Research Article


DOI :10.26650/artsanat.2022.17.929654   IUP :10.26650/artsanat.2022.17.929654    Full Text (PDF)

Istanbul Residents’ Aesthetic and Architectural Concerns Regarding the Establishment of Municipalities in the City: The Opinions of Ahmed Lütfi Efendi

Aliye Öten

After the conquest of Istanbul, the city kept her Roman and Byzantine identity in addition to embracing a new character. The Ottoman Empire maintained this identity by preserving the old structures, using them with different functions, and establishing new buildings, giving the city an Islamic identity in time. The intense reconstruction and construction activity followed the architectural principles applied in the Central Asian Turkish cities. This construction activity reached a peak with the Mimar Sinan Ecole in the 16th century and then began to slow in the following centuries due to no need for more building and the decrease in imperial peace and wealth and the spoils of conquest. With the abolition of the Janissary corps, the Tanzimat (Imperial Edict of Gülhane), and the Constitutional Monarchy periods, Istanbul underwent important changes in the 19th century. This study mainly aimed to trace those changes, specifically architectural aspects, in the works of Ahmed Lütfi Efendi, the official historian and the authentic witness of the period in İstanbul. Therefore, we addressed the city management issues for a good and correct understanding of the period and the city. The changes in the Istanbul city and the relevant problems were evaluated under the titles of the architectural profession and education, zoning and construction activities, the protection of movable cultural assets, and the protection of intangible cultural heritage in the works of Ahmed Lütfi Efendi.

DOI :10.26650/artsanat.2022.17.929654   IUP :10.26650/artsanat.2022.17.929654    Full Text (PDF)

Belediyelerin Oluşma Sürecinde İstanbullunun Şehir, Mimari ve Sanat Duyarlılığının Kaydı: Ahmed Lütfî Efendi’nin Görüşleri

Aliye Öten

İstanbul, fethinden sonra bir taraftan Roma ve Bizans’ın açtığı eksen üzerinde durmaya devam ederken; diğer taraftan yeni bir kimliğe bürünmüştür. Osmanlı Devleti’nin yeni yerleşimcileri eski yapıları değişik işlevle koruyarak yanına yoğun bir inşâ faaliyetiyle yeni yapılar ekleme şeklinde geliştirdiği bu kimlik, İstanbul’a İslam şehri hüviyetini kazandırmıştır. Orta Asya Türk şehir kültüründen gelen prensipler de bu uzun inşâ sürecinin köklerinde yer almıştır. 16. yüzyılda Mimar Sinan ekolüyle en yoğun dönemini yaşayan bu imar ve inşâ faaliyeti, sonraki yüzyıllarda gerek ihtiyaçların büyük oranda karşılanmış olması gerekse istikrarın bozulması ve fetih ganimetlerinin azalması nedeniyle seyrekleşmiştir. 19. yüzyılda yeniçeri ocağının kaldırılmasıyla başlayan süreçte, Tanzimat ve Meşrutiyet gibi ıslahat adımları esnasında İstanbul, pek çok önemli değişikliğe sahne olmuştur. En somut ifadesini mimaride bulan bu değişiklikler silsilesini, dönemin resmî tarih yazıcısı Ahmed Lûtfî Efendi’nin eserinden takip ederek yüzyılın gerçek tanığından dinlemek bu çalışmanın asıl amacını oluşturmaktadır. Bunun için yer yer değinilen 19. yüzyılın İstanbul’u ve bugünkü yönetim sistemlerinin nüvesini teşkil eden şehir yönetimi konuları, dönemin iyi ve doğru anlaşılması için zikredilen ve araştırmaya derinlik katan dinamikler olmuştur. Bu sayede dönemin mimarlık mesleği ve eğitimi, îmar ve inşâ faaliyetleri, taşınır kültür varlıklarının korunması ve somut olmayan kültürel mirasın korunması başlıkları altında İstanbul’da meydana gelen değişiklikler Ahmed Lûtfî Efendi’nin eserlerinde işaret ettiği aksaklıklara da değinilerek incelenmiştir.


EXTENDED ABSTRACT


This study covered the reconstruction and construction activities in İstanbul in the 19th century according to the works and critics of Ahmed Lütfi Efendi, the official historian of the period who spent his life in İstanbul. As understood from his work Tarih-i Lütfi, the abolition of the Janissary corps in 1826, also known as ‘Vaka-i Hayriye,’ was a turning point in the empire. The event had direct and indirect effects in many areas from clothing, to art, from architecture to culture. However, it had an evident impact on architecture and the training of architects in the Ottoman Empire. The architecture was a military duty, and architects were trained in the military corps. Therefore, the abolition of the janissary corps was considerable damage to architecture education in the empire. It is why Ahmet Lütfi Efendi criticized Mehmet Ali Pasha when he asked the sultan to send architects to Egypt because there were few competent architects in the empire. The delivery of theoretical content in the engineering department interrupted the education of architects who used to be trained in a master-apprentice relationship, and the ever-changing school system made the situation even worse. The problems related to architecture education and the increase in corruption due to inadequate incomes led to organizational deterioration. In his work, Ahmed Lütfi Efendi criticized the cancellation of dues and revenues and stated that the trick and intrigues also shook his trust in the education system. During the reorganization period, Ottoman architects lost their positions to foreign architects with more qualifications and technical skills. Although local architects were dominant in the Ottoman architectural organization in the 19th century, foreign architects constructed many buildings, which led to the adoption of European decoration patterns instead of the Ottoman Classical Architecture style. Ahmed Lütfi Efendi also criticized the employment of high-paid foreign architects instead of local ones. 

In the 19th century, Baroque, Imperial and eclectic styles were used together in the Ottoman Empire. The reasons behind the adoption of various styles included the good relationships with Europe during the Tanzimat Era, familiarity with the Byzantine and Greek architecture styles, and western and republican attitudes of the intellectuals, bringing prestige to the empire and coworking with foreign architects. The barracks built with the new styles such as Kuleli, Rami, Davutpaşa, Gümüşsuyua, and Taşkışla could meet the needs of the newly established army, and with the mosques and large courtyards located in those barracks emerged as a new urban approach. In addition to the mentioned structures, prisoners built prisons following similar styles, which also astonished Ahmed Lütfi Efendi. Although many new modes of transportation and urbanism were applied in the local administration system, the outcomes of the changes could not be seen today except the suggestions and critics of Ahmed Lütfi Efendi.

Ahmet Lütfi Efendi criticized the loss of intangible cultural heritage and movable cultural assets with the European awareness and appreciation of the historical significance of cultural assets. For Ahmed Lütfi Efendi, whose eyes sought for the silvery pûşide and the grip decorated with mother-of-pearl, the restoration, and decoration of the Fatih Tomb, the first sultan tomb in Istanbul, was a loss of beauty. Besides, he claimed that the theft of the diamond crest in Abdulhamid’s sarcophagus reflected carelessness, ignorance, and neglect in history. Similarly, he felt deep grief for the cannonballs granted to England. Ahmed Lütfi Efendi criticized the purchase of flamboyant souvenirs from Europe, which was unfair for local art and artists. Similarly, he regarded opening a club in Asım Pasha Mansion on a Ramadan night as disrespect to Turkish customs.

Ahmed Lütfi Efendi also criticized the demolition of villas, pavilions, mansions, and palaces such as Şemsipaşa Mansion and Topkapı Palace, even if they would be rebuilt with different functions for public interests. He denounced the demolition of the cemeteries for reconstruction in the streets of Beyoğlu and Bayezid, where is used very frequently even today. 

Ahmed Lütfi Efendi took the risk of conflicting with the sultan and expressed severe criticisms of the construction and destruction activities in İstanbul, the state institutions responsible for architect training, and the construction (i.e., ebniye) directorate. Although it was a proper behavior of him as a resident of Istanbul and an Ottoman intellectual, it did not indicate a pro-authoritarian attitude. For this very reason, the works of Ahmet Lütfi Efendi are considered an objective and first-hand source of information in this study.

The historiography, which refers to official state writing, reflects the opinions of a chronicle writer. T primary chronicles in the 19th century were written by Seyyid Ahmed Asım Efendi (b. 1169/1755-1756 - d. 1235/1819) in 1808-1819, Şanizade Mehmed Ataullah Efendi (b. 1184/1781 - d. 1242/1826) in 1808-1821, and Es’ad Efendi (b. 1204/1789 - d. 1264/1848) in 1821-1826. Of those historians, Ahmed Lûtfi Efendi (d. 1232/1816-17 - d. 1325/1907-1908) recorded the events between 1825 and 1867 in 15 volumes. In addition to being senior and more intellectual than his colleagues, he discussed the changes in the structures and architectural profession and the loss of intangible cultural heritage and movable cultural assets in detail. He was one of the primary sources of cultural and artistic information about 19th century Ottoman architecture. 


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APA

Öten, A. (2022). Istanbul Residents’ Aesthetic and Architectural Concerns Regarding the Establishment of Municipalities in the City: The Opinions of Ahmed Lütfi Efendi. Art-Sanat, 0(17), 327-357. https://doi.org/10.26650/artsanat.2022.17.929654


AMA

Öten A. Istanbul Residents’ Aesthetic and Architectural Concerns Regarding the Establishment of Municipalities in the City: The Opinions of Ahmed Lütfi Efendi. Art-Sanat. 2022;0(17):327-357. https://doi.org/10.26650/artsanat.2022.17.929654


ABNT

Öten, A. Istanbul Residents’ Aesthetic and Architectural Concerns Regarding the Establishment of Municipalities in the City: The Opinions of Ahmed Lütfi Efendi. Art-Sanat, [Publisher Location], v. 0, n. 17, p. 327-357, 2022.


Chicago: Author-Date Style

Öten, Aliye,. 2022. “Istanbul Residents’ Aesthetic and Architectural Concerns Regarding the Establishment of Municipalities in the City: The Opinions of Ahmed Lütfi Efendi.” Art-Sanat 0, no. 17: 327-357. https://doi.org/10.26650/artsanat.2022.17.929654


Chicago: Humanities Style

Öten, Aliye,. Istanbul Residents’ Aesthetic and Architectural Concerns Regarding the Establishment of Municipalities in the City: The Opinions of Ahmed Lütfi Efendi.” Art-Sanat 0, no. 17 (Feb. 2023): 327-357. https://doi.org/10.26650/artsanat.2022.17.929654


Harvard: Australian Style

Öten, A 2022, 'Istanbul Residents’ Aesthetic and Architectural Concerns Regarding the Establishment of Municipalities in the City: The Opinions of Ahmed Lütfi Efendi', Art-Sanat, vol. 0, no. 17, pp. 327-357, viewed 1 Feb. 2023, https://doi.org/10.26650/artsanat.2022.17.929654


Harvard: Author-Date Style

Öten, A. (2022) ‘Istanbul Residents’ Aesthetic and Architectural Concerns Regarding the Establishment of Municipalities in the City: The Opinions of Ahmed Lütfi Efendi’, Art-Sanat, 0(17), pp. 327-357. https://doi.org/10.26650/artsanat.2022.17.929654 (1 Feb. 2023).


MLA

Öten, Aliye,. Istanbul Residents’ Aesthetic and Architectural Concerns Regarding the Establishment of Municipalities in the City: The Opinions of Ahmed Lütfi Efendi.” Art-Sanat, vol. 0, no. 17, 2022, pp. 327-357. [Database Container], https://doi.org/10.26650/artsanat.2022.17.929654


Vancouver

Öten A. Istanbul Residents’ Aesthetic and Architectural Concerns Regarding the Establishment of Municipalities in the City: The Opinions of Ahmed Lütfi Efendi. Art-Sanat [Internet]. 1 Feb. 2023 [cited 1 Feb. 2023];0(17):327-357. Available from: https://doi.org/10.26650/artsanat.2022.17.929654 doi: 10.26650/artsanat.2022.17.929654


ISNAD

Öten, Aliye. Istanbul Residents’ Aesthetic and Architectural Concerns Regarding the Establishment of Municipalities in the City: The Opinions of Ahmed Lütfi Efendi”. Art-Sanat 0/17 (Feb. 2023): 327-357. https://doi.org/10.26650/artsanat.2022.17.929654



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Submitted29.04.2021
Accepted29.04.2021
Published Online27.01.2022

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