Urban Fissure: The Spatial Manifestation Of The Istanbul Land Walls And Mural Zone



This article intends to question changing spatiality and position of the “urban edge” in the expanding cities; and argues its spatial manifestation as an “urban fissure”. The term “edge” that basically refers in to the end line between two opposing milieus, became redundant in the expanded urban surface; and necessitates a critical review through a new concept. Edge, demarcating the communication/interaction line between two milieus, acts also as a “productive frontier” and generates an edgescape that subsequently appears as urban fissure in the expanded city. Herein, İstanbul Land Walls, with their immense size and multi-layered spatiality, present a unique case in the search for urban fissure. The triple defense architecture of the Land Walls forms a complex system, composed of open and enclosed spaces; inner wall, outer wall, moat, terraces between the walls, towers and gates. Besides their architecture, Land Walls have also triggered the generation of  edge spaces on and around them; gates, Byzantine Imperial Palaces, Yedikule Fortress, bostans, cemeteries, sacred spaces, industrial sites, circulation infrastructures, recreational areas and neighborhoods. The coexistence of these spaces has formed a mural zone that has been molded by spatial removals, impositions or superimpositions in the course of the history.  In this respect, mural zone might be identified as a spatio-temporal ground, having diverse representations in different times; the material expression of the territorial defense for centuries; derelict defense architecture in the Ottoman İstanbul; ruined edgescape in the 19th century; urban wilderness in the 1950s; and urban interstice by 1980’s.  Especially after 1980’s, increased number of (inter)national efforts/regulations/planning attempts, informal occupancies and spatial removals/injections, have highly influenced the spatiality of the mural zone that ended up with spatial fragmentation, over-programming, and razed characteristic landscape fabric. To this purpose, this article discusses the multi-scaled and multi-layered spatiality and landscape of the mural zone through an integrated historical and conceptual reading that will present the mural zone as an urban fissure. Such spatio-temporal analysis will reveal currently endangered spaces and landscape reminiscences in the mural zone; and will liberate mural zone from over-programmed urban and landscape scenarios.

Full Text:


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4305/metu.jfa.2019.1.9


  • There are currently no refbacks.