About Sogukcesme Street

about the cold street
about the cold street

Sogukcesme Street is a small street in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul with historical houses on it. Located between the Hagia Sophia Museum and Topkapı Palace, this street is closed to traffic. The name of Sogukcesme Street, also located in this street, III. It was purchased from a 1800 Turkish marble fountain from the Selim period.

Description of the street

It is a street in Eminönü, with 12 houses and 1 Roman cistern leaning against the sur-Sultani between the Hagia Sophia Mosque and Topkapi Palace.

Sogukcesme Street has been discovered recently with an early Byzantine water cistern, two cisterns, one of which is closer to the ground and the other is on the lower floor, two monumental gates, the historical fountain that gave the street its name, mansion Bath, Naziki lodge Sheikh's mansion, has been formed in time in the form of wooden houses with bay windows.

This is the current state of the fountain. The fountain has been completely renovated and one more door has been opened on both sides of the old door. This is the entrance of Gülhane Park. Since the road is very narrow, the houses are built adhering to the walls of Topkapı Palace. On the left side of the road, there is a huge building and a garden of Hagia Sophia, and this series of historical houses are lined up in front of the high palace wall on the right. Some of these bays and caged houses, which have all the features of Istanbul, have two and three floors. Sogukcesme Street is highlighted with the northeastern gate in the rococo style of Hagia Sophia at the east end and Bab-ı Hümayun, a little further away. The 18th century baroque III, located in the large open area in front of the Topkapı palace, west of Bab-ı Hümayun. Ahmet Fountain further defines the head of Sogukcesme Street. The western end of the street defines the Alay Pavilion, a small, polygonal pavilion in the style of the Ottoman bar, where sultans control parades. The cold fountain, which was dated to 1800, is named after the street. Recent excavations revealed a Byzantine cistern near the southern end of the street, possibly as old as Hagia Sophia itself. Naziki Tekkesi, inside the building overlooking the north east gate of Hagia Sophia, contributed to the sociocultural importance of Sogukcesme Street.


It can be assumed that Sogukcesme Street was first formed in the 18th century. One of the two proofs confirming this idea is that there is an old trade document dated 18 Saban 1198 (7 July 1784) in the study of the title deed of the house with the largest parcel rebuilt today as the Istanbul Library. The second proof is that the inscription of the fountain, which was mounted on the cistern facade and named the street, dates back to 1800. If there was a settlement here dating back to the 18th century, it can be assumed that a water charity would have been made in advance.

Italian-Swiss architect Fossati Brothers, who restored Hagia Sophia in the 1840s, has a lithography in the album presented to Sultan Abdülmecid. In a painting made by the artist, both an architect and a painter, from the Hagia Sophia minaret, the houses in front of the city wall were seen. Fossatini, which had restored Hagia Sophia in the 1840s, has a lithography in the album presented to Sultan Abdülmecid. In a painting made by the artist, both an architect and a painter, from the Hagia Sophia minaret, the houses in front of the city wall were seen.

The population sitting here was related to the Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace at the back. The first house on the side of the palace gate was the household of the Naziki Tekkesi sheikh. Over time, and especially after the dynasty moved to the Dolmabahçe Palace, other families from the middle class layer of Istanbul, which had changed in this social fabric, settled in this inner street, which has a limited number of houses. They are an example, Turkey's Hagia Sophia in the middle of the street directly opposite the old door is Honorary President of the soup kitchens 6 Korutürk'e's birthplace. Korutürk's father was the Shura-i State government. The cistern at the top of the slope was filled with soil and rubble near its ceiling and was used as an auto repair shop.

Until the beginning of the 20th century, there were houses not only in Sogukcesme Street, but also in the square behind Hagia Sophia and even in front of it. Because of the increased traffic at the beginning of the 20th century, the houses in the square suffered severe destruction and these houses were destroyed. However, Soğukçeşme Street has not been affected by this traffic and has been preserved to this day.

Before the restoration of the street

As documented in engravings and old photographs, Sogukcesme Street displayed an unusual street cover, at least in the 19th century. Only one side of the houses were lined up, the other side was the garden wall of Hagia Sophia. The facades of the houses, which were built on the high walls of the palace, were long and the depths were low. They were looking directly at Hagia Sophia. Foreign travelers and painters who came to Istanbul in the 19th century were especially interested in this way and passed it on to their works. The British painter Lewis lithography of the early 1830s documents that only the first building in the direction of the palace (Naziki Tekke) had the character of an Anatolian dwelling on which the lime-plastered plaster had an Anatolian dwelling, and that all the houses in its continuation had today's appearance. This integrity and internal consistency remained unchanged until the 1940s.

Until the late 1950s, the old population of the street, that is, the old owner of the building or the tenant, lived here. The general change in the city after the 1950s naturally reflected here. This disruption was based on the following factors:

  • Extraordinary population growth
  • Changing culture factor; old buildings with a consistent style began to be replaced by urgent and ugly buildings without iron and less cement.
  • As the city administrations were not prepared for this explosion, As a result of these factors, Sogukcesme Street was badly damaged in 20 years. Some wooden houses were dismantled, concrete buildings were placed in their place. The wooden houses, on the other hand, collapsed as the two were essentially abandoned (especially the first house in Topkapı Palace) and consisted of several planks. A single-story concrete shed was built on the plot next to the first house, where printing papers were stored and heavy trucks entered and exited.

The cistern at the top of the slope was filled with soil and rubble near its ceiling and was used as an auto repair shop. When this place was purchased and repaired, it was seen to have a depth of 10 meters.

Materials and construction technique

Unlike the 18th century, the houses on Sogukcesme Street were built using simpler techniques in accordance with the 19th century features. The houses on this street were made of wood in accordance with 19th century traditional Turkish houses, with bay windows, lattices, some with two and some with three floors. Canopies and bay windows have positions close to each other. The proximity of eaves and bay windows caused the spread of fires.

The houses on the streets were carrying the colors reflecting the traditional Turkish House characteristic. In that century, the houses were mostly straw yellow, tahini color, geranium yellow, light blue and green.

Since the houses were made of wood, fires made it necessary to build the houses in a short time. Over time, the houses were rebuilt without stopping. This was a feature of the whole of Istanbul, not only the houses on Sogukcesme Street.

Again, since the wood used in the building is an indurable building material, the houses were wearing out very quickly.

The water collection section inside the cistern has a smooth rectangular plan and measures 16.30 × 10.75 meters. The entrance, which has a bench in front of it, is on the west short edge. It is a six-column structure consisting of two rows of columns. The heads of the marble columns with thick bodies are very plain and truncated pyramidal shaped massive blocks. The fact that their sizes and shapes are different from each other shows that these are aggregate materials. The arches associated with them reach the cover system through pendants. The height of the cistern is 12 meters, 3 meters of which is above the current ground level. Opened at this level, it is illuminated by 4 windows on the south wall and 3 culverts on the north wall. The eastern wall was animated with two rather large niches, with some arch connections, the cistern was connected by space fragments from the west and the north. All walls, arches and vaults have mortar brickwork. The support system is made of marble.

Purpose of restoration

The purpose of the restoration is to sanitize the region and to provide a new functional use for tourism and cultural activities within the historical architectural integrity. The sanitation of the old residences around Sogukcesme Street has been approved as a principle, and the physical solution principles related to the realization of this proposal have been developed to include a series of decisions ranging from the structural features of the buildings to the new traffic order of the region.

To create general recommendations:

  • Structures architectural - general determinations about archaeological values ​​and inventory study,
  • General functional usage determinations,
  • Transportation order and relationship determinations

General recommendations in terms of function, protection and restructuring, and vehicle traffic and pedestrian possibilities have been the first stage of the study.

The limited number of wooden houses on the street survive at the lowest level in terms of both housing conditions and physical conditions. These are not the majestic noble mansions, with a few exceptions, but also "ordinary" structures in terms of their origins. However, these structures, which have their backs on Sur-u Osmani, have the characteristics and integrity that will give an extraordinary picturesque and typical Ottoman street look to Sogukcesme, which is formed by the Hagia Sophia Complex.

In the conservation and renewal suggestions, priority has been given to the development of tourism-oriented usage, which has been observed and proved by numerical data, and the principles of solution suitable for open and closed morphological logic for new environmental formation have been sought.

Materials and techniques

In the shaping of the buildings, a contemporary but soft architectural language, which is closely connected to the existing texture-specific qualities, regardless of its use in terms of size and material properties, the use of floors and their reflection on the facade, has been adopted, taking into account the first-degree historical quality of the region.

Between 1985-1986, all the buildings between Hagia Sophia and Topkapı Palace's walls were destroyed and according to new designs, the striking contemporary elements were “corrected” and the spaces between the houses were rebuilt with the same looking structures. The new structures are covered with reinforced concrete carcasses and timbers filled with laws in accordance with the law. It was painted in pastel colors, inspired by what the 19th century travelers told.

In the water cistern, which was used as an auto repair shop until 1985, the 1985-meter-high soil layer that fills over time has been cleaned with the works carried out between 1987-7, and the wall and covering system has been reinforced. During these works, the original form of the building was preserved and only a fireplace adjacent to the north wall was added. The cistern is still used as a tavern.

Furniture and colors

Different colors were used in the decoration of the rooms inside the houses, and names such as the yellow room and the blue room were given. It was decorated according to the 19th century Istanbul fashion. Usually pastel colored velvet and silk upholstery are used. In the decoration of the cistern, solid wooden tables and chairs, iron chandeliers and candlesticks were used to give a medieval feel.

Project Architects

  • Cistern: Mustafa Pehlivanoğlu
  • Library: Hüseyin Başçetinçelik and Hatice Karakaya
  • 1st Pension: Alpaslan Sheep
  • 2nd Pension: Han Tümertekin and Reşit Soley
  • 3rd Pension: Ülkü Altınoluk
  • 4th Pension and More: Mustafa Pehlivanoğlu
  • Subcontractor Contractor: Muharrem Armağan

Structural functions of today

The street, which was opened in 1986 in its new form, includes a pension type hotel, 10 library and a cistern turned into a restaurant, in the direction of the palace, projected to 9 architects, in 1 buildings on the right hand side. On the slope, after the cistern, on the right, there is a house of staff and an old house adjacent to it, but remaining privately owned by the institution. On the landing, there was a 4-storey building that used to be a "mail-i ihidam" with a partial concreting on a plot of land on the left arm.

In the same plot, a beautiful stone room in the vaults carried by two columns on the left, which must have been a Roman period work, and a deep space with a right-hand staircase were discovered. Since this place is divided by inner diaphragms, the possibility of having a cistern is also weak. The deep space was built by the institution by placing sheet metal tanks on the floor, and the water tank was built, and the typical and beautiful stone room on the left was repaired and turned into a “bar”. The "mail-i inhidam" and the concrete building was dismantled and the upper floor was opened as a hotel in 1994 with the image of the mansion documented by the old photographs by not talking to the project. A concrete structure, located on the landing and on the left after this garden, was covered with wood and blinds were harmonized with the environment. After that, on the descent, on the left, 3 wooden sides in ruins stand.

Günceleme: 12/11/2020 11:52

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