Everything about Istanbul in a library
ISTANBUL – Anatolia News Agency
The library, opened by the foundation that bears the name of late Çelik Gülersoy is one of the rare places where everyone who wants to carry out study about Istanbul can find anything. AA photoThe Istanbul Library, which was opened by the Çelik Gülersoy Foundation in 1990 in the Sultanahmet neighborhood, keeps the memory of the city alive with 10,000 books.
The library’s director, Neslihan Yalav, said late Çelik Gülersoy was a very well-known name in Istanbul and Turkey, having established many important places in the city. She said since Gülersoy was a big fan of Istanbul, he had a large library including books on Istanbul that he had collected over the years. As a result of his collection, the Istanbul Library was opened.
Yalav said there were countless numbers of books about Istanbul, but such a library had never existed before like this one.
She said tourists showed particularly large interest in the library, as there were books written about the city in various languages. “There are books in English, German, Ottoman and Greek. It is a significant place because there are only books about Istanbul. One can find everything about the city here.
People conducting research on Istanbul only come to this library. We also receive great demand from students for their assignments as well as from researchers. If a Japanese reader comes to Turkey and finds this library, or an academic from Spain can prepare his or her doctorate thesis here, this shows that our library is a notable archive. There is a big demand from tourists. We have been operating the library since 1990.”
Library enriched with new books
Yalav said although the library had been active for more than 20 years, some people were just finding out about it. “This library is the only operating organ of the foundation Gülersoy established. When it was first opened, we estimate that it was the only library in Istanbul. Since then, the Istanbul Research Institute has been opened by the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation. Gülersoy has defined our library as the ‘memory of Istanbul.’ We purchase all books about Istanbul as they are published. Lots of publications were prepared in 2010, as a result of Istanbul being the European Capital of Culture. It is not possible to obtain all publications, so we ask for some, or people donate them to us. We try to enrich the library at every opportunity.”
Yalav said the library was different from an ordinary library environment. “There is a warm, nice environment. The ground floor of the two-storey building is home to magazines and extra books. There is a rich collection of unique books in the upper floor. This is also a reading floor. The library has a breathtaking view of the Hagia Sophia. It also offers books from Byzantine and Roman periods, Ottoman history, travel books, memoirs, fine arts books, biographies, books on town planning, municipalities, Istanbul guides and more,” she said.
About Çelik Gülersoy
Çelik Gülersoy was a Turkish lawyer, historical preservationist, writer and poet. He is best remembered for the heritage conservation works he carried out on historical sites during his long-time post as director general of the Touring and Automobile Club of Turkey (TTOK).
Reorganizing the TTOK, he brought in many much-needed services. He contributed to tourism and attended traffic conferences and congresses abroad. He published numerous books on historic sites, mainly in Istanbul, and contributed to the redevelopment of the cultural and touristic places.
Gülersoy died of cancer in 2003. He left all his assets to the Çelik Gülersoy Foundation that he established.