Although Turkey has a well-established architectural background, today we cannot protect this heritage. Existing, historical urban patterns in cities have been destroyed as a result of the rapidly increasing population and construction of reinforced concrete buildings. The value of historical preservation, lost in the recent years, has come back once gain and the government has started protecting traditional architecture and historical city patterns.
Hamamönü, which I wrote about in my previous blog, is a good example for conservation. Having historical value and important examples of traditional houses, Hamamönü became a very important touristic attraction for the inhabitants of Ankara. In comparison, Beypazari, a district of Ankara, has similar features with Hamamönü, and the whole Beypazari has been put under protection differently from Hamamönü.
Beypazari, with a population of 46,000, has traditional Turkish housing examples, which have been preserved since the 1800s. Restoration work, that started in 2000, continues, and approximately 1,500 traditional Turkish houses have been restored. Today, Beypazarı has become an outdoor museum. Some of these houses are used as part of the museum; others offer services such as a pension or restaurant.
There are many advantages to protecting historical districts. The preservation of traditional values and architecture are the first place to learn about our traditional background. Another advantage gained is an increase in tourism potential for the region. Because of unemployment in small settlements, immigration moved towards big cities and, in return, these counties lost value. Through the development of tourism, new job opportunities are created and more people visit the region. The same result is valid for Beypazarı as well. While few people visited this county before the historical part of the district was restored, today 250.000 tourists visit annually.
Preserving historical patterns is very important, both for learning about past values and for developing economically. Beypazarı is one good example, both in terms of realizing good restoration projects and in terms of approaching the people of the region regarding increasing tourism in Turkey.
Are restoration projects being performed in your region? If performed, did results of these works succeed?
Credits: Images and data linked to sources.