.edu.tr)
KEY WORDS: Istanbul, Bosphorus, Cultural Landscape, Sustainability, Common Heritage, Natural-Built Environment and
In the course of globalisation national identity and local cultural concepts are outstanding items. Landscape is an indicator of
common heritage as a combination of natural and cultural heritage. Bosphorus of Istanbul is an organically evolving landscape with
its continuing and associative cultural landscape properties. In this paper, the changing process of man-made and natural
environmental relationships of the cultural landscape of Bosphorus is searched in terms of sustainable land use. Four groves from
Bosphorus are selected as case studies for this purpose. These examples are studied in terms of documentation as a first step to
develop and to rehabilitate cultural landscape areas.
The Bosphorus is a strait of 20 km long and 1 to 1.5 km wide in
Istanbul between the two continents of Asia and Europe,
connecting the Black Sea with the Marmara. Due to the
topography, both sides of the strait are covered with hills
sometimes punctuated with valleys giving the opportunity of
exceptional views from both sides. The seaside residences
stretching in an almost unbroken line along the whole length of
the seashore and their unique architecture together with the
natural environment makes Bosphorus a waterway of beauty
attracting the foreigners as well as the citizens themselves. In
this context, Bosphorus cultural landscape which is the
interaction of natural and man-made features needs a detailed
documentation, maintenance, management and development
procedures in order to continue to serve as an essential cultural
living area of the inhabitants.
The old settlements of Bosphorus were situated on the planes
where the streams flowed to the sea. The inhabitants of these
villages mostly lived on fishing and producing vegetables and
garden crops. The Bosphorus, with its bays, woods, meadows
and streams (on which sailing on row boats-caiques-was the
main pleasure) was Istanbul’s residents’ place for recreation. In
time, the waterfront began to be adorned with palaces and
residences of wealthy inhabitants. At first, these were built and
used as summer residences only, later with the development of
transport between the two shores and the city centre most of
them began to be used permanently. With their perfect
proportions and unique architecture, these waterfront buildings
together with the natural vegetation surrounding them added
new beauties to the exceptional scenery of the Bosphorus. As
they sometimes formed a continuous line on both sides of the
strait they were described as “pearls of necklace”. Apart from
the waterfront buildings, sometimes small kiosks were built on
the slopes in woods with the colours of their facades contrasting
with those of the vegetation as punctuating elements giving
variety to whole scene. This extraordinary combination
blending the architectural buildings with nature was at its peak
in the middle of the 19 th century. Unfortunately, with the
beginning of 20 th century and especially after the First World
War, industrialization, rapid and unplanned, uncontrolled,
unhealthy urbanization due to false planning and political
decisions have changed the once balanced unity of the built
environment and natural one.
Figure 1. The Bosphorus