Friday, 10 December 2010

Attention ! Attention ! Attention !

  • There will be make-up classes for the course "American Literature" , on 15th and 22nd December, at 9 o'clock.
venue: Building B, room: 129

  • the make-up for Cultural Studies is on 29th december, at 9 o'clock.
venue: Building B, room: 129

Wednesday, 8 December 2010



As a group including six students, our task was researching about Sadri Alışık Street which is one of the back streets of Beyoğlu. First of all it can be said that, our area was a perfect example of “dirty outside world”. Actually, the entrance of the street looks like a regular part of İstiklal Street with the shops and fast-food dining places.
However, as we walked through inner parts of the street, the atmosphere clearly changed. It is a street combining the modern sights, ordinary people and extraordinary night life. The complexity and heterogeneous side of İstanbul in terms of population could be realized in this nostalgical and authentic street. This paper aims to analyze the architectural and social structure of Sadri Alışık Street in terms of financial situation, the habitation and the historical of the street.

At the entrance of the street all the buildings are well kept, the building are painted; but when you walk into the street it chances and the buildings lost their modern and clean look. Obviously the financial situation of the habitants goes parallel with the buildings outlook. At the very beginning of the street there is a Swatch shop fronting to İstiklal Street and also there are some dinning places with cheap prices probably for students and workers around. As one proceeds he can see a more pricy restaurant for both native and foreigner visitors. The street starts with usual stores and business places that can be seen in Taksim everywhere with average prices addressing to all people with different financial status. These are comparatively shapely buildings.

After approximately 350-500 meters, neglected locales began to appear. Barber, laundry and tea & coffee house with card games for habitants show that there is also a habitation besides of trades. Another striking side of this street is that the atmosphere along the street reflect the name of the it. The wall-paints are generally about “Yeşilçam” and that makes a fantastic appearance while walking by.

In financial terms, there’s a variety of different social and financial status of people visiting or living in this street. While there are shopkeepers all around, there are also different types of people passing by as it was mentioned above. To understand the financial mood of this street better, first we’ll have a look at the general ambience and also the interview with one of the shopkeepers which is given at the end of the analysis could give the reader more clues.

Sitting at a tea & coffee house fronting to Sadri Alışık Street, different kinds of people walking around the street could be seen. At the first glimpse, it might be thought that they were wandering around aimlessly. Then, it was seen that, one was going to the cafe while the other was entering one of the stores. The people sitting in a cafe, mostly, seemed to be university students. The difference of social and financial status between people from their outfit and style, from the cafe they were in, from the beverages they drank could be realized. Additionally, it could be realized that some people were talking about work and some people came only to eat and go back to work. The relationship between people was mechanic, as if people were only living to spend time. Cafes were the usual places for people to make themselves comfortable because of life stress.

But this was the day part of the street. The striking point of this street which makes it a real “dirty outside world” is the night life and the security problems within.

Sadri Alışık Street can be seen as a shadow of the extreme life in Taksim. It can be said that the life in this street reflects the diversity of the people and their togetherness in the one street. Naturally; the dissimilarity of the people creates a lot of problem in this street as we understood from our observations. For example; security is one of the most distinct problem lived in the Sadri Alışık Street. Although there is a police station in the street and also security cameras the habitants of the street experience lots of problems about their security especially in the nights as it is understoond from our group’s dialogues with them. They also said that in the night clubs almost every night an event occurs and that disturbs the habitants of the street.

Another problem is about the transexuals living in the street. Though the habitants don’t feel uneasy presence of them but their bargains for the sex make the habitants uncomfortable in their living spaces. It can be said that the police and illegal affairs is in the conflict in this street despite of the police station within the reach of street. It can be clearly seen by anyone who visits the Sadri Alışık Street that the general atmosphere of the street is almost the same with the chaotic nature of İstanbul so no one who lives in Taksim can be suprised by the nature of the street as we also considered.

What is striking about this street is also its interesting history. In the middle of the street there is a cafe which takes attention. Its name is cinema cafe and has an interesting fascia. When one enters that cafe, he can see people playing cards together. The inside of the cafe is very worn-out and there are many photos hanged on the wall. Most of these photos shall look very familiar for a person who spent his childhood or adulthood in Turkey in 1990’s or before. All of the photos belong to former cinema actors and actresses of “Yeşilçam”. An old man, the owner of the cafe, who has also performed in Turkish cinema told that the cafe has been there for almost fourty years. What the owner of the cafe told that at the first years of the cafe, many movie actors used to the street for business. However, after the film sector began to lose popularity, actors began to waste time in that cafe. He added that sometimes famous actors visited the cafe and most of the actors whose photos were hung on the walls were dead.

While analysing the situation of the cafe we’ve met two figurants. Like the others in the cafe, they told us that they had performed in Yeşilçam movies, as well. Nearly thirty years ago, Sadri alışık street had a place in movie sector, so it was one of the center for finding the right actors for movies. However, it began to lose that position when Yeşilçam lost popularity. The people in the cafe said that the aim of the street was not the same anymore and different types of people visiting the steet could be seen now.

We as a group sensed that Sadri Alışık Street was a good place to do cultural analysis as we proceeded along the street. The financial diversity, the unaccustomed type of habitation, the changing appearance of the buildings along the street and the former golden times of it make Sadri Alışık Street a part of the culture of the outside world. It reflects the artistic history of Turkish nation and how it trys to maintain itself in spite of abandonment financially and socially.


Question: For whom do you open this shop?
Tradesman: I work for movie sector, serials and those kinds of fields’ activities. When I get bored, I open display stand or case to sell book during the intervening time. I can illustrate what my shop’s including and my work; there was a fire over there last night and I found books that had been read by people under sentence. Those books include different meanings. I gathered those clothes different people, so they possess distinct cultural traces.
Question: What kind of people come to your shop?
Tradesman: Curious customers, actors and actresses and people in the advertising business come to visit my shop.
Question: How are your customers’ economic situations? Are they prosperous or financially avarage ones?
Tradesman: Sometimes, people who have five liras in his pocket come and buy two or three books, sometimes affluent people come; in other words, it changes…
Question: From where do you procure these different cultural clothes and the other original goods?
Tradesman: I have been Istanbul for forty five years.
Question: Have you been in Sadri Alışık Street for forty five years?
Tradesman: I stayed different districts in Istanbul. I stayed Dolapdere, Gypsy’s neighborhoods and so on. I had good friendships with them. I had been in their weddings, funerals, and I buy goods on their valid price, I do not defraud them with buying goods under their price. For example; some recipients buys their goods low prices very nearly, they do not give money, they gives ten liras and then they sell it for ten thousand dollars in foreign countries.
Question: For how many years have you been Sadri Alışık Street?
Tradesman: I have been here for eleven years.
Question: How is this street’s social order?
Tradesman: Transexuals live here, and also there are some families.
Question: Do transexuals cause any problems?
Tradesman: I sometimes come across some problems, quarrels; but police station is also here. There is a contradiction. Policemen do not intervene all of the quarrels. You can place your camera opposite of their apartment house. You can see that, they throw their key from balcony and customers’ of them enters with that key fairly easy. They have that kind of life.
Question: Number of inhabitants in this in this street is males, isn’t it?
Tradesman: This way goes to dealers in antiques, so It is not comfortable for female inhabitants.
Question: Last question, would you tell the street’s other qualities to us?
Tradesman: This shop’s and next building will be hotel. Sadri Alışık Street will be magnificent street, but we need ten years for it.

Ayşe Seden AKTÜRK
Cemile ÖZCAN
Tuğba SUCU

The Vine Mosque Avenue


Vine Mosque Avenue street is a place, located between Istiklal Avenue and Meşrutiyet Avenue. The district is named after the Vine Mosque built Bayezid II. It is believed that The Vine Mosque had disappeared at the end of the nineteenth century.

At the turn of twentieth century it welcomed the European artists who came to work in night clubs has lost its historical spirit today. We can say that many European artists and man of letters visit these restaurants and nightclubs. For instance; one of the writers who is inspired by this Avenue is Fikret Adil who basically accounts the bohemian lifestyle prevalent in the area in his work "Asmalı Mescit 74."

While wondering around the Vine Mosque Avenue, you can come many people who have different race, religion, nationality. For instance; we met an Afro-American male who present us his single album, called “RED, BLACK AND WHITE” by ENZO IKAH.

In an interview with a grocer, there comes out a story of "the Vine Mosque Avenue" According to this story after the destruction of "The Vine Mosque”, a new historical building is constructed by one of the emperors of the Ottoman Empire. Then he gives this building as a present to the Commander of Italian Navy. This building takes its name from the commander. Presently, there is a parking area at the one side; on the other side, there is a restaurant, called “Acıktım”. This is a proof for the capitalist system and the degeneration of the historical culture.

All these explanations show that The Vine Mosque Avenue is like a cultural bridge between past and the present. With its colorful life, it appeals many people who are different in many aspects.


Galata Tower, being one of the oldest and the most important towers in the world, was made by Byzantium Emperor Anastasius in 507 under the name of Lighthouse Tower. The tower was made by wood. Taking over the tower in 1348, Geneose rebuilt the tower with pile stone and named it Christ Tower. When Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered Istanbul in 1453, the tower got under the Ottoman Empire’s management. In 15th century, the tower was used as dungeon and in 16th century, the tower was used as a fire tower. The first ma
n who flew in history, in 17th century, Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi, put wooden wings to his arms flew from Galata Tower to Üsküdar. Damaged in the fire of Galata in 1832, Galata Tower was restoraged by Mahmut the Second and used as a sign tower. Also restored in 1967,Galata Tower gained its today’s view and still used for touristic formation. Thus, Galata Tower got its name from the historical province of Istanbul, from Galata. The space around the tower involves the study of generation of meaning by signs and their connotations in the environment. Thus, it can be analyzed in terms of fusion of cultures, effects of capitalism and reflections of patriarchy.
When someone starts a trip around Galata Tower, one of the most striking things is the fusion of cultures that is obvious from social space and buildings. The binary oppositions start in the streets that lead to the tower. As it is depicted in this picture, there are two buildings facing each other which are different in appearance. The one on the right has been recently constructed or restored whereas the other seems ancient. The latter reflects traces of history and experience as if an old inhabitant of the street. The former stands away from past and shines with its colour which is adapted to modern constructions. Veiled women walking down the street and passing by church which generates no meaning for their religious beliefs is a good example of harmony of two religions. Shops which surround the tower have a significant role in reflecting the change of a historical place. Adıgüzel Restaurant which is poor in appearance is in a contrast with Country Life which serves the needs of contemporary lifestyle. There is a conflict between its appearance and practice as it is playing Turkish folk music. This conflict is also seen in a different way on the menu of Adıgüzel Restaurant. Although its name is spelled in Turkish, its menu is written in English and it serves Turkish food. When the point comes to the main subject-the tower, it is a combination of oriental and western cultures. Above the gate of the tower, there are some ornaments in Ottoman Turkish language which reflect the history of the building. In addition, souvenir shop on the left sells handmade wallets, glasses, jewellery and bags with Turkish motives to reflect the Turkish culture because most of the visitors are foreigners. As a result, there is reception like place on the right where ‘information’ is written. In the middle, an elevator lifts people to the top of the tower, but there are also stairs made of wood emphasizing the authenticity of the building. At the top of the tower, the flags of different nations are located in the entrance of the restaurant as an evidence of harmony of cultures. In materialistic terms, it is western; in spiritual terms, it is Turkish, so fusion of cultures is obvious in each detail.
The reality of existence of different cultures is also a consequence of power relations determining the social structure, namely capitalism. According to Marx, capitalism stresses the historical specifity of human affairs and the changable character of social formations whose core features are located in the material conditions of existence and it is a dynamic system whose profit driven mechanisms lead to the continual revolutionizing of the means of productions and the forging of new markets. Marx claims that people live in capitalist lines and cultural practices are commodified by culture industries. Modernization of the tower and its surroundings are the products of industries which search profit by attracting people. Since they get used to and are alienated from the dominant system in their country, it is inevitable for them to serve these corporations. A great number of modern designed and expensive cafes, restaurant, souvenir shops surround the historical tower and each invites visitors to spend money.
Galata Tower is actually a historical place but now it consists of a night bar, cafe and restaurant to welcome the guests coming from foreign lands. Inside of the building looks modern even there is a huge lcd on the first floor which shows a belly dancer performing at the restaurant. No detail is skipped in order to comfort people and make a lot of profit out of the building so in today’s world, the tower is a place commodified by cultural industries.
Stuart Hall points out that culture is a contested terrain, an arena of both consent and resistence in the struggle over cultural meanings. The place is occupied by the flocks of people who are constantly in action of shopping and consuming by consent. On the other hand, there are some others who react against or resist to the material forces which have created a market place in this historical area as in the whole world. A writing on the wall gives the very example of this reaction but it is still a passive protest as the one who has written it could find a place in suburban. A shoeshine man who works in front of a jazz bar is glad in appearance contrasted to the resentment in his heart but he has no possibility of victory over the dominant structure.
To sum up, ‘ the dominant class expressed their power by giving legitimacy and exposure to their cultural forms and practices by projecting their fields of value. Thus, the practice of assigning value is not an innocent exercise. It is an aspect of cultural struggle and involves a war for cultural status.’
One of the determiners of the urban space, like the fusion of the cultures and capitalism, is the patriarchal system in the society. Patriarchy is a social system in which men have all the power and shape all the structures for their own good. Until the first half of 20th century, men did not render it possible for women to have an effective role in political and social activities in order not to share their power. Woman as an angel in the house was only responsible for looking after children and dealing with the household. Altough their position has evolved through a number of stages, the burdens that are put upon their shoulders are the same on the base and their status in front of men is reminded through cultural products. Walking along the junk shops around
Galata, one can see the world of men in which there is no place for six women passing the street under the exposure of the stares. However, it is not weird to face such an attitude in a society where the dominant figure is man. The work space of the women is limited and those who manage a business in each field are men. The shops around the place are the perfect examples of this claim since in this male ruling world, there is only one shop hold by a woman.
When the point comes to the architecture, the motives and symbols associate with texts that belong to patriarchy. The street lambs illuminating the darkness are phallic-like in shape which connotates the idea that women cannot find the true path without the help of the men. Galata Tower stands straight at the center of all structures as a phallic
symbol representing the male power over the system. A woman body has a fundamental role in satisfying the needs of men, for this reason it is a sexual object to be commodified in male market. The lcd screen inside the tower plays the video of a Turkish belly dancer to attract men’s attention because this is the easiest way to invite them to the night bar.
As stated before, dominant power in a society determines all the internal and external structures which serve their own interests. Patriarchy emerges in each object and reminds itself as an ultimate power.
Consequently, Galata Tower which witnessed a great number of historical events has been used for different purposes and so it has influenced its surroundings. Since the purposes of usage has been determined by the changing world conditions, its current position has been analyzed in terms of fusion of cultures, capitalism and patriarchy. As it is stressed before, the urban place shelters Turkish and Western cultures and they stand together in harmony inside and outside of the tower. Besides this cultural atmosphere, in each corner it has the effects of capitalism which dominates the world and as a result it is a commodity of culture industries. Lastly, relations in the society have evolved through many stages but Galata Tower stands straight representing patriarchy which still exists.

What is called ‘culture’ is to able to be observed everywhere people live. Both urban and rural space involve the signs and connatations of culture they belong to. In the spaces which have a historical background , one of the most attractive and informative signs of space is ‘buildings’. Each building has a cultural background . Its decoration and the materials which are used for building inform about religious beliefs, traditions, experiences, physical environments, and economical opprtunities of the society. So what is needed is the ability to read the signs and connotations. This paper analyzes the Minerva-Han in the Banks Street. At first it was built as a Greek Bank with the aim of financial support for Greeks in the Ottoman Empire during First World War. Then the building was used as an ‘insurance agency’ by different companies. Nowadays Minerva-Han is a museum of Sabancı University. Minerva-Han refLects the values and economical power relation of society which change for one hundred year.

Minerva Han, a building located on the corner of Banks (Voyvoda) Street and High Pavement ramp is now the culture center of Sabancı University. It had served for banks and insurance company for around eighty years. It was used as Athena Bank for the first time. It was not certain but according to some rumours the first owner of Minerva Han is a rich Greek man who lived in Ottoman Empire. His aim is to provide finance for the Greeks who live in the empire. Minerva Han, a landmark historical building has been used for different targets during the time after 1913 it was built. In 1930, an admiration of Deutsch appeared in the country, and so Athena Bank suddenly turned into Deutsch Bank. It can be a reason for being used as a bank that the building took place in the centre of Ottoman economy. Istanbul was the capital city of the empire and so the centre of local and international trade and business. After the Second World War, this admiration of Deutsch disappeared and the building is used by insurance companies. Between 1950 and 1980 Doğan Insurance used the building, and then until 1993 Ak Insurance used it as its head office for years. In 1997, Güler Sabancı and the academic staff who were then working on Sabancı University made a visit to Minerva Han and decided to move in and use this building as communication centre of the Sabancı University. Nowadays Minerva Han is used by Sabancı University as a culture centre of the university and an annex and a venue for conferences and cultural activities. In fact the appearance of the building is so suitable to be a culture centre. It was influenced by Italian architecture. The building took its name from a goddess of Roman Mythology who represented wisdom and art. It has Venus statues which carrying fruit baskets on the second floor and a woman portrait sculpture with a helmet on the entrance floor that it is highly probable that it represents the goddess Minerva. All these features help it to be an attractive art centre. While it was used as a bank, its lodge was used as a vault. But now its lodge is used as art gallery in the name “Kasa Gallery” while its other floors are used for conference and cultural activities. The gallery, consisting of three successive rooms has a spatial dominance which is sometimes difficult to get over and which cannot be neutralized by its white walls. Hence, a number of artists have produced exhibitions or works originating from these characteristic components of the space. For the sake of Minerva Han Sabancı University can share its students’ cultural and artistic studies with the public.

Minerva Han which is on the right pavement of The Banks Streets has small,blue and and a circular facade.It was built on between the years of 1911 and 1913.Minerva which gave the han its name,is the name of a mythological god of art and wisdom,Athena, in the Roman mythology.At the same time it was the pioner of reinforced concrete buildings in that era.This building has a basement,5 intermediate stories and a top floor.As the building is on the corner of the street,the entrance was put on the corner also.The facade of the building was embellished with small figurines.On the entrance of it there is a woman bust which represents Minerva with her helmet.On the 2nd floor there are 2 baby figures who carries fruit basket on their laps.Most probably they represent fertility ; that means fertility in terms of money as there was a bank once upon a time.These baby figurines as a kind of different sign connotes the power of money.In addition to these figurines, on the 5th floor there are a pair of snake embossment which is nested in each other .These snakes symbolize the field of physic.Not only the exterior but also the interior of the han is astonishing.The 1st excitement was created with its big and glorious door.When we enter the han through this door,we saw a silhouette which wasn’ t degenerated despite the time which had passed.After we passed through the detector,we walked under the magnificience of a ceiling which was gilded with gold dust.We didn’t take the photos of this ceiling but the perfect atmosphere of it attact us totally.Also the people who came here for an exhibition of İstanbul University shared the same feeling with us certainly.As we went down stairs we saw a kind of basement floor which were not restorated at all.We encountered with a kind of safe floor;the money was saved here and after a time later and as now on it has been used as the exhibition room.We saw on the walls some plazma televisions.Some visual images are displayed here.For example there was a television in which gestures and facial expressions of a man was changing spontaneously.It was very interesting of such a building has been used nowadays as an art gallery.It has passed a number of processes by now and we will see these processes now.

The Banks Street which is also known as “Voyvoda Street” had been the financial center of the Ottoman Empire with the banks;First it was Thessaloniki Bank (Banque de Salonique),secondly the German Bank (Deutsche Bank),then the Russian Foreign Trade Bank (Banque pour le Commerce Russe étranger), after that Athens Bank (Banque d'Athènes) and finally its function changed and it became just a culture center of Sabancı University. Today, banks and dealers in electric supplies are side by side in the Banks Street which clearly shows the significant changes. Minerva Han has an importance as being the first building in the street. It reflects the historical background of the street as well as other buildings in the area. Additionally,it is interesting that there is a little stand selling meatballs across to it. It is no doubt that this shows the cultural modifications through time on both in the buildings and on the surrounding area. In the past, the Banks Street was a place that mostly belongs to elite and rich people however now, many people from different social classes can be seen there .The street changes like a living thing as the time, people and power relationships changes.

In conclusion,with the combination of its fascinating architecture and historical background Minerva-Han is the most attractive building of the Banks Street. It is almost a hundred-year-old building which had served as a bank for about eighty years, then an insurance agency and now is serving as a museum of Sabancı University.The appearance of the building is suitable enough to be a culture center. The figurines on the surface of the building greet Istanbul with a blink that sometimes belongs to an elf and sometimes to a child yearning for the past. Searching the history of the building and the importance of it at that times, it is easily understood that Minerva-Han reflects the values and economical power relation of society that changes throughout the ages.

Minerva Han / Bankalar Caddesi

Büşra Aslıvar
Özlem Toplu
Samet Efe
Serap Çelik
Emel İbiş
Gökçe Karahacıoğlu

Akdeniz Terrace - Nevizade Street

Here is Nevizade Street! Walking along the street, it is possible to see various kinds of café-bars. These bars choose to have traditional square tables with white table clothes and Turkish raki on them. Generally people over 40 fill such bars/restaurants. Suddenly we were stroke by something. The sound! Music was calling us!

-“Is it Cohen?” -“Yes, It is!”

No sooner did we hear the sound than we saw the name of the bar: AKDENIZ. Neon lighting was a good choice in using for the writing of the name – on the signboard. At the very first side, the name moved us, it recalled our Dionysian feelings through music and then its name “Akdeniz”. When we entered the place inviting us, we saw that atmosphere and the name were compatible with one another.

Following the impact of the sound and the name of the bar, another appealing point is the lighting. The use of dim light creates a gloomy atmosphere, and that is why the importance of identity lessens after for a while. It becomes insignificant who you are among the other people; the consciousness of the strict rules imposed by the society becomes lost! When compared to an ordinary café, that is why the customers feel themselves more relaxed with their behaviors. According to our short conversation with one of the waiters and the barman, not only the younger generation but also mature people, such as lawyers, teachers, architects, academicians etc. prefer “Akdeniz” the inspiring. This shows that the people who are under the pressure of an Apollonian lifestyle during the majority of the day feel the necessity of Dionysian comfort even for a few hours at the end of daily tensions, and the last stop is “Akdeniz”. As a café/bar, Akdeniz successfully appeals, also, to people who have different kinds of music taste. Even the individuals listening to pop, rock or metal music can easily come together at the same place. It was true also for our group members. Each one of us has different musical cultures but it was irritating for neither of the members as the songs did really not address to only a group of listeners. When we went near to the DJ and asked some questions about the playlist, we learnt that not only the hard rock sounds but also alternative songs were present. The most popular and especially preferred ones were HIM, Iron Maiden, Travis, Desemberist, James Blunt, Bob Marley, Cohen and Pink Floyd. It was also nice to have the posters of these groups and singers on the walls of the bar. It was appealing truly both to the eyes and the ears of the customers. Both visionary and auditory can be experienced in “Akdeniz.”

As for the decoration there are wooden tables with red comfortable seats. The color of red is used not only with the sofas but also with the walls. Among the other colors, red is more striking and it reminds of personal desires such as love, energy, appetizing foods. This is why the people need to escape from a black white world. What is more, we know that young people incline to question and avoid clichés. As if to set an example for this, a ceiling with red strokes is used. The color, red, is used differently at each floor. From the basement to the upper floors one sees lighter red or other lighter colors making the atmosphere comparatively brighter. To see paintings and the caricatures on the walls is another charming point of the café. No matter where it is, the work of art strikes the attention of the people and gets on well with the souls. The paintings, done by the art students from universities, create a warm atmosphere and they cover all the walls. In terms of their concept, they are very well chosen to invite the people walking along the street as some of the paintings include some figures which are like coming out of mythological stories – including very interesting characters for most people. Another affect on the walls are the work of comics. Today many people buy comics weekly and that tradition is really widespread among the people. Using some characters from the comics is another way of attracting the potential of customers.

According to our short interview with an another waiter: “ Akdeniz has been one of the most enjoyable places of Nevizade for ten years. A terrace is included in its for floors and garden during the summer months. Akdeniz is the center of alternative songs and house of – especially- university students. It has a small entrance, nice and dim illumination and bustling regular visitors. In summer seasons, the terrace of Akdeniz is so charming. Akdeniz, which greets the summer with air conditioning and with renewals in its decoration, implants “adolescence” to the people everyday, between 12,00pm -04,00am.

Throughout Nevizade Street, one can make choice among so many places according to the spirit of either themselves or the bars. Akdeniz is one of them having its own distinct spirit and soul addressing to most of the people walking around Nevizade. Due to the facilities it has, Akdeniz promises some kind of comfort and feast with the help of their good musical taste. Its organic result is the ability of appealing to many people and having so many frequent comers. In other words, Akdeniz is very popular among the group of people having Nevizade culture. This is why one can claim it to be a product or a result of popular culture. As being students of Cultural Studies, we do know well that popular culture is the culture for mass consumption and it captures most of the society. It has a kind o illustration seeming to be provided for all and none may escape it. From such an angle, Akdeniz is the best example of it.

group members:

özlem hasanoğlu

elif hızarcı

şule uzunkaya

begüm demir

fatma tosun

elif kotancı

suna cevandır


The Marmara Hotel stands in the center of Taksim Square and it has three hundred seventy six rooms. It is a deluxe five-star hotel and it is a good palce for business trip and entertainment in the city for the people who always want the best. It has a unique bosphorus view and it is close to center of luxurious shopping district, Nişantaşı and it is close to Lütfü Kırdar Congress Center. In the hotel, there are distinctive dining facilities with the stunning views of Istanbul. The hotel also provides an elegant setting for hosting high-level meetings and upscale private events. There are different kinds of rooms in the hotel. For example; The Marmara Club rooms are at the fifth floor and have the most panaromic Istanbul views. There are the lounge services which include all day dining and lively cocktails, snacks, afternoon tea and these are served at various times of the day. In the hotel,there is a spa and it encourages a complete spa experience for the body and mind and offers natural therapies and treatments. This study includes the interpretation of The Marmara Hotel with the addition of photos taken from different aspects to supports the points that are discussed, which are, kinds of cultural meanings being generated, and kinds of meanings concerning power relations being implicated within the environment.

As it is told, the properties of the hotel, it has a luxurious place in the center of Taksim Square and it stands like the luxury symbol. In Istanbul, there are many poor people and even their monthly income can’t afford its daily price and we can consider it as a symbol of injustice in the heart of Taksim Square.In front of hotel and around the hotel there are many workers and salespeople who are working and standing for their daily incomes while the rich people are doing their gymnastic exercises and enjoying the luxurious and comfortable accommodation. This is the best example of the injustice in our country. We can call the hotel as a symbol of capitalism and this high building looks down on people. The masters of capitalism can afford the price of those comfortable rooms in this hotel and they look down on people who spends all their energy just for their basic needs for living. This injustice cause cultural conflict between high and low cultures. This conflict makes people unhappy because they believe in justice and want to have the same opportunities. This class injustice causes all the problems in the society.

As a cosmopolitan city, Istanbul incorporates many different cultures; and because of this gap, there is a lack of communication among the people of Istanbul. In some counties, one of which is Taksim, this lack of communication is bitingly apparent; because the cultural construction has been shaped by cultural diversity. The cultural construction can be formed and attributed a meaning with language or visual and cultural codes. Language is the basic factor for culture; but visual codes can also carry a meaning. One of the most important visual codes in Taksim is The Marmara Hotel and its cultural effect.

When you arrive in Taksim Square, The Marmara Hotel, a huge building, salutes you with its all magnificence. It is the biggest building in Taksim Square and it should be, why? Because the area, where it was built is different than the other areas in terms of the different lifestyle of people. The lifestyle of a citizen is determined by the society and the place where he/she lives. Similarly; the cultural atmosphere and the cultural construction of Taksim prepared the ground for the “construction of The Marmara Hotel”. The Marmara Hotel serves for wealthy people; that is for “high culture”. It means that an ordinary citizen cannot afford the price of a night or having lunch or dinner in this hotel. However, even if he had the money, he wouldn’t adapt himself to the situation because of the cultural diversity. There are some important reasons for this matter, then let’s ask that question again: Why was The Marmara Hotel built in Taksim?

In Turkey, we have two Istanbul : one of them is “European” , the other one is “Anatolian” or “Asian”. But, they have different cultures and different lifestyle. For instance, even if the counties of Fatih and Taksim or Pera are in the European side of Istanbul, the people’s attitude, their behaviors or their speaking can change. According to many people, thanks to the counties such as Pera, Taksim, Bebek, Moda etc… Istanbul is like a western city. People living in these counties interpret the life in Istanbul differently than the ones living in Sultanahmet, Fatih, Eyüp, Üsküdar etc… When a tourist comes to Istanbul from West, he/she sees the western counties of Istanbul and behaves according to the atmosphere of these counties. In “west” Istanbul, people are walking in İstiklal until the first lights of morning, they are drinking alcohol freely in the pubs in Nevizade, and the bars are open until the morning. So then, instead of Taksim, where will you build this hotel, which addresses to the people living like these ones? You can also build this hotel in Moda or Bebek, but it can be thought that it will not be easy to build such a hotel in Sultanahmet because of the religious atmosphere it has.



As it is mentioned; the lifestyle and the culture of high class has determined all the circumstances in these counties. we want share an interesting story to elaborate the situation. When my friends and I went to a bar to drink something in Nevizade, some of my friends ordered beer, but the rest, especially boys among the girls ordered cherry juice to drink. However, the waiters were laughing and talking by goofing off, maybe the situation enjoyed them so much! They behaved us as if there was an obligation to drink any alcohol in the bar. we mean that the culture, in which they were brought up, shaped them and they found their truths in this culture. we cannot blame them, because the atmosphere and the society are suitable for experiencing such things. Namely, The Marmara Hotel , has the same effect upon the people, in Taksim it is the symbol of high culture with its luxury rooms and its unique scene of Bosporus and it is one of the doors of Turkey opening to Europe. For instance, “The Meeting of News Agency in European Capital of Culture” was carried out on November 26 in The Marmara Hotel , Taksim and this conference introduced the historical, natural and cultural richness of Turkey to Europe in their news. For such an event, The Marmara Hotel was chosen, because it was meeting all the needs of high culture while Turkey was hosting for an important event, including people from high class.

Before examining means of power relations that can be derived from the Marmara Hotel, it is better to see what power and power relation mean. Power is a measure of an entity's ability to control their environment, including the behavior of other entities and power relations are the domain of latent power that makes it possible for entities to interact in a way that temporally manifests that power among them. To understand their meanings it would be better to take a look at Marx’s and Foucault’s views of power and power relations.
Karl Marx divided power into two as essential power and political power, arguing that man inherently possesses "essential powers" that are his to use while also being subjected to the influences of political powers employed by elites within society (Tucker, 88-89). This view of the human condition suggests that there are elements or forces within any given society which seek to delimit the capacity of an individual or a group (or even a gender) to exercise power. Marx's theory depends upon the assertion that society is divided into classes of the oppressed and the oppressors who remain in constant opposition to one another.
For Foucault, power is distributed throughout socail relations. Foucault suggested that we need to develop an ‘analytics’, as opposed to a ‘theory’, of power relations (Foucault, 1981a: 82), or at least ‘theory as a toolkit’ (Foucault, 1980a: 145). In other words, instead of attempting to say what power is, we must attempt to show how it operates in concrete and historical frameworks, in the sense of ‘By what means is it [power] exercised?’ and ‘What happens when individuals exert (as they say) power over others?’ (Foucault, 1982: 217).

When The Marmara Hotel taken into consideration through Marx’s theory, it is the political power held by elites within society. All of its customer is from higher classes who have statue and wealth. In the website of the hotel it clearly and “frankly” states its customer profile; “The Marmara provides an elegant setting for hosting high-level meetings and upscale private events.” It also delimits and outcasts rest of them people who are out of its definition. In that sense The Marmara Hotel is also the oppressor. Here are some photos of it which helps us to see its various faces more clearly.

These photos show the backdoor of that magnificent building which is right next to its dumpster and used by the hotel stuff. The backdoor and the dumpster capture,in the next page, shows the Marmara Hotel as the oppresor.

And in this photo we see the stuff leaving the hotel for lunch and heading through the backside of the Taxim square which is cheaper and not classy enough for The Marmara Customers.

To sum up; The Marmara Hotel is a symbol of power, hierarchy and richness in Taksim. It is the castle of high culture and capitalism. Because of the Taksim’s effect on area, while people are walking in front of it, they feel themselves as inferior ones compared to those enjoying inside of the hotel. As you know 37 people was killed in 1977, in Taksim while protesting the system of capitalism. They were killed from The Marmara Hotel to keep the system alive. Therefore, under the beautiful face of this hotel, so many different, effective and hierarchic meanings are concealed.
Gülhan Sungur,
Gülşah Köken,
Kadir Saydam,
Merve Sevinç,
Meryem Yıldız,
Salih Köseoğlu,
Yasin Kanbur..

Ghost Writers


    The Galatasaray High School's origins date back to the 15th century, when on a hunting expedition in the area, then a thickly wooded forest, Sultan Beyazit II came upon an old man who had fought in the surrounding of Istanbul in 1453. At the end of this encounter, the man presented the sultan with one red and one yellow rose from his garden (the colors of the Galatasaray soccer team) and requested that a house of learning be built on the spot. The school was founded in 1481 as Galata Sarayi, the fourth of a network of existing palace schools. During the era of the Tanzimat, the school became a window onto the West, and much of Turkish-French relations have their origins here. For the past 500 years, Galatasaray High School has graduated grand viziers and palace administrators, and later, prime ministers, poets, artists, and journalists. Even today, the high school continues to set the standards of learning for all of Turkey.
   The school has an enormous gate which has unique and sophisticated illustrations on it. What strikes people in the first place is its monumental stand in the middle of the maddening crowd. The gate looks grandioso as if it belongs to a palace more than a high school. It gives the impression that it can hold any people from any social and intellectual status. It arouses one’s interest with its extraordinary structure which creates a mystic aura. That mysticism draws people around this gate.

  There are many symbols and figures on the gate such as torches, swords and bugles. On the very top of the gate, there are old writings in Ottoman Turkish which indicate historical value of Galatasaray High School. There is also a figure on the top resembling the sun which is composed of bronze sticks. In the very middle of that sun, there is a tugra- sultan’s signature- framed by a star figure. The ostentatious colors and  the tugra on the gate indicates the wealth of the period  and the richness of their culture. However, the priceless tugra on the gate was replaced by a fake one made by Ziya Ebuzziya, after it had been stolen.


  Besides its being a gorgeous school gate, it has a centric location which serves for certain purposes such as strikes, meetings, advertisings and touristic visits. Hosting such a huge crowd makes this place chaotic so it requires precaution of security. A lot of people from many walk of life are gathering together here regardless of any differences. People impose different meanings to that place. While some people use it to meet with their friends, others gather there to make themselves heard. To sum up, while this place is just a high school in appearance, it evokes different thoughts in different minds.

Galatasaray High School

Group Members:

Gülşah Karabıyık
Gülçin Koç
Sinem Akdağ
Tuğba Baltacı
Meral Turhan
Fatma Hergül