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Elmadağ

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Chapter 2: The emergence of a neighborhood: historical background

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1A better understanding of the current social panorama in a locality such as Elmadağ necessitates a historical analysis of the macro trans­formations and associated restructuring of the urban form. In this chapter, the overall changes occurring in the urban society and space in the 19th century Istanbul and in the surrounding neighborhoods of Elmadağ are examined in order to provide a ground of comparison among different patterns of development. Besides, we analyze social and spatial atmosphere of Elma­dağ in its emergence period by investigating certain institutions located there. Thus, we aim to provide clues for the residential patterns and socio-spatial fragmentation in Istanbul in the 19th century.

Transformation of the urban form in Istanbul in the 19th century

2During the 19th century, the penetration of capitalism and the modernization attempts of governing elites were the two major events that affected the Ottoman Empire economically, politically and socially. Indeed, these two fac­tors were also influential in shaping the urban sphere and social relations in the Ottoman land. The emergence of new international commercial relations (in particular after the Anglo- Ottoman Commercial Treaty of 1838), the reorganization of the bureaucracy, the transfor­mation of communication and transportation systems and the adoption of Western lifestyle brought along new urban patterns (Keyder and Oncu, 1993, 9). During this period, there also appeared new urban policies, a new type of urban administration, new institutions and the spread of new building types. However, due to weakening economic and political power of the Ottoman administration, this process could only produce a partial regularization of the urban fabric (Çelik, 1986, xvi).

Photo 4 Row houses built as charity houses by the Saint-Esprit Church on the Harbiye Çayırı Street and then transferred to Foundation Directory (Vakıflar Müdürlüğü)

Photo 4 Row houses built as charity houses by the Saint-Esprit Church on the Harbiye Çayırı Street and then transferred to Foundation Directory (Vakıflar Müdürlüğü)

Tomurcuk Bilge Erzik, August 2003

3The expansion of capitalism, the moderniz­ing reforms and the population growth led to the evolution of new residential patterns too. In the traditional residential pattern of the Otto­man Empire, ethnicity and religion (compliant with the millet system) were influential in the urban segregation (Tekeli, 1992, 6). So, the classical Ottoman settlement model was char­acterized by a differentiation of

  • 3 Nonetheless, despite this generalization, there were also instances of districts where non-Muslims (...)

mahalle’s according to ethnic and religious criteria rather than social class”3 (Duben and Behar, 1991, 29).

4Notwithstanding this traditional ethnicity-based settlement pattern, there emerged new residential models as a new social differentiation pattern arose in Istanbul by the 19th century. Two of the residential representations of the new social segmentation were the construction of wooden villas (köşk) and luxurious apartment build­ings. Villas of the Ottoman Pashas on the sea­shores and the European-style apartment houses of the Levantine and non-Muslim bourgeoisie were the symbols of bureaucrats’ and bourgeoisie’s social and cultural influence on the socio-spatial fabric of the city.

Photo 5 Surp Agop Row houses on the Elmadağ Street built in the mid-19th century.

Photo 5 Surp Agop Row houses on the Elmadağ Street built in the mid-19th century.

Tomurcuk Bilge Erzik, August 2003

  • 4 Except the one in Akaretler, which was built to prevent a threat of fire around Dolmabahçe Palace ( (...)

5Row houses and apartment dwellings, some of which could still be witnessed in Elmadağ, were mostly built during the late 19th century. The completion of the avenue between Taksim and Pangaltı in 1869 facilitated the construc­tion of stone houses in Nişantaşı and Teşvikiye for the affluent social groups eager to assume the European lifestyle. As Mübeccel Kıray points out, these new apartments symbolized the birth of the modern middle class, which involved non-Muslim professionals and merchants (1998, 138-141). Indeed, these western style apartment houses first appeared in non-Muslim neighbor­hoods such as Tünel, Beyoğlu, Şişli, Nişantaşı, Cihangir, Elmadağ and so on. Row houses, target­ing lower-income groups of non-Muslim com­munities, such as small merchants, craftsmen, artisans and low-level bureaucrats, were mostly built in relatively modest settlement areas4.

6Around the turn of the century the landscape of the city became a bifurcated one: Galata and Pera on the one hand as representations of the modern, Western facade of the city, and the historical peninsula on the other as the site of traditional and predominantly Muslim groups. The split deepened as the penetration of West­ern capital intensified. Likewise, symbolic dis­tance enlarged between the traditional lifestyle pursued mostly by Muslim communities resid­ing in neighborhoods such as Fatih, Beyazıt, Aksaray, and the Western lifestyle followed by wealthy groups composed mainly of non-Muslim merchants, Ottoman bureaucrats and foreigners who were dwelling in the new apartment houses or the wooden villas in the peripheral areas of the city (Tanyeli, 1998, 140). Within this frag­mented form, there also emerged a new status hierarchy among neighborhoods. While newly developed areas like Nişantaşı, Pera, Yeşilköy and suburban settlements between Kadıköy and Bostancı became high-status districts, the historical peninsula and the shores of the Golden Horn began to lose prestige and transform into slum areas due to the construction of military barracks, industrial plants and dock­yards.

  • 5 Likewise, in 1865 Teşvikiye and Nişantaşı became connected to the Taksim-Şişli artery (Çelik, ibid, (...)

7By the late 19th century, there was also a demographic transformation in Istanbul, as the urban population began to expand because of the waves of migration coming from the territories where Ottomans were defeated by foreign powers. This demographic growth, along with the factors mentioned above, induced the expan­sion of the spatial form on three main axes. The new settlement areas were scattered from Taksim to Şişli, from Tophane to Dolmabahçe, and lastly from Dolmabahçe to Beşiktaş, Teşvi­kiye and Nişantaşı. As the city expanded towards the north and northwestern directions, Harbiye-Şişli axis, which was only a country road in the 1840s, became one of the main arteries with its residential settlement by the end of the century5.

Emergence of Elmadağ as an enclave of Catholic community

  • 6 After a new epidemic in 1865, it was prohibited to bury the dead here since Taksim area already bec (...)

8Until the 1840s, outer edge of Beyoğlu was the Topçu Kışlası (Artillery Garrison) and Talimhane (training area for the soldiers) in Taksim. In the northern parts of Taksim, there were only a large Christian cemetery (Grand Champ des Morts) and a pasture (De Amicis, 1993, 62-64). After the great plague in 1560, the area lying towards the north of Taksim was granted as the cemetery to the non-Muslim communities of Istanbul for the sanitary purpose of burying the dead out­side the residential areas of the city. Thus, the land between Taksim and the Divan Hotel today was conferred to the Latin Catholics, while the zone stretching out to the Military Museum was bestowed to the Armenians (Marmara, 1999, 30- 33)6.

  • 7 The information on these institutions is mainly based on our interviews with their representatives.
  • 8 In that area, there was also Mekteb-i Harbiye (today’s Military Museum), which was built in 1847 an (...)

9The area that extended from Taksim to Pangaltı, that is today’s Elmadağ, was almost empty in terms of settlement in the mid-19th century. Construction of large institutional buildings paved the way for the settlement process. Surp Agop Hospital (1837), Artigiana (1838), St.-Esprit Church (1846) and Notre-Dame de Sion School (1856), which will be depicted below in detail, were among the significant buildings of this early era7. The predominance of these Catholic institutions gives clues about the social characteristics of the new settlement8. So, it seems that this area was formerly established as a Levantine neighborhood with all the basic modern urban institutions, i.e. a church, a hos­pital and a school. It is highly probable that other Catholic communities of Istanbul, mainly Catholic Armenians moved there after the set­tlement of Levantines. Correspondingly, Rinaldo Marmara claims that the name of the Pangaltı district comes from an Italian Levantine called Giovanni Battista Pancaldi, who owned a bistro-restaurant there in the 1860s (2000, 57).

Photo 6 Different views of Vatican Embassy located on the Ölçek Sokak (today Papa Roncalli Street).

Photo 6 Different views of Vatican Embassy located on the Ölçek Sokak (today Papa Roncalli Street).

Tomurcuk Bilge Erzik, August 2003

  • 9 The population of the Catholic community in Istanbul rose from 20,000 to 26,000 from the mid-19th c (...)
  • 10 Personal correspondence with Rinaldo Marmara. His book presenting more historical information about (...)

10Catholics in Istanbul were the members of the Saint-Esprit Church and they were generally called the Latins. The two main groups within the Catholic community of Istanbul were the Levantines and the Ottoman Catholics9. The Levantines were the European migrants who worked in the embassies and top-managerial positions of foreign companies or were the owners of commercial and industrial companies in Istanbul and other big cities of the Empire. They were not recognized as a distinct commu­nity (i.e. millet) since they were not Ottoman subjects. They immigrated to the Ottoman land in large numbers, particularly after the Ottoman-British commercial treaty of 1838 and the Tan­zimat decree of 1839, which provided them new economic opportunities, including the right to private property. The Levantine elite dwelled mostly in the European districts of Istanbul, such as Pera and Galata, until new settlement areas began to develop in Harbiye-Pangaltı in the late-19th century10. The residential movement of Levantines towards Harbiye-Pangaltı from Pera took place in parallel with the construction of the Saint-Esprit Church. This also symbolizes the shift of the more Westernized components of the Ottoman society towards the north of the Galata-Pera region.

Photo 7 Different views of Vatican Embassy located on the Ölçek Sokak (today Papa Roncalli Street)

Photo 7 Different views of Vatican Embassy located on the Ölçek Sokak (today Papa Roncalli Street)

Tomurcuk Bilge Erzik, August 2003

11In addition to the Levantines, the Latin community included also Armenian and Greek Catholics who were subjects of the Sultan (reaya). Among them, Catholic Armenians were more populous than the Greek ones, who origi­nally emigrated from the islands. These two groups were the most Western-oriented segments of the Ottoman society due to their strong economic and social relationships with the Levantines.

Photo 8 The present-day view of Surp Agop Hospital located on the Cumhuriyet Street.

Photo 8 The present-day view of Surp Agop Hospital located on the Cumhuriyet Street.

Tomurcuk Bilge Erzik, August 2003

  • 11 In the 1831-32 there were also Protestant missionary activities among Armenians, although they were (...)
  • 12 Akabi Hikayesi, a novel written by Hosvep Vartan in 1851, represents an interesting example for the (...)
  • 13 Information based on http://www.agos.com.tr/osmanli/3_ucuncudevir.htm

12Catholic Armenians who had a higher eco­nomic standing owing to their closeness to the Levantines were in a complicated position since they were socially segregated from the Orthodox Apostolic Armenian community (also called as Gregorian Armenians) who represented the sheer majority of the Armenians in the Ottoman land. The millet system of the Ottomans provided a social and political order where the religion served as the main social denominator for the inner organization of the communities. To pre­vent any challenge to their already established power, the Orthodox Armenian Church refused the idea of acknowledging Catholic Armenians as a distinct millet by the Sultan11. The conflict between Orthodox Armenian and Catholic Armenian groups12 reached one of its peaks in 1827, when Catholic Armenians of Istanbul were expelled to Ankara, with the support of the existing Orthodox Armenian patriarchate13. However, just three years later, in 1830 Mahmud II recognized Catholic Armenians as a com­munity of its own (millet) and later in 1878, this privilege was officially certified in the Berlin Conference, where France and Austria represented the interests of the Catholics in the Ottoman Empire in the name of Pope Leon XIII (Roussos-Milidonis, 1999, 91).

Photo 9 The Saint-Esprit Church.

Photo 9 The Saint-Esprit Church.

Tomurcuk Bilge Erzik, August 2003

  • 14 According to Rinaldo Marmara, it was then known as Saint Jacques French Catholic Hospital (2000, 56 (...)
  • 15 Based on a brochure on the history of the Surp Agop Hospital prepared by the Surp Agop Foundation.
  • 16 Surp Agop houses are still rented at very low values mainly to the community members.

13Surp Agop Hospital14 run by the Armenian Catholic community initiated the first settlement in the area. The construction of the hospi­tal was decided in 1831, and the construction activities took place in 1836-37. Between 1840s and 1908 the hospital was supported, along with other Greek, Armenian and Jewish hospitals by the donations of the Sultans15. There was also a three-floor boarding school in Köstebek Street, called Leyli Agopyan Okulu (1860). In 1884-1888 concrete row houses were built on Elmadağ Street to provide economic support for the hospital. Indeed, row houses, along with new apartment buildings were a novelty in the existing housing stock of Istanbul and they first appeared in the non-Muslim neighborhoods of Istanbul (Tekeli, 1992, 18). Both the row houses of the St.-Esprit Church and the Surp Agop hospital were rented cheaply to the poor and needy Catholics living in Elmadağ16.

Photo 10 The house of Monsignor Roncalli, the future John XXIII.

Photo 10 The house of Monsignor Roncalli, the future John XXIII.

Toplumsal Tarih, Jan 2001

  • 17 In the 1870s, the power competition between Italy and France over the Catholic missionary activitie (...)
  • 18 Another significant figure of the Latin Catholic community in Istanbul was Monsignor Roncalli. He w (...)

14The construction of the Saint-Esprit Church in 1846 and the opening of the Notre-Dame de Sion School in 1856 on Cumhuriyet Street (then Pangaltı Street) are other examples of the Cath­olic Church’s activities in Istanbul17, which influenced the northward expansion of the city. In 1840, Monsignor Hillereau constructed the building that serves today as the Vatican Em­bassy, in front of the old Armenian cemetery and at the mid-point of Artigiana barracks and Surp Agop hospital. At that period the area, called Icadiye, was unoccupied and far from the crowd of the city center. In 1845 Hillereau started the construction of Saint-Esprit Church as well as the priest house and a year later he moved his own residence to the vicinity of the Saint-Esprit Church. Then in 1849, he constructed a large building in Pangaltı Street (today Cumhuriyet Street) consisting of a bish­opric palace and a priest school. Monsignor Hillereau moved back to Pera in 1855 due to the complaints of his followers about the remoteness and inaccessibility of his residence in Elma­dağ. However, after the big fire in Pera (1870), the building began to be used again as the house of the monsignors18 (Marmara, 2001, 58). Saint- Esprit Church gained the status of cathedral by a Vatican decree in 1876.

Photo 11 A ceremony conducted in front of the house of Monsignor Roncalli in 1913.

Photo 11 A ceremony conducted in front of the house of Monsignor Roncalli in 1913.

Toplumsal Tarih, Jan 2001

  • 19 Notre-Dame de Sion High School still operates as a private school. Though it became a secular educa (...)

15The priest school on Pangaltı Street was rent­ed as a boarding school by the monks of the Saint-Vincent-de- Paul (14 April 1855) who had previously managed a school in Galata. Howe­ver, a year later the building was transferred to the Notre-Dame de Sion sisters and since then it has been used as a private secondary school except for a short suspension of education dur­ing the 1st World War years19. During the Otto­man era, France and the Catholic communities of Istanbul were economically supporting the school (Sezer, 1999, 94). In addition to the church and Notre-Dame de Sion School, the Vatican representatives were also providing cheap education and accommodation for the needy members of the community. The Saint- Esprit School on Ölçek Street and the rental row houses located on the Harbiye Çayırı Street were managed by the church. The representative of the embassy asserted that Foundations Directory (Vakıflar Müdürlüğü) appropriated these row houses in the 1930s and 1940s. He also added that the school of the Saint-Esprit Church was closed down in the mid-1940s (in accordance with the unification of education policy of the new regime).

Photo 12 People leaving the church after the religious ceremony at Saint-Esprit Church on 8th July 1919.

Photo 12 People leaving the church after the religious ceremony at Saint-Esprit Church on 8th July 1919.

Martinez, 1996

16Another significant Catholic settlement near Pangaltı is Artigiana, which originally emerged as a shelter for the Italian artisans and sculptors in 1838. Levantines of Belgian origins were the main sponsors for the construction of wooden barracks. In 1967, the area was rebuilt with the support of Cevdet Sunay, and converted to a modern rest home. Today, this complex serves as a house for the needy, populated mainly by non-Muslims. It is run by the Artigiana associ­ation, and financially supported by the rents collected from its own properties and by dona­tions of various organizations.

17The settlement in the area gained pace in the 1870s and 1880s, mainly as a result of the con­struction of the horse-driven tramline between Taksim and Pangaltı, in 1881. This line was con­verted to an electrical tramline in 1913. A signif­icant pattern in this period was the spread of new concrete apartment buildings around the Taksim area, including Cumhuriyet Street, as mentioned in the previous section. In the 1920s, Talimhane (the area that lies between Taksim and Elmadağ) became a prestigious neighbor­hood filled with luxurious, stylish apartment houses (Çağatay, 1998). Correspondingly, during the same period, the Muslim cemetery in Ayazpaşa was removed and the area was permeated by tall apartment buildings that exist until today.

Photo 13 The same street today.

Photo 13 The same street today.

Tomurcuk Bilge Erzik, August 2003

  • 20 Füreya, Ismet Kür, Pınar Kür and Zeynep Tunuslu can be named as examples of the residents of this b (...)

18In the early 20th century, although Elmadağ was prevalently a non-Muslim neighborhood inhabited by Armenians, Greeks and Jews, there were also a few Muslim families. They were mostly Muslim top-bureaucrats attracted by a European lifestyle. “Arif Paşa Apartmanı” and “Şakir Paşa Apartmanı” represent the spread of this new Western lifestyle among Muslim upper classes. Arif Paşa, who was a member of Sarıcazade family and a top bureaucrat in the Ottoman administration in the turn of the century, is a typical example of the Western-minded high-position bureaucrats of the empire: he ordered a new modern apartment to Architect Pappa in 1902 (Öğrenci, 2001, 27). Arif Paşa building still exists in Elmadağ Street and inhabited by artists and intellectuals20, whereas Şakir Paşa building is already “reconstructed” and transformed to a tall inelegant office building.

Photo 14 The view of Pangaltı Street (today Cumhuriyet Street), taken around Artigiana buildings in the late 19th century.

Photo 14 The view of Pangaltı Street (today Cumhuriyet Street), taken around Artigiana buildings in the late 19th century.

19Just before the declaration of the Republic, in 1922, Elmadağ was part of the Pangaltı adminis­trative region, which was then one of the 32 Police Station Zone in Istanbul. At that time, Pangaltı consisted of the area between Taksim and Şişli, and it included 62,427 people (Mar­mara, 2000, 58).

Evolution of surrounding neighborhoods

20In this section, the historical transformation of three neighborhoods that are located in the same vicinity will be briefly presented in order to provide a ground of comparison for examining different patterns of urban development in the neighboring districts. The motive behind our choice of Kurtuluş, Teşvikiye and Cihangir is primarily their geographical proximity, but also the resemblance of the macro dynamics in their emergence and evolution. We will try to discuss in the conclusion section, the role of spatial and social characteristics in the transformation of these neighborhoods.

Kurtuluş (Tatavla)21

  • 21 The information on Kurtuluş is mainly based on (Türker, 1998).
  • 22 The name of the area, Tatavla, means “barns” in Greek, since it was used as the pasture for the Sul (...)

21Kurtuluş, located on the northwestern part of Elmadağ, is separated from it by the Dolapdere valley (today Dolapdere Street). The area was called as Tatavla22 until the big fire in 1929. It was one of oldest settlements developed beyond the city walls in the Ottoman Istanbul. The area was inhabited by Greek sailors who were caught and brought to Istanbul when the Ottoman navy conquered the Sakız (Sisam) Island. The Greek sailors, who began to work in the Kasımpaşa dockyard, settled down in Tatavla and thus there emerged a wholly Greek neighborhood dating from the 16th century.

  • 23 Lent is forty days fasting period before the Easter in the Orthodox religion.

22The neighborhood became lively in terms of population and social life in the 19th century, when it acquired an almost autonomous status with the declaration of the Tanzimat. At that period, its population was around 20,000 people and it had a dynamic Greek town atmosphere with several Orthodox churches, schools, tav­erns, grapeyards and gardens. Accordingly, Muslim Istanbulians called Tatavla “little Athensˮ. In addition to its taverns, dancers and fondness for music, in the 19th century, Tatavla was known mainly for its traditional carnival, which was organized before Lent23. The peak of the carni­val was the last day before the Lenten period, which was called Baklahorani. Indeed, the Tatavla carnival had its most brilliant days during the occupation years of 1918-1922 and lasted during the Second World War years.

Photo 15 Teşvikiye Mosque built during the Abdülmecid era

Photo 15 Teşvikiye Mosque built during the Abdülmecid era

Istanbul Ansiklopedisi.

  • 24 Although the horse-driven tramline began in 1881 along the axis of Voyvoda-Tepebaşı-Taksim-Pangaltı (...)
  • 25 Orhan Türker argues that after the declaration of the Republic, the greatest concern for the inhabi (...)

23In the first part of the 20th century, there are three significant episodes in the history of Tatavla. First, the advent of new transportation tech­nologies transformed the socio-spatial fabric of the neighborhood. The expansion of the horse-driven tramline to Tatavla in 1911 (Şişli Rehberi, 1987, 34)24 and its evolution to an electrical one in 1914, induced the development of luxu­rious tall apartment buildings on Tatavla Street, which is known today as Kurtuluş Street. The second noteworthy development was the occu­pation of Istanbul by the Western forces between 1918-1922 and the intensification of Greek nationalism in Tatavla. However, as the Turkish army took back Istanbul in October 1923, the upper strata of the Greek community left the country, while new families from peripheral Greek neighborhoods moved to Tatavla for safe­ty reasons25. Last but not least, the big fire of 1929 was an important event for the neigh­borhood since it ruined most of the wooden houses and marked the end of an era. In fact, the renaming of the neighborhood (as Kurtuluş) and its streets by the administrators of the new regime was in accordance with the nationalist atmosphere of the era.

24After the late 1950s, Greeks lost their major­ity status in Kurtuluş as they began to leave the country after the Wealth Tax (1942), the Sep­tember 6th and 7th events (1955) and the 1964 decree on Greek population. During the 1970s, its social composition began to transform as the number of Turks emigrating from Anatolia increased. Today, Kurtuluş is a predominantly middle-class neighborhood populated by both the remaining non-Muslims who moved there with a motive of preserving their communal bonds, and middle class wage earners.

Teşvikiye

  • 26 “Abdülhamid Yıldız’a yerleştikten ve has bendeganını yakınına toplamak arzusuna düştükten sonra, Ni (...)

25Teşvikiye, one of the most prestigious residen­tial areas of Istanbul since the late 19th century, represented another facet of the Westernization movement in the city. Although it later became connected with the northward expansion of the Galata-Beyoğlu axis, this area was initially developed by the move of the Sultan from the Topkapı Palace to his new residence in Dolmabahçe in 1853. The spread of residential areas to the hills of Beşiktaş increased at the turn of the century, as the ruling class followed the Sultans who moved successively to Dolmabahçe and Yıldız Palaces26.

  • 27 Encouragement is “teşvikˮ in Turkish.

26The name of the Teşvikiye neighborhood is related to the attempts of Sultan Abdülmecid to encourage27 settlement in the area as he moved to Dolmabahçe Palace. The Teşvikiye mosque, built in 1854, is one of the most important signs of this encouragement. The construction of the mosque triggered the expansion of the Beşiktaş area towards the hills in the second half of the 19th century. Thus, Teşvikiye, previously a hunt­ing and military shooting ground during the reign of Selim III, became an official neighbor­hood in 1883. It was then composed of 5,293 people, 616 households, 39 shops, 33 gardens and 1 mosque (Akbayar, 1994, 257).

Photo 16 Panorama of Cihangir

Photo 16 Panorama of Cihangir

Istanbul Ansiklopedisi.

27The building composition of the neighbor­hood was distinguished by the large kagir konaks (mansions built of stone and brick) of the Muslim top-bureaucracy. Subsequent to the development of the Taksim-Şişli axis by the 1920s, these two- or three-storey houses were transformed into tall luxurious apartment build­ings designed for the urban upper strata.

  • 28 The decline of the Teşvikiye population from 15,607 to 12,281 between 1985 and 1990 (Akbayar,1994, (...)

28Teşvikiye preserved its reputation in the early Republican era, thanks to the settlement of well-educated capital owner immigrants who had been forced out of Thessaloniki after the Balkan wars. Their settlement in the neighbor­hood endorsed the prestigious image of the neighborhood as a European urban settlement, although almost all districts were losing population in the first half of the century. Later on, the excessive growth of the city in the aftermath of the Second World War affected this area as well. The residential character of the neighbor­hood decreased, as the central business district expanded towards the north along the Taksim-Mecidiyeköy axis28. Today, along with the offi­ces and shops, Teşvikiye is still inhabited by high-income and high-status groups of the city.

Cihangir

29The neighborhood was named after the mosque of Cihangir, built in 1559-1560 in memory of Cihangir, son of the Kanuni Süleyman and Hürrem Sultan, who died at a very young age (Üstdiken, 1994, 430). Despite the prevalence of this gorgeous mosque, Cihangir was a modest residential area for Christians and Jews until the 19th century. The development of the neighborhood paralleled the growing promi­nence of the Galata-Beyoğlu area, which became the core of the Westernized segment of the city and the loci of economic activities and foreign embassies. Accordingly, it became a predomi­nantly non-Muslim residential neighborhood in the 19th century and attracted prosperous people more receptive to Western-lifestyle. This fostered the construction of luxurious apartment buildings and stone houses in the vicinity at the turn of the century.

30In the late 19th and early 20th century, Cihan­gir was a highly heterogeneous neighborhood where Jews, Greeks, Armenians, Levantines and Muslims dwelled together. However, the mixed composition of the neighborhood began to dimin­ish and became more homogenized by the mid- 20th century as a consequence of the departure of well-to-do non-Muslim population (Aydın, 1996) and the subsequent settlement of new Turkish emigrants from Anatolia. Like Kurtu­luş, Cihangir seemed to lose its brilliance from the 1960s to the 1990s.

31However, Cihangir began to stand out from its neighboring districts with the beginning of a gentrification movement. The transformation of Beyoğlu to a vibrant commercial and entertain­ment center in the late 1980s affected Cihangir too. Thus, proximity to this new center of attrac­tion and its beautiful view of the Bosphorus created a rent gap in Cihangir. As artists, intel­lectuals and academics moved to this pictur­esque neighborhood and renovated the historic buildings, Cihangir became trendy, particularly for the bohemian bourgeoisie. The scarcity of land due to its specific spatial patterns resulted in constant rising of the rent values. Consequent­ly, today Cihangir became one of the few gentrified areas of the city (Uzun, 2001, 102-107).

* * *

32Bearing in mind the relative emptiness of the area beyond Taksim before the mid-19th century, we suggest that the concession of the Elmadağ area to the Catholic community with the construction of a hospital reflects the polit­ical and social environment during the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The peripheral location of the land granted by the Sultan to the Surp Agop Hospital seems to be a sign of the uneasiness of the Gregorian patriarchate and the Ottoman ruling elite towards the Catholic Armenian community. The Ottoman rulers, endeavoring to preserve the status quo, were enthusiastic about the rise of new communities on the basis of religion (as a millet). Yet they were pressured by the powerful European forces to officially recognize and authorize new communities, such as the Catholic Armenians. It should be noted that economic factors were also influential in this process since Catholic Armenians were among the prominent bankers of the Empire and had very close relationships with the representatives of European states. The rulers seemed to solve the issue by settling the Catholics in the outskirts of the established urban areas, i.e. on the area lying beyond Beyoğlu towards Pangaltı-Tatavla.

33Within a few decades after its emergence, Elmadağ acquired a high status and until the mid-20th century it continued to be a lively prestigious neighborhood inhabited by Westernized segments of the society. Albeit this overall prestige, there was a hierarchy of status among the streets of Elmadağ: while Pangaltı Street (today called Cumhuriyet Street) was the more esteemed section, the inner streets were mostly populated either by the middle strata or the poorer members of the Catholic community who congregated around the Vatican Consulate and the Saint-Esprit Church. Likewise, some of the non-Muslim minorities who emigrated from Anatolia during the 1940s-60s settled in the downhill streets of Elmadağ and benefited from the cheap housing, religious and educational facilities provided by the Vatican representa­tives. Indeed, a 76-year-old Armenian Catholic interviewee stated that they moved to Elmadağ in the late 1920s, after the death of his father, and enjoyed the free schooling and the cheap housing provided by Saint-Esprit Church. He also indicated that,

  • 29 “Eskiden yoksul Katolikler Vatikandan çok yardım görürlerdi. Okulları vardı, kiliseye götürürlerdi. (...)

in the past poor Catholics were assisted by Vatican embassy. They had a school; they were taking us to the church. This is why there were many Catholics here. There were Armenian, Italian, Greek and Assyrian Catholicsˮ29.

34The Catholic community, which was once powerful, seems to disintegrate as the signifi­cant institutions of the community lose power due to the nation-state formation attempts of the new Republic. The law on the unification of education and other related regulations lead to the closure of the Saint-Esprit School for boys and the shrinking of other Armenian schools located in the neighborhood. The weakening of the Catholic institutions and the dissolution of the community went hand in hand. In the past, the co-existence of these Catholic institutions and affluent members of the community enhanced the settlement of the needy as well.

35In sum, Elmadağ seems to emerge in the mid-19th century, as a non-Muslim neighborhood inhabited mainly by established Istanbulian families, in particular Levantines, but also Catho­lic Armenians, Jews and Greeks who had close contact with European embassies and compa­nies in the closing era of the Ottoman Empire. The prevalence of Catholic institutions and fashionable apartment buildings styled and decorated in the European style indicated the “Western” and “modern” (alafranga) aspect of Elmadağ. The non-Muslim character of the neighborhood in its early period reflects the spatial segregation of Ottoman Istanbul based on the millet system. Accordingly, while Elma­dağ was characterized by Catholic communities and institutions, Teşvikiye appeared as a Mus­lim, Cihangir a Levantine and Tatavla a Greek neighborhood in the late 19th century.

36The micro cosmos of Elmadağ in the late 19th and early 20th centuries provides us some clues about the physical and social organiza­tion of the city. The influential economic and political transformations of the era denoted an array of restructurings in the urban arena as well. While historical peninsula was degrading as a residential area, Elmadağ, Teşvikiye and Cihangir became known as prestigious neigh­borhoods of the turn of the century. Despite this similarity, Elmadağ was differentiated from its neighboring districts, particularly due to geographical factors, i.e., its being located on the main axis between Taksim and the newly developing areas towards Şişli. Unlike Elmadağ, the other three neighborhoods, Teşvikiye, Cihangir and Kurtuluş were relatively protected havens located on the peripheral niches of the main axis. These spatial differences would affect the evolutions of these neighborhoods during the rapid urbanization period in the aftermath of the Second World War. The luxu­rious apartments on the Cumhuriyet Street would transform into office buildings and thus lose their residential functions before their counterparts in other neighborhoods. Besides, the prevalence of formal Catholic institutions, which contributed to Elmadağ’s attractiveness in its heydays, would have a reverse impact on the fate of the neighborhood during the Republican era.

Notes

3 Nonetheless, despite this generalization, there were also instances of districts where non-Muslims lived with Muslims.

4 Except the one in Akaretler, which was built to prevent a threat of fire around Dolmabahçe Palace (Çelik, ibid.137).

5 Likewise, in 1865 Teşvikiye and Nişantaşı became connected to the Taksim-Şişli artery (Çelik, ibid, 42).

6 After a new epidemic in 1865, it was prohibited to bury the dead here since Taksim area already became a residential district and a new burial ground around Şişli was given to the Armenian community. Similarly, the Catholic cemetery was later moved to Pangaltı. See also, Seropyan (1994, 185-186) on Armenian cemeteries.

7 The information on these institutions is mainly based on our interviews with their representatives.

8 In that area, there was also Mekteb-i Harbiye (today’s Military Museum), which was built in 1847 and gave its name to the district of Harbiye. This complex was the one and only large Ottoman-Muslim building among these Catholic institutions. However, the fact that it was located near Nişantaşı makes us consider it beyond Elmadağ’s social fabric.

9 The population of the Catholic community in Istanbul rose from 20,000 to 26,000 from the mid-19th century to 1900, and it began to decline by the mid-20th century (Roussos-Milidonis, 1999, 88).

10 Personal correspondence with Rinaldo Marmara. His book presenting more historical information about the emergence of Pangaltı will soon be published by the Şişli Municipality.

11 In the 1831-32 there were also Protestant missionary activities among Armenians, although they were not as successful as the Catholic ones. "Ermeniler", İstanbul Ansiklopedisi, Tarih Vakfı Yayınları.

12 Akabi Hikayesi, a novel written by Hosvep Vartan in 1851, represents an interesting example for the dispute of sects among Armenians. Vartan (1816-1879), as an Ottoman Armenian Catholic author wrote various articles on the conflict between Gregorian and Catholic Armenians.

13 Information based on http://www.agos.com.tr/osmanli/3_ucuncudevir.htm

14 According to Rinaldo Marmara, it was then known as Saint Jacques French Catholic Hospital (2000, 56-58).

15 Based on a brochure on the history of the Surp Agop Hospital prepared by the Surp Agop Foundation.

16 Surp Agop houses are still rented at very low values mainly to the community members.

17 In the 1870s, the power competition between Italy and France over the Catholic missionary activities and the control of Catholic educational and humanitarian institutions in the Ottoman Empire resolved with the realign­ment of the Vatican along with France in opposition to Italy. Thus, France and the Vatican seem to emerge as the most influential actors in this new European settlement area.

18 Another significant figure of the Latin Catholic community in Istanbul was Monsignor Roncalli. He was the unof­ficial representative of the Pope and the head of the Istanbul Latin community between the years of 1935-1944. He was known as “Friend of the Turks” and dwelled for ten years in the Vatican embassy, behind the Notre-Dame de Sion High School before becoming the Pope (John XXIII) in 1958. Ölçek Street, previously called as Cedidiye (maybe because of the novelty of the settlement area) was renamed as Papa Roncalli Street on December 2000.

19 Notre-Dame de Sion High School still operates as a private school. Though it became a secular educational insti­tution, it was a missionary school when it was launched in the mid-19th century.

20 Füreya, Ismet Kür, Pınar Kür and Zeynep Tunuslu can be named as examples of the residents of this building in the last fifty years.

21 The information on Kurtuluş is mainly based on (Türker, 1998).

22 The name of the area, Tatavla, means “barns” in Greek, since it was used as the pasture for the Sultans’ horses after the Ottoman conquest of the city.

23 Lent is forty days fasting period before the Easter in the Orthodox religion.

24 Although the horse-driven tramline began in 1881 along the axis of Voyvoda-Tepebaşı-Taksim-Pangaltı-Şişli, it reached Tatavla in 1911.

25 Orhan Türker argues that after the declaration of the Republic, the greatest concern for the inhabitants of Tatavla and other non-Muslim neighborhoods of Istanbul such as Elmadağ was the language problem, since many of them did not speak Turkish at that time.

26 “Abdülhamid Yıldız’a yerleştikten ve has bendeganını yakınına toplamak arzusuna düştükten sonra, Nişantaşı ve havalisi bostan kulübelerinden, inek ahırlarından kurtularak vükela yatağı koskoca bir mahalle olup çıkmıştı.ˮ (Alus, 1995, 96)

27 Encouragement is “teşvikˮ in Turkish.

28 The decline of the Teşvikiye population from 15,607 to 12,281 between 1985 and 1990 (Akbayar,1994, 257) is another sign of its functional transformation from a residential to a commercial area.

29 “Eskiden yoksul Katolikler Vatikandan çok yardım görürlerdi. Okulları vardı, kiliseye götürürlerdi. Bu yüzden burada Katolikler çoktu. Ermeni, İtalyan, Rum Katoliği, Süryani Katolikler vardı.ˮ

Table des illustrations

Titre Photo 4 Row houses built as charity houses by the Saint-Esprit Church on the Harbiye Çayırı Street and then transferred to Foundation Directory (Vakıflar Müdürlüğü)
Crédits Tomurcuk Bilge Erzik, August 2003
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifeagd/docannexe/image/696/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 28k
Titre Photo 5 Surp Agop Row houses on the Elmadağ Street built in the mid-19th century.
Crédits Tomurcuk Bilge Erzik, August 2003
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifeagd/docannexe/image/696/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 40k
Titre Photo 6 Different views of Vatican Embassy located on the Ölçek Sokak (today Papa Roncalli Street).
Crédits Tomurcuk Bilge Erzik, August 2003
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifeagd/docannexe/image/696/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 36k
Titre Photo 7 Different views of Vatican Embassy located on the Ölçek Sokak (today Papa Roncalli Street)
Crédits Tomurcuk Bilge Erzik, August 2003
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifeagd/docannexe/image/696/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 28k
Titre Photo 8 The present-day view of Surp Agop Hospital located on the Cumhuriyet Street.
Crédits Tomurcuk Bilge Erzik, August 2003
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifeagd/docannexe/image/696/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 32k
Titre Photo 9 The Saint-Esprit Church.
Crédits Tomurcuk Bilge Erzik, August 2003
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifeagd/docannexe/image/696/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 32k
Titre Photo 10 The house of Monsignor Roncalli, the future John XXIII.
Crédits Toplumsal Tarih, Jan 2001
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifeagd/docannexe/image/696/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 36k
Titre Photo 11 A ceremony conducted in front of the house of Monsignor Roncalli in 1913.
Crédits Toplumsal Tarih, Jan 2001
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifeagd/docannexe/image/696/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 76k
Titre Photo 12 People leaving the church after the religious ceremony at Saint-Esprit Church on 8th July 1919.
Crédits Martinez, 1996
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifeagd/docannexe/image/696/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 40k
Titre Photo 13 The same street today.
Crédits Tomurcuk Bilge Erzik, August 2003
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifeagd/docannexe/image/696/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 28k
Titre Photo 14 The view of Pangaltı Street (today Cumhuriyet Street), taken around Artigiana buildings in the late 19th century.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifeagd/docannexe/image/696/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 24k
Titre Photo 15 Teşvikiye Mosque built during the Abdülmecid era
Crédits Istanbul Ansiklopedisi.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifeagd/docannexe/image/696/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 44k
Titre Photo 16 Panorama of Cihangir
Crédits Istanbul Ansiklopedisi.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifeagd/docannexe/image/696/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 32k

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