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Hotels threatening historical silhouette

ISTANBUL - Radikal | 11/25/2011 12:00:00 AM | ÖMER ERBİL

A historic building close to Dolmabahçe Palace that has been demolished to make way for a new hotel is sparking debate on the preservation of Istanbul’s architectural heritage and concerns about the city’s silhouette.

A historic building close to Dolmabahçe Palace that has been demolished to make way for a new hotel is sparking debate on the preservation of Istanbul’s architectural heritage and concerns about the city’s silhouette.

The building, a historical tobacco depot in Beşiktaş that was declared a cultural artifact in 2005, was recently demolished to make way for a new 14-story hotel. The new hotel is expected to stand 24 meters tall, dwarfing nearby buildings in violation of cultural guidelines.

The construction of the new building has again raised concerns about the silhouette of Istanbul and the Bosphorus.

On Oct. 12, 2010, Turkey’s culture and tourism minister wrote in a statement that construction permission would not be given to any building that negatively affects the silhouette of the Bosphorus and added that it was forbidden to build any building higher than Dolmabahçe palace.

The protection board, however, ignored the statement.

The building was built between 1929 and 1930 by architect Victor Adaman. Sinan Genim, an official in charge of cultural preservation, said the tobacco building was under protection and that it was wrong to demolish the structure.

Gemin also said he had not authorized the building’s demolition.

Professor Semavi Eyice, an art historian, said tobacco storages were very important venues for the collective memory of the city and added that the destruction of the Dolmabahçe tobacco storage was a shame.

The tobacco building was bought by Tanrıverdi Holding in 2005; construction on the new hotel is currently underway. When completed, the building will be 14 stories high.

Construction on the new hotel has reportedly already damaged the palace collection museum and another building used as an art gallery. Fractures have reportedly also appeared on the walls of Dolmabahçe Palace due to the construction; in contrast, despite earthquakes over the past 150 years, the building has never experienced damage before, according to the State Palaces Institution Presidency.

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