Renewal of Istanbul’s historic Süleymaniye area to ‘start in April or May’
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
A project to renew part of Istanbul’s historic Süleymaniye neighborhood in the Fatih district is set to start “in April or May,” according to the local municipal authorities.
As part of the project, a total of 707 buildings, including 327 protected structures, will be renewed in an area of 102,000 square meters area next to the Süleymaniye Mosque complex.
“In line with regulations, we will build three-to-four floor buildings to replace the current eight- to- nine floor buildings that will be demolished. We have tried to address this problem so that the building owners do not suffer, which is why the project has been delayed until now,” Fatih District Mayor Mustafa Demir told Doğan News Agency on Feb. 15.
Demir stressed that the project is in no way an “urban transformation project.”
“Our main aim is to revive the area by protecting the unique character of these historical buildings and the fabric of the streets and the neighborhood. This area is declared as a UNESCO cultural heritage site and stands next to the Süleymaniye [Mosque],” Demir said.
The neighborhood of Süleymaniye is centered on the imperial Ottoman mosque complex of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. It has been one of Istanbul’s four historical UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1985, encompassing a significant number of historical timber houses dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Mayor Demir said the neighborhood mostly accommodated scholars, intellectuals, and bureaucrats during the Ottoman era.
“Once industrialization started in our country, such people gradually left here with the establishment of many factories in the area. Today commercial buildings with seven, eight, even nine floors have been built in this area. It is these constructions that have made the latest renewal project difficult to realize,” he added.
According to the project, around 90 percent of the new buildings to be built in the area will be residential houses and around 10 percent will be workplaces. Constructions will be undertaken either by Kiptaş, the private construction company of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, or by the Fatih District Municipality.
Demir stated that more than half of the lands undergoing rebuilding have already been bought by Kiptaş but some rights owners have filed lawsuits against the expropriation decisions.