Full text: New perspectives to save cultural heritage

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a, in congress 
»rocessing and 
Nevnihal Erdogan a , Vedia Dökmeci b , Damla Zeybekoglu c 
a Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Trakya University, Edime, Turkey - nevtrakya@hotmail.com 
b Faculty of Architecture, Istanbul Technical University, Taksim, Istanbul, Turkey -dokmeciv@itu.edu.tr 
c Trakya Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, University, Edirne, Turkey - archidam22@hotmail.com 
Subject Group : Cultural Landscapes 
KEY WORDS : Neighborhood; Social; Cultural; Integration; Revitalization 
This paper investigates the family, social and economic structures and social interaction in Yildirim District in Edirne. The district 
has a long history starting from the 15 tb century in the periphery of Edirne. It still has the mosque, poor people’s kitchen and some of 
housing from that time. During the Ottoman period, the ethnic and religious groups were identified by their wards such as Greek 
ward, Gypsy ward and Islamic ward. 
The purpose of this paper is to investigate social and cultural implications of the changes in these neighborhoods through time. 
Physical, social and demographic conditions are observed by surveying these neighborhoods. According to the results of the study, 
although there are people from different countries, and different regions of Turkey with different cultural background, they are very 
well socially integrated. Young people complain about unemployment problem and lack of social facilities. They demand upgrading 
of physical conditions of their neighborhood. Due to its importance in the history and for social well being of the society, it is 
necessary to provide required investments to improve physical conditions of the neighborhood, to restore historical buildings and to 
upgrade the living standards. 
The purpose of the study is to illustrate the relationship 
between the social and physical structure of an historical 
neighborhood of Edirne. 
Yildirim is one of the three peripheral neighborhoods of 
Edirne (Yeniimaret, Yildirim, Karaaga?). Yildirim district 
was established by Sultan Yildirim Beyazit and it was 
developed in the surroundings area of soup kitchen of 
Yildirim. Current name of this district is “Eski imaret” and 
the neighborhood is “Yildirim”. 
The district of Yildirim lies to the west of the city by Tunca 
River and by a wide band of agriculture lands and forest 
areas. The district is bounded by Bah?e Avenue in the east, 
agricultural fields in the west, fields and Ta§ocagi Road in the 
north and the Greek Cementary and Kizilmescit Avenue in 
the south. 
The development of Yildirim, Gazimihal and Yeniimaret 
began after the construction of the Mihal Bey Mosque, the 
soup kitchen (imaret), and the bath in the 15 th century. A 
second wave of settlement occurred upon the construction of 
another soup kitchen in Yildirim that was sponsored by 
Sahmelek Pasha and his wife Benzirci Hatun. This district no 
longer exists today. Today’s Yildirim district was named the 
“old soup kitchen” (Atalay, 1993), (Anon 1966) while the 
area adjacent to the Beyazid soup kitchen was named the 
“new soup kitchen”. 
The soup kitchen in the Gazimihal Neighborhood is known 
locally as the “middle (orta) soup kitchen”. This last soup 
kitchen has entirely disappeared and nothing, not even its 
foundations, remain today. 
By its popular name (Yildirim Imareti) it can be understood 
that this soup kitchen belongs to Edirne . It was established in 
1399, 37-38 years after the Ottoman conquer of the city 
Edirne. The first settlement in the area consisted of 28 small 
homes clustered around the charity complex. 
During the Ottoman period the city had included a number of 
different ethnic populations who lived together, yet apart in 
different neighborhoods and wards, the wards were largely 
identified according to their ethnic minority, such as Greek 
wards, gypsy wards, Islamic / Turkish wards, etc. (Erdogan 
The history of the old district of Yildirim is reflected in its 
old neighborhoods, streets and housing pattern. The entire 
metropolitan area of Edirne, however is in the midst of rapid 
population growth, with an annual growth of 5% which is 
above of the national average. This uncontrolled growth is 
distroying the ruin of the historic cultural wealth of Yildirim. 
Cultural and socio-demographic aspects of Yildirim was 
studied by Erdogan (2001) by analyzing the characteristics of 
17 old homes in Yildirim and of their proposed housing types 
and settlement alternatives in the area which is loosing its 
former historical remnants due to its rapid and uncontrolled 
This study investigated:

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