Until the middle of the 20th century the cityscape of İstanbul was dominated by wooden houses, which then vanished in a dramatic process. The German Archaeological Institute in İstanbul (DAI) has researched the wooden buildings of İstanbul in many investigations, reaching as far back as the 1960’s.

The summary of these investigations gives an overall picture, which chronologically begins from the Amcazade Yalısı of the late 17th century to the house of the early 20th century on Büyükada.

The whole variety of the old wooden houses is typologically presented, from the magnificent yalıs on the shores of the Bosporus to the wooden houses of the petty bourgeoisie in Zeyrek. The documentation of this important city quarter covers its total area and takes up its own section in this exhibition.

Special attention is given to the construction techniques of the wooden houses, with the tools of craftsmanship and with a detailed construction model of the Amcazade Yalısı. The exhibition is supplemented with numerous historical photographs from archives of the German Archaeological Institute.

Amcazade Hüseyin Paşa Yalısı

Perhaps the oldest wooden house in İstanbul is the Amcazade Hüseyin Paşa Yalısı, which is thought to be from the 17th century. It is situated on the Asian shore of the Bosporus north of Anadolu Hisarı. It basically concerns only the reception hall (divanhane) of a large group of buildings, which otherwise have been lost. With its rich interior decoration the Amcazade Yalısı belongs to the most important examples of Ottoman architecture and art. In 2007 an exact building registration was possible for the first time, into which the construction was also incorporated. Even though it is in a very bad structural condition, the beauty of this fragile building is still a revelation.

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