Istanbul (1930s-1940s)/ The Spine- Road Network Under Prost Plan

traffic plan
Fig. 1 View of the Master Plan model ( 1 / 2000)©1943, Droits réservés, © Fonds Henri Prost


Henri Prost, invited by the Turkish government, was the chief in urban planning Istanbul from 1936 to 1951. The principal goals of his planning in Istanbul were transportation, hygiene and aesthetics. The following of this blog entry would focus on his planning on road network in Istanbul.

Prost basically reorganized the city “around a spine”. The spine, formed by two principal arteries (as indicated in red in Fig. 1), would connect the newly developing settlement areas at the north to the old city and the central business district (Prost, 1937). Both arteries extended from the bridges of Ataturk and Galata to Taksim at the north.

Fig.2 Blueprint detail view showing the Ataturk Boulevard, the International Station and the Port of the Bay of Yenikapi. © 1943 ,Droits réservés, © Fonds Henri Prost.
Fig.2 Blueprint detail view showing the Ataturk Boulevard, the International Station and the Port of the Bay of Yenikapi. 1943 ,© Droits réservés, © Fonds Henri Prost.

The first principal artery was the extension of Ataturk Boulevard, connecting the historic peninsula from north to south. Prost proposed an expressway extending from the Atatuck Boulevard to the Atatuck Bridge, to Şişhane Tepebaşı then to Taksim. This artery allowed rapid automobile circulation going uninterruptedly from Taksim to Yenikapı International Station (Fig.2), and even to outside the city. The extension of the road from the Atatuck Bridge along the coast along the northern shore of the Golden Horn allowed easier access to the slaughterhouses and amenities in Sütlüce. Meanwhile, Prost proposed a public dock on the coast between the Atatuck Bridge and the Galata Bridge, in developing social amenities for the workers at the port and shipyards.

To reinforce the main axis of the town and the linkage between the new development and the historic peninsula, Prost proposed another principal artery crossing the Golden Horn with the Galata Bridge, extending to the historic peninsula in north-south direction. This artery was separated into three roads at Sultanahmet Square in the historic peninsula. The south (The Millet Avenue) converged with the “cornice” route parallel to the shore and oriented towards Yedikule. The north (The Vatan Avenue) followed the valley of Bayrampaşa –Ancient Lycos- Creek and ended at a public square in front of the entrance of a large park to be created. The main boulevard that stretched in the center was indicated as the “Istanbul-Edirne-London” road in the Master Plan. Prost conceived this road as the gateway to the city from west and envisaged it as the start of the international motorway that reached London via Belgium’s Port of Ostend.


Bilsel,C. (2011).“Les Transformations d’Istanbul”: Henri Prost’s planning of Istanbul (1936-1951). ITU AIZ, 8(1), 100-116

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