Preservation of historical document or aesthetic value? Mualla Eyüboğlu’s Topkapı Palace Harem restorations in the 1960s


Gençer C. İ. , Çokuğraş I.

JOURNAL OF ARCHITECTURAL CONSERVATION HISTORIC BUILDINGS, MONUMENTS, PLACES AND LANDSCAPES, no.2022, pp.1-21, 2022 (Journal Indexed in AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/13556207.2022.2102302
  • Title of Journal : JOURNAL OF ARCHITECTURAL CONSERVATION HISTORIC BUILDINGS, MONUMENTS, PLACES AND LANDSCAPES
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-21
  • Keywords: Mualla Eyuboglu, Topkapi Palace, restoration, stylistic unity, preservation values

Abstract

This article focuses on the Chamber of Crown Princes (Veliaht Dairesi) located in the residential part (Harem) of the Topkapi Palace, the Ottoman imperial seat in Istanbul (Turkey), where the removal of later additions was discussed during its restoration in the 1960s. Based on the archival documents of Mualla Eyuboglu, the architect responsible for the restoration of the Topkapi Palace between 1961 and 1969, and the resolutions of the High Board of Antiquities and Monuments, this study reveals a stimulating debate on the balancing of the preservation of historic document value versus aesthetic value. Ambitious to present the building in its original function and use of the space as a part of the imperial residence, Eyuboglu decided to liberate the original building of all the later additions and tried to reinstate the building to its initial seventeenth-century state. The removal of historical layers was disapproved by some of her contemporaries, while others appreciated her aesthetic concern. The case is reviewed at a broader scale, opening up to and integrating similar discussions in European preservation theory in the 1960s.