Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, was the capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. The Bosphorus straits divides the city into a part that sits on the European continent, and a larger part on the continent of Asia. The militarily and economically strategic position of the city, on the western portion of the Silk Road, and on the shipping route between the Aegean and Black Seas, has kept it cosmopolitan and prosperous since its foundation 660 BCE, when it was called Byzantium. In 330 it became Constantinople, the capital of the Roman Empire, named for Emperor Constantine the Great. The Ottomans conquered the city in 1453/857 AH and renamed the city Istanbul. It served as their capital until Ankara became the capital of the modern nation of Turkey.
Soylu Bozdag, Ozge. '"English abstract of 'Essays on the History of Urban Transport in Istanbul and Ankara'". Translated by Aysu Dinçer. In Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi. 60. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
Tekeli, İlhan. İstanbul ve Ankara İçin Kent İçi Ulaşım Tarihi Yazıları. İstanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, 2010, 279pp.
Essays on the History of Urban Transport in Istanbul and Ankara
İstanbul ve Ankara İçin Kent İçi Ulaşım Tarihi Yazıları
The book is published as part of the ‘Collected Works of İlhan Tekeli’ series and brings together İlhan Tekeli’s writings on urban transport. In the introduction, the author emphasises that city planners need to pay particular attention to transport.
The essays included in the first section focus on the local transport in Istanbul. According to Tekeli, the formation of a city and the organisation of local transport services are mutually interdependent. The author traces the historical development of urban transport in the city from the 1800’s to 1985. Until the second half of the nineteenth century, the inhabitants of Istanbul travelled on foot or by boat within the city. Later on, steamboats and trams were brought into use. This section describes the historical framework out of which arose the legal processes governing the establishment of steamboat and tram companies. According to Tekeli’s findings, as few as six trams were carrying an average of 17,000 passengers per day in 1873.
Railways also played a major part in urban transport. At the end of this section, we are presented with a table which lists various vehicles such as steamboat, tram, tube, train, bus and shared taxi (dolmuş), and an analysis of the changes in their daily use and the number of journeys conducted through a given time period.
The author also looks at the decision-making process behind the construction of a bridge over the Bosphorus. He presents the economic choices and developments consequent on the construction of the bridge and its supporting road networks, and analyses the importance of the bridge in relation to metropolitan planning. According to Tekeli, the bridge project did not serve to create an overall increase in production; however, it helped to increase consumption opportunities for an already prosperous minority.
In the second part of the book, the author turns his attention to Ankara. He provides historical information on urban transport in the city, from the 1930’s to 1985, presents the discussions on the construction of a metro system between 1970 and 1985, and offers his own views on the possible effects of the project on the city. He specifically emphasises that Ankara bears the qualities of a city that can have a metro. He also highlights the fact that it is possible to use national companies for the construction.
The third and final section looks at the uses of ‘Shared Taxi’ (dolmuş). This includes essays on the definition, presence and role of shared taxis in urban transport.
The book serves as a source of reference for urban transport in Istanbul and Ankara. It explores the historical development of means of transport in the two cities, as well as offering some solutions and discussing some crucial transport issues within a wider framework.