Architect Cahide Tamer’s Personal Archive: Approaching the Byzantine Heritage of Istanbul through Restoration Practices

This research aims to decode the theory and practice of heritage preservation of a specific period and heritage type by focusing on the personal archive of a pioneer female architect, Cahide Tamer (1915–2005). Tamer led numerous restoration projects between 1944 and 1974. A team of experts, which I had the pleasure of joining, has classified the archive. The archive consists of 97 folders pertaining to Ottoman monuments and twelve folders pertaining to Byzantine monuments. Each folder contains numerous photographs documenting each phase of the restorations; architectural surveys and sketches; and correspondence. The main methodological approach undertaken in this research will involve an in-depth analysis of Tamer’s archive and other primary sources. It will be complemented by bibliographical research and on-site analysis of the monuments Tamer preserved.

The restoration practices implemented at Byzantine heritage sites in Istanbul have yet to be included in the scholarly studies of those specializing in Byzantine studies. An examination of the restoration practices employed at these sites would add a new perspective to the field of Byzantine studies in Turkey. At present, the historiography of Byzantine studies in Turkey is solely restricted to the fields of Byzantine history and art history. The aim of this research is to make a significant contribution to the Byzantine studies in Turkey by evaluating the restoration practices of this extraordinary heritage.

Researcher: Barış Altan