“YAŞAYAN ANTİK ŞEHİR”
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“LIVING ANCIENT TOWN”

Geography

The settlement was established in an area directly above the natural harbor, above the steep 30 to 40m high travertine cliffs rising from the sea and extending in an arc from west to south. Because of the steep cliffs towards the sea in the northern half of the settlement the result of this topography was the use of terracing in some areas, these terraced areas divided the settlement area into three distinguishable regions. Yivli Minare complex, which hosts many structures from the Seljuk state, is isolated on a separate terrace area from the other parts of the settlement, surrounded by its terrace walls. In the middle of the settlement, there is a second wall that divides the city into two parts, this dividing wall extending in an east-west direction across the settlement which, especially in the western part reveals the existence of a significant difference in the elevation.

The area which is on the north side of this wall slopes towards the harbor, the southern half of the settlements are however spread across a relatively flat area. These slope differences have played an active part in the different fashioning of the urban fabric. Expect for small changes to the urban fabric and through the course of road narrowing, today there is a grid planned urbanization in the south of the city, and the north is dominated by the slope producing an irregular parcel system. In the past, so today, Uzun Çarşı Street and İskele Street extending from Castle Gate to the Marina, and from Hadrian’s Gate along Hesapçı Street to the Hıdırlık tower have been the main streets in all the periods. Security and shelter provided by the strong fortification system resulted in high migration into the city, particularly in the 7th 10th and 16th centuries and with these influxes and changes the urban fabric experienced constant changes.

Although it may seem like a closed city with the walls surrounding all of Kaleiçi until the 20th century, the ruins dating from early Byzantine settlement which were discovered, lying to the east of the Hadrian’s gate indicate that settlement extended beyond the walls in the 5th - 6th centuries at the latest. With the data from the 15th century it is understood that this spread of development beyond the city wall continued out from the city walls towards the north.In the 17th century Evliya Çelebi recorded that there were 24 neighborhoods outside of the city walls and that 4 of these were inhabited by Greeks. Bal Bey and Haşim İşcan neighborhoods to the east and north of Kaleiçi still contain a large number of buildings dating from the 19th century and these are the continuation of settlement outside the walls.