Taksim barracks plan gets council approval

Taksim barracks plan gets council approval

Taksim barracks plan gets council approval

This areal photo shows the large reconstruction work around Istanbul’s Taksim square. The project includes rebuilding of historic military barracks there. DHA photo

The rebuilding of the Taksim Artillery Barracks (Taksim Topçu Kışlası) has been approved by the High Council for Protection of Cultural and Natural Assets.

The High Council’s decision will allow for the rebuilding of the historical building as part of a controversial Taksim Square project that began on Nov. 5 to pedestrianize the square, the NTV news website reported yesterday.

Istanbul’s second Cultural Assets Preservation Board recently decided to cancel the re-building of the historical barracks on the grounds that it would damage Taksim’s (Gezi) Park. However, the High Council cancelled this decision by saying that the Artillery Barracks could in fact be rebuilt.

The High Council’s decision is ultimate and all institutions, municipalities and individuals must comply with it.

The Topçu Kışlası, whose name probably came from Topçu Field Marshal Mehmed Ali Paşa, was built in the first half of the 19th century. They are thought to have been constructed during the reign of Sultan Mahmud II (r. 1809-1839), probably some time after he annihilated the Janissaries in 1826.

In 1937, the decision was taken to completely tear the building down.

The new plan suggest usign a new facility there for social purposes.

Archeologists to join excavations

Meanwhile, the Istanbul General Directorate of Cultural and Natural Heritage also made a decision yesterday about two water outlets from the Ottoman era that were unearthed during the work in Taksim. The decision allows archaeologists to work in the area and bans construction equipment from entering the area.

The construction work in Taksim’s Cumhuriyet Street for an underground tunnel for automobiles had temporarily been halted after the structures, which are thought to be historical water outlets, were revealed.

“The structure is most probably the water outlet of the Artillery Barracks that once stood in the area. The construction work near this structure has stopped, while it continues in other parts,” Culture and Tourism Department provincial head Prof. Dr. Ahmet Emre Bilgili told daily Radikal.