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  • Ottoman Tastes – Creative Energies

    Urban Rehabilitation Scheme in Istanbul

    Text and photos: Eszter Baku


    Istanbul city has shown some genuinely large-scale development tendencies in the past few decades. Year by year there are more and more districts and zones being revived here. Following the facelift project of Kuzguncuk, a versatile quarter of the Anatolian part of the city, now there are other exciting developments taking place in overlapping areas between Fener and Balat which have almost grown into one by today. Fener, which used to have a zone inhabited by Greeks almost exclusively, and Balat, which was mainly populated by Jews and Armenians, have both been almost totally abandoned by dwellers by now with the result that their typically 150-200 year old dwelling houses deteriorated and are now in ruins. A group of enthusiastic artists, designers and local preservation experts embraced the cause of protecting the affected districts decided to revive both Balat and Ferner and have already achieved obvious results as of today. Consequently, the local government of district Fatih launched a comprehensive urban rehabilitation programme in January 2003 thanks to support from the European Union.