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The Architectural Heritage Of Istanbul And The Ideology Of Preservation

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Chapter Summary

The building legacy of the Ottoman Empire in Istanbul's historic peninsula has been the object of complex, often contradictory practices and policies during the republican period. Early years of the Republic were marked by a modernist architectural practice that renounced ties with Ottoman precedents, in opposition to an architectural historiography that venerated them. Caught between these two, the field of preservation became a stage on which history was played off against modernity. Leading figures engaged with the survival of the Ottoman heritage faced the task of reconciling significations ascribed to historic buildings with priorities that guided contemporary agendas of urban renewal. Republican administrations neither undertook extensive repairs of Byzantine and Ottoman monuments nor embarked upon outright demolitions. They perpetuated the dilapidated condition of Istanbul as handed down from the Ottoman Empire, since ruins provided a convenient pretext for treating its architectural heritage with ambivalence.

Keywords: architectural heritage; architectural historiography; Byzantine monuments; Istanbul's historic peninsula; Ottoman Empire



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