19. Yüzyılın İkinci Yarısında İstanbul Gemicilik Şenlikleri: Büyükada (Prinkipo) Regattaları Ve Adanın Dönüşümü



In this study, nautical festivals named ‘regattas’, which used to be an urban activity in İstanbul, have been selected as a research subject. The aim of this study is to question if a specific urban social activity –the regattas-, has an any effect on the spatial transformation of an urban setting –Istanbul, Büyükada. The periodicals Journal de Constantinople, Levant Herald, Le Monde Illustré, Levant Herald and Eastern Express, Servet-i Fünun and Malumat which were published in the last century of the Ottoman Empire, became the main resources to follow the traces of the regattas. Besides journals, memoirs of the habitants that have lived in the second half of the nineteenth century were also used to collect information. The instants obtained from the news and the memoirs have been re-constructed by using the fragmental analysis method to make a new reading and a new historiography on everyday life in the second half of the 19th century.



The festival, which spans a whole day, took place for the first time in Ottoman Istanbul at Büyükada in 1859 by the patronage of British ambassador Sir Henry Lytton Bulwer with the support of the high-ranking officials of the state. In the following decade, the races were organized in different parts of the city such as Moda-Bay and Büyükdere besides Büyükada. After Bulwer left Istanbul in 1868, two different organization committees ensured the continuity of the races. The first of these was the organizing committee, which consisted potent names of bankers or high society, under the patronage of prominent names such as the Sultan, Minister of the Navy or Prince at the time; the second was the committee organized by the clubs that were established after 1871.



Besides being a setting for Sultan’s and high state officials’ visibility in public space, regattas were also influential in the transformation of the environment. The year 1869, when the potent inhabitants of the Istanbul formed the organization committee, specified as the best year to observe the transformation of the island. The transformation process started before the races with the expansion of the Çınar Street and the construction of the new pier and continued with the manufacture of the pavement and illumination of the ‘Macar Promenade’. Organization committee’s decisions to reconstruct the promenade during the preparation of the regattas certify the regattas’ contribution to the physical and infrastructural state of the island. Besides these improvements, regattas have had an impact on the popularity of the island. The increasing popularity of Büyükada among the summer resorts in Istanbul revealed the insufficient number and capacity of the existing hotels. Therefore, new hotels were built, and existing hotels were expanded and modernized. In a similar way this indicates the impact of the regattas on the accommodation services of Büyükada and Istanbul. All the contributions of regattas indicate not only a change in society but also a modernization of the physical spaces that the new urban life necessitated.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4305/metu.jfa.2020.1.2


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