From Praise to Condemnation: Ottoman Revivalism and the Production of Space in Early Republican Ankara

Creative Commons License

Basa I.

JOURNAL OF URBAN HISTORY, vol.41, pp.711-738, 2015 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 41
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0096144214566957
  • Title of Journal : JOURNAL OF URBAN HISTORY
  • Page Numbers: pp.711-738


This article observes how architectural practice and symbolic appropriations interconnectedly produced space in 1920s' Ankara, the new capital of the new Republic of Turkey. The once magnificent and powerful Istanbul, capital of the Ottoman Empire, had its centuries long authority removed to disassociate the country from corporeal memories of its Ottoman past. The old capital was associated both with imperial and Islamic characteristics, and the republicans aimed to build a capital that spatially represented modernity. Interestingly, however, they employed Ottoman Revivalism, the architectural style in vogue at the time, to embody the political power of the new republic. This article emphasizes the contradiction between the retrospective politics of Ottoman Revivalism and the modernist vision of the republicans. It explores the sudden collapse of the revivalist approach by tracing the trajectory of modernist discourse as it was influenced by the political dynamics of the time.