Arslan, Nil
In an increasingly homogenised and globalised world, the preservation and appreciation of the authentic values of the various cultural heritages provide an invaluable source of intellectual and spiritual richness. The emerging nationalist movement of the 19th century had considerable effect when it promoted heritage as a critical component in the creation of a national identity. Conservation policies, that sought to deal with certain cultures, ignored the values of some ethnic groups and dropped from consideration. The 19th century Rum churches of Mudanya have been selected as case studies for this thesis because they have lost or face the risk of losing their tangible and intangible values due to their now being out of their original contexts, abandoned, neglected and misused. This study assesses these churches to appreciate their values and potentials and to identify challenges and threats. To learn what kind of conservation problems Rum churches face and their extent, both the surviving churches and the lost ones are reviewed. The ideological, historical and cultural factors influencing perceptions of the Rum heritage in Turkey are also listed and discussed to demonstrate that social attitudes and conservation practices are indeed the key and motivating factors responsible for the physical neglect of Rum churches. The Rum churches of Mudanya are examples to provide an insight into and lessons for similar conservation problems experienced in the other 19th century Anatolian Rum churches that have lost their community. The Rum churches that are the subject of this thesis are located within the borders of the Mudanya district of Bursa in the Marmara region. This region had been one of the important centres of Orthodox Christianity since the Byzantine period, especially in the 8th and 9th centuries. Accordingly, it was home to numerous churches built by the Rum community, many refurbished in the 19th century. The Population Exchange between Turkey and Greece, with the Lausanne Treaty signed on 24 July 1923, however, was a key turning point that transformed the existing social structure, and with that the non-Muslim settlements and religious sites. The churches had developed within the Rum society of which they were an integral part. Now, bereft of their supporting populations, these buildings faced environmental, physical, social, political and economic challenges. It is known that there were nineteen Rum churches in Mudanya and its villages. Five of these churches have survived to the present day; one partially survived and thirteen have completely disappeared. Of the five surviving churches, two of the surviving churches converted into cultural centres in the early 2000s, three of them were abandoned after being used for various functions after the Population Exchange and displacement of local communities. Today, all the abandoned churches have undergone physical changes resulting from neglect; they remain in a poor state of preservation. In this context, a theoretical framework that explains terms related to the preservation of the heritage of diverse cultures and addresses the various approaches towards Rum churches in Turkey is presented. The case study is based on field surveys to better understand the characteristics of the churches and to assess the values of the buildings and the challenges related to them, as well as archival studies. Based on these analyses, a conservation assessment is made so that these churches can be better preserved in the future and the surviving churches will not face similar problems because of neglect, abuse or misuse
Citation Formats
N. Arslan, “ASSESSMENT OF THE RUM CHURCHES IN MUDANYA (BURSA) FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONSERVATION,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2023.