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From borders to boundaries: Istanbul Land Walls [ITU J Faculty Arch]
ITU J Faculty Arch. 2018; 15(2): 51-59 | DOI: 10.5505/itujfa.2018.54366  

From borders to boundaries: Istanbul Land Walls

Elif Belkıs Öksüz1, Tuba Sarı2
1Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey
2Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture, Bursa Technical University, Bursa, Turkey

The city is a whole with its local, cultural, social dynamics, and built environment. From economics to socio-political, and contextual relations, it contains different kinds of topological relations. In time, these relations become hybrid layers in different ways; and play a decisive role in the change and transformation of the urban context. Therefore, the ‘palimpsest’ is an important notion that reveals the causalities and the relations behind the transformation of an urban context; and a palimpsest urban reading helps us to recognize and understand the dynamic relations of urban transformation by making an inquiry for the physical and contextual values. Through its layers, an urban palimpsest reading makes it possible to observe these characteristic changes and actors involved in changes.
Extending from The Golden Horn to The Marmara Sea, Istanbul Land Walls can be regarded as one of the distinct examples of the urban palimpsest. Since its construction, Istanbul Land Walls have been functioned differently from time to time; and played a critical role in macro-scale and mezzo-scale changes in the urban context. Today, besides showing the patterns of previous civilizations, these buildings also show the traces of a contextual transformation, a transformation from being borders to becoming boundaries. The study discusses the land walls and their impact on the hybridization of the urban context through a historic research, current observation, and photographs in the direction of Topkapı-Yedikule Gates.

Keywords: Borders and boundaries, Istanbul land walls, Layers, Palimpsest, Urban hybrid.


Elif Belkıs Öksüz, Tuba Sarı. From borders to boundaries: Istanbul Land Walls. ITU J Faculty Arch. 2018; 15(2): 51-59

Corresponding Author: Tuba Sarı, Türkiye


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