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Beiträge zur Kenntnis der osmanischen Kirchenarchitektur im Großraum İzmir-Smyrna (19. Jh.–1922)

Ergün Lafli and Alexander Zäh
Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft
Vol. 165, No. 1 (2015), pp. 125-154
Published by: Harrassowitz Verlag
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Page Count: 30
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Beiträge zur Kenntnis der osmanischen Kirchenarchitektur im Großraum İzmir-Smyrna (19. Jh.–1922)
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Summary Churches built in Ottoman times are so far omitted in monographs on the general architectural history of the Ottoman Empire, which remains a strange case. The metropolitan city of Smyrna-İzmir from the 17th/18th centuries and especially from the 19th century onwards until 1922 was an important flourishing urban center of Christian minorities such as the Greek-Orthodox, Armenian communities and also the European colonies, who subsequently in the city and the surrounding province built many churches. After the Turkish conquest and burning of the city (September 1922) many important monuments have been destroyed, such as the large Orthodox metropolitan basilica church of “Hagia Photini”, with its impressive campanile (which once served as a landmark of the Smyrna skyline), and the Armenian-apostolic cathedral “Surp Stepanos” (St. Stephen) with private school, whereas others in huge numbers survived and subsequently most often where transferred into mosques. In one case the Greek-Armenian church of “Hagios Voukolos” was transferred into the new Archaeological Museum of the city (in use until the end of the 1980 s). Many of the other monuments fell into ruins up through the years and if not destroyed and vanished today, the remainders mostly served as storage rooms, sometimes cinemas or even fitness studios. Seldom the Christian communities of the city quarters were allowed to keep their property, such as the large Catholic Franciscan church of “Sta. Maria” (built in 1831) at İzmir-Bornova, which continuously stayed in Christian use until today. It is estimated that roundabout 300 churches, from the large city quarter and provincial city church, down to smaller rural chapels have survived in the larger area of İzmir and in its provincial environments as such. As a matter of fact those edifices stay largely undocumented and unrecognized. Their further tracing and documentation remains a large interesting art-historical task for the future. The paper picks up this desideratum and the results of the first typological overview of the area given already in the Ph.D. thesis of Alexander Zäh (Frankfurt am Main) in 2003 and brings in additional valuable discoveries of so far unknown buildings and new observations on the already known ones, now also made by Ergün Lafli (İzmir) up until now (2014). Some of those observations were made possible due to recent and highly welcome Turkish restorations carried out on some of the buildings. Other church examples of the area unfortunately stay in a very critical state of preservation and are endangered of total loss (like the large church of “Profitis Ilias” in the military area of İzmir). This paper points to all of those aspects, especially that new buildings inscriptions came to light, in addition art-historically complete unknown edifices are featured and assembled in this paper in a short catalog.

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