Tourism Ministry prepares action plan to resolve Istanbul’s problems

Tourism Ministry prepares action plan to resolve Istanbul’s problems

Tourism Ministry prepares action plan to resolve Istanbul’s problems

The Culture and Tourism Ministry has prepared an action plan to resolve Istanbul’s outstanding problems and to protect and preserve the megacity’s historical texture and heritage.

The action plan foresees the adoption of a comprehensive earthquake strategy, the enactment of the so-called “Istanbul Protection Law,” and the establishment of a culture and arts council. The plan also aims to limit the construction of high-rise buildings.

Istanbul is home to Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman heritage.

Istanbul is riven by dangerous seismic fault-line and experts have repeatedly warned that historic structures in the city are at risk due to the long-awaited earthquake.

In fact, works are already underway in the city to reduce the risk of earthquake damages in some 176 historical buildings connected to the Culture and Tourism Ministry.

The historical structures, including the Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace and Istanbul Archaeology Museums, will continue to defy the years after the works to reinforce them against possible earthquakes.

Remapping the city

According to the latest blueprint prepared by the Culture Ministry, the map of the city will be redrawn.

Based on the examples of the Old City Jerusalem and the Old Town Prague, the borders of “Old City Istanbul” will be defined and this part of the city will be turned into a tourist attraction. The aim of this remapping project is to protect and revive the cultural, religious and historical values of the city.

The remaining “modern” parts of the city which are the centers of economy, arts, and sports will be called the New Istanbul.”

The action plans also will seek to introduce limits on the construction of high-rise buildings that spoils the skyline of the old Istanbul.

The new approach will discourage isolated, confined housing complexes but will encourage more community, neighborhood-based city planning to create a sense of “Istanbulite” among residents. Administrative and legal works regarding this new approach are expected to start soon.

As part of the action plan, the Culture and Tourism Ministry will contribute to the national earthquake strategy in order to protect the cultural values of the city.

The plan also foresees the enactment of the so-called “Istanbul Protection Law.” The purpose of the legislation is to pass on the city’s historical heritage, cultural archives and thousands of years of memory to the next generations. The mobility in Istanbul’s 39 districts will be reduced to make the city a more accessible place and to preserve the traditional lifestyle.

In elementary and secondary schools, there will be “Istanbul classes” that will provide students with information about the city, including its customs.

A cultural and arts council will also be established. The body will include academics and artists. A museum will also be set up, dedicated to the Eastern Roman and Ottoman civilizations.