About the Project

Istanbul Reminiscences

The “Istanbul Reminiscences” project, supported by Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture Agency, creates the means for claiming the memory of the cultural diversity of Istanbul. The project, which unifies the oral history/history and memories/city in Turkey, aims at drawing attention to oral history researches that attach importance to memories of ordinary people, a field that is not well established in Turkey, as well as encouraging researchers, students, teachers, history enthusiasts, and all the people of Istanbul for oral history research.

There is a different “narrative of Istanbul” in the memory of each and every Istanbulian. These narratives vary according to the place they lived, their occupations, where they came from, how they migrated, their social relations, and how they experienced Istanbul. In each narrative, it is possible to trace the social, political, cultural, and economic processes of transformation/change during the past 60-70 years in Turkey in general and in Istanbul in particular: The transition to multi-party politics, economic liberalisation of the economy and its opening to the rest of the world, the intensified and increasing migration from rural to urban areas, incidents of collective violence leading to mass migration of minorities, a rapid urbanisation, and widespread movements of urban reconstruction, etc.

The audio-visual database created as part of the Istanbul Reminiscences project, will carry the personal narratives about the historical richness and cultural diversity of the city to the future and thereby make them accessible. Thus it will provide a source of reference for the studies not only about the history of Istanbul but also about the whole country and sets the ground for the preparation of products including exhibitions, publications, and documentaries on the subject. The website first launched in December 2010 includes life stories related with Istanbul, and such narratives are being presented to the users under the themes/headings reflecting the cultural, social, economic, and physical dimensions of Istanbul.


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