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Conservation of a modern rural heritage place: early republican period model village of Samutlu (Temelli), Ankara

Kavak, Tuğba
The concern for the improvement of rural with its built environment began to manifest itself in the Late Ottoman period. The problem of resettlement as a result of mass migrations from the lost lands to the country led this concern to transform into a planned resettlement policy. And the issue continued in Early Republican Period, gained a different dimension and establishment of planned rural settlements became an important tool for realization of Republican vision in the rural areas. They became mediums for improvement of existing rural living conditions and social, cultural, economic and architectural modernization of rural areas. This work focuses on ‘model village’ projects, one of the important developments of the newly established republic in this context. In Early Republican Period, when settlement areas in the country were predominantly rural, the idea was that modernization would be succeeded directly by architectural, socio-cultural and economic improvement of these rural settlements, allowing the development of ‘model village’ projects for reinterpretation and improvement of rural life and built environment. Many of these settlements were lost today and remained ones are not identified, registered or subjected to any conservation action. Samutlu is one of the rural settlements established in this period with these ideals and reached to the present day by preserving its tissue in a certain extent. The settlement is distinguished from the previous experiences with its circular plan scheme and characteristic stone houses. Samutlu was established as a model village in 1931 to accommodate immigrant families from Bulgaria and it is located on the Ankara-Eskişehir railway line, at the west end of the city, in an area which have historic bonds related with the Independence War. Stone houses, agricultural lands, seeds, animals, and equipment for cultivation were given to families during the establishment. So, a self-sufficient settlement tried to be established, with its planned built-up environment and agricultural resources to provide income for settlers while ensuring their contribution to the economy. Established as a model village in the Early Republican Period, Samutlu has maintained its rural identity and settlement layout for a long time, but over time with the effect of various forces it has been dissolved and remained with its rural characteristics in the middle of an urban area today known as Temelli. This Early Republican model village is now under the risk of losing its identity and physical entity. What is aimed with this study is to serve as a base to support the recognition, understanding and preservation of this place with its context in respect to its being an important part of the collective memory belonging to the Early Republican Period. In the scope of this study initial and transformed architectural and socio-cultural characteristics of the settlement are examined through archival and literature search, field survey, in-depth interviews, documentation of the physical entity and analysis of historical development. The fact that its unique plan layout is still legible, its stone houses are standing with their authentic characteristics and connection of descendants of immigrant families is still continue today, Samutlu is a significant modern rural landscape which should be conserved with all its characteristics with a holistic approach. The examination of architectural and socio-cultural transformation of this model throughout the process starting from initial planning till present day, assessing its significance as a modern rural heritage place and development of a conservation approach, constitute the general framework of this study.