Istanbul/ The parallel study of Taksim Square and Kızılay Square

The parallel study of Taksim Square and Kızılay Square

There were a numbers of similarities between the Taksim Square and Kızılay Square which make them comparable. First, both of them were the developing areas in Istanbul and Ankara that started to gain more political attentions than before. Second, the two squares both served as traffic nodes that connect the regions to the old centres so the organization of traffic flow was an important aspect of the master planning of the squares. Then, both of them are regarded as “new” public spaces that would break with the tradition and welcome modern lifestyles and developments.

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Aerial view of Taksim Artillery Barracks before the demolition.  (Özler, 2007:106)

For Taksim Square, the master urban plan design by Henri Prost in 1937 and approved in 1939, proposed some rather drastic alterations of the the whole area. The plan affirmed the development of a new centre around Taksim and proposed to connect this new centre to the historical peninsula via direct routes. In order to make things happen, the Artillery Barracks needed to be demolished to free up lands for the construction of theatres, conference halls, exhibition halls, gyms, clubs and parking garages.Henri Prost decided to house the Party Headquarters and Kızılay Building on the lot created by the demolition of Artillery Barracks which facing the Square. The positioning of these two buildings represent the nation-state’s approach to public space in terms of the relation between society and state.


Su Perileri (Water Fairies) monumental fountain had been demolished for the redevelopment of Kızılay Square.  Source:”Gezenadam: “Susuz Su Perileri””. GezenAdam. 1930

For Kızılay Square, the development of Kızılay Square mainly started with the removal of the fountain and erection of the new Security Monument in Güvenpark. Like all other square, the first step taken by the Turkish Republic is mainly injecting political representations into development of public squares through erection of monuments. Monument was used as symbol of political power of the Turkish Republic and they were placed in many public spaces throughout different cities and districts of Turkey for nation-building.A more comprehensive planning of the Square had been produced in the stage, The Kızılay (Red Crescent) Headquarters and a park were placed adjacent to the square is for both providing more public areas for citizens and politicised the public spaces at the same time by putting a political-prone but non-governmental organization to the public square.

d51e551d269e600373c243369baaf3d2  1936 kizilayKızılay (Red Crescent) Headquarters and park in Kızılay Square in 1936.   Source:

The ideal lifestyle of the period composed of certain degrees of socialization, entertainment, and recreation, blended with high culture and politics. Politics had already became one of the very important element in everyday-life of the citizens as they are unconsciously participating in it when they are enjoying the public square.



Batuman, B. “”Everywhere Is Taksim”: The Politics of Public Space from Nation-Building to Neoliberal Islamism and Beyond.” Journal of Urban History (2015): 881-907. Print.

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