Value assesment at the intersection of nature and industry the case of Çamaltı saltern /

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Turkey

Approval Date: 2016

Thesis Language: English

Student: Işılay Tiarnagh Sheridan



Çamaltı Saltern is one the most important natural sources in Turkey. It is located in the north of İzmir, within the Gediz River Basin and occupies a vast landscape with its 73 km2 land. The saltern, with its long history in salt cultivation, has become a palimpsest on which different stories have been written over and over again through centuries. What was once a 4th century BC city named Leukai, after its whiteness, surrounded by shallow white salt marshlands turned into a Macedonian saltern, called as “Halike” in Byzantine era, became one of the most important tax sources of the Ottoman Empire and materialized in its industrialisation initiatives realized by the foreign investors at the end of the 19th century, turned into the showcase of independence in improving the living conditions of the workers during the early years of the nation state of Turkish Republic, created an industrial community, reinforced the formation of an important man-made ecosystem that was acknowledged as a Ramsar site, and eventually took its share in the privatization acts of the government in 2010 and lost its neighbourhood status; yet still continues to do what it was created for, the salt production. This salt production and its salt marshes are of high importance for the migrating birds, especially flamingos as a trademark and they are registered thereof. The site is protected as RAMSAR Area (1998), Special Bird Area, Important Natural Area, Wildlife protection Area, 1st Degree Archaeological Site of Leukai (1985), and 1st Degree Natural Site (1986); however, the saltern’s elements of this unique industrial landscape are not registered, and therefore, in danger of neglect and demolition accelerated by the abandonment after privatization and the lack of awareness. The thesis, for this reason, aims to decipher the significance and the value of the saltern as an important industrial heritage to clarify its need for conservation. In order to achieve the value assessment, the scope of the thesis is defined with documentation, analysis and value assessment of the late Ottoman and early Republican developments covering the history line from 1863 to 1960. The study will be the first in its category for the Çamaltı Saltern, an industrial landscape that has been able to combine biological diversity including the dance of the flamingos and the music of the rails that has fed the mankind with its salt for hundreds of years.