CONSERVATION OF KONYA,THE SELJUK CAPITAL / THE CONSERVATION PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS
Prof. Dr. in Restoration, Fac. Of Architecture and Engineering, Head of Dep. of Architecture, Abant Izzet Baysal
VII.1. KONYA INHISTORY
Konya, which is in the Central AnatolianRegion, is one of the greatest cities of Turkey as far as surface area isconcerned. It has been densely populated in every historical period since itsland is distributed into plateaus, plains and closed river systems and its soilis fertile. It was an important center of trade, culture and politics allthrough the First and Middle Ages at the intersection points of historicaltrade routes that connect the Anatolian towns to each other, to Asia and toEurope (Figure 1). It still keeps that importance today.
FIGURE 1. KONYA AT THE END OF 19TH CENTURY
Significant settlements have beenestablished in and around this City since prehistoric times. This part, whichalso contains the ancient Lykaonia, has in it the oldest ancient-erasettlements of Anatolia. Many findings, witnesses to the prehistoric times,have been unearthed in the Alaeddin Hill. The same Hill has been home to theFrigians (Phrigians?) between the 8th-7th centuries BC.Catalhoyuk, near the Cumra District, houses one of the richest veins offindings of the history of civilization (800-5300 BC). Besides Catalhoyuk,important Neolithical settlements are Erbaba (Beysehir), Suberde and Can Hasan.Settlements were established at Can Hasan, Western Catalhoyuk, the AlaeddinHill, Sizma, Karahoyuk and other centers in the Calcolitichal and Bronze Ages.
Konya is one of those Anatoliancities whose name has lasted since the ancient times. Its name of old, Ikonion,is related to the work “Ikon”, which means “picture”, “holy picture”. The nameIkonium was altered to Iconium in the early Roman period, then to Claudiconiumwhen the Emperor gave the town his own name in the period of Emperor Cladius(41-54 AD). The town, which became a completely Roman town in the period ofEmperor Hadrianus (2nd century AD: 117-138), went by the name“Colonia Selenie, Adrina Augusta Iconium. The name of the town, which ismentioned as “Conium” or “Stancona” in Byzantian sources and “Conia, Cogne,Cogna, Konich, Konia Tokonion” in other sources, appears as “Yconium” inCrusader sources. The Arabians named the town as Kuniya. The name Konya, whichwas used in the Seljuk (Selçuk) and Ottoman (Osmanlı) periods as well, has comeunaltered to our day.
After raids by Kimmerians,Lydians and Persians, Konya was put under Roman rule in 133 BC. It is knownthat Konya was included in the first great Anatolian Empire, the State of theHittites (1650-712 BC). The Konya Egerli and Karaman are among old Hittitetowns. The rock base-relief, which is one of the most descriptive properties ofHittite art, is encountered in Egerli, Ivris, Beysehir-Eflatunpinar andFasillar. Following that, Konya entered the power of the Frigian state(712-695) and the Lydians (680-546).
This is followed by the Persiansconquering all of Anatolia from one end to the other (546-334 BC). The town wasincluded in the Cappadoccia Kingdom between the dates 332-17 BC. Conquered bythe Romans in 17 BC, Konya became an important center in this period and theByzantian period. The Roman period displays the properties of the peace time insuch a town as Konya which is wide-spread on plains. The town was the scene forseveral Emevi and Abbasi (Arabs) attacksin the Eastern Rome/Byzantine period between the years 395-1076. After theMalazgirt Battle, it was conquered by Suleyman Shah in the year 1076 and madethe Capital City of the Anatolian Selcuklu (Seljucks) State. The Alaeddin Hillis an inner citadel in Konya, which attained its true character during theSelcuklu period. This Selcuk Citadel has almost been left right in the middleof the town during the Ottoman Empire Period.
VII.2. HISTORICALCOMMERCIAL CENTER OF KONYA
The “Center ofTrade”, an indication of the economical structure, level of technology, andthe social and cultural life of a town, is the most important part of the town. There is a deep-rooted tradition of trade organization and tradestructure in the Ottoman-Turkish towns. The traditional trade centers ofmany of our towns today, like in Konya, are physical proofs of this tradition,which have lived until this day. Thesetrade centers should be rearranged and old buildings should be given new areasof application. The position of Konya, on the route that runs by mountainsgoing down all the way to the Mediterranean shores, lends itself readily tourban settlement. Catalhoyuk, that is perhaps the first prehistoric Anatoliansettlement to display urban characteristic, is on the same route, very close toKonya. The ancient route, which goes across Anatolia diagonally, had becomeextremely significant when Bursa rose as an economical center in the Ottomans’time.
FIGURE 2. KONYA HISTORICAL TRADE CENTER AT THEBEGININNING
OF THE 20TH CENTURY (Aziziye Mosque)
This route set off from Bursa, passedthrough Kutahya-Karahisar-Aksehir-Konya-Adana and reached Halep and Sam; ittherefore connected Konya simultaneously to the other Ottoman towns, mostsignificantly Istanbul. Kayseri, through which another trade route from Syriepassed, was connected to Konya through Aksaray.
Another way the Ottomans reachedthe Arabian countries was the Alanya-Antalya (Attalia) sea route. Heavy tradematerial of Anatolia was brought to Antalya through land and were carried toAlexandria and other regions from there through sea. And the control of thatAntalya route was in the hands of Karamans, in Konya.
The trade and social focal pointsin Konya are the trader-crafter markets surrounding Mevlana Kulliyesi, Selimiye Mosque, KapuMosque and Aziziye Mosque. The two basic elements of the Islamic town, themosque and the market, are observed to be the two elements controlling thephysical structure in Ottoman towns as well. However, Ottoman towns weredeveloped, unlike other Islamic towns, by creating imarets (Pious Foundations), which are collections of religions and socialbuildings. Since imarets includedbuildings for all services, including mosques, inns, baths and mealhouses(aşevi), they tended to attract people around themselves.
The Konya settlement area waswithin the walls surrounding the Alaeddin Hill in the Selcuk times. After thetown walls were repaired, a palace was erected on the northern slopes of thehill and the Ulu Mosque (Alaeddin Mosque) in the middle part. According to thebuilding remains, it can be stated that the northern side of the hill wasreserved for Turks and the southern side, for the Christian people. The palace,government buildings, schools, mosques, inns and baths were constructed in theTurkish part. There was a wall separating the Turkish and Christian Districts.
The Town, which grew andflourished rapidly, was surrounded by a broader wall by Alaeddin KeykubatI. Charles Texier mentions that therewere 108 towers on these walls, one in every 30 meters; and there were bridgeson these walls where the gates were. There were 12 gates leading out of thewall. Some of these gates had names like Aksaray, Atpazarı (Horse Market),Debbaglar, Ertas, Fahirani, Halka Begus, Meydan (Square), Çeşme Kapısı(Fountain Gate). The Town spilt out of these walls as well after the 16thcentury and spread swiftly in four directions. The main spreads were toAraplar and Sedirler in the northeast,to Turbe in the east, to Uluirmak and Lalebahce in the south and to Havzan andMeram in the west.
Information about the trade areasand markets during the Selcuk period is limited. While the markets and bazaarswere around the Alaeddin Hill until the 13th century, they weremoved out of the outer walls after that date. The Buğday Pazarı (Wheat Market)was in the north, the Kapan Pazarı (Trap Market) and Odun Pazarı (Wood Market)were in the west, and the Bezezistan (Bedestan) was in the east. There alsowere horse and sheep markets nearby the Aksaray Gate.
Some of the inns, whose patronswere merchants, that are in the markets are Sekerciler, Pirincciler, VezirZiyadettin, Bedrettin Yalman, Demre Hanim and Altin Apa. Today, only some shopsnext to the Sahip Ata inn remain of the trade points.
The Konya traditional market; hada unique and original structure in the Ottoman as well as the Selcuk Period.Every trade branch operated in a street assigned to it. The center of themarket started from the Kanuni Bedesten and reached out to Atpazari in thesouth.
The market was in its presentbounds in the 19th century. After the 1869 fire, a great portion wasrenovated by the Governor Burdurlu Tevfik Pasa.
The traders and crafters thatremain to us from the old market are as follows: Mustaflar, Çarıkçılar (Shoemakers), Yorgancılar (Coverlet-Makers),Marangozlar (Carpenters), Demirciler (Blacksmiths), Attarlar (Druggist),Tuzcular, Kececiler, Jewelers and Dabbags(Tanner).
None of the trade buildings thatwere constructed in the Ottoman Period could reach to our day in its originalform. And the nine-domed covered bazaar “Konya Bedesteni”, dated 1538, was torndown and the School of Industry (today, the building of Special Governorship)was erected in its place. The traditional Konya Market was built in 1869 by theGovernor Tevfik Pasha, and the Wheat Market was build in 1901 by the Governor Ferit Pasha. Some of thetrade buildings, which are mentioned in historical sources but could not standto this day, were: the Kiremitli Inn built by Beyazit II., the Avlun Inn builtby Behram Aga, the Alaca Inn built by Mahmut Pasha, the Valide Inn built byKosem Valide Sultan, the Bezirganlar Inn built by Mustafa Pasa and the AslanAga Inn built by the Kethuda Aslan Aga. The Mecidiye Inn, built in the 19thcentury, is still in use today (Figure 3).
FIGURE 3. A CARAVAN INSIDE AN OLD HAN NEAR AZIZIYE MOSQUE
There are inns that bear theproperties of late period Ottoman architecture in the traditional town centerbesides the Mecidiye Inn, such as the Nakipoglu Inn and Basarili Inn. MarketPlaces (Bazaars), which were important elements of the traditional pattern,have been destroyed (like the Uzum Market (Grape Bazaar) and Agac Market (WoodBazaar)) (Figure 4). Whereas the shops that create the pattern in this part ofthe town center had generally been one-or two-story, mixed roofed, withbalconies on the front facade, wooden and shuttered buildings in the beginningof the 20th century, now they are completely disfigured by repairs,added stories and new buildings. One of the best-preserved historical tradepatterns today is located in the part to the north of the Turbe Street.
FIGURE 4. WOOD BAZAAR (ODUNPAZARI) AT THE END OF THE 19THCENTURY
VII.3. KONYA TODAY, THE PROBLEMS OFCONSERVATION AND SUGGESTIONS
The first urban Master andImplementation Plan of Konya City, whose basemaps were prepared in the 1940s,was made in the year 1944. In the Master and Implementation Plans, that wereobtained through the planning competition held by Iller Bankasi in 1964, it wasdecided that the city be developed in the Konya-Ankara axis’ direction.
According to the 1990 census, thecity has a population of 513 344. Of that number, 188 244 lives in the SelcukDistrict, 182 444 in Meram District and 142 678 in the Karatay District.
In the 1/25 000 scaledEnvironment Arrangement Plan approved in the year 1983, the population for theyear 2005 is targeted to be 1.3 millions.
The Central Business Districts(CBD) of Konya consists of the proximity of Aleaddin Hill, which is developingto be as the administrative center of the city. The Turbe District, where thehistorical town center is located, is a part that can be reached by the OuterCitadel and the Aksaray Gate (Bab-i Aksaray) in the eastern part of the city.There is a dense traffic artery between the Aleaddin Hill and the MevlanaKulliyesi. This artery, which was conceived to be a pedestrian-concentratedpromenade in the 1964 plan, has not yet been put into application.
The effects of the Konya UrbanMaster Plan (Y. Tasci Plan) dated 1965 on the Historical Town Center are asfollows:
Konya is established on a historical core and is presently developingin a radial and erratic manner depending on the commercial and socialequipment. The onset of highrise buildings on norrow streets in the town centerindicates the growing tendency for sunless, unhealthy places.
The town center is unable to serve surrounding settlements. As anatural consequence of the human stream flowing in an east-west direction andconnecting the bus terminal and the traditional center, a new center isplanned to develop in time and a densebuilding is foreseen around this center.
The Aleaddin Hill-Mevlana Kulliyesi axis is set aside for pedestriantraffic and it is decided to form two collecting routes, one to the north andone to the south, and a central ring.This ring will provide easier access from the neighborhood, which is developing all directions, to the traditionalcenters (Figure 5).
FIGURE 5. GENERAL VIEW OF KONYA FROM ALAEDDIN HILLS (1940’S)
Developing the roads surrounding the Historical Town Center, a secondring was formed around the center; thus, the region between the first and thesecond rings is conceived as a part that is fitting to the theory of urbandevelopment, and a transition-development area for the center.
The permission for 3, 4, sometimes5-story buildings has, for a long time, prevented high-scale building demandsin this part, as compared to the higher-rant parts of the City. On the otherhand, since these parts are right next to the traditional trade center andsince a potential for tourism isinherent there, the interest in the region has ever been alive. For theexisting main artery to be rearranged for mainly pedestrian traffic, the twonew Northern Arteries that were created connect the residential areas in theeastern part of town to the historical trade center and to the new center inNalcaci, through the Turbe District (Figure 6).
FIGURE 6 : KAPU MOSQUE AND HISTORICAL TRADE CENTER (1996)
To the west of the Turbe Districtis the historical trade center, and to the east, north and south is the Konyatraditional residential pattern. This area, which has been used for residentialpurposes until recent years, is gradually being converted into a tourism trade,daily trade, hosting and small production area since it is included within theCBD boundaries; and with occasional stores and warehouses, is slowly beingruined. The 1-2 storied old Konya houses, part of the traditional residentialpattern, are being pulled down and 4-6-storied buildings are being erected onthe same street, hence the density is blowing up to disproportionate amountsand a building order that clashes with the old town pattern, that lacks servicesand parking areas, is being established.
While the existing road patternin the traditional center is being preserved as it is (apart from someopening-closing to traffic and some one-way designations), great damage hasbeen made to the historical sight of Konya by the increased number of allowedstories.
The implementation plan that hasbeen in force in Konya until our day was neither prepared in a mannerthoughtful of the cultural valuables that have to be preserved as examples ofmonumental and civilian architecture, nor was aimed to preservation.
Where registered buildings weredense, either the road was widened or new roads were opened by pulling downregistered buildings. By wide-ranging operations in the traditional center,big-scale buildings like the Mevlana Market, the Kadinlar Bazaar, The ŞeyhKamil Merkez Market, the Rampalı Market, the Saray Market, or big-programbuildings that were erected by combining together all of a building plot oreven two plots together, were made, totally incompatible with the traditionalpattern in their mass, dimensions, or architecture.
The projects of some buildingslike the Ferah Market, Vakif Market-Business complex, and the Altin Market arerelatively fitting in their environment with their dimensions. Another projectthat was prepared was or the renovation of the Old Wheat Market and convertingit to a great closed-roof-market complex. All of these applications disturb thehistorical pattern of the traditional center, and the intensifying businessactivities bring about transportation problems.
Konya, whose historical past isextremely rich and whose accumulation of cultural and architectural material isextensive, should be considered with all-encompassing approaches and itscultural valuables and monumental structures should be preserved and developedas parts of a whole.
Actually, according to the decision numbered 225 and made on 01.05.1995by the Konya Council of Preservation of Cultural and Natural Assets, a “Konya Historical Town Center Conservation Plan”, that includes thegreater part of the traditional center has been prepared by considering thetraditional center as a whole. With this plan, the “Mevlana Kulliyesi Environmental Arrangement Project” formerlyprepared by the Ministry of Culture, the“Mevlana Kulliyesi Location Preservation-Aimed Building Plan” thatconsiders the close neighborhood of the Kulliye, and the “Piri Mehmet Pasa Kulliyesi and Its Environment Conservation Plan”prepared by the Karatay Municipality, transportation, land use, cultural assetsthat have to be preserved and other similar factors were considered altogetherand it was attempted to create a“Historical Town Center Project”.
All these new developments are positive,although late. Nevertheless, the planning and application issues presentedbelow should be considered with priority.
The “KonyaHistorical Town Center Conservation Plan” does not contain all of thetraditional pattern and center of Konya. Moreover, a complete and wholeinventory has to be made of the cultural valuables that could reach intact toour day that have to be preserved. An inventory has been made of the traditionalcentral parts and new registrations have been made. However, the conservationplans of parts that include thetraditional pattern in the south-west and north should be prepared urgently.
There are many studies about thearchaeology of the City of Konya. Still, these studies remain separate fromeach other. It is important to create an “ArchaeologyMaster Plan” of the town about past, especially archaeological periods, bypreparing the restitution of the City. The traditional town center and thetraditional residential pattern are within the borders of the MeramMunicipality and Karatay Municipality. The Greater Municipality also has authorityover these two municipalities. For instance, the study on thePreservation-Aimed Planning for the Surroundings of Piri Mehmed Pasa has beenmade by Karatay Municipality, whereas the Historical Town CenterPreservation-Aimed Planning studies were made by the Greater Municipality. Thepreservation plans around the Mevlana have, on the other hand, been prepared bythe Ministry of Culture. The Konya Province is directing the project andapplication works around the Mevlana Kulliyesi and its close proximity. As canbe seen, the chaos of authority and many-headedness that can be observed in alot of other preservation areas is encountered in Konya as well.
It is probably the best if thepreservation and improvement-aimed planning studies the traditional pattern of Konya (the centraland residential pattern) are conducted by the Greater Municipality of Konya,while some specific projects of application are applied by the Meram andKaratay Municipalities.
Naturally, the centraladministration’s (Governor, the Ministry of Culture, the Department of PiousFoundations etc.) and local units (The Preservation Council, the ProvinceCulture Department, the Regional Department of Pious Foundations etc.) shouldbe directing, controlling and financially and technically aiding the localadministrations.
In the long run, it is vital thatthe local administrations (municipalities) should form units within theirstructure that contain personnel experienced in urban planning, restoration,preservation, rehabilitation, development, and renovation to fit the historicalenvironment; and in the short run, that they should work in cooperation withpeople, establishments and organisations experienced in these matters.
By considering “Special Project Areas” that are to bedetermined in the course of the work on Preservation Planning, urban design,landscape and urban furniture projects, relevation and restoration projectsshould be prepared in greater scales (1/500, 1/200 and the like), andapplications should commence without any further delay. The important point,beyond the preparations of these plans and projects, is passing on thevaluables to be preserved to the future generations by prompt application ofthese.
· TUNÇER,M., “Conservation Project of Konya Historical Trade Area, Research Report”,Oct. 1996, (Unpublished) UTTA Planning and Consulting Co.
· TUNÇER, M., “Preserving KONYA, The Seljuk Capital”,ADA Kentliyim Review, May-June 1998, Number 14, Ankara, pp.72-75.
· ALKAN,A., “Planning Problems of Konya The Historic Town”, 1994, Konya.
· ERGENÇ,Ö., “Ankara and Konya In Years Between 1580-1596”, Ph.D. Thesis, University ofAnkara, 1973.
· KARPUZ,H., “Historical and Physical Development of Konya Historical Trade Center”,Unpublished Research, 1996, Konya.
· ÖNDER,M., “Mevlana’s City Konya”, 1976, Ankara.