words@bld50 monthly talks


Impressions of Turkey: urban cultural wealth and spontaneity

Impressions of Turkey:
by Beatriz C. Maturana

Visiting Turkey has been one of the most inspiring travel experiences, not only because of the cultural wealth of the country, but because this cultural wealth is permanently manifested by the Turkish people - from the most modest market seller, to their professionals. There, I sensed a kind of optimism, trust and openness, could it be called urban optimism?

An important aspect for me is the relationship between architecture and nature. Respect for animals is not only expressed in heritage buildings, which provided shelter for humans, other mammals and birds. Water, which is freely offered in the many fountains, provides the public with a free collective service while embellishing the cities. Cities embody life and spontaneity that cannot be contained, vibrancy that does not need to be artificially created to exist.

In Istanbul, the quality and magnitude of the city’s centre public space - where living, working, visiting, modernity and history intermingle, give the impression of a genuinely vital urban centre, not characteristic in market driven cities or of over regulated societies.

Beyond the tangible architectural styles and aesthetical features, the idea of collective responsibility and pride - expressed in the friendliness of the people, the cleanliness of streets, care for animals, particularly cats, care and provision of an abundant number of public toilets and drinking fountains, are both subtle and resilient elements that make Turkish cities unique.

For anyone interested in this topic, I found a book by Cengiz Bektaş called Kuş Evleri or Bird Houses. I have collected some photographs and I hope that they convey, at least in part, the wealth and multiplicity of the public space.

To see my collection go to: ArchNet

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