Bora Yerliyurt
                                  Department Of Urban & Regional Planning
                            Yıldız Technical University, email. byerli@yildiz.edu.tr
                            Tel:+90-212 259 70 70 / 2373, Fax: :+90-212 261 05 49

                                            Cenk Hamamcioglu
                                  Department Of Urban & Regional Planning
                          Yıldız Technical University, email. chamamci@yildiz.edu.tr
                           Tel:+90-212 259 70 70 / 2389, Fax: :+90-212 261 05 49

                    Keywords: urban regeneration, entertainment and culture, urban identity

Since the process of globalization, cities are tending to refresh their visions to adapt new trends of urban life
with huge urban projects. These projects are mostly large in the area aiming to focus on a target of maximum
marketing and construction of a new image-vision which will represent the whole city in the global agenda.
These projects mostly based on recreation, culture, tourism, education, entertainment, sport activity facilities
besides the new city halls and trade centers. At the same time these huge urban projects present opportunities
for the local governments (municipalities, ect.) which are acting independent in the recent global economic
platform to prove their aims and projects.

Today coastal areas, historical city centers and especially the retreating industrial areas are seem the most
appropriate locations for the new urban functions. Meanwhile, industrial zones are the areas which have been
most strongly affected by the process of decentralization after 1960s and chosen to regenerate the cities’ for a
new vision since 1980s. The regeneration of these isolated areas provides new socio-economic opportunities for
the neglected city centers and their surroundings to recover the social life and utilization of centers besides the
marketing of the city in the global agenda (Thorns, D. C., pp:140.).

Generally the installation of the regenerating projects ends with adapting of service sectors instead of
production. This process necessitates hardship of management, government, application including finance with
different actors. But unfortunately regeneration projects of such areas usually come as a package of similar or
almost identical projects regardless of geographic and cultural contexts of different cities jeopardizing their
“urban identity and sense of place”. The result is mostly cloned architectural trends and spaces which do not
differentiate the city itself (Özdemir, D., pp.390). Therefore transcribe of globalization with unique projects are
very significant for the marketing of the cities.

On the other hand mostly it brings concinnity and integration problems with the existing surrounding social
environment and the urban image of existing physical environment. Infact, these areas bear the original values
alive from the past. And unrefined decisions have the risk to damage the back space of urban structure and the
contingency too.

Following the risks above, this paper aims to introduce the steps that the horn experienced until today and to
appraise “Istanbul Golden Horn Culture Valley Project” according to the circumstances that brings us today.

The Processes of the Golden Horn in the History
Fed by Kağıthane and Alibey rivers, The Golden Horn (Haliç) is an estuary that reaches 7.5 km in length and
separates Istanbul into two parts in the north to south direction. Up along the estuary close to the banks of the
Eyüp neighborhood, there are alluvial islands. Due to its changing color in the sun-set, the travelers in the past
named the water-inlet as the Golden Horn. Throughout the history the Golden Horn always provided a favorable
location for people to settle because of its position as a well protected harbor both from natural conditions and
enemies (fig. 1-2).

Figure 1. Location of the Golden                      Figure 2.View of the Golden Horn (West to East)
         Horn in Istanbul

Not even today but, also in the history the Golden Horn serves as a huge potential and application area for the
current needs of the decades.

First settlement in Istanbul Peninsula occurred at 7th century B.C. and was located in the entrance of the Golden
Horn around today’s Topkapı Palace and Hagia Sophia. During the period of Emperor Constantine, the city
became the capital and the trade centre of Eastern Roman Empire at 324 A.D. Constantine had enlarged the city
and the city-walls. The banks between the city-walls and the bay had been used as a ship and a quay and
repairing-fixing functions. Eminönü-Unkapanı area was the most active quay of the city. Beyond the city-walls,
resident areas had been located. But outside the city-walls there had been no settlements along the banks of the
Golden Horn except olive and vegetable gardens (fig.3).

During the Ottoman Period, the Byzantine harbors along the Marmara lost most of their importance while the
banks of the Golden Horn became more significant. The quays and the warehouses surrounding them as well as
the Grand Bazaar and the “han”s on the slopes overlooking the Golden Horn were all integrated to form organic
parts of the commercial district. With the construction of numerous complexes, tombs and “han”s the silhouette
of the city changed dramatically as its morphology gained a rather Islamic character.

Until the 16th century, Eyüp was the only settlement developed outside the city-walls. However, from the 16th
century onwards the city began to spread outside the walls along both sides of the Golden Horn, towards Pera on
its northern banks and along the Bosphorus. During the Ottoman period the Golden Horn continued its
development and functions as a harbor, trade centre, shipyard and a zone for naval forces. Haliç, Taskızak,
Camialtı and Hasköy are the Ottoman shipyards which are still in use. The quays around the Golden Horn were
each specialized in the trade of different goods and named as “wood-quay” “fish-quay” or “flour-quay.” In the
18th century, summer palaces and recreational facilities were built along the Golden Horn from Eyüp to

The 19th century witnessed the development of some industrial establishments along the horn mainly geared
towards, meeting the needs of the military (like Feshane textile factory, Silahtaraga Electric Plant, spinning mill
ect.). The construction of Galata Bridge and the use of steam boats for public transportation more powerfully
connected the three parts of the city. Owing to their increasing accessibility, the Bosporus villages and the
settlements on the Anatolian side gained more popularity, especially among the elite and the wealthy (fig 4).
                  Figure 3. Byzantium Peirod                             Figure 4. Ottoman Period

The period until 1980s (industrial period); due to increasing harbor activities and the waterfront
transportation, the Golden Horn became an attractive point for the industrial facilities especially from the
late19th century onwards. According to Prost plan of 1933, the banks of the Golden Horn were declared as the
industrial zone of the city. The development of factories and warehouses especially during the 1950s had a great
environmental and socio-cultural impact on the Golden Horn and its vicinities. Residential areas surrounding the
Golden Horn lost much of their prestige and filtered-down to become working-class districts. In addition, the
rural migrants who flocked the city in hope for jobs since the 1950s built squatter neighborhoods. These
settlements, which lacked necessary urban infrastructure together with the discharges from the factories, were
detrimental polluters. As a result, the Golden Horn, which had been one of the major recreational areas of the
city, was transformed beyond recognition and the relation between water and the city was greatly damaged and
lost (fig 5).

1980s urban operations; marked yet another period of transformation for Istanbul, including the Golden Horn.
Under the leadership of Mayor Dalan, major projects were undertaken in order to maintain Istanbul as a more
attractive city at the global level. Building of new high rise office complexes, five-star hotels, improvement of
infrastructure and the decentralization of industry were all targeted Istanbul an international service city. One of
the most radical decisions of the period was to clear the banks of the Golden Horn from industrial
establishments. The building stock which formed the industrial heritage was all torn down and a huge area was
turned into a green area. Although providing public facilities such as parks seems to be a positive contribution at
the first sight, the way it was done brought major drawbacks. Not only the heritage values were lost but also
unsupported by diversity of other functions the area turned out to be a huge ‘‘no-man’s land.’’ The only positive
impact of this project was the clearance of the Golden Horn from further pollution and purification of the water
(fig. 6).

            Figure5.Industrial period until 1980s                            Figure 6. After 1980s
In the beginning of 21st century; the idea to construct a new urban identity that flourished under the influence
of globalization since the 1980s gained yet another impetus. The retreat of industry from the waterfront left
behind a social environment marked by unemployment and buildings and spaces in disuse. Therefore today, the
re-use of these idle areas, creation of new occupational opportunities as well as public spaces, which will re-
construct the traditional relationship of the people to the waterfront areas are the goals to achieve.

Thus, two main aims appear for the regeneration program (culture valley project) of the Golden Horn. These are;
   • to re-qualify and to re-integrate the Golden Horn in order to serve for the whole city as in the past.
   • to create and design a new zone of attraction that will represent Istanbul in the global platform.

Culture Valley Project
Istanbul; owing its geographic, political, cultural, historical potentials supported by the renewed
infrastructure in the last decades has bring new occasions for the region to be an international
metropolitan center.
After the decentralization of industries, Istanbul, with its more than 10 million populations is planned to be a control
center for economy rather than a center for production. Therefore today, city necessitates a renovation project
including new business and social entertainment facilities. However, preserving the silhouette and the historical
heritage are crucial topics for the center. This fact limits the interventions of master plan in the point of
environmental worth and emphases the region to be utilized as socio-cultural and recreation area for the city.
Via the project of Metropolitan Municipality of Istanbul, Golden Horn comprising 16 km of bank line will be
equip into a cultural valley with the museum, art and exhibition facilities.

In the extent of 1/5.000 and 1/1.000 scaled master plan the targets are;
     • to develop package projects and dynamic plans within a systematic and wholistic approach in the
          conservation sites of public and private proprietorship.
     • integration-coordination in a spreading time schedule and the staging of the determined project areas
Project anticipates;
      • preserving and strengthening the existing worth of water, urban pattern and vegetation.
      • advertisement of historical and botanic areas
      • recreational and amusement facility areas for all age groups like; cycling and jogging routes; resting,
           cruising terraces and different playgrounds
      • open cinema, theatre and exhibition facilities
As a result, the main purpose of this master plan work by the metropolitan municipality of Istanbul is to integrate
the historical sides (Galata and historical peninsula) with an entertainment and culture based project as a whole.
In this context, the package projects taking place in the Culture Valley Project are (fig. 7);
    •    Kağıthane Regional Park, green belt projects of Alibeyköy and Kağıthane streams.
    •    Conservation and development project of Sadabat promenade area
    •    Haliç miniature Istanbul and landscape project
    •    Sütlüce slaughterhouse congress and cultural hall
    •    Urban design project & Conservation of Galata district
    •    Urban design project of the coastal areas between Unkapanı and Galata Bridges
    •    Eminönü urban square design project
    •    Rehabilitation of cultural heritage project
    •    Renovation project of Gülhane Park
    •    Conservation based urban design project of Hanlar District
    •    Conservation based urban design project of Süleymaniye District
    •    Urban design project of Zeyrek District
    •    Urban design project of Fatih District
    •    Urban rehabilitation project of Fener-Balat Districts
    •    Re functioning and rehabilitation project of Feshane
    •    Rehabilitation project of Eyüp
    •    Landscape project of Piyerloti graveyard
    •    Re functioning and landscape project of Silahtarağa electric plant
                           Figure. 7. The Package Projects in the Culture Valley Project

Information about Some Package Projects
Feshane International Fair Center: In order to reuse and preserve Feshane in its historical ambiance, some
restoration, landscape arrangements and insulation projects had been put on work. With the application of new
exhibition and children playgrounds, the whole project has completed with a cost of 6.500.000 USD (fig. 7-8).

                                               Figure. 7.8 Feshane
Hasköy Shipyard (Naval Dock) (Rahmi M. Koç Art Museum): Shipyard was purchased together by a public
and private corporation and has deal out since 2001 as an industrial museum (fig. 9-10).
                                      Figure. 9,10 Hasköy (Rahmi Koç Museum)

Renovation Project of Eminönü - Gülhane Park: Architectural objects have been re-functioned regarding
their historical identities.
Sütlüce Congress and Culture Hall Project: Sütlüce slaughterhouse which is established in 1923 was renovated
and reconstructed into international culture, art, congress, fair, exhibition, museum and visual art activities (fig.
                                                 Figure 11 Sütlüce

Silahtarağa Electric Central: Silahtarağa Electric Central was built near the area where Alibeyköy and
Kağıthane streams run together the horn in 1913 and was used until 1983. Today it is projected to be reuse and
integrate to the other cultural facilities as a technical exhibition hall museum including an archive/documentary
library about the Golden Horn.
Miniaturk: Miniaturk is planned as an exhibition center for 125 buildings models from different parts of
Turkey in a fiction atmosphere (fig.12).
                                               Figure.12. Miniaturk
Military Lands and Shipyards (Camialtı - Taşkızak): Military areas are retreated after the decentralization
process and planning to re-function for social-recreational facility needs. In the master plan the buildings inside
the military areas are aimed to be preserve and exhibit (fig. 13).
                                               Figure.13. Shipyards

These package projects are the projects plan under the decision of Metropolitan Municipality and implicated by
the corporation of public and private investors. In the direction of designate gradual schedule, some of the
projects are completed or under construction but, some of them have not submit yet.

As it was marked in the introduction, the appraise about the conclusion will be focused on;

Contribution of the project in the accordance of urban image in the global market
As “Culture Valley Project” will be completed, some missing needs of urban life and urban space for Istanbul
will be covered. Thus, the city will gain a better and attractive urban image in the global market like;

    •    creating of qualitative social and cultural spaces serving for crowd number of people rather national and
         international activities,
    •    the concinnity between the concept-functions of the project with its existing historical environment,
    •    the contribution for introducing the city; the project will combine the two historical cores (Galata and
         Historical Peninsula) of Istanbul as a whole area,
    •    besides preserving the natural and historical built environment, the project will support the wealth of
         social environment,
    •    the facilities of museums, art, conference, theatre, exhibition, concert, sports and education will increase
         the number of visitors from all over the world.

Integration and the sustainability of the project with its existing urban environment and
the whole city
Culture Valley Project is consists of projects mostly in a content of urban design, landscape and re-functioning.
As a whole, all the projects are part of the main project. But, although the site is huge, at least most of the
projects should have been maintained together with foreseeing the relations between itself. Therefore, in the long
term there may be some obstacles about constructing the integration and the sustainability of the project with its
existing urban environment because of the possible risks and the lacks that the site concerns.

Main circumstances that may come out with the implementation of Culture Valley Project are the increase in the
number of visitors and the increasing land values. These changes about the region may cause some constitutions
listed below;
         •    in the accordance with the rant-rate there will be an increase in the prizes of urban environment of
              the project area and the neighborhoods,
         •    inequality and excluding in social environment risk because of the increasing rant-rates; although
              gentrification is not a humane solution, it may bring a social group of people respecting the
              historical houses and the environment especially for the neighborhoods which are in need to be
         •    the increase in the number of visitors will support the demand for new accommodations,
         •    necessity of taking measures about the security of the huge recreation and landscape areas,
         •    the existence of university and the new cultural facilities will be a catalyst for the advanced level of
         •    necessity dormitory, etc. for the increasing number of students with the appearance of the
         •    necessity of managing the arrangements about the transportation of the region and its
         •    some new agents/functions like shopping malls, fastfood which may damage the existing
              traditional/local economy even the urban pattern may develop contrary to the planning decisions.

Because of the included functions and re-use of existing building stocks project does not have a destroying affect
on the physical environment. The only risk may be the necessitating of accommodation facilities. This may solve
by re-use of the existing building stock by the local investors.

The Golden Horn Culture Valley project contains charming functions and activities both for the local and
international visitors on marketing the city. Therefore, it is aimed at both national and international. At this point
the installation for the stabilization of private and public space will increase the interest and the connection to the
site. However in marketing the site and Istanbul, the advertisement of the project should not be forgotten. And
the advertisement will be possible with the multi-functional activities.

As a last sentence depending on its culture and location of site the Golden Horn Culture Valley project is very
essential for marketing the city of Istanbul in the global platform. The most important point .to be successful in
utilization of this project depends on providing the social, economic and physical sustainability.

References List


Thorns, D.C., (2004) Kentlerin Donusumu; Kent Teorisi ve Kentsel Yaşam (The Transformation of Cities; City
Theory and Urban Life) , translation; Nal E., Nal H., CSA Global Publishing, Istanbul

Ozdemir, D. (2003) “Yeniden Canlandırma Projelerinde Kültür, Turizm Ve Emlak Piyasaları Üzerine Kurulu
Stratejilerin Başarısızlık Koşullarının Incelenmesi”, Kentsel Dönüşüm Sempozyumu (Urban Transformation
Symposium , Yildiz Technical University Publishing, Istanbul

Franklin, B., Symes, M. (1991) Issues In Urban Regeneration; The Economical , Political, Social and Spatial
Process Of Urban Change And Redevelopment.

editors Craig Smith, J., Fagance, M. (1995) Recreation And Tourism Asa A Catalyst For Urban Waterfront
Redevelopment; An International Survey

Web Sites:

Çubukçu, B. (2005) http://www.arkitera.com/v1/haberler/2005/01/12/halic.htm


The Golden Horn-Halic Culture Valley Project, (2003) Metropolitan Municipality of Istanbul, Directorate of
Investment Planning Projects Archive

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