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Twist And Turn
This worn wooden spiral staircase was photographed in a centuries-old Greek house located in the Fener neighborhood of Istanbul, Turkey.
Because of the location of the Greek Patriarchate and the Orthodox Church, Fener was dominantly a Greek neighbourhood since the Byzantine period. In the 17th century, Fener became the residence of upper classes and the bourgeoisie with its hewn stone buildings and richly ornamented house facades. During the Ottoman period, an important segment of Greeks who lived in Fener, who were well-educated and fluent in several languages, held high government positions as interpreters or diplomats. During the 18th century, the majority of new constructions were made of stone or wood; and aristocratic Greek families started to build villas around the Patriarchate.
However, the settlement structure changed in the 19th century: Prominent families of Fener left the neighbourhood and moved to villages along the Bosphorus, such as Tarabya, Kurucesme and Arnavutkoy. Only officials, artisans and small traders were left behind and they moved to the unique row houses of the district. They started to build on the plots reclaimed from the fire. Until the 1960s, Fener preserved its identity as a Greek neighbourhood. With the first wave of immigrants to the bourgeois neighbourhoods of Istanbul ( the Prince's Islands, Kadikoy and Sisli) at the end of the 19th century, the population structure started to change radically. After a second wave, when the Greeks left Istanbul in large numbers in the 1960s. The deterioration of the characteristic seashore as a result of industrialization had an impact on Fener as well.
Following the 1960s, new inhabitants arriving from the Black Sea region started to settle in the area in large numbers.This coastal area underwent some very important physical changes in recent decades. A large number of the 18th century stone buildings in Fener and the buildings along the Golden Horn including the Balat Dock were demolished with bulldozers as part of a wide ranging program directed by the Mayor between 1984 and 1987. This project left intact only the city walls on the coast and a few historic buildings outside these walls.
Efforts to transform these areas into parks or other public space could not be achieved. The parks on the seashore are cut from the neighbourhood by a road with heavy traffic and inhabitants still need public or green space.
Note: This photograph has been processed with a digital watercolor filter and will reproduce more effectively if printed on a matte surface paper such as watercolor or Somerset Velvet.
October 3rd, 2012
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