The Assessment Project for the Conservation of the Built Cultural Heritage of Non-Muslim Communities of Turkey

The Assessment Project for the Conservation of the Built Cultural Heritage of Non-Muslim Communities of Turkey

Within the borders of Turkey different civilizations and cultures have co-existed in the past. The existence of different ethnic, religious and cultural groups has contributed to a pluralistic cultural identity which decays as a number of reasons have led the vast majority of non-Muslim populations to leave their settlements. At the same time, experience reveals that there are specific constraints on the preservation of various heritage sites, especially in the case of sites built by minority groups who no longer live in the respective areas. Thus, insufficient conservation efforts together with the weathering and regional seismic activities cause further decay in the historic structures.

The various heritage sites will be assessed according to various characteristics, such as their exact location, overall condition, and vulnerability to outdoor conditions, while, at the same time, an exact description of the actions that need to be taken will be developed. Finally, the information collected will be categorized according to variables such as historical data and will result in specific suggestions regarding the protection and preservation of the individual structures. The Project Team and the Advisory Committee will finalize their recommendations after a process of consultation with the academics and international organizations with expertize, such as ICOMOS and the World Monuments Fund.

We are estimating that at least 140 structures under varying degrees of risk will be examined and documented during these visits which will provide us sufficient date for an objective prioritization of those which require emergency action. 

Upon completing the assessment studies, briefings will be planned in order to realize the advocacy activities. The assessment reports will be used for briefing the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Ankara in order to facilitate and advocate emergency action by the authorities for the historic structures which are prioritized. Furthermore, the reports are going to be communicated to various stakeholders in order to guide them during existing and future restoration projects.