What Tourism Has to Offer for Sustainable Tourism in Istanbul: Boundaries and Potentials


in: HERITAGE IN CONTEXT 2 Archaeology and Tourism, Piesker K., Akan B., Göçmen D., Tezer Altay S., Editor, Ege Yayınları, İstanbul, pp.49-88, 2018

  • Publication Type: Book Chapter / Chapter Research Book
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Publisher: Ege Yayınları
  • City: İstanbul
  • Page Numbers: pp.49-88
  • Editors: Piesker K., Akan B., Göçmen D., Tezer Altay S., Editor
  • Yıldız Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Abstract: This paper, presented at the symposium »Archaeology and Tourism«, deals with the archaeological potential in Istanbul and the problems posed by urban land now being opened to investment capital unconditionally. The tourism sector, in which these policies are represented spatially, is seen through the perspective of these policies, which have become clearer in the last decade.
The analysis of the archaeological potential here is limited to location, type, and size categorisation at the time of their announcement, and in this context the aim is to link the topic with the preservation and urban-development policies of the time. The problem defined as urban land now open to investment capital unconditionally has multiple facets. The paper deals with this problem in the frame of separation between preservation systems of cultural and natural assets. When the authority over and responsibility for preservation of natural assets was transferred from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to the Ministry of the Environment and Urban Planning in 2011, a new era began in Turkey’s preservation policies. Assessment of cultural assets, above all archaeological sites, outside their natural context is entirely contrary to the concepts and implementations worldwide, disseminated through international institutions.
Cultural landscape, the leading one of these concepts, deals with the point indicating the concurrence of archaeological sites and natural sites. That most of the archaeological sites in Istanbul conform to this quality makes it obligatory to discuss the impact and limitations this fragmented structure in the preservation policy will create. The concept of historic city landscape, which has been very effective in the preservation field in the recent years, directs many important messages for the preservation of Istanbul’s multi-stratified identity. That this multi-strata structure of Istanbul is fragmented with authorisations by different institutions and/or medium created by centralisation of authorisations constitutes the problem definition of this paper.
Sustainability of tourism within this system is in a debatable position as a high-level policy area. The increasing impact of tourism, especially cultural tourism, in the world and Istanbul brings to the agenda the problematics of »preservation and tourism – a difficult partnership«. On one side are the state policies assessing tourism on the basis of investment based on increase in demand, and on the other side are the principles to be applied in order to preserve the multi-stratified city of Istanbul; thus, it is necessary to open sustainable tourism policies to discussion. In this context, this paper explores the question: how can tourism develop sustainably without the ›touristification‹ of historic spaces, without the city losing its authenticity and without the commercialisation of cultural assets.