If you are on your way from Sirkeci to Eminönü, you cannot miss the monumental post office sticking out in the crooked back streets of the old town. Do not hesitate to walk up the stairs in the front, which will directly take you to the inviting main office. The light was adorable; and believe me, the interplay of light and dark has nothing to do with my poor old camera. If you want to sneak upstairs, make sure you hide your camera and find a good excuse!
NATIONALISM & IDENTITY CRISIS
The central post office was designed by Vedat Tek, one of the leading figures of the first national movement in architecture. The turn of the 20th century: the cracks in the multi-ethnic Ottoman empire giving way to a new order in the world map. Like many other nationalities within the empire, with the waves of nationalism sweeping across Europe, Turks also set out on a quest to find their identity; the ever lasting Odyssey… We got nowhere close to Ithaca yet… Of many political ideologies adopted and suggested as a solution by the intelligentsia of the period, the Turkish nationalism eventually takes hold. In line with the search for a new identity of a new country, the first National Movement explores the possibilities of a Turkish nationality in response to western influence in architecture. Tek’s life and works are indeed an embodiment of this torn identity, which still haunts us today. The Ottoman and Seljuk elements used in religious buildings reappear in public buildings this time. Whether it has been a remedy for the identity crisis or not, I find the reinterpretation of Seljuk and Ottoman architecture quite remarkable. The magical place with the magical light…
If/when you are in town, do your self a favor; find an excuse to visit the Sirkeci post office, buy a postcard and send it to someone you have missed deeply.
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PS. Photo # 2 featured in my photo exhibition, Revisiting the City.
Tags: 1st national architectural movement collapse of the empire exhibition photo Golden Horn identity landmarks nationalism Odyssey old town ottoman heritage photography tips politics post office Seljuk heritage Sirkeci Vedat Tek