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Identifying the values of Küçükbahçe Village through its architecture and collective memory

Cöcen, Öget Nevin
Karaburun Peninsula is one of the coastal peripheral areas of Izmir where social, cultural and economicaal effects of Izmir on a rural environment can be seen. Karaburun, with a historical background that can be dated back as much as Izmir’ s, had continuously been inhabited and considered as a strategic place. However, it was never got densely populated and urbanized but had kept constant in its modest rural life. Complying with the context of the Aegean coast, it was compromised of villages with mutually living societies of Turkish and Rum people. Turkish people were the prevailing settlers on the peninsula and owners of most of the properties while Rums with many other poor Turkish people were the working group to earn their lives. However, this harmonious living in Ottoman villages had to last with the population exchange between the Rums in the peninsula and the Muslims in Aegean island and Balkans, as a consequence of Lausanne Treaty that took place in 1923. 1922 was a turning point in Karaburun peninsula’s life. It became a purely Turkish peninsula and with less population and idly in socioeconomic life compared to its past. Today, Karaburun consists of thirteen villages, which carry footprints of Ottoman legacy in varying levels of perception and ways of exposition. Unfortunately, most of the fairly populated villages’ historic contexts are almost demolished. Küçükbahçe is one of these historic villages of the peninsula which is almost abandoned. However, it is a village, in which cultural, social and physical values of Ottoman period can still be perceived and their change can be followed. The study was conducted to identify the architectural characteristics, on the Aegean coast, of late Ottoman village, Küçükbahçe while understanding its rural life and determining its cultural, social and physical values. The thesis aims to reconstruct and visualize the rural life between 1850s and 1922 and physical environment of the village via juxtaposing some of the oral historic documents and the givens of the built environment. Thus, it conceives information to understand how change in social and cultural values influence and are reflected in the built environment of the historic village and establish knowledge on how this historic village can continue its living in contemporary life while conserving its inherited values from Ottoman period. On the whole, a source of reference on Küçükbahçe, where the collective memory of its inhabitants and its architecture are explained as the main sources for its description, is achieved. Thus, a base for further studies on the conservation of Küçükbahçe is established where politics of conservation strategies, principles for interventions and refunctioning of the village are determined. Accordingly, a conservation project for Küçükbahçe is decided to base on the three inputs of its current situation as: break, continuity and change. Hence, agro tourism is proposed as the new function of the village where continuity of the economic activities and social life will be sustained, the break in the life and development of the built environment will be recovered and the population characteristics and construction activities that are already in change will be defined to change in a conservation concsiously manner. Regarding the whole, this thesis contains necessary and satisfying information for a study of the possibilities on the re-functioning of the village. Thus, the decision on the function of the village and the structure of a conservation project has to be given by collaboration of a larger group of specialists building on the knowledge secured by this thesis.