24 projects for a 160- year- old church
Students of Izmir University of Economics (IUE) Vocational School Architectural Restoration Program took action to make the 160-year-old Taxiarchis Church, which is idle in the Germencik district of Aydın, the focal point of tourism. Starting from the idea that the historical church could be turned into a gastronomic center or a museum of Greek-Turkish population exchange, the young people prepared a total of 24 projects after 4 months of meticulous work. IUE Vocational School Director Burçin Önder said, “Unfortunately, the historical building was even used as a wedding hall and movie theater in the past, and then it was abandoned to its fate. I believe that the projects prepared by our students will be instrumental in bringing a new attraction center to Germencik and the region.”
Special projects, 12 of which are about gastronomy center and 12 of which are about a museum of Greek-Turkish population Exchange, prepared by IUE Architectural Restoration Program students, were introduced at the event held at the Taxiarchis Church in Germencik Mursallı Village. Germencik Mayor Fuat Öndeş and many citizens attended the program, which was realized with the contributions of businessperson Tansel Önder from Aydın. In the event that continued throughout the day, IUE students presented their projects to a 9-person jury. The jury, consisting of Sabriye Kocabalkan, Mahir Kaplan, Mustafa Teksoy, Betül Elif Maraş, Duygu Aksoy, Burçin Hancı Geçit, Burcu Kaplan, Elza Gabbai and Yusuf Çetin Koçkar, examined the projects in detail and shared their suggestions with the students. The students, who completed their projects by taking care not to deteriorate the basic texture of the historical building, received great acclaim both with their survey work and their creative ideas.
WE WILL DO OUR BEST
Pointing out that they wanted to save the historical church from an idle state and that the work done by the students was very valuable at this point, Germencik Mayor Fuat Öndeş said, “Our district stands out not only with its agriculture but also with its historical richness. In this sense, we are on a very precious treasure. Taxiarchis Church, which has a history of approximately 160 years, is one of them. Municipalism is not just about building roads and pavements. While taking steps to make people's lives easier, it is also very important to preserve history and transfer our cultural heritage to the future. Invaluable architects, academics and students came together with the aim of bringing the historical church back to the present. I thank them very much. With the efforts of students, the historical church will be restored to the status it deserves. I promise to do my best.”
IT WAS A HISTORIC DAY
Stating that they lived a very important and historical day for the people of the region, IUE Vocational School Director Burçin Önder said, “Mursallı Village is a special area where very warm and sincere people live. Taxiarchis Church is the most important historical wealth of the village. Unfortunately, the church has recently become completely idle. It was used as a movie theater, as a wedding hall and even became the place where cars were painted. Together with students, we focused on how we can restore this historical structure. Our students have come here many times, examined the place and really worked hard to make it the best”.
IT WILL STRENGTHEN THE REGION
Stating that the projects prepared for the historical church were shaped on two basic ideas, the ‘gastronomy center’ and the ‘exchange museum’, Önder said, “We thought that turning the church into a gastronomic center, holding tasting events and product promotions here, and bringing tourists to the region would strengthen both Aydın and Germencik. Also, based on the idea of ‘There are 3 museums of Greek-Turkish population exchange in Turkey, why not a fourth one in Mursallı?’ we have also realized projects for the historical church to function as a museum. Students have done some really great work. They worked hard, they got tired, but it was all worth it. Heartfelt congratulations to each of our students.”
PRESERVATION PROJECTS WILL CONTINUE
Stating that they will continue to carry out preservation projects in settlements that stand out with their architectural identity in the coming period, IUE Architectural Restoration Program Lecturer Yarkın Üstünes said, “Mursallı and its surroundings are one of the rare places where you can simultaneously examine the gastronomic richness of the Aegean Region and the changes created by the exchange on the urban scale. Thanks to the rich cultural structure of the region, we are able to document the social habits and architectural features of the Turkish and Greek people with our studies. Our students developed idea projects on the re-functioning of the Taxiarchis Church, one of the important cultural assets in Mursallı. With this study, we aimed to create awareness in the society by ensuring that the knowledge that has been going on for centuries is not lost and that the cultural richness is preserved. We will continue to contribute to the emergence of the architectural and cultural values of the Aegean basin with the studies we will do in the future."
CARRIES THE TRACES OF THE PAST
Jury member Sabriye Kocabalkan said, “Aegean is one of the rare regions where you can find whatever you seek. Its history is indisputable. Multi-layered, multi-cultural. Because the land is fertile. It has figs and olives that grow spontaneously in its natural environment. I must not forget mentioning the chestnut as well. It bears the traces of Romans, Seljuks, Ottomans and many empires. The church we are in is one of the historical structures that started with the Roman period, continued with the Republic and remained with us as a result of the population exchange. As you can see, it is still alive and will continue to live. We came together to bring the historical church in Mursallı back to the present day. We talked about both the past and the future of this place. I was very happy to take part in this meaningful program.”