AYVALIK – Anadolu Agency
A 19th century olive oil and soap factory in the northwestern Turkish resort town of Ayvalık will be restored and converted into a wellness center by the local municipality.
The Kırlangıç Olive Oil and Soap factory, a property of the municipality stopped production in 2001.
The renovation project has been accepted by the general directorate of the Cultural Heritage regional board in the neighboring province of Bursa, said Mayor Rahmi Gençer.
“It is our duty to carry out the project now. We realize this project is not only for Ayvalık but for all of Turkey because I think this conversion project can act as a model,” said the mayor.
With regard to its industrial heritage, Ayvalık is on the right track to becoming a UNESCO World Heritage site and the conversion of the factory will contribute to this process.
Gençer said they have been working on the project for the last three years and collaborated with the owner of “Mimar Sinan Grand Prix,” architect Ersen Gürsel.
“It is going to be a complete social and cultural center together with its craft ateliers, open and closed concert halls, restaurants, shopping malls and accommodation areas,” said Gençer.
The Kırlangıç Olive Oil and Soap Factory had been turned into a refining facility in the early years of the modern republic by Fazıl Doğan. Kırlangıç became one of the leading brands in its field starting from the 1950s.
Gençer said the property was acquired as a municipal asset by his predecessor, Ahmet Tüfekçi.
He said the restoration would be handled without destroying the building’s architecture or expanding the facility’s volume.
There are many soap producers, olive oil factories and their storehouses in the town, the mayor said.
“Today, many of them are still present with their roofs and architectural patterns. Some of these buildings will be turned into a hotel, art gallery, restaurants, cafes and workplaces. Just like the example of the Kırlangıç factory, through the right orientation we will bring in other facilities to Ayvalık and its tourism,” said Gençer.