Bandirma, Turkey is an ancient city, first built circa 6,000 B.C., where traces of Catholic and Neolithic eras have survived. It is also a holiday destination with more and more tourists choosing to spend their vacations in Bandirma, located to the south of the Marmaran Sea. More hotels are built every day, creating a city that provides an economical and comfortable holiday.
Bandirma has many beautiful and architecturally valuable buildings, but as is usually the case in Turkey, none have been protected. Some prominent examples of architecture in Bandirma are the Haydar Cavus Mosque, the Last Bullet Monument, the Haydar Cavus Fountain, the Teachers’ Historical Lodge, The New Library, The Old Train Station, The Town Hall, and last but not least, The Holy Mosque. In the Museum of Archeology, the excavated items found in Daskyleion (now called Ergili) the Persian era’s city center, are showcased.
Architecture of the newly-founded Republic of Turkey was mainly inspired by First National Architecture and Second National Architecture trends. The First National Architecture trend gave birth to many beautiful buildings in various cities of Turkey. Some of those happen to be in Bandirma. These buildings are aesthetically pleasing and symbolic of the birth of the republic. Let me tell you about a few of these:
The Historical Dean’s Office
This building is also named the Old Bandirma Hotel. It was owned by various organizations and was used as the Preparatory School of the University. Nowadays, it’s owned by the local government, unused, in ruins, but still no less magnificent and stands out with valor. Should you visit the building, take a moment to take in its history. It is unfortunate that Turkey, as usual, took this old building for granted and left it to deteriorate.
The building was built before the foundation of the Republic, and was a House of Public Debts. Destroyed in the Turkish War of Independence (1919-1922) by the Greeks in 1922, and rebuilt in 1924 as a hotel, the building functioned as a hospital during World War II. It was restored and the building hosted exhibitions and meetings, and also served as a charity center. With the foundation of the University, the building was used for a period as the Dean’s Office. Later, some work was done to turn the building into a City Museum. Today, the City Museum of Bandirma has been relocated to another building.
The Municipal of Bandirma, Dursun Mirza, participated in the monthly meeting of the Businessmen of Bandirma Organization in April 2014 and made a speech in which he promised to show efforts to restore the Old Dean’s Office. The idea proposed was that the building be turned into a place where the people of Bandirma could enjoy cultural and artistic activities. The businessmen heartily applauded the Municipal, and promised to support him in his quest. Mr. Mirza’s promise is a beam of shining hope.
The people of Bandirma are looking forward to using this beautiful building as a “Culture House” and are hopeful that the Municipal will be true to his word.
The Registry Office
The Registry Office, one of the symbolic buildings of Bandirma, is also called The Old Pier Building. The construction of the building began in 1925. The objective was to rebuild the country after the foundation of the Republic, and the project was started by the Ministry of Public Works. The Old Pier Building was one of the 1,350 buildings constructed within this project all around Turkey, mainly in larger cities.
The building is a typical example of the National Architecture trend, typical elements of which are domes, pointy coves, pendentives, large-canopied roofs, Seljukian cornices and porcelain work. These elements are put together through an eclectic understanding.
First, the sea was filled in, then the groundwork was done, with the the construction coming to completion in 1926. Originally, the building had domes but they were swept away in a violent storm. Today, the roof is tiled instead.
The building was used as a municipality, a café, a restaurant, a bank’s branch, various shops, sergeants’ club and lately as a Municipality Benefit and Solidarity Association. The restoration work of the building is in progress, upon the completion of which the building will be used as the Registry Office and Municipality Council Chamber.
Why not host tourists and visitors in this amazing building? Its spectacle is no less breathtaking than the café, located on the second story of Kadikoy’s ferry terminal. Why shouldn’t it be shared with the people?
The Old Recruiting Office
The construction of this building began in 1901 and it was planned to be the Headquarters of Redif Barracks. It was used as a hospital, and later as the Bandirma Military Recruiting Office for years. Since 1996, it has been occupied by the University of Balikesir’s Healthcare Vocational School.
The buildings mentioned above are monumental sights to see in Bandirma. Many monumental buildings were lost in a rush of urban planning: the Old Police Station was wasted, and the Post Office was demolished and rebuilt, losing all of its historical pattern.
What evil would come of it if the rest were to be restored, protected and made to belong to the people? Some hard work on these buildings will certainly add value to the city.
What efforts does your city make in historical preservation?
Original article, originally published in Turkish, can be found here.
Credits: Images by Seyfi Seren. Data linked to sources.