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Defining the urban environment of Aydin in the 20th century through the memoirs of Zeki Mesud Alsan/Zeki Mesud Alsan'in anlatimiyla 20. Yuzyil baslarinda Aydin kentsel cevresinin tanimlanmasi.


The intention in this article is to provide an understanding of the urban environment and daily life in Aydin in the period between 1890 and 1905. By drawing upon the memoirs of Prof. Dr. Zeki Mesud Alsan (who used the first name 'Mustafa'), entitled 'Mustafa'nin Romani: Memleket Cocugu' (The Story of Mustafa: The Child of Hometown), the lost urban memory of Aydin from the end of the 19th century will be re-discovered. In the first volume of his memoirs, Mustafa recalled his childhood observations and experiences in Aydin, up until the time he entered the Preliminary School of Izmir (Izmir idadisi) (Alsan, 2002).

Prof. Dr. Zeki Mesud Alsan (Mustafa) was born in Aydin in 1889. He was a student in the Faculty of Political Sciences in istanbul (Mekteb-i Mulkiye) during the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid II. In 1913, he attended the 'Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques' in Paris with a scholarship from the Ministry of Education, and on his return from Paris in 1915, he was appointed at the Ministry of Finance. From 1927 to 1943, he was a member of the Turkish Parliament, after which he became a professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences (Mekteb-i Mulkiye) in 1945, promoted to the position of Dean of the Faculty between 1946 and 1948. As a professor, he wrote several books, such as the General International Law Courses (Devletler Hukuku Dersleri, 1947), New Developments on General International Law (Devletler Hukukunda Yeni Gelismeler, 1948) and New General International Law (Yeni Devletler Hukuku Dersleri, 1950), before retiring in 1956. He was not only a politician and a scientist, but also a member of various associations and institutions such as the Turkish University Solidarity Association (Turk Universiteleri Dayanisma Dernegi), the United Nations Liberty Provision and Protection Turkish Group (Birlesmis Milletler insan Haklari ve Ana Hurriyetleri Saglama ve Koruma Turk Grubu) and the Anatolian Club (Anadolu Kulubu). He died in 1986 (Alaettin, 1936; Alsan, 2002).



Mustafa's memoirs was published in three volumes. The first volume, entitled 'Mustafa'nin Romani', comprising his memoirs from 1897 to 1905 was first published by Vakit Publishers in 1942, and was re-edited by Prof. Dr. Ali Birinci and published by Vadi Publishers in 2002. Volume two, entitled 'Hurriyet Pervanesi', based on his memoirs between 1907 and 1910 was first published in 1943 and was also recently re-edited

and published alongside the first volume. The third volume, entitled 'Kavak Yeli', unfortunately remains undiscovered at this time. The first volume, as the subject of this article, records Mustafa's childhood memories of Aydin and Izmir. According to Birinci, when first published the book was considered to be a work of fiction due to its title 'The Story of Mustafa' (Mustafa'nin Romani); but regardless of its genre, what the book does is provide a comprehensive description of the city of Aydin at the end of the 19th century (Alsan, 2002, XXVIII, XXIX). Although Mustafa did not write his recollections of the period between 1897 and 1907 until after his retirement, his first book offers a unique description of the urban environment, the architectural characteristics and social and daily life in Aydin at the time. What Mustafa has left for posterity is a record of the lost urban memory of the city from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century.

Located on the west of Asia Minor (Figure 1), to the south of the Aydin Mountains (Figure 2)(1), Aydin was a significant commercial centre to the hinterland of Izmir harbour, to where it was connected by the first railway constructed in the Ottoman Empire. In the 19th century it is known that Aydin's population was made up of Muslims, Christians and Jews; however the shortage of written or visual records or studies relating to the city (2) makes Mustafa's memoirs from the period all the more significant. Mustafa left Aydin in 1905 when he entered the Preliminary School of Izmir, but would return to visit his family and hometown during holidays when he was able to witness the social and educational life in the city in the declining years of the Ottoman Empire.

The methodology of this study comprises three parts, and draws inspiration from the method used by N. Sahin Guchan in 'Tracing the memoir of Dr.Serafeddin Magmuni for the Urban Memory of Ayvalik'. The first part offers a brief history of Aydin, with particular focus on the 19th century; and the second part provides an interpretation of the urban texture, architectural characteristics, and social and daily life in the city using the memoirs of Mustafa and original visual documents as a source. This section presents a description of the route followed by Mustafa from his home in the Kozdibi Quarter to the Preliminary School of Aydin using old photographs and cadastral plans (known as 'Yangin Haritalari' in Aydin), which are overlapped and redrawn for producing city plan of Aydin by the author of this article, as an additional source of information. The buildings referred to by Mustafa, and the traces left behind, are investigated within the urban pattern of modern Aydin, and their locations shown on the partial city plan. The physical image of the city at the time is given, enriched using the descriptions of daily life provided by Mustafa. In the final part, the urban environment and some buildings are described in detail, and a short interpretation is made of how Mustafa's descriptions reflect the spatial characteristics and daily life of Aydin.



The oldest settlement located in the city centre is the mound of Dectepe on the so-called Dedekuyusu (Dinc, 2003), and Gunel points out that artefacts uncovered around the mound of Dectepe indicate human activity dating back to the prehistoric period (2003, 58). The city of Tralleis was founded on the southern slopes of the Kestane Mountains (Mesogis) and according to the historian Xenophon, whose books contain the earliest references to Tralleis, Anabasis and Hellenica, the Persians, ruled Tralleis between 545-334 BC (Dinc, 2001). In 1282, Tralleis was ruled by the Mentese Principality (Wittek, 1944, 25-6) and a new settlement, named 'Guzelhisar,' was founded to the south of the city (Ugur, 2003, 46). Later, the Aydinoglu Principality gave the city the name 'Aydin Guzelhisari,' and ruled over the region from 1310 to 1426 (Akin, 1968, 27-30). During this period, the settlement expanded to the south of Tralleis along the valley of the Tambak-Cay River ('Tabakhane Deresi' in Turkish--the ancient Greek Eudon River), a tributary of the Buyuk Menderes River (Ugur, 2003, 56). From 1426 onwards, the city was under the rule of the Ottomans when, according to the Tahrir Defters from the 15th century, it was a small town composed of seven quarters (Akin, 1968, 133).

According to Texier, in the 19th century, the settlements established on the banks of the Tambak-Cay River were linked by two bridges (Eudon); the Dark Bridge (Karanlik Kopru), and most probably the Nazilli Bridge (Nazilli Koprusu). Aydin was an important commercial (Ortayli, 2002, 101-2) and administrative centre for the region that included Izmir, Denizli, Manisa, Mugla and Aydin until 1850 (under the governorship of Damad Halil Pasa), after which it lost importance with the transfer of administrative powers to Izmir (2002, 150). By the end of the 19th century, the city had attracted a population of Christians, Jews, Armenians and Muslims, residing in 33,190 households spread across 27 quarters (Tozduman, 1992, 41-2).

Throughout the 19th century, Aydin was an important centre for agricultural production and commercial activities, with cotton and fig being the main agricultural products, and textile and leather production being the leading industries. The bazaar attracted such craftsmen as coppersmiths, cutlers, blacksmiths, and broom and basketmakers; as well as traders producing and selling foodstuffs and beverages, including bakeries, cooks, soup sellers and halvah sellers, who sold their wares alongside the producers of leather and cloth (Yapucu, 2007, 48-50, 80-81). Yapucu states that the main commercial zone lay along Sultaniye Avenue, which was the starting point for the Izmir Road (2007, 33). According to oral sources (3), the area also contained banks, consulate buildings, a large bedesten, and the Cihanogullari and Zincirli Inns.

Aydin became an important centre on the railway network with the establishment of the Izmir-Aydin Line, which opened in 1857, becoming the first railway line constructed in Asia Minor (Kurmus, 1982, 37-8). The construction of the railway brought about an increase in commercial activities and trade in Aydin, resulting in a gradual change in both the demographic and physical structure of the city (Yapucu, 2007, 216). New consulates opened in the city, including the Austrian consulate, which was aimed to provide support to the Austrian merchants working in Aydin (Kurmus, 1982, 108). Emecen states that at this time the population of the city had reached 40,000, bringing about a period of rapid socio-economic development (1991, 236).

According to the State Yearbook of 1891 (Salname), the city contained 9,357 houses, 1,450 shops, 132 stores, 87 coffeehouses, 38 inns, 53 bakeries, two synagogues (Yahudihane), eight public baths, 32 windmills, 51 mosques, two cotton factories, three soap factories, 20 olive oil factories, a hotel, a club, 74 mesjids, 49 madrasahs, 80 fountains and sebils (Gokbel, 1936, 127). To this may be added the two banks (the Ottoman Bank in 1884, and the Bank of Agriculture, in 1889) (Yurt Ansiklopedisi, 1982, 1014-5), a liquorice factory (Yurt Ansiklopedisi, 1982, 996), and two churches (Boyacioglu, 1987, 40), located in the Greek Quarter.

The city's population was educated at both madrasahs and schools. Ozturk explains that there were 37 madrasahs in the city centre according to the Yearbook for Education (Maarif Salnamesi) in 1316H (corresponding to 1898/1899 in the Gregorian calendar) (1999, 11-3). In 1894, Cuinet recorded that there were 14 schools for Turks, three for Greeks and one for Armenians (Boyacioglu, 1987, 51) known as 'Des Soeurs de Charite'; as well as a Jewish school called 'De l'Alliance,' according to the Yearbook for Education prepared at the beginning of the 20th century (Gunec, 2008, 55). Ozturk also mentions the existence of an Armenian primary school named 'Kirkoryan Ermeni Mektebi' (1999, 59). The Preliminary School of Aydin, established in 1889 (Kodaman, 1991, 126), was the leading modern educational institution in the city.

At the end of the 19th century the city entered a period of decline, especially due to an earthquake in 1895 (and the resulting fires) and the War of Independence in 1922 (Emecen, 1991, 236). By the end of the War of Independence, most of the Jewish, Greek and Armenian population had left Aydin, and Muslims who had moved away began to return. At this time, the population regressed to around 1,000 (Gunec, 2006, 2). In accordance with the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, the Greek population vacated Aydin, while the Turks who had been living in Thessaly, Drama and Kavala moved back (Ari, 1995, 53), thus completely changing the demographic structure in Aydin; and resulting in a great gap in the urban memory of 20th century Aydin.

Attempts to understand the urban environment and social life in Aydin during the 1900s are difficult, in that only limited researches related to the period exist in the fields of architecture, art and planning. While Tozduman in her dissertation investigates the social and economic aspects of Aydin in 1844 in relation to the Temettuat Defters, Yapucu, in her book entitled 'Modernlecme Surecinde Bir Sancak: Aydin,' focuses on the modernisation of Aydin during the 19th century.


The War of Independence resulted in the almost complete destruction of the urban fabric of Aydin in the 20th century, and the city had to be rebuild in the early years of the Turkish Republic. This meant an almost total transformation of the physical structure and urban environment of the city. The loss of the urban fabric and the lack of relevant resources prevent one from understanding the state of the city as a whole at the beginning of the 20th century. Accordingly, the 'Mustafa'nin Romani' memoirs are an invaluable resource that Birinci claims draw a perfect image of the city through words and detailed descriptions of the city at the end of the 19th century (Alsan, 2002, xxvii).

In the following section, the general architectural features and the physical structure of the city are defined and evaluated by drawing upon the memoirs of Mustafa and the information contained within the old cadastral plans produced by the military for the settlements of Western Anatolia that had been destroyed during the War of Independence (Tekeli, 1980, 23). The cadastral plans, which are a unique source of information on the physical state of the city in the 1920s (after the War of Independence), are combined and redrawn by the author, with comparisons made with the descriptions given by Mustafa.

Mustafa's descriptions focus mainly on the houses, buildings, streets and quarters and the people of the different communities, such as Greeks, Jews and Armenians. He relates his observations while walking through the streets of Aydin, giving detailed descriptions of some of the urban textures he encountered while walking to his primary school (Zeyniyye Mektebi) and the Preliminary school of Aydin (Aydin idadisi). His daily journey took him through the Muslim quarters, the Jewish quarter and the Greek quarter; and would take him past his Greek and Armenian friends' houses, the churches (the Orthodox Agios Georgios Church and the Catholic Church) and the monastery, where he could also witness the daily life and the customs of the different communities.


As part of the methodology of this section, Mustafa's route from his house to the Preliminary School in Topyatagi, is traced on the old cadastral plans and reproduced by the author; while individual buildings are indicated with a legend (Figure 3) (4). Following are a description of selected parts of the city, including the Muslim, Greek and Jewish quarters, the railway station, recreational areas and the Government Plaza, as mentioned by Mustafa, along with the general social structure, daily life and the attire of the Muslims, Greeks and Jews. Where possible, Mustafa's descriptions are evidenced by old photographs and postcards, and are checked with the urban cadastral plan published in part in this article. In this way, the physical state of the city, the urban tissue and daily life in Aydin between the 1890s and 1900s can be visible.

The route followed by Mustafa, hatched in red in Figure 3, starts from Mustafa's house in the Kozdibi Quarter and ends at the Preliminary School of Aydin in Topyatagi. The Kozdibi Quarter is disected by Cine Road (Cine Sosesi), which connects the villages to the south with the city centre near the railway station. Mustafa states that the Kozdibi Quarter contained coffeehouses that were famous for their plane trees, under which men would gather in the summer to chat, or in some cases, to listen to a minstrel. Mustafa was born on the edge of the Kozdibi Quarter in an ordinary dwelling within a garden surrounded by mud-brick walls. The garden contained a few fruit trees and some flowers, while the dwelling unit comprised two rooms and a porch (sundurma) to the front (Alsan, 2002, 4). Mustafa played around his house up until the age of five, when he started going to Gevrek Hoca's house to learn the Qu'ran. His walks to Gevrek Hoca's house would offer him his first opportunity to observe the streets and the urban environment. On one occasion Mustafa and his mother met a caravan of camels being guided by a young man on a donkey heading towards the liquorice factory (5) (the so-called Forbes Factory), which Mustafa said were carrying bales of liquorice from the factory to the railway station (Alsan, 2002, 14). Mustafa described some of the streets along his route as 'calm and circuitous,' which is a description that is substantiated by a photo taken in 1898 (Figure 4).

On the way to the primary school, Zeyniyye Mektebi, Mustafa passed through the Lower and Upper Kozdibi Quarters (Agagi and Yukari Kozdibi Mahalleleri) along the Cine Road. He mentions that the Cine Road flanked by two cemeteries to the north, was close to the bazaar. Every morning, while walking along the Cine Road, Mustafa met with villagers of all ages carrying their products on donkeys, and village girls and women carrying bundles, and would often walk part of the way to school with these villagers. After a while, some of the villagers would stop in front of a shop that looked like a storage building belonging to a Jewish trader called Sabuncu Levni, where they would drop off barley, wheat, figs, oil, etc. He observed that all of the streets connecting the villages to the city centre of Aydin led to a bazaar, in which the first shop would be like the one belonging to Sabuncu Levni. Generally, a man referred to as "Haralambo" "Karabet" or "geyh" would be sitting in front of each shop. After he passed Sabuncu Levni's shop, he walked in front of the Bey Mosque (Figure 5) and crossed the Station Bridge (istasyon Koprusu, Figure 6) over the railway. Passing the Jewish houses and shops in the Jewish Quarter, he would then come to Zeyniyye Mektebi, located close to the Alliance Israelite Universelle School (Alsan, 2002, 31-2, 34).



In the area around Station Bridge, the railway passed below street level and divided the city into two parts. Mustafa mentions that the Station Bridge connected two parts of Aydin in this part of the city, and was the busiest of the three bridges (Alsan, 2002, 34). He claimed that he was wary of passing too near the railway station, which was under control of Greeks, Jews and Armenians, after hearing about their abrupt behaviour with Muslims. On the bridge, he took great interest in the many people that would gather around the booth when the train arrived at noon. A man standing at the booth would call out names and throw newspapers, letters or bundles to the respective people, explaining that this was a post delivery (Alsan, 2002, 35). Mustafa states that the railway station was an important gathering point in Aydin, where people would meet to wait for the post delivery, or for the arrivals of trains from Izmir and Denizli (Alsan, 2002, 63). The postcard depicts a large number of people waiting around the railway station, as mentioned by Mustafa (Figure 7).




In the summer of 1900, when he started working in the office of the prosecutor, Mustafa saw the upper parts of the city (to the north of the Ramazan Paca Mosque, Figure 5), including the way to the Government Building, for the first time. On his journey, he would pass the Zeyniyye Mektebi and continue along to the bazaar; however he provides little information about the shops and commercial aspects of Aydin. His journey would take him along the Government Avenue (now also Government Avenue, Hukumet Caddesi in Turkish), which culminates at the Government Plaza (Hukumet Avlusu, Figure 8) (Alsan, 2002, 51), in which there were a number of shops and offices. Mustafa in particular mentions Saatci Ahmet Efendi, a friend of his father, who sold watches and clocks from a small shop on the Government Avenue. The shop display contained both old and new watches and clocks, and a counter at the front (Alsan, 2002, 49). As can be seen in the photo taken by Sebah-Joalliere, the shops had generally wooden frontages on which the goods would be displayed, while other items were hung from above. Shopkeepers can be seen dressed in short baggy trousers and shirts, and would sit in front of their respective shops (Figure 9). On other occasions Mustafa mentions Misirliyan Efendi, an Armenian lawyer who had an office on the Government Avenue (Alsan, 2002, 79); and the tanneries that made leather at the "Dabakhane" next to the Tambak-Cay River. In particular, he mentions Haci Eyup, who ran a small tannery in a traditional way, having learnt the trade from his father (Alsan, 2002, 137).




According to Mustafa, the office of the prosecutor, which was originally housed within the Government Building, was moved to the sheds surrounding the Government Plaza following a fire. His workplace was to the left (west) of the south gate of the Government Plaza (Alsan, 2002, 50), which had two gates; one at the north and the other at the south (Alsan, 2002, 54). The Government Building, shown in the postcard (Figure 10), replaced an earlier building that had burnt down. The postcard, dated 1914, shows a ceremony celebrating the anniversary of the founding of the Ottoman Empire in the Government Plaza, which leads us to believe that the Government Plaza would probably be used for ceremonies and official celebrations in the 1900s. According to cadastral plans from the 1920s, the Government Plaza was surrounded by administrative buildings, as the City Hall, the post office and the recruiting office (Figure 11).

Mustafa provides a detailed description of educational life and schools in Aydin, particularly his own primary school, Zeyniyye Mektebi, and the Preliminary school of Aydin (Aydin idadisi) where he studied. Zeyniyye Mektebi, located in the Jewish Quarter near the Alliance Israelite Universelle School to the opposite side of the Ramazan Paca Mosque, was demolished during the War of Independence. However, it is known that it had a terrace (taglik) (6) on the ground floor (Alsan, 2002, 30) and a sofa surrounded with classes on the first floor (Alsan, 2002, 41). Mustafa described a graduation ceremony at Zeyniyye Mektebi in his memoirs, giving unique insight into educational life in the period. Mustafa excelled during his studies at the school and took many awards in 1900. He describes his graduation ceremony as follows:

"The school was decorated with flags, and a band of a drum, a tambourine and brass instruments played a march in the narrow garden at the front. Government and military officials from Aydin, notable guests and the fathers of students were invited to watch the ceremony. The sofa was full, with guests at one part and students in the other. Mustafa presented a speech". (Alsan, 2002, 41)

His secondary school, the Preliminary school of Aydin, was located on the top of the hill known as Topyatagi (a name which it still retains today, Figure 12), which was covered with olive trees and offered an excellent view of the Aydin Plain. Approaching the city, the school, which was the only building on the hill, would be seen from a great distance. After passing through the northern gate of the Government Plaza, the route to the Preliminary School of Aydin passed through the quarter in which the bourgeois and government officials of Aydin lived, and then through an outer slum area to reach the steep slope of Topyatagi (Alsan, 2002, 54). Mustafa explains the architectural features of the Preliminary School of Aydin as follows:

"The building was originally designed and constructed as a school following the contemporary design style for school architecture. The layout was a square block and was entered through two doors located at opposite ends to each other. There is a courtyard in the middle and a pool at the centre. The courtyard surrounded by colonnades on four sides, had classrooms opening onto corridors. It was two-storeyed. The first storey should have been rarely used, for Mustafa stated that he saw the first storey only once or twice during the five years he was a student there, leading him to believe that the building had been designed larger than required. The Preliminary School of Aydin was composed of five classes and used as a day school for the Aydin Sancak ... The school had a very large garden. The section facing the city and the plain was surrounded by lings, while the other section facing the hill, was overlooking a thick wall". (Alsan, 2002, 53, Figure 13)





Mustafa stated that Topyatagi to the north and Telli Dede to the south were recreation areas for the people of Aydin who would hold all-day picnics there in the month of May. Mustafa attended one such picnic with the students and teachers of the Preliminary School of Aydin at Topyatagi and Tralleis. Seeing Tralleis (Figure 14) for the first time, he saw the theatre, the square, the temple and other landmarks, noting the presence of marble columns (Alsan, 2002, 68).

The city had three main districts, each housing different communities: the Muslim Quarters, the Greek Quarter and the Jewish Quarter. The Muslims lived in such areas as Kozdibi, Koprulu, Kemer, Ramazan Paca, Hasanefendi, Kaynak Baba Sultan and Balcilar. As can be seen in Figure 15, the Turkish Quarter generally contained one- or two-storey houses. Mustafa explains that the quarter located to the south of Topyatagi (now Veysi Paca Quarter) was home to officials and the upper levels of society (Alsan, 2002, 54), while their servants generally lived in cottages outside the city (Alsan, 2002, 143).

According to Mustafa's descriptions, the houses of the Muslim community generally had a garden with trees, and the dwelling unit would consist of rooms with a porch (sundurma) to the front. The house of Gevrek Hoca, where Mustafa would go to learn the Qu'ran, had a garden containing orange trees and comprised two rooms and two porches. Climbing four or five steps one would access the first floor and the roof was covered with earth (Alsan, 2002, 17). The house in the Kozdibi Quarter belonging to a milkman named Hasan Cavuc had a basement floor in which he kept cows, and had three rooms and a porch on the ground floor (Alsan, 2002, 145). Aydin also contained a number of exceptional and unique houses, such as the one belonging to Sadik Bey, a notable resident of Aydin, whose house and lifestyle Mustafa describes:

"Sadik Bey's house was composed of two parts. The most ornamented and beautiful part is the 'harem' (7), which is a building used to accommodate his family. The 'harem,' covered with marble and oil paintings, attracts one's attention. The balustrade newels on the stairs were made of glass (p.90). ...

The 'selamlik' (8), which is not as ornamental as the 'harem,' was also a large building. On the nights during Ramadan a crowd would congregate to pray in the 'sofa' of the 'selamlik'.

There was a large kitchen and a stable between the 'harem' and the 'selamlik'; as well as two gardens: one for the 'harem' and one for the 'selamlik'. These gardens were better kept than the gardens of the Greek houses, being tended by gardeners from Chios.

At night, the 'selamlik' would function as a club. Every night, such notable local officials as the governor, high government officers and other important people gathered in the 'selamlik'... Often, prominent Greek people visited Sadik Bey, and held him in great respect. The English director of the Forbes Factory, who rarely spoke to anybody, talked with him". (Alsan, 2002, 91)

During his childhood, up until the time he went to the Zeyniye Mektebi and the Preliminary School of Aydin, Mustafa knew little people of other communities (Greeks, Jews and Armenians), or where they lived in Aydin (Alsan, 2002, 9). On his way to Zeyniye Mektebi, he met with Jews in the Jewish Quarter, while in the Preliminary School he met with Greek and Armenian students, and would visit their houses. In this period, he was much affected from the Greek and Jewish Quarters and the houses, providing long descriptions in his writings.

The Greek Quarter (Figure 3) was to the east of the Tambak-Cay River (Figure 16), overlooking the plain (today known as the Zafer Quarter), and was home to Greeks, Armenians, Catholics and other Christians. The Greek Quarter was highly regarded in Aydin at the beginning of the 20th century (Alsan, 2002, 56), described by Mustafa as the most thriving and festive part of Aydin (Alsan, 2002, 58). During his first visit to the Greek Quarter with his friends Mikail and Pluto, Mustafa, after passing the bazaar, crossed an enclosed bridge known as Dark Bridge (still referred to as Karanlik Kopru). In the Greek Quarter, they met in coffeehouses with large mirror-lined rooms which were furnished with tables and glazed chairs. Mustafa learned that these were known as 'casinos,' in which alcoholic beverages would be served. Such establishments were completely new to him, as nothing like this existed in the Turkish Quarter. He observed that the men in the casino were not only Christian, as there were also young men known as 'zeybeks,' who wore short jackets with sleeves (cepken) and knee pads (dizlik) (Alsan, 2002, 58). The casino close to the Dark Bridge, called 'Kara icko,' was mainly used as a restaurant but sometimes also served as a theatre (Alsan, 2002, 105). After passing the area containing the casinos, he would come to the impressive houses with gardens of the Greek Quarter, which Mustafa described as follows:

"The houses in the Greek Quarter were much more beautiful than the two-storey houses in the quarter where Mustafa lives. In the Greek Quarter, some houses were built out of stone and marble. Their wooden parts were always decorated using oil paints of various colours, which caught Mustafa's attention.

The gardens were well cared for and arranged, containing many flowers, which Mustafa likes the most. Some gardens were tended by gardeners from Chios with large straw hats" (Alsan, 2002, 59).


Mustafa described Monsieur Zografos' house as the most beautiful mansion in the Greek Quarter. There was an Italian crest above the door and a flagpole in the garden, from which the Italian flag would be flown on Sundays. It was said that Zografos was the honorary deputy consul of Italy, however Mustafa was not aware any Italians that actually lived in Aydin (Alsan, 2002, 159).

Mustafa observed that the streets were of cobble-stone, very clean and better maintained than the streets in other quarters. Sewage from the houses did not discharge into drainage channels in the street, as the houses were well drained (Alsan, 2002, 60). As shown in Figure 17, Kepez Street, which was lined with garden walls and houses, and was planted with trees, was most probably one of the main streets in the Greek Quarter. Mustafa noted that there were very few children playing in the street. During his visits, Mustafa was very touched by the Greek Church, providing a long description:

"It is not a square, but rather a junction where four or five streets meet. At the centre there is a large church painted in blue that is flaking in some parts. The main part of the church, containing the belfry, ascended to the sky....

... Mustafa was able to hear the sounds of the bell many times from his quarter; but now he could see the priests entering the church buildings, with their long hair, black headgear (serpug) shaped like stove pipes, and black cloaks in layers. When he was a child he was afraid of them...." (Alsan, 2002, 60).




Mustafa observed that the Agios Georgios Church (Figure 5), the mansion of the metropolitan bishop and the buildings in which priests lived, were painted blue from top to bottom. He saw the metropolitan bishop while working in the office of the prosecutor, noting his long white beard, the crook in his hand, his black cloak and the purple tulle on his headgear (Alsan, 2002, 60). Mustafa described the Catholic Church as follows:

"The place of 'sorler' (the women members of the Catholic Church) was entered through a big gate at the end of the street. In the garden, there was a church, smaller than the Greek Church, and two-storey buildings with green shutters next to it. According to Pluto's explanation, the church belongs to the Catholics and the surrounding buildings are known as a 'monastery'. In the monastery, the section to the right of the entrance belongs to the 'frer' (men), and the section to the left belongs to 'sorler'(women). The garden was beautiful and well cared for. There was a pool with running water behind the church with two palm trees standing to its sides, while the shade provided by the orange trees and cypress trees offered another area for prayer in the garden" (Alsan, 2002, 60).

Mustafa also saw the school in the monastery, where men and women students from the Greek Quarter aged between fifteen and twenty were studying French in the largest classroom. There were no Turks, but after his first visit Mustafa started to study French with them and continued the class until the end of the semester (Alsan, 2002, 60-3).

While Mustafa provided unique and authentic information on the Greek Quarter, at no point does he mention the Agios Kharalambos Greek Hospital or the Greek Club; however these can be seen in the postcards and were most probably important buildings in the social and daily life of the quarter. The Agios Kharalambos Greek Hospital (Greek Orthodox hospital) shown in the postcard (Figure 18) had sixteen beds (Evangelos, 2010) and was the only hospital in Aydin in the 1900s. According to oral sources (3), the hospital in the 1900s not only served the Greek population, but also the Muslim community. The Greek Club, known as "Melissa" (Evangelos, 2010) shown in the postcard (Figure 19) also played an important role in the social and daily life of the Greeks in Aydin. In addition, the Greek Philharmonic Orchestra (Evangelos, 2010) standing in front of the government building in Aydin as shown in the postcard in Figure 20 was an important social group, representing the Greek identity of the city.




Mustafa also provides a detailed description of the Jews and the Jewish Quarter (Figure 3), which was to the north of the railway station (today called the Hasan Efendi Quarter). He explains how the street passing through the Jewish Quarter connected the upper and lower parts of the city, and was a busy route. The Jewish quarter, Mustafa says, was noisy and crowded, and the streets and the surroundings of the houses were full of children. Some Jewish families lived in houses decorated in the European style, wore European garments and spoke French; however not all lived in large, spacious houses with gardens, like the members of the Muslim community, as some of the poorer Jews lived in rooms behind their shops (Alsan, 2002, 36-7).

Mustafa described the square between the Jewish Quarter and the railway station shown in Figure 3, and gives long descriptions of daily life in the square. Jewish children would play in the square, and on some days, camels, either laden or unladen, could be seen sitting in the square. On one occasion, Mustafa witnessed a large crowd in the square, which was normally calm and quite, and saw that a tent was being pitched. He described seeing cages, horses and various pieces of equipment, and learned that they belonged to a horseback acrobatic troupe (Alsan, 2002, 100). Mustafa was enthralled by the change in daily life on Saturday in the Jewish Quarter, describing it as follows:

"Every Saturday the appearance of the Jewish Quarter was completely altered. Shops were closed; all the Jews, whether rich or poor, wore their best clothes. In anticipation of bazaar in the afternoon, they sat in front of their doors and ate sunflower seeds. In the evening, young people walked hand-in-hand in the street, while the older Jews chatted. The young people never passed beyond the borders of the Jewish Quarter" (Alsan, 2002, 38-9).

Mustafa left a unique record of the social structure, daily life and attire of the communities in Aydin. He classified the Muslim community into seven groups: high government officials, local officials, landowners and farmers, moneylenders and tradesmen, small-scale retailers, small farmers and daily workers (Alsan, 2002, 129). According to Mustafa, Muslims carried out all agricultural activities, while most commercial businesses were run by members of other communities (Alsan, 2002, 134). Some people worked as casual labourers--gathering liquorice, hoeing, picking olives and reaping, among other jobs--and generally lived in cottages outside the town, moving from place to place to find work, being neither town-dwellers nor villagers (Alsan, 2002, 143).

Mustafa said that the Muslim women generally wore baggy trousers and loincloths, and that the clothes of the Muslims living in the quarter to the south of Topyatagi (now Veysi Pasa Quarter) were different than those living in other quarters, where women would wear silk chadors instead of loincloths and the wore skirts instead of baggy trousers. The men generally wore trousers and a jacket (Alsan, 2002, 54), although Mustafa did not provide more information about their attire. In the photo taken by Sebah-Joailliere (Figure 21), the Muslim shopkeeper can be seen wearing a fez, a short jacket with sleeves over a white shirt, and a long loose robe.

Mustafa mentioned that the number of Greeks and Jews working in commerce and trade was high when considering the size of their populations (Alsan, 2002, 134). The Greek workers generally worked for Greek companies in oil, leather and flour production, and were adept in delicate handcrafts (Alsan, 2002, 143). Mustafa states that Greeks were well dressed, with Greek men generally wearing trousers and 'setre', and sometimes hats. Mustafa did not describe the attire of Christian workers, however a photo from the period shows a tradesman (in the centre) wearing a loose black outer coat over a white shirt and a white head wrap; while the men at his sides are wearing baggy black trousers; short jackets, open at the front over a waistcoat; white shirts; white waist sashes; and fezes (Figure 22). Jewish women would wear head coverings with black bands (Alsan, 2002, 36-7).

Mustafa explains that Greek women were not in veil like women in the Jewish Quarter, being better dressed and wearing trendy clothes. During his visits to the house of Pluto, Mustafa saw a piano for the first time in his life, being played by Pluto's sister Despina. He also describes that Pluto's father, the architect Kanburoglu, who was interested in both architecture and antiquity, had a picture of the Athens Panthenon, a plan layout of the Tralleis and a photo of the so-called 'Ucgozler' (the remains of the bath-gymnasium complex in Tralleis) in his home (Alsan, 2002, 64). Mustafa also came across newspapers for the first time in the houses of his friends. Between the years 1900 and 1905 (while Mustafa attended the Preliminary School of Aydin), he searched for a newspaper in Aydin but was surprised to learn from Tevfik Efendi, the only bookseller at Aydin, that newspapers were sent from other towns such as Izmir, istanbul and Athens to their subscribers (Alsan, 2002, 56).

Mustafa mentions that the Jewish families living in houses decorated in the European style were generally merchants, jewellers and moneylenders, and were related with Jewish communities in other parts of the world through their daughters and sons. When describing the community of Jewish shopkeepers, who had small or large shops next to each other, he explains that the demands of the Jewish community were provided for by Jewish traders. Those who were not merchants or moneylenders, worked as street peddlers, some of whom would walk through the quarters selling haberdashery and gathering old clothes. Jews were not generally employed as daily servants, however there were some poor Jewish women who would wash clothes and clean windows and wooden floors, while a few of the Jewish men worked as porters (Alsan, 2002, 143).


Although Mustafa's memoirs were in the style of a novel, his detailed observations of the urban texture and social--daily life in Aydin provide a significant record of the history of the city. Official records from this particular period are lacking, much having been lost during the War of Independence, and so when Mustafa's memoirs are read in conjunction with the cadastral plans of the city from 1920, one can gain a broad understanding of the physical image and social and daily life of the city at the beginning of the 20th century.

From Mustafa's descriptions it can be understood that the administrative centre, including the government building, post office, city hall and recruiting office, were all located in the north of the city around the Government Plaza (Figure 3). The courtyard was both an urban and social landmark, where official ceremonies would take place. The route from the south gate of the Government Plaza down to Aziziye Avenue was lined with shops, offices, inns and bazaars, as Mustafa explained, hosting many trade and production activities, as well as mosques, baths and coffee shops, all of which were essential parts of daily life in Aydin. Monumental buildings such as the Gumrukonu Inn and Bath, the Cemal Bey Bath, the Zincirli Inn and the Paca Bath were also located along the main Aziziye Avenue axis. To the east, along the banks of the Tambak-Cay River, were significant production centres for leather and leather products in Aydin, including tanneries and workshops.

Aziziye Avenue, Sultaniye Avenue and Government Avenue were the main axes to the north of the Ramazan Paca Mosque. Aziziye Avenue and Sultaniye Avenue, running in an east-west direction, intersected with the Government Avenue running from north to south. The street passing throughout the Jewish Quarter connected the upper area to the north of the railway station with the area to the south, and as such was a major. thoroughfare in city. The Station Bridge, connecting the northern and southern parts of the city, was an important urban landmark, while the Railway Station itself was not only used for transporting people and goods out of the city, but also was an important urban and social landmark. There was a cluster of residential buildings along the axis from the north of Cine Road to the Kozdibi Quarter; while at the end of the Cine Road there were cemeteries, as seen in Figure 3. As Mustafa mentioned, camel caravans transporting goods to the railway station were a common sight on Cine Road.

While Mustafa described the streets as being 'calm and circuitous,' the cadastral plans show that they were also generally narrow and with many dead-ends. This narrow street pattern was completely lost during the War of Independence and the subsequent urban developments. The housing pattern that Mustafa described contained both small and large houses with gardens, and surrounded by walls.

The Turkish Quarters in the city were generally located to the west and south-east of the Tambak-Cay River, with those closest to the Government Building being home to government officials. While the Jewish Quarter was located between the Turkish Quarters, the Greek Quarter, located to the east of the Tambak-Cay River, was an independent urban lot. The Tambak-Cay River provided a natural border between the Greek Quarter and the other parts of the city, where another important social landmark in the urban life of Aydin was most probably the casinos next to the Dark Bridge, such as the one named 'Kara isko'. Agios Georgios Church in the Greek Quarter, which played a key role in the social and daily life of the city, was another landmark, and not only due to its architectural features.

Another feature worthy of mention, although not referred to by Mustafa in detail, is the presence of various madrasah buildings within the city. As an essential part of urban life of the city, these buildings lost their importance with the establishment of new schools. The Preliminary School of Aydin in Topyatagi, described by Mustafa as an important centre of education for the children of the different communities, still exists today as an urban landmark. According to visual resources, there were a great number of mosques and mesjids in the city, although these were generally overlooked by Mustafa. The relatively smaller mosques, such as the Abacioglu Mosque, the Great Mosque and the Hurmaci Mosque, are depicted as urban landmarks in postcards of the period, while those that are more monumental, such as the Bey Mosque and the Ramazan Paca Mosque, remain today as the real urban landmarks.

Descriptions of the Tambak-Cay River are lacking in Mustafa's writings, however, as can be seen in the postcards from the period, the river bed was broad and was lined with trees in some parts. Another natural element of the cityscape would have been the olive groves that covered the slopes of Topyatagi, as explained by Mustafa.

As a result, the partial map of the city drawn by the author of this article proves that Mustafa's description are unique, authentic and important sources of information in understanding the urban environment, architectural characteristics and social and daily life in Aydin at the time. It provides an image of the lost urban memory of the city at the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century.

DOI: 10.4305/METU.JFA.2011.2.4

Received: 25.08.2010, Final Text: 21.09.2011

Alindi: 25.08.2010, Son Metin: 21.09.2011


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(1.) In Figure 2, some borders and places indicated on the map are as follows:

a. Government Plaza

b. Birlesmis-Aydin Railway Station

ooo Izmir-Denizli Road

*** Tambak-Cay River

--- Railway Line

(2.) The sources on the history of Aydin are quite limited. In recent years, research has increased especially in the fields of history, history of art and architecture of the 19th century. Boyacioglu (1987), Tozduman (1992) and Yapucu (2007).

(3.) The information is provided through interviews with Mustafa Nuri Akay and Nigar Targutay, who witnessed the Aydin of 1920s.

(4.) 1. Asagi Kozdibi Mosque, 2. Cemetery, 3. Bey Mosque, 4. Train Station, 5. Square between Jewish Quarter and Station, 6. Probable location of Alliance Israilite School, 7. Ramazan Pasa Mosque, 8. Great Mosque, 9. Post Office, 10. City Hall, 11. Recruiting Office, 12. Government Plaza, 13. Preliminary School of Aydin, 14. Uveys Pasa Mosque, 15. Cihanoglu Mosque, 16. Nasuh Pasa Bath, 17. Nasuh Pasa Madrasah, 18. Zincirli (Nasuh Pasa) Inn, 19. Eski-Yeni Mosque, 20. Forbes.

(5.) In 1854, the first firm to process liquorish extract was established in Aydin by the English owned Mac Andrews and Forbes company (Gursoy, 1993). The factory was referred to as "Forbes factory".

(6.) 'Taglik is a semi-open space at the ground floor that opens to the interior spaces of a building and a courtyard or a garden; terrace.

(7.) 'Harem' is a section or part of a house reserved for female members of a Muslim house.

(8.) 'Selamlik is a section or part of a house used by guests and male members of a Muslim house.

Gokce SIMSEK; B.Arch., M.Sc., Ph.D.

Received B.Arch. (1996) at Istanbul Technical University, Faculty of Architecture, and M.Sc. in Restoration (2002), Ph.D. in Restoration (2009) at METU Faculty of Architecture. Currently employed as Assistant Professor in the Department of History of Art, Adnan Menderes University in Aydin. Research topics and areas of interest are preservation of immovable archaeological heritage, interventions and their impacts on cultural heritage and preservation education for public.
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Author:Simsek, Gokce
Publication:METU Journal of the Faculty of Architecture
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Date:Dec 1, 2011
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