Award ceremony held in Istanbul for restoration of Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamam
Ömer Erbil – ISTANBUL
A local award ceremony for the restoration of the Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamam, which won the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards in 2017 in the category of conversation, is set to take place on April 12 in Istanbul.
Chief Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan was comissioned by the famous Ottoman Admiral Kılıç Ali Paşa to construct the Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamam from 1578-1583 as part of the mosque and school complex to serve the levends (marine forces in the Ottoman navy).
Famous for its architectural lines and majestic dome, the hamam is one of the symbolic buildings in Tophane, Istanbul’s harbor district.
Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı reopened to the public after seven years of meticulous and intensive restoration in 2012.
In 2017, the hamam’s restoration received a Europa Nostra Award, Europe’s top honor in the heritage field. The award was already presented at a ceremony held on May 15, 2017 in the historic city of Turku, Finland, but a local award ceremony will also be organized in Istanbul on April 12.
The renovation project was initiated and privately funded by the hamam’s owner, Nureddin İren, who bought the historical structure in 2005. İren wanted to return the hamam to its original function in a respectful way. The renovation works were carried out by Cafer Bozkurt and his architectural team over a period of seven years.
“It was bought as a functioning hamam, but it was in a ruined state. It was in unusable condition in terms of health. When we first took it over, there was a two-floor wooden structure in the hamam. This building was severely damaged in a fire in the 1930s. There were adjoined shops [to the hamam], inauthentic structures both in the hamam and outside it, and a door whose authentic structure was damaged,” Bozkurt told daily Hürriyet, during an exclusive tour of the hamam.
“There were only four shops [adjoined to the hamam] with an authentic structure. We have maintained them. There were many adjoining inauthentic structures, so the hamam was under an invasion. We have cleared them all. This hamam has received two important awards. It was presented the National Architecture Award [in 2016] in the category of Building Preservation and Revitalization. And last year, it was honored with the Europa Nostra Award,” said the architect.
“This living heritage site has been revitalized with a combination of expertise in architecture and craftsmanship. It is a prime example of an Ottoman bath and the success of this project has considerable power of example,” said the jury for the Europa Nostra Awards last year.
“This is an important building by the iconic architect Mimar Sinan in central Istanbul, which has been expertly restored with the use of traditional techniques and crafts, especially in the restoration of the dome. There is a fine attention to detail evident throughout this project, in the restoration of the original shoe lockers in the frigidarium, for example, which speaks volumes about the dedication of the team to restoring the hamam as close to its 16th-century interior as possible,” said the jury.