: HERMA 2012

The Arnavutkoy Museum: Hadimkoy Station Challenge

General Information on the Project

Hadimkoy is a small Turkish city 44 km from Istanbul which belongs to the Arnavutkoy municipality. The city, like the rest of the broader Arnavutkoy area, is included in the greater development plan of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (Istanbul&Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, 2011), which is planning the expansion and reorganization of Istanbul’s city borders, the formulation of satellite and smaller urban centers, and the expansion of the existing urban facilities such as: public transportation, green spaces and metropolitan parks, highways and a new airport. Consequently, the change of the environmental, social and structural characteristics of the Arnavutkoy district is expected.

Considering those future alternations, the rapid growth in the broader area of the Arnavutkoy municipality, the expansion of the urban zones and the increase of inhabitants, as described above, the formation of a museum which is going to collect, document, interpret, preserve, and promote the historical facts and traditions of the Arnavutkoy region seems crucial. That led to the decision, to turn two buildings of the Old Railway Infrastructure located in Hadimkoy city into a museum named Arnavutkoy Museum – Hadimkoy Station

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The first of the two museum buildings. Source: Taksim Yapi

The museum will include:

A Local Cultural Landscape and Human Activity History Museum, where the permanent collection will be held; and

A Periodical Exhibition Venue, where temporary exhibitions will be hosted. Their subject could vary, but still should be related to the museum purposes.

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The second of the two museum buildings. Source: Arnavutkoy Municipality

The subject of the Arnavutkoy Museum – Hadimkoy Station will be the presentation of the local history and lifestyle in time through the relation and interaction of human activity and landscape. On one hand, the way that the environment set the conditions in which local activity developed (i.e. the Terkos Lake water supply system) and on the other hand, the way the people transformed the landscape, adapting it to their activities and needs (Aksoy 2012; 5th International Architecture Biennale, 2012). Respectively, its mission will be to demonstrate and narrate to the public this landscape and social change depended on the cultural activity. To reveal the natural, demographic, ethnic, economic, religious, architectural and urban alternations that formed Arnavutkoy’s region contemporary characteristics (UNESCO, 2008, 2014; Kartaler 2012).

A Museum without a Collection, a Reversed Process

It’s common sense that when speaking about a museum, one of the most important components is its collection. In the Arnavutkoy Museum – Hadimkoy Station the material gathered so far is historical data concerning the previous function of the buildings; facts related with the railway system, maps which locate Hadimkoy and older villages of the Arnavutkoy area during time, as some demographic information concerning the population which lived in the area before the population exchange in 1923-24 (Stavridou, 1991; Meellas 2000). Hence, a material collection is not gathered yet. Research results will be exhibited within the museum premises, and through public awareness more tangible and intangible assets are expected to be gathered. So, how can a museum without tangible collection function and what is its importance?

The Old Railway Park Source: World Business Directory

The Old Railway Park
Source: World Business Directory

The most fascinating fact in the Hadimkoy Station Museum case is that the present of the Arnavutkoy district is the collection which should be gathered. Realizing that in a few years the area will be changed from the ground up, now is a unique opportunity to collect objects and testimonies which in a few years will belong to the past, and nothing will remind Arnavutkoy’s current aspect.

Archaeologists usually gather findings which they can’t explain or identify, because they belong to a civilization which doesn’t exist anymore. So they come up with assumptions or hypothesis, concerning their function and utility. Respectively the social and economic activity remains mainly an interpreted assumption (Pearce, 1994) .

In this case there is the opportunity not to have assumptions about the aspect of the area, but real testimonies considering all the important facts which are indicating the environmental, social, cultural, and economic activity in Arnavutkoy. This is the reason why it is proposed the collection gathering to be implemented vice-versa. Starting from year 0, which is today, the collection should be gathered and interpreted backwards. The residents of Arnavutkoy – Hadimkoy, especially the elders are the most important component in this effort, as they are carrying all the important knowledge connected with everyday activities and landscape alternations (Jones 1997). 


5th International Architecture Biennale (2012), “Arnavutkoy, Istanbul, Making City/Kent Yapmak”, Rotterdam 

Acela Meellas (2000), “Kadikoy and Derkos Metropolis Stamps”, Foundation of the Hellenic World, Athens, pages: 19-20, 271, 342-348, 433

Aksoy Asu (2012), ‘Atelier Arnavutköy: strategies for Istanbul’s sustainability‘, International Conference, Italy 

B.Th. Stavridou (1991), [professor in the Theological school of Khalkis], “The metropolis of Chalcedon, Derkos, and Prince Islands”, for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, published by Kyriakides Bros, Thessaloniki, pages 196 – 203

Istanbul&Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (2011), ‘Facts & Figures about Turkey and İstanbul, İstanbul a vibrant city of a thriving country‘. 

Pearce  Susan (1994) [editor], ‘Interpreting Objects and Collections‘, Routledge, UK.

Siân Jones (1997), ‘The Archaeology of Ethnicity, Constructing Identities in the Past and Present‘, Routledge, UK. 

UNESCO (2008), ’Guidelines On The Inscription Of Specific Types Of Properties On The World Heritage List’, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, France

UNESCO, Cultural Lanscape, available in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/culturallandscape/ , accessed 04/04/2014

Yesim Kartaler [editor] (2012), “Making a Sustainable City, The Arnavutkoy Approach”, Architecture Workroom Brussels, IABR, Belgium

imageTheodora Tsitoura is an alumna student of MA in Heritage Management 2012, with a Bachelor in International and European Economic Studies (AUEB). Currently she is a volunteer in the Exile Museum of Athens and in Diadrasis NGO. Theodora’s main interests are Heritage Management, Dark Heritage, Urban Heritage and Cross-Institutional Interdisciplinary Collaboration management.  

Film & Heritage: the Film Raro

Rarato, Cook IslandsLast summer, I had the chance to attend a unique event in the South Pacific. The Film Raro paradise challenge took place in Rarotonga; the capital of the Cook Islands. The event consisted in bringing five film crews to make five film projects highlighting the island’s cultural and natural  heritage.

Five teams were selected from 2000 entries and they were from USA, New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom. The event was preceded by a class that introduced locals to the process of filmmaking. 

Prior to the event, the locals assisted to a class about filmmaking and acting.

When the event started, each team had to finish both the production and post-production phase within 14 days. The teams and the projects were very diverse. From New Zealand, David Gould made a film about a young boy who gets touched by the wisdom of a local fisherman that changed his perception about the island. The Stone Brothers from California, adapted Scott Fitzgerald’s Offshore Pirate into a film about a girl who rediscovers her origins upon return to Rarotonga. The Australian team made a comedy about a million pound contest to find a corgi-dog that is supposed to have descended from Queen Elizabeth’s dogs. Karen Williams produced a documentary about ‘Mou Pirri’ a folkloric wedding song that originates from the Cook Islands. 

The island lived on the Film Raro rhythm for two consecutive weeks. Rarotongans were involved in the  filmmaking and post production process. They volunteered on sets, helped build sets, made props, prepared meals and were the majority of actors in the different films. 

The event ended with the projects’ screening in front of a large audience which flocked from the different sides of the island. 

Film Raro Volunteers Dizzy, Tiairani and Nader with movie producer: Webster Stone.

I volunteered as a production assistant along with British Indian actor Dizzy Patel and Tahitian student Tiairani Drollet-le-Caill. We got the chance to rotate around film sets. This was an exciting learning experience for all of us. We got the chance to be involved in five films at the same time and see films getting made.

The different films made it into different film festivals and won prices allowing more visibility to the island of Rarotonga, its culture, history and heritage. 

Event website: www.filmraro.com

unnamedNader was born in Tunisia and was a student of the MA in Heritage Management 2012/2013. His interest in cinema was nurtured at the Tunisian Federation of Film Societies. Nader holds a B.A in English Language and Literature from the Institute of Human Sciences of Jendouba. He also holds an MA in Cultural Anthropology from New Mexico State University. Nader wants to bring his interest in heritage management to film. In the last two years, he has been developing film projects both in his native country and abroad.

Traditional Tattoos: Impressive Intangible Heritage of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Tattooed wife from Lašvanske Valley, Bosnia. Photo Credit: Traditional Croatian Tattoo

Tattooed wife from Lašvanske Valley, Bosnia. Photo Credit: Traditional Croatian Tattoos

My interest in this topic started as a quite personal thing. As a tribute to my grandmother who passed away two years ago. I remember that I was impressed that my grandmother had a tattoo, and more over, that she gotten it when she was a young girl, about 9 years old. The story goes like this…

The Greek historian Strabo (1st century BC) mentions tattooing as a custom of inhabitants of the area corresponding to present day Bosnia and Herzegovina. He said, “they are poor, and they have tattoos as other Illyrian tribes.”

However, this phenomenon became widespread among the Roman Catholic population of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Ottoman rule of their lands (1463 – 1878), and lasted up until 20th century, more precisely until 1938. With the creation of communist Yugoslavia, which part Bosnia and Herzegovina became after World War II, this practice of tattooing was not as desirable and it faced a sharp decline. The last recorded example of a person who had the traditional tattoo done with a traditional method is from the 1984.

Bosnian Catholics would tattoo their children hoping that it would save them from Ottoman’s practice of taking young boys and sending them to Istanbul to become soldiers and convert them to Islam. This was done so even if that happened, their children would have a permanent reminder of who they were and where they came from. The practice was even more common among young girls. Their parents hoped that tattoos of a cross or other Christian symbols would prevent Turkish men from taking them as their wives.

Rose Zadrić, born in 1937 in Rama village Dobroš, Sicana. Photo Credit: Traditional Croatian Tattoos

Rose Zadrić, born in 1937 in Rama village Dobroš, Sicana. Photo Credit: Traditional Croatian Tattoos

Bosnian Catholic Croats used to tattoo their hands, chest, wrists or even forehead with the Christian symbols (like small cross), but also many other motifs are present. There were special days during the year when tattooing would take place (usually the time before Easter). They used natural materials to prepare a mixture, such as honey, carbon, and mother’s milk.

Even today in Bosnia and Herzegovina you can find a lot of women who have these tattoos, but they were all born around the 1930s and they are the last living generation to wear this impressive evidence of the fight that their ancestors undertook to protect their faith and origins. However, some great work on this subject has been done, like the book from the prominent archaeologist and historian Ćiro Truhelka, who did research on this subject in late 19th century. There were also some workshops for tattoo artists and also a work of young researcher Tea Turalija, who is trying to document as much as possible cases of women who are still alive, to record their stories and to take photos of their tattoos. You can follow her work on

In the end, the goal for us who see this tradition as something unique and beautiful, is to bring it to the UNESCO list of Intangible Heritage. Hope you will find it fascinating as I do.

Close-up of Rose Zadrić's tattoos from 1947, when she was 10 years old. Photo Credit: Traditional Croatian Tattoos

Close-up of Rose Zadrić’s tattoos from 1947, when she was 10 years old. Photo Credit: Traditional Croatian Tattoos

Marija Kamber finished the MA in Heritage Management in 2013 and also has a Masters in Tourism Management. With 5 years experience in marketing, she tries to combine the knowledge of those Masters into her projects. Marija plans to start work on a PhD in September in the area of cultural heritage and human rights. Her interests involve painful heritage, dark tourism, the role of heritage in conflicts and multiethnic societies, as well as the connection between heritage and human rights.