Ankara and Berlin are more than 2,600 kilometers away… Still, there is something familiar between the two cities. This is perhaps a state of emotion rather than a feature. Not because of their lifestyle, history, and culture; but because they are cities that one needs to live in to love. I don’t know if there is anyone else that thinks these two cities are similar in some way. However, this similarity between Ankara and Berlin has led me to investigate the traces of the two cities. At that time I came across a great project: Traces of Germany in Ankara.
That Will be a Capital: Traces of Germany in Ankara
Ankara is actually a young city. The current state of the foundations laid almost in the same year with the Republic of Turkey. It was built as the capital of the Republic that was created from nothing after it served as the hub that hosted the leadership of the Anatolian resistance. That is why it is not a surprise to detect 20th-century architectural trends in our city.
Now, let’s take a journey together over Ankara. Leave the Eskişehir Road, Çukurambar, and Or-An, where the plazas sprung up like mushrooms. Leave the Ayranci and Anıttepe-Bahçelievler-Emek line where the apartments are arranged side by side. Go a little further, into the heart of the city.
Consider the relatively older districts such as Ulus, Cebeci, Sıhhiye, Kızılay, Bakanliklar, and Çankaya. You must have noticed that the beauty of a number of buildings still standing there, still intact. There are still reminders of the golden days in those buildings. Look at some of these buildings reflecting the style of the architect of the early Republican Era. These buildings show that there are traces of Germany in Ankara!
Traces of Austrian, German and Swiss Architecture
Turkey and Germany are connected with a unique bond. It is common for some Middle Eastern and North African immigrants to have bridges with former colonial European countries. Whereas in Germany and Turkey, without such a colonial relationship, connected with migration. Scientists who fled their countries to seek refuge in Turkey while contributing to the establishment of higher education… Guest workers who went to Germany to erase the traces of the same war… And finally, the continuing traffic between two countries that now includes academics and expats… All make the relationship even more special!
Formation of a Capital: Traces of Austrian, German and Swiss Architects (Das Werden einer Hauptstadt – Spuren deutschsprachiger Architekten) project aimed to record these effects. The project is carried out by Ankara Goethe Institute and TMMOB (Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects) Chamber of Architects Ankara Branch. The project creates an archive of German-speaking architects who have contributed to the architecture of Ankara’s culture and the formation of urban life. These architects; come from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.
Let’s take a look at the Ankara buildings mentioned in the project together!
Atatürk Forest Farm
The biggest project in Ankara with the signature of German architects was Atatürk Forest Farm. The project was undertaken by the Austrian Ernst Egli. It includes a brewery, civil-worker housing, a hammam, the house of Atatürk’s adopted daughter Ülkü and a villa for the farm director.
Heart of Trade
Many commercial and industrial institutions in Ankara bear the signature of German architects.
Water Strainer Building at Dışkapı
This building held an industrial filtering machine that filtered the water coming from Çubuk Dam and met the water needs of the capital.
Turkish Sugar Factories is one of the most important acts of the young Republic. The main building of the factory in Etimesgut was designed by the German architect Bernhard Pfau and the headquarters building in Sıhhiye was designed by Paul Bonatz, who was also born in Germany.
Apart from these, many other production facilities were also among the buildings bearing the traces of Germany in Ankara.
Residential Area Planning
German-speaking architects planned not only buildings in Ankara but also residential spaces. Examples of these can be seen in Saraçoğlu Neighborhood and Bahçelievler. Saraçoglu Neighborhood with 642 flats was designed by Paul Bonatz. Bahçelievler, one of the first housing cooperative initiatives of the Republic, was designed by Hermann Jansen.
The main building of the Central Bank, Emlak Kredi Bank and Sümerbank in Ulus are the bank buildings planned by German architects.
Universities that train the nation to serve the Young Republic in different fields are among the most important investments of the period. German architects also played an important role in the planning of these buildings. Gazi University Gymnastics School, Yapı Usta School, and Male Technical Teacher School, Ankara University’s Faculty of Political Sciences, Conservatory and Political Sciences are examples where traces of Germany in Ankara can be found.
Architectural plans of many high schools in Ankara also were signed by German architects. Ankara Atatürk High School, Ankara Commercial High School, Ankara Girls High School and Gazi High School are examples.
Traces of Germany in Ankara
The project also includes hospitals, embassy buildings, sculptures and monuments, as well as city planning projects that were done by the German architects. The website of the project offers further details about these buildings. After checking it, maybe you can also find the traces of Germany in Ankara in your daily route!
I would like to direct those who are interested in the traces of Germany in Ankara to reliable sources of work! Formation of a Capital: Traces of Austrian, German and Swiss Architects. It is possible to reach the details on this subject from this book.