The Heart of Istanbul
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).
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.
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).
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 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.
Besides football, the stadium also hosted 19 May celebrations, as well as several sports branches like wrestling, track & field, boxing and field hockey.
The area was also used for events of a different nature...
like a display of this impressive shark caught in the Marmara Sea.
Upon Canonica’s recommendation, it was decided to have the monument symbolize the War of Independence as well as The Republic.
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.
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.
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).
Aerial view of Taksim and vicinity in the 1960s.
Curators: Ekrem Işın, Catherine Pinguet
Coordinators: Zeynep Ögel, Erkan Bora, Gülru Tanman
Translation: Melis Şeyhun Çalışlar
Digital Adaptation: Irmak Wöber, Başak Arifoğlu , Umut Koca