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Black Sea Tourism Planning and Architecture of 60s and 70s.
Case Study: Romania and Turkey

part 1

Departure from Bucharest 7.00am, Monday 21st of October --- trip through Bulgaria --- Arrival in Istanbul the same day at 4.00pm (636km). Our hotel is in Beyoğlu, Çukurcuma.

First, a short description:
"This research proposal was stirred up by a current analysis undertaken upon the unprecedented tourism planning and the massive investment in large-scale architectural projects at the Black Sea Coast in Romania during '60s and '70s. Exploring the complex interrelationships between the State development policies and the particular conceptualization of modernist expressions in architecture during the Cold War, we intend to focus upon the Turkish counterpart, as part of a larger study dedicated to post-war tourism architecture heritage in the Black Sea basin.
The research focuses upon the multiple layers of interaction between architectural discourse and state-entrepreneurship, national tourism policies and the social(ist) nature of the leisure resorts, which lay their foundation either/ or both on ideology and economic realism. Thus, besides an analysis on the resorts typology, architectural influences, tourism programming, we would like to explore the indirect connections between Romania and Turkey during those years. Our attempt is to expand the frame of research from the politics of space towards the politics of image, looking at the Black Sea tourism planning strategies as a field for experimentation, as an effort to connect indirectly fluxes of ideas, concepts and sources from East and West side."

Our route:Bucharest - Istanbul - Samsun - Trabzon - Sinop - Amasra - Zonguldak - Eregli - Akcakoca - Karasu - Istanbul - Bucharest (around 4000km)
Tuesday 22nd of October:
Early breakfast --- a long day in the SALT Galata with meetings and a basic research in the SALT Library. Meetings with: the architect-curator Pelin Derviș and the SALT curator Duygu Demir  
Research in the Salt library.
Visit to the Chamber of architects Karaköy (Mimarlar odası Karakoy)
We have some bibliography, some contacts, some ideas, a map, a car --- we leave Istanbul the next day. Our first destination is Samsun.

early breakfast

departure from Istanbul 10.00am (...9.00am from the hotel, but it takes long to leave Istanbul), Wednesday 23rd of October --- Fatih Sultan Mehmet köprüsü, motorway, expressway --- Arrival in Samsun at 7.15pm (740km). Our hotel is in the Eskitelgrafhane Sok. (old telegraph station str.), Saathane Meydanı Pazar Mah.

We left the hotel at 9.00am but it took us one hour to arrive to Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridge and cross to the asian side of Istanbul. The weather is very good (everybody keeps on repeating that we are very lucky to have this weather) and the first part of our trip through the motorway towards Ankara. We were a bit stressed for the second part of the trip where, according to our map, there was no motorway. We were positively surprised by the expressway that led us to Samsun.
When we arrived it was already dark. We had a walk to the old market where you could see, and smell, the typical old time prosperity and micro-ecomony of the neighborhood.  We crossed the big boulevard and the tramway lines, we passed from the Samsun kültür merkezi (the Samsun Cultural Center - the Samsun Opera) and we arrived near the sea. On all our way we found big billboards with archive photos from the history of the city and computer renders from it's future!
The Samsun Büyük Otel is next to the Samsun Cultural Center a modernist hotel that is waiting for us to visit it the next day.

visit to Samsun Büyük Oteli - meeting with the manager of the hotel - departure from Samsun 12.10am, thursday 24th of October --- express coastal way --- arrival to Trabzon the same day at 6.15pm (328km)

It's our first breakfast without coffee. Only black tea - çay - is served. Rize, a town 80km away from Trabzon, is where the turkish tea comes from. From now on we'll drink only black turkish tea.
We visit the Samsun Büyük Hotel. The hotel was built in 70's by the architect Feyyaz Yamantürk as a result of an architectural competition. We are very welcomed by the manager of the hotel. He informs us that the renovation is made by the architect Hulusi Yolasığmaz. Initially it was a state owned hotel and only the last 20 years functions as a private one. The management of the hotel is very friendly and guides us all around the hotel to take pictures. This is in big contrast with our romanian experience were suspiciousness is a major obstacle in getting in and around the privately owned hotels.

The hotel complex has a garden and a pool, the extensions and alterations made along the years have changed the initial volume and the entrance but they are easily recognizable. The interiors were completely renovated to adapt to the new spirit and aesthetics of nowadays tourism in Turkey.
The time is against us and we have to leave for our next destination - Trabzon -  as soon as possible. We take a last walk, going to the car, through the old market, we eat a "simit", we buy "pastourma", "sucuk" and hazelnuts (fındık). The 70% of the global production of hazelnuts is made in the eastern Black Sea in Turkey!

At 12.10pm we leave Samsun and we go east. From now on we travel only by the sea. We meet the Amazons in Terme River, we pass from Ünye, from Ordu, from Giresun. We have half way more. By the time we arrive in Trabzon is already dark. It's only 6 o'clock. Planning our trip we didn't think that the days in October are really small...
Trabzon looks like a foggy, smoggy, crowded, chaotic city, where approaching the central square will be very complicated for us. We pass through bridges, tunnels, bridges again, we go up, we go down, we go around, we see the square from up but we can't reach it. It took us one hour to finally stop in from of our hotel ..The food is excellent and cheap and the night out very pleasant. We drink a tea to have a talk between us and get organised for the next day. We have a meeting at the Karadeniz Teknik üniversitesi with the professor Hamiyet Özen.

friday 25th of October - visit to karadeniz teknik üniversitesi, mimarlık fakültesi (karadeniz technical university, faculty of architecture) - meeting with the professor Hamiyet Özen

Trabzon looks to us that isn't a touristic destination. It's even difficult to find a hotel. During our breakfast, in the morning, we notice that the clients of the hotel are in the city for business.
We have a small walk in the city until the time we go to the university to meet with the professor of the faculty of architecture, Hamiyet Özen. The discussion with her is long, useful and enlightening. An example of modernist architecture in Trabzon is the university itself, built in 60's.  
some short notes:
- in Black sea in Turkey, there is tourism from Saudi Arabia because the weather is cooler- there is some tourism from Iran, for shopping- Trabzon has lost the connection with the sea!- there is no summer tourism in Trabzon, the sea in Batumi is better- the summer in Trabzon is short and the sunny days are few- the express way is a project in progress started in 70's. It "cut" all the beaches from Samsun to Trabzon. - there is a very strong food culture in Trabzon - the Aya Sophia museum is converted into a mosque, in september 2013- it doesn't matter what is your purpose for visiting Trabzon, you have definitely to visit Sumela Monastery.

karadeniz technical university - academy
karadeniz technical university - the faculty of architecture
karadeniz technical university - department of mechanical engineers
karadeniz technical university - lodgings
karadeniz technical university - rectorate
karadeniz technical university - lodgings
Slowly we come to realize that the presence of the express way is very strong all along our journey. Is this a modernist style, state financed intervention, that changes people's lives and behaviors all around he Black Sea coastline? Is it part of our research? We think it is, but we still have to find arguments.
to be continued...
A research initiated by skaarchitects and art historian Alina Șerban.
Support for this research has been provided by the Romanian Cultural Institute in collaboration with SALT Research, Istanbul.

The Romanian Cultural Institute cannot be held responsible for the content of this material.