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Disidentification of Historical City Centers: A Comparative Study of the Old and New Settlements of Mardin, Turkey

Authors: Fatma Kürüm Varolgüneş, Fatih Canan


Mardin is one of the unique cities in Turkey with its rich cultural and historical heritage. Mardin’s traditional dwellings have been affected both by natural data such as climate and topography and by cultural data like lifestyle and belief. However, in the new settlements, housing is formed with modern approaches and unsuitable forms clashing with Mardin’s culture and environment. While the city is expanding, traditional textures are ignored. Thus, traditional settlements are losing their identity and are vanishing because of the rapid change and transformation. The main aim of this paper is to determine the physical and social data needed to define the characteristic features of Mardin’s old and new settlements. In this context, based on social and cultural data, old and new settlement formations of Mardin have been investigated from various aspects. During this research, the following methods have been utilized: observations, interviews, public surveys, literature review, as well as site examination via maps, photographs and questionnaire methodology. In conclusion, this paper focuses on how changes in the physical forms of cities affect the typology and the identity of cities, as in the case of Mardin.

Keywords: Urban and local identity, historical city center, traditional settlements, Mardin, Turkey.

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