Jun 5, 2014 - Oct 7, 2014

Taksim

Istanbul Research Institute

The Heart of Istanbul

The Republic Monument, Ali Enis Oza, 1930, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
The Transformation of the Center
Described in the 17th and 18th centuries as a region comprised of a water distribution center, coffee houses, promenades and cemeteries determined by the borders of the Pera district, Taksim achieved a military function with the construction of the Artillery Barracks in the early 19th century. It was transformed into one of the most powerful representative spaces of the Republic, the new regime that was expediently constructed from the second quarter of the 20th century onwards. Rather than the Historical Peninsula, which reflected Istanbul's Byzantine and Ottoman identity, it's not surprising that the state chose the Beyoğlu-Taksim region to create a modern, new identity with its apartments, shopping centers and entertainment arcades where the first attempt of urbanization was applied. It wanted to commence its social mobility in the capital with the spatial transformation of Taksim. 
The Republic Monument and Talimhane, which was approved for development. To the left, the famous Ayyıldız Apartment is under construction, Salahaddin Giz, 1930, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute

Having developed around the Republic Monument, the square is eventually encircled by the Taksim Promenade and Garden, the modern apartments in Talimhane and the Atatürk Culture Center (AKM).

The landscaping of the Republic Monument is nearly completed, 1929/1930, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute

Taksim Republic Square has unfurled its banner as the center of Istanbul's collective social and cultural memory, reverberating public expression, as well as celebrating national holidays from the 1920’s right on up to the present day.

Voyage Pittoresque de Constantinople et des Rives du Bosphore d’Apres les Dessins de M. Melling, Antoine-Ignace Melling, 1819, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
From the Promenade to the Square…  
The flat area bordered on the west side by the Taksim Water Works depot and distribution center was utilized as a promenade area during Ottoman times from the mid-18th century onwards. The eastern portion of this area replete with a Bosphorus view, which took in the totally eradicated Ayaspaşa Cemetery within its borders, as well as a coffeehouse operated by imperial palace guards, can be seen in an engraving by Antoine-Ignace Melling in 1819. The military structure that was commissioned by Selim III for the army's artillery units, was completed in 1806 for the gate guard troops, was known as the “Topçu Kışlası / Beyoğlu Kışlası / Taksim Kışlası.” This marked the northern border of the square that subsequently took shape. These barracks sustained heavy damage during the Kabakçı Revolt (1807) which exploded onto the scene just a year after the structure was inaugurated. Documents found in the Prime Ministry Ottoman Archives indicate that Mahmud II appointed imperial chief architect, Hafız Mehmed Emin Agha and foremen Marki, Nikola and Komyanos to rebuild the barracks in 1812. 
The Taksim Artillery Corps Barracks were renovated in 1812 by Sultan Mahmud, Michel-François Préault (Préaulx/Préaux), Benedikt Piringer, 1817, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute

An engraving by Préaulx included in Charles Pertusier’s album published in 1817 depicts the way the barracks looked after this renovation job. The final appearance of the barracks structure which saw more repair work in 1847, 1862 and 1893, reiterates the layout of 19th century Ottoman barracks: A rectangular courtyard with a mosque in the center surrounded with two-storey wings, as well as three-storey tower-like masses positioned in the corners. Countering the bare expression of the Empiric-style that dominates the facades, the entry, which opens westward (onto Cumhuriyet Caddesi) features traces of the Orientalist-style and most likely took on its current shape during the renovation carried out during the reign of Abdülaziz (1861-1876).

Artillerymen in front of the stables of the Artillery Corps Barracks, 1900, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
The final Austro-Hungarian Emperor Karl I during his visit to İstanbul, inspecting the Austro-Hungarian troops at the Training Field (Talimhane) in front of the Artillery Corps Barracks, 1918-05-22, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
Bastille Day celebrations held by the French occupation forces at the Training Field (Talimhane) in front of the Artillery Corps Barracks, 1922-07-14, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
Turkish troops parading in front of the Artillery Corps Barracks in the official ceremony marking the Liberation of İstanbul, 1923-10-06, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
A victory arch at the entrance of Cadde-i Kebir (İstiklâl Avenue) inscribed with the words 'Long Live the Army' in Ottoman-Arabic script, 1923/1928, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
Taksim Stadium, Salahaddin Giz, after 1921, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
Artillery Corps Barracks
Due to the particular interest in football, the Artillery Corps Barracks began to be utilized as a stadium with the initiative of Turkey's first sports announcer, Çelebizade Said Tevfik Bey (Sait Çelebi) in 1921. It was the first stadium in İstanbul.
The monumental entrance of the Artillery Corps Barracks, Guillaume Berggren, late-19th century, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
A military ceremony held at the Training Field (Talimhane) in front of the Artillery Corps Barracks, pre-1922, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
Track & Field at Taksim Stadium, 1922, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
The famous match played at Taksim Stadium in which Fenerbahçe defeated a combined team comprised of English occupational forces 2-1 to take the General Harrington Cup, 1923-06-29, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute

The matches between Turkish teams and English and French occupation units brought the house down; Fenerbahçe defeated the English team 2-1 to win the General Harrington Cup, creating an ecstatic air as if the captive İstanbulites had won a national victory. The first match of the National Team was played here against Romania on 26 October, 1923.

The 1st Youth and Sports Day at Taksim Stadium, 1928-05-19, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute

The stadium remained intact with the financial support of the Galatasaray and Güneş sports clubs, serving a sort of field of these clubs until it was demolished in 1940.

A wrestling competition at Taksim Stadium, 1929, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute

Besides football, the stadium also hosted 19 May celebrations, as well as several sports branches like wrestling, track & field, boxing and field hockey.

A shark that was caught in the Marmara Sea is displayed at Taksim Stadium, late-1920’s, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute

The area was also used for events of a different nature...

A shark that was caught in the Marmara Sea is displayed at Taksim Stadium, late-1920’s, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute

like a display of this impressive shark caught in the Marmara Sea.

Thrillseekers rented motorcycles from the Training Grounds (Talimhane), Salahaddin Giz, late-1920’s, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
Spectators at Taksim Stadium, 1925, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
Unveiling of the Republic Monument conducted by the Chairman of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, Kâzım (Özalp) Pasha, Salahaddin Giz, 1928-08-08, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
The Republic Monument
A commission chaired by İstanbul Deputy Hakkı Şinasi Pasha was formed for the creation of the Republic Monument in 1925. This commission applied to the Italian sculptor, academician, composer and politician, Pietro Canonica (1869-1959), who had designed the Ghazi Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) statue in front of the Museum of Ethnography in Ankara. Work on the monument commenced with the approval of the Ministry of Education on 1 December, 1926. Various debates regarding the monument's qualities ensued as it was originally planned to just depict Gazi Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk). 
Unveiling of the Republic Monument conducted by the Chairman of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, Kâzım (Özalp) Pasha, Salahaddin Giz., 1928-08-08, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute

Upon Canonica’s recommendation, it was decided to have the monument symbolize the War of Independence as well as The Republic.

The Republic Monument with the half-demolished stables of the Taksim Artillery Corps Barracks in the background, Ali Enis Oza, 1928/1929, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
The Republic Monument, Ali Enis Oza, 1929/1930, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute

Due to insufficient state appropriations for this project, the cost of this work was paid for through donations made by İstanbul's Moslem and non-Moslem individuals and institutions. Canonica was paid 16,500 pounds sterling for his masterpiece.

The practice field (Talimhane) which had been slated for development, in front of the Artillery Corps Barracks is seen as it appears on the Pervititch map, 1925, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
The flagship cruiser of the US Open Seas [European Waters] Fleet, U.S.S. “Raleigh” calls on İstanbul. Vice-Amiral John H. Dayton and fellow officers place a wreath at the Republic Monument, 1929, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
A New Tradition: Ceremonies
With the erection of the Republic Monument, İstanbul had now acquired a proper ceremonial and gathering grounds that represented the new regime; these grounds were to become the scene of frequent visits of national and international guests and War of Independence celebrations.
Youths who placed a wreath on the Republic Monument inscribed with; "Western Thracian İstanbul Excursion" and "Greek-Turkish… Travellers, 1930-08, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
On a national day, the Orphanage League officials and children in front of the Water Station as they walk towards the Republic Monument, 1930, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
İstanbul Governor and Mayor Muhittin Üstündağ together with prominent civil and military officials take part in the Republic Day ceremony in front of the Republic Monument, 1931-10-29, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
Italian Boy Scouts in Taksim Square, 1931, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
Officers of the Italian Fleet walking towards the Republic Monument during their visit to İstanbul, 1932-07-18/1932-07-23, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
Students posing in front of the Republic Monument, 1930's, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
Spectators at Taksim Stadium, 1930, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
Preparation for the Youth and Sports Day Celebration at Taksim Stadium, 1930, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
Preparation for the Youth and Sports Day Celebration at Taksim Stadium, 1930, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
Youth and Sports Day Celebration at Taksim Stadium with the procession of Kadıköy Girl's Junior High students, early-1930's, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute

Nonetheless, this space proved to be insufficient and the razing of the Artillery Corps Barrack, an Ottoman remnant that dominated the square as well as the re-zoning of the land beneath was frequently brought up on the agenda up until the year 1940.

A grease wrestling competition held at Taksim Stadium, 1930's, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
The Artillery Corps Barracks were torn down in Taksim Cumhuriyet Square, replaced with the İnönü Gezisi (Gezi Parkı), shown here under construction, 1941, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
Henri Prost
In 1936, the famous architect and urbanist Henri Prost was appointed as per the request of the city administration to come up with İstanbul’s city plan. Prost first re-arranged Sultanahmet Square, then he tackled Cumhuriyet Square after some impossibilities entered the picture. He recommended that Cumhuriyet Square become the public's new ceremony and gathering  grounds. 
The Taksim Gardens continues down from İnönü Gezisi (Gezi Parkı), and the monumental entryway of the Artillery Corps Barracks, waiting to be torn down, 1941, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute

Prost proposed the Artillery Corps Barracks be replaced with a terrace that opened onto the square with a promenade park behind it. Amongst his designs were a viewing terrace that would be created by tearing down the Ottoman State Bank management housing and the adjacent buildings, as well as a grand theater building which would be transformed later on into the Atatürk Culture Center (AKM).

Taksim Cumhuriyet Square, 1941/1943, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
A view of İnönü Gezisi (Gezi Parkı), Taksim Gardens and Belediye Gazinosu from Mete Caddesi, 1940/1943, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
İstanbul's first public park
As İstanbul's first public park, Taksim Gardens was opened in 1869. It was redesigned by Henri Prost in a free-flowing arrangement with twisting paths that would offer contrast to the geometric order of İnönü Gezisi. The Belediye Gazinosu was designed by architect Rüknettin Güney and constructed in the  northeast corner of this park. Taksim Gardens is connected to No.2 Park, which stretches between Harbiye, Maçka and Dolmabahçe, via a footbridge. Henri Prost created a promenade park in the middle of new residential settlements unfettered by vehicular traffic.
A view of İnönü Gezisi (Gezi Parkı) as it appears on the Pervititch map, 1943, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
The semi-torn down front facade of the villa which once served as the housing of the Electric Board managers and the Atatürk Culture Center, 1950, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
A view of the Atatürk Culture Center from Cumhuriyet Square, 1952/1953, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
Taksim Square, with the water distribution station in the foreground, the famous Kristal Gazinosu to the left and the İnönü Gezisi (Gezi Parkı) to the right, 1960, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute
Aerial view of Taksim and vicinity, 1960, From the collection of: Istanbul Research Institute

Aerial view of Taksim and vicinity in the 1960s.

Credits: Story

Curators: Ekrem Işın, Catherine Pinguet
Coordinators: Zeynep Ögel, Erkan Bora, Gülru Tanman
Translation: Melis Şeyhun Çalışlar
Digital Adaptation: Irmak Wöber, Başak Arifoğlu , Umut Koca

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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