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Dossier - Balkans connectés

Heritage Policies and Public Memory between Continuity and Rupture: The Treatment of the Ottoman-era Architecture in Greece in the Aftermath of the Population Exchange

Les politiques du patrimoine et la mémoire publique entre continuité et rupture. Le traitement de l’architecture de la période ottoman en Grèce à la suite de l’échange des populations
Marilena Pateraki

Résumés

Cet article examine la patrimonialisation de l’architecture de l’époque ottomane en Grèce, depuis les guerres balkaniques jusqu’à l’entre-deux-guerres. En étudiant l’impact du traité de Lausanne, il explore les continuités et les ruptures dans les motifs idéologiques dominants, les politiques et les pratiques sociales de traitement des vestiges architecturaux de l’époque ottomane. Les débats publics sur les significations et le rôle de ces vestiges sont analysés à la croisée de l’idéologie et des enjeux matériels liés à la gestion de l’espace. En outre, les tentatives d’inclure ces vestiges dans les récits patrimoniaux nationaux et locaux sont considérées comme des moyens, pour l’État en voie de consolidation, de revendiquer une souveraineté culturelle, et comme des indicateurs d’un sentiment public ambivalent à l’égard du passé ottoman et des institutions officielles. L’article éclaire ainsi des aspects de la fabrique du patrimoine ottoman à la lumière des réarrangements géopolitiques structurels en Méditerranée orientale.

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Texte intégral

Introduction

  • 1 Kiel Machiel, “Un héritage non désiré, le patrimoine architectural islamique ottoman dans l’Europe (...)
  • 2 Bendix Regina et al. (eds), Heritage Regimes and the State, Göttingen, University Press, 2012.
  • 3 The paper is based on my ongoing PhD project, conducted jointly at the University Paris 1 Panthéon- (...)
  • 4 Todorova Maria, Imagining the Balkans, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2009 [1997], p. 170.

1The Ottoman-era architecture in the Balkans has long been viewed as an “unwanted heritage.”1 This is a commonly attested overarching trend which carries, however, its regional specificities, as the treatment of Ottoman-era structures has been conditioned by the development of national historiographies and heritage regimes.2 Focusing on the intersection of long-term dynamics with historical contingency, this paper examines the early heritagization of the Ottoman-era architecture in Greece, from the end of the Balkan Wars (1912-1913) up to the interwar years.3 During this time range, the Ottoman period passed into the realm of “historical reflection” for the Balkan political elites at large,4 and in Greece this passing was sealed by the Lausanne Treaty (1923), which brought unprecedented changes on political, demographic and socio-cultural levels. The impact of this conjuncture on the management and receptions of Ottoman-era built remnants forms the particular focus of this article.

  • 5 Historical Archive of Antiquities and Restorations [Διεύθυνση Διαχείρισης Εθνικού Αρχείου Μνημείων] (...)

2Drawing on the Historical Archive of the Greek Archaeological Service (HAAR)5 and on a historically contextualized analysis of scholarly publications and the press, I approach the subject through the lens of a double battle: one over symbolic content, and one over the agency in the use of space. I argue that the official attempts at monumentalizing Ottoman-era structures primarily relied on an appropriation perspective, which aimed at reinforcing Greece’s cultural sovereignty vis-à-vis both internal and external audiences. Furthermore, I analyze the fragmentary heritagization of Ottoman-era architecture in its interactions with the concrete socio-spatial conditions within which it developed. I maintain that this process entailed multiple material and semantic negotiations, which revealed an ambivalent public affect towards both the Ottoman past and the state institutions, and which were intrinsically linked to the question of spatial modernization, either through rejection or conceptual reinvestment and functional repurposing of Ottoman-era architectural forms.

Place(s) and meanings of the Ottoman-era architectural “heritage” in the consolidating Greek national space

The population exchange as a turning point

  • 6 The border did not apply to the Dodecanese islands at the time as they were under Italian rule (191 (...)
  • 7 The Lausanne Treaty imposed the irrevocable relocation of the Muslim residents of Greece and the Ch (...)

3Following the Balkan Wars, Greece almost doubled its surface area and population. Its subsequent defeat in the Greco-Turkish War in Asia Minor (1919-1922) meant the end of imperialist irredentism as the state’s main political program. The Lausanne Treaty was signed at the end of this war, fixing the Greco-Turkish border6 and stipulating the obligatory population exchange between the two countries. The exchange enforced the religious homogenization of almost the entire Greek territory,7 particularly affecting the country’s so-called New Lands, which carried the largest portion of the Muslim population. As a result, new terms were set for the unification policies of the national space, at the level of both spatial and cultural management.

Fig. 1. Map of the territorial evolution of the Greek state

Fig. 1. Map of the territorial evolution of the Greek state

Territorial evolution of Greece, 1830-1947.

Edited by Marilena Pateraki, 2023.

  • 8 In the sense that Henri Lefebvre defines “representations of space.” Lefebvre Henri, La production (...)
  • 9 Peckham Robert, National histories, Natural States: Nationalism and Politics of Place in Greece, Lo (...)
  • 10 Peckham, National Histories, op. cit.; Hamilakis Yannis, Greenberg Rafael, Archaeology, Nation, and (...)
  • 11 This observation aims to describe the dominant ideological ambience. Research concedes that the Gre (...)
  • 12 Peckham, National Histories, op. cit.

4Since the pre-revolutionary period, different fields of scholarly and cultural production – literature, folklore, geography, archaeology – had been put in the service of representing the national space.8 In other words, these fields were expected to construct a demarcated, unified material and cultural space that would enclose the Greek state’s power and function as a reference point for Greek identity.9 The making of cultural heritage was a central concern in this process, which largely incorporated the so-called Western gaze and, either identifying or in conflict with it, often acquired a self-orientalizing perspective.10 In this spirit, the purification of the Hellenic landscape from material vestiges and discursive perceptions that connected it with the Ottoman Empire rose as a dominant strategy.11 Moreover, this process attributed an ambiguous significance to locality, which was to be subordinated to national homogeneity as well as to anchor regional identities which could nuance and enrich the overarching Greek one, substantializing it on the empirical level.12

  • 13 Mazower Mark, Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims, and Jews, 1430-1950, New York, Alfred (...)
  • 14 For a concise, but comprehensive overview of the issue, see Mazower Mark, The Balkans, London, Weid (...)

5State ideology has its own temporality of entrenchment, which differs from that of administrative change. In that spirit, the population exchange has been interpreted as a way more far-reaching event than the integration of the New Lands in the Greek state per se; an instance which “marked the real break from the Ottoman past, the moment in which the twentieth century imposed its values and practices upon an older world.”13 Nation-state building in the broader Balkan region was, of course, deeply marked by population movements, resulting from violent conflicts, persecutions, economic migration, as well as inter-state exchange agreements which usually pertained to specific regions on an optional basis.14 In this context, the 1923 exchange may have appeared a reasonable political choice, but it actually represented a radical departure from previous official practices. It marked the first ever obligatory and irrevocable population exchange on the national level; it was an institutionally ratified, definitive, and mass mutual displacement. This qualitative difference calls for a new interpretative framework to address heritage-related issues that arose in the aftermath of 1923, both in what regards Greece and when considering comparative research perspectives with regard to the broader Balkan region.

  • 15 Carabott Philip, “Monumental Visions: The Past in Metaxas’ Weltanschauung,” in Keith S. Brown, Yann (...)

6In Greece, the population exchange shifted the dominant discourses from an outward-looking to an introspective nationalism.15 It radically changed urban socio-cultural geographies, and placed the Muslim architectural trace en masse in the realm of the past. Discussions about Ottoman-era vestiges as historical testimony or carriers of memory had scantily begun at the time. Still, it was in the post-exchange period that they expanded and took a clearer form. The departure of Muslims from Greece is usually thought to have simply facilitated the erasure of Ottoman-era architectural traces, but I propose a more nuanced interpretation. I argue that in the aftermath of the exchange, broader renegotiations of this trace developed, affecting its treatment as “heritage” on both institutional and social levels.

  • 16 Yerolympos Alexandra, “Προσφυγική εγκατάσταση και ο ανασχεδιασμός των βορειοελλαδικών πόλεων (1912- (...)

7At the time, the Greek Archaeological Service launched an extensive initiative for the monumentalization of Ottoman-era structures. This initiative, which mainly concerned the New Lands, collided both with conjunctural constraints and structural incompatibilities of state policies. The monumentalization of Ottoman-era architecture touched upon two fields of spatial regulation which marked the unification attempts of the territory. One was the establishment of a unified framework of planning, underway but seriously perturbed by the arrival of some 1,500,000 refugees16 and by the emergent need of managing large tracts of real property left by the dispossessed Muslims. The other was the establishment of a unified framework of heritage policies, which institutionally and epistemologically grew in the interwar years. This situation had a significant impact on the official policies for the management of Ottoman-era (potential) “historic monuments.” Moreover, despite the fact that feelings of belonging to the Greek nation had grown in many regions before their integration in Greece, there was little trust in state mechanisms. In this context, we may approach local reactions to the monumentalization of Ottoman-era vestiges as reflecting a complex interplay of national ideology and efforts to navigate the new state institutions.

Ottoman architectural remnants and heritage legislation

  • 17 Voudouri Dapnhi, “Αρχαιότητες και νομοθεσία” [Antiquities and Legislation], in Nikos Papadimitriou, (...)
  • 18 Voudouri, “Antiquities,” art. cit., p. 104.
  • 19 Ibid., p. 105.
  • 20 “On the amendment and supplementation of the laws ΓΨΛ’ and 479 on the Archaeological Service.”
  • 21 Gratziou Οlga, “Βυζαντινά μνημεία: από τη θεσμική προστασία στην αναγωγή τους σε ψυχή του έθνους” [ (...)
  • 22 Gerousi Eygenia, “Τζαμί Τζισταράκη: η περιπετειώδης διάσωση και ανάδειξη στις αρχές του 20ού αιώνα (...)

8The possibility to protect Ottoman-era architectural vestiges was implicit in the first Greek archaeological law in 1834. That law defined antiquities as including the “objects of art […] dating to the most ancient times of Christianity or the so-called Middle Ages.”17 Furthermore, a royal decree of 1837 stipulated, for reasons of picturesqueness, the preservation of the “Byzantine, Venetian and Turkish” remnants in the city of Athens.18 In practice, during the nineteenth century, interest in relics of classical antiquity and – to a lesser extent – Byzantium overshadowed that afforded to relics from any other eras. The archaeological law of 1899, then marked a nationalist shift: it protected later vestiges only of “medieval Hellenism.”19 Heritage legislation widened again its perspective in 1920, when Law 244720 reaffirmed that protection could be granted to all types of historic structures built up to 1830 (the founding year of the Greek state). In the aftermath of the Balkan Wars, and in the midst of the operations in Asia Minor, there was political gain in the state turning its attention to recent historical periods.21 It is interesting, though, that official moves towards the preservation of Ottoman-era structures were not necessarily preoccupied with legal definitions. In 1911, for instance, Adamantios Adamantiou, the first Ephor of Christian and Medieval Monuments of the Greek state, sued the tenant of Tzistarakis Mosque (built in the eighteenth century by the Athenian Disdar Aga) for damages brought on the building, invoking the law of 1899.22 In the years to come, discussions would often concern buildings dating up to the early twentieth century, even though post-1830 structures would not be officially protected until 1950.

  • 23 Samara Samia, Les politiques de protection et de sauvegarde de sites archéologiques et des monument (...)
  • 24 “On the codification of the provisions of L.5351 as well as the relevant provisions of Laws ΒΧΜΣΤ’, (...)
  • 25 Pateraki Marilena, “Monumental Management, Landscape Iconography and the Muslim Other in Interwar G (...)

9Law 2447 introduced the practice of monument registration, which standardized the status of protected goods,23 but focused on drafting a symbolic corpus, without including even a spatial delineation of a registered monument. The next heritage law (Law 5351),24 enacted in 1932, did not mark any change in the definition of protected goods, or the spatial contingencies of monument registration. This lack of spatial perspective proved crucial when it came to potential “historic monuments” of the Ottoman era. As former Muslim property, many of these buildings fell under the auspices of two parallel institutional frameworks and became the subject of multiple claims of ownership and reuse.25 Although issued almost a decade after the population exchange, Law 5351 did not reflect this experience. Respectively, despite frequent revisions in the interwar years, the framework regulating the management of exchangeable property did not include any provision concerning potential or registered “historic monuments.” This incompatibility fueled conflicts that placed the monumentalization of Ottoman-era architecture well beyond the scope of an ideological exercise.

Selecting the Ottoman-era “historic monuments”: ideological taxonomies and political battles

  • 26 Hartmuth Maximilian, “De/constructing a ‘Legacy in Stone’: Of Interpretative and Historiographical (...)
  • 27 Christian churches of the Ottoman-era in Greece are still widely called “post-Byzantine,” both in s (...)

10The Greek law accommodated the monumentalization of Ottoman-era architectural remnants based on chronological definitions. But how could these “historic monuments” be classified? The term “Ottoman” was not commonly used until the end of the twentieth century – and even today, it remains associated with religious undertones, underscoring the historiographical problem of “Ottoman-ness” and the political implications of the established taxonomies of the Greek heritage regime.26 The different approaches applied to secular and religious27 Ottoman-era architecture highlight the nationalistic epistemology of this regime.

  • 28 For an extensive analysis of numerous publications of the era, see Filippidis Dimitris, Νεοελληνική(...)
  • 29 Zygomalas Dimitrios. Η προστασία των αρχιτεκτονικών μνημείων του βορειοελλαδικού χώρου από την οθωμ (...)
  • 30 Government Gazette, 312/Α/ 16 December 1924 and 428/Α/ 23 October 1937.

11Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the history of architecture reframed selected snapshots of the Ottoman space in national terms – recasting them as elements of a local tradition, belonging to places projected as undoubtedly Greek. Private dwellings are the most well-known example. The impact of folklore romanticism on the study of vernacular architecture supported the Greek appropriation of the Balkan house, an operation articulated in an elaborate textual and graphic production.28 The first published volume of the architectural surveys made in Greek Macedonia during the 1930s by Dimitris Pikionis and his team, commissioned by the association “Greek Popular Art,” leaves little doubt: “[The publication] is especially addressed to the Greek youth, with the hope that its educators will find in this book the required instrument to teach what has so much been neglected so far: Greek self-awareness. […] Indeed, this work is not just the completion of a debt owed to our national heritage29 (emphasis mine). Drawing on such discourses, numerous Ottoman-era private dwellings were registered in the interwar years as historic monuments, especially in Northern Greece.30

  • 31 Indicatively: Xyggopoulos Andreas, “Μεσαιωνικά μνημεία Ιωαννίνων.Τα μνημεία της πόλεως” [Medieval M (...)

12Islamic structures presented a more complicated case. Architectural studies treated these too, albeit less frequently, usually calling them “Muslim” or “Turkish.” Sometimes, studies on the traditional architecture of a place were accompanied by a special chapter entitled “The Turkish Buildings,” which also included non-religious structures deemed representative of an oriental city, such as the covered market (bedesten).31 This separation reflected, and performed, an othering gaze on these buildings, even as these studies offered rich descriptions and information on the buildings’ architecture, history and restorations.

Fig. 2. The first page of “The Turkish Structures of Kastoria” by Anastasios Orlandos (1938), with a photograph of the Kursum Mosque

Fig. 2. The first page of “The Turkish Structures of Kastoria” by Anastasios Orlandos (1938), with a photograph of the Kursum Mosque

The first page of “The Turkish Structures of Kastoria” by Anastasios Orlandos (1938), with a photograph of the Kursum Mosque.

Source: Orlandos, “The Turkish Structures,” op. cit., p. 211.

  • 32 Fortresses gathered the attention of heritage services in the 1920s, as their demilitarization prog (...)

13It should be noted that the erasure of references to the Ottoman period – which sometimes stretched to the point of completely misnaming – concerned many structures, not just private dwellings. The word “Turkish” or “Muslim” is indeed often seen in registration decrees of the era, yet there are also numerous cases of religious buildings registered as Christian churches, under their (real or alleged) previous or new name. Military architecture, which often comprises various historical phases, was also prone to such maneuvers.32 This is why registration decrees can be quite misleading if taken at face value: they reflect ideological representations but also offer no context for the background of particular registrations. A deeper look in preparatory exchanges can be elucidating as to the ideological and material stakes that have conditioned the preservation – or disappearance – of Ottoman-era vestiges in the Greek public space.

  • 33 Stavridopoulos, Monuments of the Other, op. cit., p. 96.
  • 34 Ibid., p. 353.
  • 35 Kiel Machiel, “A Note on the Exact Date of Construction of the White Tower of Thessaloniki,” Balkan (...)

14A telling example is the White Tower of Thessaloniki. Along with the remnants of the city walls, they were the first “historic monuments” in the New Lands to be protected by law – not least, with a special decree of the Regional Government in 1913, before the global establishment of monument registration.33 The White Tower carried a founding inscription by Sultan Süleyman, which mentioned the date of its construction as Hijra 942 (1535-36), but that inscription disappeared after the Greek conquest of Thessaloniki in 1912.34 In the following years, the Tower became widely acknowledged as a Venetian monument. In fact, the dating of the its construction became a lasting bone of contention, with “various theories ranging between the early thirteenth century under the Latin Empire of Thessaloniki and the years of the Venetian occupation in the first half of the fifteenth century.”35 This confusion underpins how, as the White Tower grew into the flagship symbol of Greek Thessaloniki, its Ottoman links became problematic. Yet, archival information reminds that at the time of its registration, the White Tower was clearly seen as an Ottoman structure.

  • 36 Stavridopoulos, Monuments of the Other, op. cit., p. 95. Georgios Oikonomos was an archaeologist, f (...)
  • 37 Papazoglou Aris, Οι μιναρέδες της Θεσσαλονίκης [The Minarets of Thessaloniki], Thessaloniki, Kornil (...)
  • 38 Koumaridis, “Urban Transformation,” art. cit., p. 228. Stavridopoulos mentions material from the lo (...)
  • 39 Koumaridis, “Urban Transformation,” art. cit., p. 229.

15One of the first steps of the Greek administration in Thessaloniki was the foundation of the “Embellishment Committee,” which included Aristotelis Zachos, leading figure in twentieth century Greek architecture, and municipal architect Marinos Delladetsimas, among others. A local office of the Archaeological Service was also founded in 1912, initially with Georgios Oikonomos as the sole employee.36 The “Embellishment Committee” received strong social and political pressure to demolish Ottoman-era structures, the White Tower being among the prominent choices. As Zachos claimed later, the main reason that the demolition did not proceed was its high cost.37 Oikonomos opposed this plan, claiming that “we risk showing ourselves as lacking any knowledge of history.”38 He proposed the building’s conversion to a military museum, sustaining that it would “be linked closer to the new, bright national period and the reacquisition of Thessaloniki by the Greek army, if a large, bronze, gold-coated statue of Nike, reminder of the large and successful struggles of the Homeland, is built on the highest balcony.”39 Oikonomos’s discourse illustrates the anxiety of an external judgement of the Greek state, as well as the idea of incorporating the architectural trace of the enemy in a self-verifying narrative, which would validate the Greek domination. As I will point to in what follows, this strain between showing sufficient modernization and satisfying nationalist ideology – and public affect – marked the treatment of Ottoman-era vestiges by the Archaeological Service in broader terms.

  • 40 Papazoglou, Minarets, op. cit.; Mazower, Salonica, op. cit.
  • 41 Papazoglou, Minarets, op. cit., p. 127.
  • 42 The demolition contract referred to twenty-six minarets, two of which belonging to former Christian (...)

16Another case, again from Thessaloniki, highlights the early approaches to the problem of resignifying Islamic architectural forms: the mass demolition of the city’s minarets. Since 1912 numerous minarets had been knocked down under unclear circumstances, and in 1925 the Municipal Council decided to massively demolish the rest, in the context of widespread polemic against them.40 The decision invoked utilitarian argumentation which betrayed a symbolic perspective: “The Muslim residents of Thessaloniki have departed,” read the proceedings, thus all minarets should be demolished apart from that of the Hamza Bey Mosque, “still used as a temple of the few remaining ones.” This way, “the memory of the long-lasting Turkish yoke on the city will be erased.”41 The decision was ratified by the Prefecture of Thessaloniki, the Regional Government of Macedonia and the Ministry of Education, under condition that the Municipality would bear the cost. In the end, it was not the minaret of Hamza Bey that was excluded but the one of the Rotunda, as recommended by the Ministry of Education.42

  • 43 Efimeris ton Valkanion, 16 August 1925, p. 1, cited in Stavridopoulos, Monuments of the Other, op.  (...)
  • 44 Ibid.

17That was a measure which did not pass without objections. The most renowned reaction is that of Alexandros Papanastasiou, former Prime Minister. “I admit as correct and reasonable the demolition of the minarets of former Christian churches,” he wrote in the newspaper Efimeris ton Valkanion in 1925.43 He found the razing of the rest, though, to be “a cruel act of foolish chauvinism” – even though his own perspective was not short of nationalist undertones: “The Turks showed more respect to our monuments. The fact that Greek monuments are of greater art does not justify tearing down the Turkish ones, which are national property, have value and should be respected.”44

  • 45 Telegram of Georgios Sotiriou, Ephor of Byzantine Antiquities, to the Ministry of Education, 13/8/1 (...)
  • 46 Letter of the Minister of Education to the Regional Government of Macedonia, 12/8/1923, HAAR, Box 5 (...)
  • 47 Letter of the Minister of Education to Oikonomos, 13/8/1923, HAAR, Box 590 Γ.
  • 48 Letter of K. Avrasoglou, Curator of Antiquities, to the Ministry of Education, 15/8/1923, HAAR, Box (...)
  • 49 Letter of Sotiriou to the Metropolitan Bishop, 18/10/1923, HAAR, Box 590 Δ.
  • 50 Letter of the local ephor to the Ministry of Education, 25/3/1924, HAAR, Box 590 Δ.
  • 51 Letter of the President of the Community Delegation of Thessaloniki to the Regional Governor, 24/10 (...)
  • 52 Letter of Sotiriou to the Ministry of Education, 14/1/1925, HAAR, Box 590 Δ.
  • 53 Letter of the Ministry of Education to the Regional Government, 16/3/1925, HAAR, Box 590 Δ.

18The Ministry of Education also did not consent easily, even when the question concerned former churches. In 1923, the local Ephorate of Antiquities accused the Metropolitan Bishop of “fomenting” the demolitions.45 The Minister himself called the demolitions “harmful”46 and asked the Regional Government to suspend the works until further study. He also asked Oikonomos, by then Director of the Numismatic Museum in Athens, to travel to Thessaloniki so as to “investigate the recently risen question of tearing down the minarets of the city’s Byzantine churches.”47 These moves bore no fruits, as the demolition of Saint Demitrius Minaret, ordered by the Regional Government, continued unperturbed.48 Georgios Sotiriou, Ephor of Byzantine Antiquities, proposed that at least the minarets of Saint Sophia and the Rotunda be preserved.49 The Community Delegation of Thessaloniki, presided over by the Metropolitan Bishop, pressed repeatedly on the Ministry and the Regional Government, proposing that the Church Fund pay for the demolitions, and invoked the need to collect ancient spolia “possibly built in the minarets’ walls.”50 The Delegation claimed that Sotiriou had finally approved the sole preservation of the Rotunda’s minaret,51 yet in January 1925 Sotiriou was still pushing for the preservation of numerous minarets, among which those of the Burmali Mosque and Alaca Imaret.52 For reasons unclear, in March 1925, the Ministry sidelined Sotiriou and approved the demolition of the “non useful minarets of Thessaloniki” apart from the one of the Rotunda.53

19The discussions on the minarets of Thessaloniki highlight the uneasiness that accompanied the management of Islamic structures in a de-Ottomanizing urban space. The reasoning of the Archaeological Service developed on many levels, starting from legal issues: the Metropolitan Bishopric, they claimed, was violating Law 2447/1920. The Service also invoked arguments of aesthetic and didactic order, employing a nationalistic perception of Islamic art. Both the minarets of Saint Sophia and the Rotunda, Sotiriou claimed:

  • 54 Letter of Sotiriou to Metropolitan Bishop Gennadius, 18/10/1923, HAAR, Box 590 Δ.

afford a certain grace to the monuments, since their perpendicularity interrupts the monotonous horizontal and curved lines of the buildings. In the Byzantine times, this would have been achieved by another structure […] such as a bell tower; we should thus preserve this aesthetic impression even though we now have two historical phases before us […]. As for the desire and satisfaction of the Christian population, which cannot tolerate any more vestiges of the Turkish rule […] we should teach the people, that whatever the conqueror left on Greek soil should be preserved for the future generations, which will be able to see, through living monuments, that the enemies’ passage left only insignificant traces […].54

  • 55 Letter of Sotiriou to the Ministry of Education, 9/4/1924, HAAR, Box 590 Δ.
  • 56 Letter of the local ephor to the Ministry of Education, 25/3/1924, HAAR, Box 590 Δ.
  • 57 Letter of the President of the Community Delegation of Thessaloniki to the Regional Governor, 24/10 (...)

20Sotiriou also expressed concern about the change in the city’s image following the great fire of 1917: the minarets’ demolition, he claimed, would mean the “loss of a great asset of picturesqueness, almost the only one left after the fire.”55 The opposite side also spoke in terms of aesthetics, perceived through the lens of architectural purism: for the Community Delegation, tearing down the minarets – which “merely caused ugliness” – was paramount and enabled the restitution of the original form of “retrieved churches.”56 The Delegation also invoked the minarets’ (real or alleged) bad state of preservation, and presented themselves as representatives of a broader “public demand.”57

21Both the cases of the White Tower and the minarets of Thessaloniki outline most of the major themes that guided, in the years to come, the discursive treatment of Ottoman-era structures with regard to the national monumental canon. Both cases also manifest the Archaeological Service’s limited spatial agency, which became more pointed when it came to historic structures at odds with the official national narrative. We will now trace how these issues unfolded in the context of negotiations pertaining to the management of former Muslim immovable property. A key moment in this process was 1925, when the National Bank of Greece (NBG) undertook the liquidation of former Muslim realty with the goal of financially compensating Minor Asian refugees.

Building a heritage policy for Ottoman-era remnants after the population exchange (1925-1939)

Exchangeable “monuments”: an institutional battle for ownership and spatial agency

  • 58 “Mosque of the Market,” “Turkish Bath,” “Fortress” “Aslan Pasha Mosque,” “Turkish Library,” “Namazg (...)

22The first monument registrations of former Muslim properties were issued in June 1925, comprising eleven buildings in Kastoria and Ioannina. By 1926, four more buildings were listed in Ioannina, Preveza and Thessaloniki.58 The NBG had assumed the management of exchangeable property since May 1925, and in the meantime, sporadic discussions about the fate of exchangeable registered monuments had been made but no decision had been reached.

  • 59 Circular of the Ministry of Education no 33123/1158, 18/7/1927, HAAR, Box 573 B.

23In what seemed to be an attempt to build a comprehensive framework of preservation, in 1927 the Archaeological Service asked the regional Ephorates to catalogue the Turkish mosques or other constructions”59 in their jurisdictions that were worth registering. The resulting catalogues contained different building types, mostly located in the New Lands: baths, medreses, tombs… – the majority were former mosques. The first catalogue contained twenty-three proposed “historic monuments”; the next one, in 1928, was more ambitious, and contained thirty-eight structures.

Fig. 3. Catalogue containing Ottoman-era structures considered worthy of monument registration, drafted by the Ministry of Education, 1928

Fig. 3. Catalogue containing Ottoman-era structures considered worthy of monument registration, drafted by the Ministry of Education, 1928

“Table of the Ephorates that responded, and those that did not, to the Circular no 32802/1661 about indicating exchangeable archaeological monuments.” Catalogue containing Ottoman-era structures considered worthy of monument registration drafted by the Ministry of Education, 1928.

Source: HAAR, Box 573 B, Folder 6A.

  • 60 See Pateraki, “Monumental Management,” art. cit. and Pateraki Marilena, “Signs of the Past, Means t (...)
  • 61 See HAAR, Box 590 E, Folder Γ. The material in HAAR’s archive focuses on the logistics of the missi (...)
  • 62 Circular of the Ministry of Education no 33802/1661, 12/9/1928, HAAR, Box 573 B.

24The NBG opposed fiercely the Service’s initiative, arguing that a monument registration would reduce a building’s commercial attractiveness. The bank also often doubted the Service’s judgment of historical, archaeological or artistic significance for the individual properties. This fueled lengthy negotiations involving various agents.60 In 1927, the Ministry of Education appointed a committee comprising Ottomanologist Franz Babinger, Byzantinist Nikolaos Veis, and Anastasios Orlandos, director of the Service’s Restorations Office. The committee toured Greece for two years studying historic Ottoman structures and filing proposals for preservation.61 The NBG continued demanding that the Service limit or purchase the proposed “monuments,” and the Service kept an ambiguous stance: while it seemed to accept the idea of expropriation as the only way to protect these buildings,62 it simultaneously asked persistently for concessions from the NBG. The Service invoked its own lack of funds; but concession stumbled upon the terms of the NBG’s public contract.

25More than one hundred Ottoman-era buildings were discussed in this context between 1925 and 1939, and seventy of them were claimed for monument registration. Negotiations evolved at two levels: the first one concerned a holistic institutional solution, and the second one ad hoc arrangements about individual cases. In time, fewer and fewer structures were discussed in a comprehensive context. The bank continued to gather offers for buildings claimed by the Service, sometimes proceeding to sale and sometimes using the offers as leverage. In 1937, the Directorate of Antiquities and the Directorate of Exchange, at the Ministry of Health and Welfare, agreed on the revision of the NBG’s public contract, so that it would provide for the desired concession, but the Minister of Finance shut it down. This negotiation ended with a partial gain for the Archaeological Service, significantly smaller than its original claims: seven former mosques were finally sold to it in 1938, while the NBG’s local branches were authorized to freely manage the rest of exchangeable “historic monuments” on condition that they observe heritage laws. In 1939, the bank’s managerial authority passed to the Ministry of Finance. Negotiations over the registration of exchangeable “historic monuments”, albeit sparser, in continued in the postwar years. It was the interwar period, however, that proved the most decisive for the fate of these vestiges in the public space of Greek towns.

  • 63 The de-spatialized view of monumental policies is also reflected in the graphic documentation found (...)

26So as to better understand the dynamics of this conflict, a look at the broader political context is required. Special provisions in the NBG’s public contract for the sale of exchangeable properties based on geographical, demographic and land-use criteria attest that the management of exchangeable property conformed to major state priorities, such as the social integration of refugees and the national assimilation of the Northern provinces. It would be safe to assume that in this context, Ottoman-era “historic monuments” were unlikely to surpass other priorities. Besides, invoking such higher purposes strengthened the political role of a quasi-monopolizing financial institution, buttressing the NBG’s persistence in the negotiation with the Archaeological Service. Beyond topical policies, structural trends in spatial and monumental management underlay this negotiation. Exchangeable property posed a large-scale spatial problem. The solution of liquidation so as to finance a debenture loan for the refugee compensations was imposed by the Lausanne Treaty, but its execution via a private partner was a political choice which relieved both the state’s economic hardships and the absence of effective geographical stewardship. At the same time, the spatial role of heritage policies remained underestimated.63 Nineteen decrees registering fifty-one exchangeable “monuments” were issued during the negotiation, without succeeding to affect its course. Overall, the monumentalization of Ottoman-era architectural vestiges largely came down to a battle of ownership, in which the NBG claimed them on behalf of the state, while the state remained divided, even in a recovering economy after 1933.

Perspectives of the Archaeological Service: narratives and practices of appropriation

  • 64 Pateraki, “Monumental Management,” art. cit., p. 250.
  • 65 Ibid., p. 250.

27The lingering negotiations with the NBG urged the Archaeological Service to structure a multi-layered argumentation that would support the preservation of Ottoman-era architectural remnants. In the Service’s official correspondence these structures were invested with multiple meanings; they were also deemed useful in very pragmatic terms. The title of the first list compiled by the Ministry, in 1927, is telling: “Ancient Turkish buildings, which must be preserved for their historical and artistic value or because they can be used as museums, but belong to the National Bank, designated as exchangeable property.”64 Regional Ephorates often adopted an emotional tone, emphasizing moral aspects of monumental management and largely applying a lens of Greek self-perception. Efstathios Petroulakis, Curator of Antiquities of Rethymno, Crete, wrote to the Minister of Education in 1927: “I think that a sensitive observer or scholar should stand before every remnant of civilization with the same respect, no matter its origin […] When we allow some of them to be destroyed out of indifference or aversion, we cannot call others barbarians for destroying monuments of Greek history and art.”65

  • 66 Letter to the Ministry of Education, 16/3/1927, HAAR, Box 573 B.
  • 67 Letter to the Ministry of Education, 2/3/1937, HAAR, Box 573 B.
  • 68 Letter to the Ministry of Education, 22/10/1928, HAAR, Box 573 B.
  • 69 Letter to the Ministry of Education, 23/3/1931. Archive of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Heraklion (...)

28One of the most commonly used strategies for monumentalizing Ottoman-era structures was to de-emphasize their links to Islam. This was pursued, first, by claiming an original Christian nature for them. Petroulakis protested the treatment of former mosques as exchangeable, because “as tradition has it, they used to be churches.66 The argument that the discussed mosques were originally built as Christian churches, or on the spot or the ruins of such, was one of the commonest used even when archaeological data were admittedly lacking. This line extended to include the positions of ancient Greek temples, or the existence of spolia in reuse within the mosques’ buildings or surroundings. In this spirit, the Curator of Antiquities in Veroia sustained that the Orta Mosque bore “no archaeological value per se, but it is built, according to the locally held opinion, on the foundations or walls of an ancient Christian church, with material probably coming from proto-Christian ruins.”67 Similar claims are found in abundance in the regional offices’ reports. Another tactic in this direction was resignifying Islamic architectural forms through comparisons with the Byzantine architecture. The Curator of the Archaeological Museum of Chania thus proposed the registration of the Küçük Hasan Pasha Mosque – the first to be built after the Ottoman occupation of the city –“because it holds artistic value demonstrating the influence of Byzantine art on Arabic or Turkish art, as shown by the successful imitation of the hemispherical dome [...] and of the spherical triangles [...] which the architects of Hagia Sophia used to support their own dome.”68 Comparing mosques’ domes to Hagia Sophia was, in fact, a common trope. Finally, another strategy of erasing Islamic references was foregrounding some buildings’ Venetian origins. Thus, Spyros Marinatos, Ephor of Antiquities of Crete, found that the town of Rethymno hosted “numerous important mosques,” yet only the Haci Ibrahim Aga Mosque should be preserved, “as it used to be the Venetian loggia.”69

  • 70 Epirus, no 1908/69, 30 July 1924.
  • 71 Pateraki, “Monumental Management,” art. cit., p. 250.

29The Christian claim on former mosques by the Archaeological Service marked the entrenchment, in monumental policies, of an already prevalent trend in the sociο-political arena. It seems though that the fluidity of the immediate post-exchange era allowed for a broader negotiation of this idea. Konstantinos Kazantzis (a lawyer, tobacco merchant, writer and politician from Ioannina, later Regional Governor of West Macedonia and then Samos) published in 1924 a series of articles on the mosques of Ioannina in the local newspaper Epirus. The first article, entitled “Truth and Legend about the Mosques,”70 opened with the statement that, for a sober conclusion on the fate of these mosques to be reached, a “general and vague superstition” should be overcome: that all mosques had been Christian churches. Ioannina was a particular case: the local Ephorate claimed early and firmly the registration of numerous Ottoman-era structures, which, moreover, were claimed as either “Muslim” or “Turkish” – in any case, without resorting to the argument of a previous Christian nature. Kazantzis’s comment, thus, rather reflects the social diffusion of such an opinion. In time, architectural studies also began mentioning cases of mosques allegedly built on the spot of Christian relics, but where, following demolition, no traces of underlying construction had been found. And yet it seems that despite the voices calling for an unemotional examination of the issue, ideological anxieties prevailed. Religious monuments with multiple phases gradually became listed exclusively as churches. This tactic legitimized the cultural and political re-inscription of space by evoking the restoration of a symbolic order, at the building scale, within the urban fabrics, and within the nation’s monumental iconography.71

  • 72 Letter to the Ministry of Education, 23/7/1937, HAAR, Box 573 B.
  • 73 Letter to the Ministry of Education, 22/10/1928, HAAR, Box 573 B.
  • 74 Letter to the Ministry of Education, 22/11/1928, in stationery of the Metropolis of Ioannina. HAAR, (...)

30Another common strategy of the Archaeological Service was to link the monumentalization of Ottoman-era buildings to matters of national political order. The care for monuments was raised to a moral debt of the state, which was perceived as supervised by the foreign gaze. “It is a matter of decency,” emphasized the Curator of Antiquities in Ioannina, “to clean the Fortress from dirt [and] remove the illegally installed military laundry, which exposes us so much, especially to foreign visitors.”72 The didactic perspective of preservation was also frequently stressed. Thus, the Curator in Chania noted that Küçük Hasan Mosque held “a particular historical significance, as it incessantly reminds of the ultimate perils that our religion and freedom have faced, and the struggles made for obtaining this precious good.”73 This line of argumentation, accentuating themes common in Balkan national discourses – cultural continuity; heroic resistance; the nation’s ordeals –, sought to appropriate the Ottoman trace in favor of entrenching a Greek identity across the new territory, even more so against minority claims. Another issue of “state decency” was posed, according to the Curator in Ioannina, by the possibility of the Aslan Pasha Mosque ending up “in the hands of the constantly lurking Albanian community”74 – a warning revealing, as well, how national territorial antagonisms conditioned the limits of recognizing the Ottoman past as a shared legacy.

  • 75 Essay to the Ministry of Education, 11/8/1927, HAAR, Box 573 B.
  • 76 Letter to the Ministry of Education, 5/8/1927, HAAR, Box 573 B.

31There were, finally, cases in which local officials focused on sensory and emotive qualities, reflecting an exoticized view of the Ottoman period. The Curator of Antiquities of Westen Crete distinguished the Veli Pasha Mosque in Rethymno for its “different value and power,” which “create a particular atmosphere.” “It is not,” he sustained,a plain and expressionless monument, destined to arouse merely historical curiosity, but has the power to evoke a living image of the religious life and art of the Turks.75 Exoticization was also based on the perceived peculiarity of Islamic architectural forms. Thus, in another letter concerning the Küçük Hasan Pasha Mosque in Chania, its “large central dome” was not seen as a reminder of Hagia Sophia, but as a testament to its “Arabic, particular style.”76

  • 77 The Eski Mosque in Preveza, an 1840s building used since 1912 as a military storage space, was clai (...)
  • 78 Pateraki, “Monumental Management,” art. cit., p. 252.
  • 79 Letter to the Ministry of Education, 1/9/1925, HAAR, Box 573 B.

32Local Ephorates therefore explored various ways of semantically appropriating buildings connected to the Ottoman past. The main reuse strategy promoted by the Service also worked to this end. The Directorate of Antiquities and regional offices repeatedly proposed the housing of archeological or local museums in protected mosques. This practice was in gear before the population exchange,77 but the interwar years marked a systematized diffusion, attuned with the Service’s acute lack of storage space for antiquities. This idea resonated with – failed – attempts by the Venizelos government (1928-1932) to decentralize museum policy, but also with visions for a provincial tourist boost expressed by the Metaxas regime (1936-1941). The proposals almost never took into account architectural differences: as the Minister of Education stated, “only such a use could be allowed by their status as registered monuments,” and the widespread convergence of local officials betrayed a common mindset.78 In this spirit, raising former mosques to “historic monuments” was mediated by their envisioned role as guardians and stages of antiquities, which purified the buildings and reconciled them with national contents. This vision for reuse also projected a homogenizing narrative on the totality of post-1923 Greek territory. The reference to Greek antiquity as a common past, along with the undifferentiated treatment of former mosques which foregrounded their current usefulness over their own historicity, unified different regions into one national temporality, and re-inserted selected fragments of an allegedly homogeneous imperial trace into a new geography, defined by the cultural contents and practices of the new nation-state. Moreover, the selective focus on the “Turkish”/“Muslim” and ancient Greek “dipole” erased the longstanding presence of other ethno-religious groups in many areas newly incorporated into Greece. Thus, the showcasing of an enemy heritage took part in the Hellenization of contested territories. As the Curator of Antiquities in Serres put it, restoring Zincirli Mosque would provide a “venue worthy of the antiquities stored in it, which are the most resounding herald of the centuries-long Greekness of this land.”79

Fig. 4. Map of Islamic structures used as museums or proposed for museum reuse, as mentioned in the official correspondence of the Archaeological Service, 1927-1928

Fig. 4. Map of Islamic structures used as museums or proposed for museum reuse, as mentioned in the official correspondence of the Archaeological Service, 1927-1928

Islamic structures used as museums or proposed for museum reuse, as mentioned in the official correspondence of the Archaeological Service, 1927-1928.

Edited by M. Pateraki. Pateraki, “Monumental Management,” art. cit., p. 251.

  • 80 Letter of the local Curator of Antiquities to the Ministry of Education, 5/7/1937, HAAR, Box 573 B.
  • 81 Letter of the Mayor of Pagassoi to the Ministry of Education, 24/8/1936, HAAR, Box 573 B.

33Local agents also claimed the conversion of former mosques to museum spaces. In various instances, municipalities and local associations, mainly antiquarian or folklore societies, pushed for the registration of a mosque as a monument and its subsequent reuse as an archaeological or, notably, a local or city museum. Registered in 1925, the Aslan Pasha Mosque in Ioannina was converted to a municipal city museum in 1933, comprising three exhibition sections that were devoted respectively to the city’s Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities. During the 1930s, the Municipality of Chalkis, in Euboea, claimed the reuse of the Emir Zade Mosque as a “Museum of medieval and modern history” of the city,80 while the Municipality of Pagassoi, in Thessaly, requested funding from the Ministry of Education to convert the mosque in the fortress of Volos to a “museum devoted to the region’s history since 1453.”81 Such moves can be approached in two perspectives: within the burgeoning trend of showcasing local history, which may have encompassed multiple re-evaluations of Ottoman-era material vestiges, but also in the context of spatial battles fueled by the antagonisms over exchangeable property.

Fig. 5. Photograph of the Aslan Pasha Mosque in Ioannina in the 1930s

Fig. 5. Photograph of the Aslan Pasha Mosque in Ioannina in the 1930s

The Aslan Pasha Mosque in Ioannina in the 1930s.

Photo by Vassilis Koutsavelis. Palaiologou V., “Το Κάστρο Ιωαννίνων” [The Fortress of Ioannina], Αρχαιολογία και Τέχνες [Archaeology and Arts], no 122, December 2016, p. 118-144.

Fig. 6. Photograph of the Fotiki sarcophagus exhibited in the Aslan Pasha Mosque in the 1930s

Fig. 6. Photograph of the Fotiki sarcophagus exhibited in the Aslan Pasha Mosque in the 1930s

The Fotiki sarcophagus exhibited in the Aslan Pasha Mosque, in the 1930s. The city museum also included local antiquities, which were transferred in the 1970s to the new Archaeological Museum of Ioannina.

Photo attributed to Nelly’s, found in the local news website https://typos-i.gr/​, URL: https://typos-i.gr/​article/​temenos-toy-aslan-pasa-parko-politismoy (accessed in December 2023).

Local interpretations of monumentalization

Antagonisms over exchangeable property

  • 82 Pateraki, “Signs of the Past,” art. cit.

34Let us start from the latter, which lays out the material background of local claims. In the wake of the population exchange, former Muslim property became a bone of contention among state bodies, local authorities, the church, cultural and professional associations, as well as private claimants – refugees and locals. These claimants saw the NBG as a hostile agent, and the Archaeological Service as either an ally or an obstacle. In 1926, for instance, the Christian association Apostle Titos in Chania, Crete, sought – and gained – the Service’s support in its campaign against the sale of the Yusuf Pasha Mosque by the NBG. Apostle Titos was claiming the building’s conversion to a religious library and a Sunday School, uses which were seen as fitting with monumentalization. The case was not won but gathered wide social support.82 On the other side, tenants or buyers of exchangeable buildings often contested the Service’s right to register monuments, on the grounds that it lacked the financial capacity to support them for their properties’ conservation. The Service’s historical archive contains an abundance of cases which display the ambivalence of local societies towards the state mechanisms of curating the past.

  • 83 Telegram to the Ministry of Education, 17/8/1925; Letter of Servetas to the Ministry of Education, (...)
  • 84 Letter of Servetas to the Ministry of Education, 24/8/1925, HAAR, Box 573 B.
  • 85 Letter of the Minister of Education to Servetas, 5/10/1925, HAAR, Box 573 B.
  • 86 Letter of Miliadis to the Ministry of Education, 9/6/1926, HAAR, Box 573 B.
  • 87 Letter of the Minister of Education to Miliadis, 22/6/1926, HAAR, Box 573 B.
  • 88 Government Gazette, 18/Α/ 20 January 1938.
  • 89 Letter of the Temporary Curator of Antiquities to the Ministry of Education, 10/7/1940, HAAR, Box 5 (...)

35The case of the Faik Pasha Mosque in Arta offers a typical example of how ideological evaluations intersected with pragmatic pursuits. In 1925 the mosque was under conversion to a Christian church, and the discovery of an engraved Byzantine plate during construction prompted the local Curator of Antiquities to ask for its registration as a monument. The curator employed the usual argument of anachronistic appropriation, sustaining that the mosque was “deemed by experts as an excellent Byzantine monument.”83 He also suggested its reuse as a museum of classical and Byzantine antiquities. A few days later he changed his mind, supporting the religious conversion.84 The Ministry of Education then agreed, under condition to review the architectural plans,85 but such plans were never submitted. The next year, Ephor Ioannis Miliadis chastised the initiative of local “peasants” 86to demolish part of the minaret, construct an altarpiece and perform a mass in the building. The NBG also stood against the converters, but they offered to buy the mosque and the Prefect of Arta backed their proposal. Miliadis wrote to the Ministry in an urgent tone, repeatedly – and in vain – asking to be informed if the mosque had finally been registered as a monument. The Minister sided with the Prefect, conceding that “trusting the monument to Christian reverence was the only way to save it.”87 Despite this temporary attempt at maintaining political balances, the conversion was never officialized. The building was registered as the Imaret Mosque in 1938,88 and was one of the seven mosques sold by the NBG to the Ministry in the same year. In an interesting turn of events, two years later, the new Curator of Antiquities stood critically against the modifications made for the building’s makeshift use as a church, and proposed the restoration of its original form as an Islamic temple. Thus, he claimed, the prestige of the Orthodox Church would not be outshined by the building’s “artistic perfection,” while visitors would “gain full knowledge of late fifteenth century mosques, as well as the region’s history.”89

Fig. 7. Photograph of the Faik Pasha (Imaret) Mosque in Arta in the interwar years

Fig. 7. Photograph of the Faik Pasha (Imaret) Mosque in Arta in the interwar years

The Faik Pasha (Imaret) Mosque in Arta in the interwar years.

Source: HAAR, Box 573 A, Folder 6A.

Fig. 8. Topographical diagram of the Kursum Mosque in Kastoria

Fig. 8. Topographical diagram of the Kursum Mosque in Kastoria

Topographical diagram of the Kursum Mosque in Kastoria, drafted by the municipal engineer, outlining the main temple (yellow) and the demolished revak (green).

Source: HAAR, Box 592 Α, Folder Α.

  • 90 Letter of the Mayor of Kastoria to the local Curator of Antiquities, 12/2/1935, HAAR, Box 573 Α.
  • 91 Letter of the local Curator of Antiquities to the Ephor of Antiquities of Macedonia, 25/2/1935, HAA (...)
  • 92 Letter of the Minister of Education to the local Curator of Antiquities, 9/2/1936, HAAR, Box 573 Α.

36Another elucidating example is the Kursum Mosque in Kastoria, a registered monument since 1925. In 1935 the municipality asked for a permit of demolition, since a new post office and a square were to be constructed next to the mosque, and the proximity was deemed aesthetically unbecoming.90 The Mayor tried to negotiate: if that mosque, he claimed, had been registered “by mistake,” the neighboring “Mausoleum of Arabic Art” was indeed of monumental value and the municipality would see to its preservation. The local Curator opposed this request pointing out that the city plan stipulated only the demolition of the mosque’s portico (revak), which “carried no value at all.”91 Besides, he noted, if the building had been kept intact until then, that was only due to its use as a library. The Ministry of Education solicited the opinion of Antonis Keramopoulos, Professor of Archaeology and Member of the Athens Academy, as well as of the Archaeological Council. In the end, a decision was made for the portico’s demolition, with preservation of the mosque’s main building as well as of the adjacent türbe.92

37These examples highlight the multiple ways in which, beyond institutional debates, the interwar monumentalization of Ottoman-era vestiges was inextricably contingent on multiple localized stakes of spatial management. It was against this backdrop that manifold ideological approaches to Ottoman-era remnants developed in the peripheral cities of the New Lands.

Ottoman-era vestiges in local histories and memory-scapes

  • 93 Essay to the Ministry of Education, 5/8/1927, HAAR, Box 573 Β.
  • 94 Giannopoulos Nikos, “Το φρούριον του Βόλου” [The Fortress of Volos], Bulletin of the Society of Byz (...)
  • 95 Soulis Christos, “Τουρκικαί επιγραφαί Ιωαννίνων” [Turkish Inscriptions of Ioannina], Eperotica Cron (...)
  • 96 Ibid.

38After the population exchange, Ottoman-era architectural remnants in many localities became dense signifiers evoking emotions that ranged across vindication against the former enemy, caution towards the new state, and nostalgia for the familiar everyday space of the past. The local Curators of Antiquities illustrate clearly this polysemy, as they can be seen as voices of a state mechanism, but they were also voices shaped within, and shaping, different local contexts. Their discourses expressed both an ethnocentric perspective on local history and representations of regional particularity. “I believe that all saved Turkish inscriptions should be collected,” wrote the Curator of Antiquities in Thessaly in 1927. “I have gathered a few of them in the Almyros Museum, including a large inscription from the Turkish mosque that stood in the central square […] which, apart from the history of the mosque’s construction since the seventeenth century, also mentions Greek revolutionaries who occupied and held Almyros for 40 years.”93 The proposals of local curators for monument registration varied in numbers, age and phases, depending on the duration of the Ottoman rule in each area, but mainly reflecting the different visions of regional history and cultural identity that these officials wished to project. In Crete, for example, essentializing the buildings’ Venetian origin was often the main argument. In northern and mainland Greece, the Curators’ rhetoric often engaged “Turkish” structures with no pretext other than their locality. Nikos Giannopoulos, Curator in Volos, lamented in the Bulletin of the Society of Byzantine Studies the demolition of numerous mosques in Thessaly and the rest of Greece, before “any systematic study” on them was conducted: “In Larissa the oldest and greatest Turkish mosques, vaulted and lead-covered, have disappeared, with no-one seeing to photographing them.94 Christos Soulis, Curator in Ioannina, sustained: “A great source for our recent history has been completely dismissed. Turkish inscriptions on mosques, tombs, houses and other buildings were left unstudied; criminally abandoned; destroyed.”95 He also chastised the extensive demolition of mosques, caused by unforgivable negligence and inexcusable chauvinism […] damaging not only the city’s history but also its ‘local color’ and touristic value.”96 The city of Ioannina, in his view, stood out in the Greek space because it was reminiscent of an Ottoman one, a reminiscence tamed by aestheticization and economic potential.

39This layered perspective is mirrored in the social sphere, indicating that the unified state spatiality was, in effect, a nuanced field under constant negotiation. A brief look at the local press is illuminating. Of course, the press offers only a partial reflection of reality and, as a platform of public discourse, merits further analysis which goes beyond the scope of this paper. Here we stand at indicative examples from the regions of Epirus and Crete, which underline the multiplicity of local perceptions of Ottoman-era remnants.

  • 97 Pateraki, “Monumental Management,” art. cit., p. 254-256.

40Cretan newspapers treated those remnants in an abstract way, as individual symbols in the urban landscape. “One minaret in each Cretan town would certainly not imply a lingering Turkophilia,” we read in a 1935 article entitled “The Minaret,”97 “but rather point to the national historical commemoration through picturesque architectural manifestations of a tempestuous past.” Newspapers also stressed the issue’s geopolitical overtones, as well as the different generational perspectives in areas where the Ottoman past was still a living memory. “Usually all the elders,” remarks the above article, “especially those who fought to shake off the Turkish yoke, are devout friends of history. Yet here they shall not be favorable. For them, the minaret symbolizes past hatred.” Younger citizens “will tolerate the minaret: there is, you see, Greco-Turkish friendship. There is also another fact: the exceptional sympathy of the modern Turks towards the Byzantine churches of the East, which they have begun to cherish as tokens of memory and art.”

  • 98 Epirus, no 1931/86, “The Old Yanina,” 3 October 1924.
  • 99 “Truth and Legend,” art. cit.

41The Cretan press treated the issue mainly in the 1930s, when “Greco-Turkish friendship” was in the limelight. As already mentioned, in Epirus the discussion began as early as 1924, focusing on specific buildings with the purpose to “awaken the looters’ remorse, the citizens’ interest and the authorities’ awareness so as to save whatever deserves preservation.”98 With his articles on the mosques of Ioannina, Konstantinos Kazantzis claimed their reintegration in a conceptual and functional universe anchored in a specific topology and socio-historical context. His first article began with the reference to the mosques “left to us as public ownership of the city, a common and indivisible asset belonging to its residents.”99

  • 100 Pateraki, “Monumental Management,” art. cit., p. 253-254.

42The Epirotic press did not describe the Ottoman city of Ioannina in negative terms, in contrast with the cities in Crete, where the Ottoman fabric was often invested with connotations of ugliness, unhealthy density and decay.100 In Epirus, the press treated the mosques’ issue as a broader question of spatial management, attributing to the Greek administration lack of transparency and coordination:

  • 101 Epirus, no 1938/94, “Epilogue on the Mosques,” 19 October 1924.

During the Asia Minor operations […] here, the state promoted, via representatives of a specific ministry, the dismantling of mosques based on the idea that the damage would hurt the enemy. Yet in Athens, the same state, via a different ministry, denied our Municipality the expropriation permit that it requested. As a result of this irresponsible lack of coordination between two state authorities […] destruction went on rampant and unsystematized, with no program nor goal and the worst, without the least of control.101

  • 102 Ibid.
  • 103 Epirus, no 1933/89, “The Veliye and Hadjiye Mosques,” 8 October 1924.
  • 104 Ibid.
  • 105 Ibid.

43The possible reuses of former mosques also occupied the press. In Ioannina, the expressed thoughts often echoed the perspective of the Archaeological Service. “The city needs a Museum, a Library and a summer leisure center” remarked Epirus. “The Municipality should ask for them [Aslan Pasha, Bajrakli and Hadjiye Mosques] and convert them accordingly.102 The newspaper also reminded its readers that the prefect had asked, in the past, the town’s Muslim Community to allow the conversion of the Veliye Mosque to an archaeological museum.103 The author outlined the logic of a quasi-vindictive appropriation: “Unfortunately, the Muslim Community refused and […] regretted it. They did not mean to understand the inescapable law of historical payback, from those who did not suffer to those not guilty.”104 The fact that the mosque was not converted to a museum left it, according to the author, exposed: “Neither Veliye was spared from looting and vandalism. Despite the stench and the dirt, someone must have discerned the value of the marbles inside.”105 Integrating the building in a new frame of cultural signification and institutional management was implied as the only possibility to protect it. This kind of reflection is still far from what went on in the Cretan press, where the proposed reuses mainly regarded Christian conversions or treated former mosques as plots; in any case with little concern of re-integrating them, as such, in the towns’ everyday life.

  • 106 Anorthosis, no 4763, “Names and History,” 15 January 1938.
  • 107 Ibid.
  • 108 Anorthosis, no 4705, 3 November 1937.
  • 109 Epirus, no 1935/91, “Zevadiye Mosque,” 12 October 1924.
  • 110 Hamilakis, Greenberg, Archaeology, Nation, and Race, op. cit. Navaro-Yashin writes about the instal (...)
  • 111 “Epilogue on the Mosques,” art. cit.
  • 112 Ibid.
  • 113 Ibid.
  • 114 “Zevadiye Mosque,” art. cit.

44The Cretan press, however, was concerned with the memory of the Ottoman space, either from a nationalistic or a nostalgic perspective. “In Crete,” we read in the newspaper Anorthosis in 1938, “there are almost no minarets left.” “Turkish toponyms” though still “serve the personal memories of the elders.”106 The author supports name-changing policies on the official level, but claims that unofficially “Turkish toponyms” should be retained, for reasons of functional continuity, of informing historical research and of preserving local memory. Besides, “it so happens that commemoration reasons lie in the social action of fellow citizens that did not cease to nurture the idea of liberation. The name Splanzia does not have to bring to mind a square with oriental atmosphere, or Sebilhane […] to remind only of gossip and […] shishas!”107 There are other approaches to the changing materiality of the urban landscape: “A Cretan intellectual,” we read in an article entitled “The Muezzin’s Voice,” when he did not see the mosque on the beach of Chania “because it had been demolished,” was angered: “‘This mosque should have been preserved as a monument!’ He and many of his fellow citizens had heard, from that minaret, the muezzin’s voice in their childhood or youth.”108 Underlining the emotional effect of rupture, this article echoes criticisms expressed in the Epirotic press. “Sic transit gloria,” commented Epirus on the looting of the Zevadiye Mosque. “A monument of an obsolete style and forgotten art is gone.109 Yannis Hamilakis proposes that the notion of “material melancholia,” put forward by Yael Navaro-Yashin with regard to the appropriation of spaces belonging to an expelled Other, could be applied in the case of structures left behind by the Muslims after the population exchange.110 Indeed, local newspapers imply such an ambivalence, which is equally practical, emotional, and ideological. It would be “forgivable, even justified,” Epirus claimed, if “vandalisms” were to take place in the “first effusions of joy” after the region’s integration in Greece.111 Yet they did not reflect an emotional outbreak, but a calculated appropriation, a “sordid looting of mosques, not anymore as objects of deep religious or racial hatred, but as legal war booty.112 This moralistic interpretation deprecates the symbolic disinvestment of Islamic vestiges in the context of urban modernization: “Mosques and cemeteries did not represent anymore but so many trees to be cut, so much material to be stolen, so much space to be encroached.113 This situation came with its share of social awkwardness: even if “justified” by nationalistic revenge, the feeling of wrongdoing stemming from theft seemed too intense for anyone to openly claim responsibility. “Terrible recriminations begin when it comes to the question: who,” commented Epirus with regard to the looting of the Zevadiye Mosque. “The neighborhood whispers: the army! In broad daylight they acted. […] Major Mr. Christidis protests that the neighborhood, locals and refugees, had already begun the looting during the night.114

  • 115 McDonald Sharon, Difficult Heritage: Negotiating the Nazi past in Nuremberg and Beyond, London and (...)
  • 116 “The Veliye and Hadjiye Mosques,” art. cit.

45Preserved mosques were also seen as “mnemonic intrusions”115 within the modernizing city fabrics. Writing about the Kaloutsiani Mosque, Kazantzis compared it to “a piece of the East, planted in an environment changing not in an eastern way anymore.”116 His article thus conceded that the East belonged to the city’s past – what can be read in a double way, emphasizing either the past, or the belonging. The building had been detached from its previous functional context and human landscape, yet part of its sensory and aesthetic impact remained: “Its hayat misses the slow silhouettes of the Hodjas who animated it. There are still though the holes of the stores below. The character of the professions has changed, but the ‘local color’” was there, the article claimed, foreshadowing Christos Soulis, who would find Ioannina’s “local color” in the preserved mosques about a decade later. The building’s emotive landscape was conveyed via orientalism and a nostalgic familiarity, which Kazantzis further triggered with elaborate descriptions of the old shops, and the use of Turkish terms for places, products and everyday objects which were “no more”:

  • 117 “The Veliye and Hadjiye Mosques,” art. cit. Emphasis (bold) in the original text.
    Helvaçi: the maker (...)

No more is the helvaçi with the paraphernalia of boza and salep in the winter; of dodolma and sherbet in the summer; of hanging sujuks in the autumn. Nor is the coffee shop on the side, where coffees circulated in fincans with zarfs, on the tabak held up like a lantern. No more is the primitive barber’s shop with the wall-mounted table with the mat, the hanging basin and the ligen with the collar like the one Don Quixote wore as a helmet. […] With all the changes of life, and despite the holes of the mosque having turned to lairs of profiteering grocers and dairymen, this corner still smells of Uşak and Alaşehir. The poet can stand on the opposite sidewalk, look at the life around the mosque and repeat Gautier’s famous verse: Nul ennui ne t’est comparable / Spleen lumineux de l’Orient.”117

Fig. 9. Photograph of the Kaloutsiani Mosque in Ioannina in the interwar years

Fig. 9. Photograph of the Kaloutsiani Mosque in Ioannina in the interwar years

The Kaloutsiani Mosque in Ioannina in the interwar years.

Source: HAAR, Box 592 Α, Folder 6.

Fig. 10. Photograph of the Kaloutsiani Mosque in Ioannina

Fig. 10. Photograph of the Kaloutsiani Mosque in Ioannina

Undated, older picture of the same mosque.

Source: HAAR, Box 592 Α, Folder 6.

Concluding remarks and research perspectives

46This article examined the early steps of the heritagization of Ottoman-era architectural remnants in Greece, focusing on the country’s New Lands from the Balkan Wars to the interwar years. We traced institutional and scholarly tactics of accommodating Ottoman-era vestiges in the Greek national heritage canon, showcasing different levels of exclusion and appropriation. Placing the question in its broader geopolitical context, we showed that the population exchange was a pivotal moment which allowed for the further entrenchment of pre-existing stances and practices, but also created new material and semantic conditions for the Ottoman-era remnants, especially the Islamic ones.

  • 118 Hartog François, Régimes d’historicité. Présentisme et expériences du temps, Paris, Seuil, 2003.
  • 119 Lefebvre, La production…, op. cit.

47Following the exchange, the Greek Archaeological Service attempted an ideological operation that aimed to anchor vestiges of the Ottoman Empire into national and local frames of meaning. This operation underscored the inclusion of the different regions now forming the Greek state into a common cultural space, and was addressed to what was perceived as a homogenized, Greek-speaking and Christian-Orthodox populace, and a foreign audience differentiated into tourists, competitor states or internal minorities. Thus, the monumentalization of Ottoman structures reinforced Greece’s cultural sovereignty, presenting it as a proper modern state and a victor, in space and time. The Archaeological Service’s vision collided with broader policy frameworks, showcasing hierarchies and conflicts among economic, socio-spatial policies and the ideological components of making the historic landscape. This conflict was interweaved with local negotiations on the place and fate of the Ottoman-era architecture in the Greek urban space, highlighting a social pragmatism towards the institutional management of the past. With all their regional and temporal nuances, these local negotiations were inscribed within a common discursive field, defined by the transition of the respective regions towards a new regime of historicity118 and a new spatial practice,119 which accompanied the consolidation of the modern Greek state. Both in official and informal discourses, Ottoman-era architecture was mainly seen through a Greek-Turkish dipole rather than as trace of a larger, imperial formation, underscoring the political and epistemological dominance of the nation-state in heritage management. Yet the affective aspects of memory, in all their aestheticizing perspective, hinted at differential experiences of place and memory-scapes which challenged the envisioned purity of the national space.

  • 120 McDonald, Difficult Heritage, op. cit.

48This paper aimed to cast light on the early considerations of Ottoman-era architectural vestiges as “historic monuments,” or carriers of memory, against the backdrop of broader negotiations that pertained to spatial management in the course of constructing a unified nation-state spatiality. On the geographical and temporal scale of the Greek state, the population exchange belongs to the most influential events that have marked the trajectory of society, the political landscape, and the institutional fabric of the state itself. Many aspects of this circumstance have been extensively studied, particularly with regard to the installation and social integration of Asian Minor refugees. However, the examination of the heritage stakes of this era – which has so far focused predominantly on interwar classical and prehistoric archaeology –, in the light of the consequences of the exchange, can shed further light on concurrent and broader political issues. For instance, it can provide new insights into the role of cultural policies in the territorial consolidation of the state and the cultural and political interactions between the Greek state and Islam over time. Furthermore, heritage making, especially when it concerns so-called “difficult”120 heritages, offers an apt field for exploring the relationship of the state with respectively "difficult" populations in terms of ethno-normativity (refugees, minorities), but also the construction of collective identity and memory within such populations in relation to changes in their everyday spatial contexts.

49At the same time, the permanent and compulsory nature of the 1923 population exchange sets a background for comparative study with other instances of mass movements and displacements. World history is laden with examples of ethno-religious communities that have fled their homes due to warfare or other kinds of violent conflict; their buildings and spaces left in the hands of populations that viewed them as “foreign,” with their potential as historical and memorial markers mutilated. On the other hand, the political particularity of the 1923 exchange created the need for a new institutional management of the spatial resources left behind by the Muslims in Greece, which was imbued with the widespread sense of a definitive rupture, of a new era. This condition required shifts in the conceptualization of the monument itself, in terms of its ideological and practical implications. Simultaneously, it opened up a whole field of inquiry concerning the management of difficult pasts in ways that go beyond the obvious dimension of national conflict, and touch on issues of silencing the memories of specific groups, as well as of metabolizing the memory of the rupture itself, and the memory of the displacement and appropriation of what remained. Such research perspectives can provide a more comprehensive assessment of the impact of the population exchange, exploring which elements are exclusively tied to its specific form and circumstances, and which can be traced to a broader context of phenomena related to territorial disputes. Such a methodological viewpoint can transcend the geographical, cultural and historical focus of this paper, remaining highly relevant to the subject of Ottoman legacies in the Balkans, insofar as it enables contemporary researchers to dissect the constructed nature of established heritage narratives and develop more comprehensive approaches, focusing on interactions, entanglements and connectedness.

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Notes

1 Kiel Machiel, “Un héritage non désiré, le patrimoine architectural islamique ottoman dans l’Europe du Sud-Est, 1370–1912,” Études balkaniques, no 12, 2005, p. 15-82.

2 Bendix Regina et al. (eds), Heritage Regimes and the State, Göttingen, University Press, 2012.

3 The paper is based on my ongoing PhD project, conducted jointly at the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and the University of Crete. Research has been funded by a doctoral research grant from the Leventis Foundation (2020-2023). I am grateful to the staff of HAAR (see below) for their unwavering assistance and the publication permit of documents and photographs.

4 Todorova Maria, Imagining the Balkans, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2009 [1997], p. 170.

5 Historical Archive of Antiquities and Restorations [Διεύθυνση Διαχείρισης Εθνικού Αρχείου Μνημείων]. The English translations of the Greek documents cited are my own.

6 The border did not apply to the Dodecanese islands at the time as they were under Italian rule (1912-1947).

7 The Lausanne Treaty imposed the irrevocable relocation of the Muslim residents of Greece and the Christian Orthodox residents of Turkey from one country to another. Exempted were the Christians of Imbros and Tenedos, Christians settled in Istanbul before November 1918, Muslims of Albanian origins residing in Greece and the Muslims of Western Thrace. Anastassiadou Meropi, “L’échange des populations entre la Grèce et la Turquie au lendemain de la Première Guerre mondiale,” Confluences Méditerranée, no 16 (Islam et Occident : la confrontation ?), Winter 1995-1996, p. 160-163.

8 In the sense that Henri Lefebvre defines “representations of space.” Lefebvre Henri, La production de l’espace, Paris, Anthropos, 1974.

9 Peckham Robert, National histories, Natural States: Nationalism and Politics of Place in Greece, London, I.B. Tauris, 2001.

10 Peckham, National Histories, op. cit.; Hamilakis Yannis, Greenberg Rafael, Archaeology, Nation, and Race. Confronting the Past, Decolonizing the Future in Greece and Israel, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2022.

11 This observation aims to describe the dominant ideological ambience. Research concedes that the Greek state did not apply a unified program against Ottoman-era material traces. There were, of course, destructions, vandalisms, as well as functional and symbolic reuses; yet these represent rather the cumulative effect of different trends, launched by various agents at different scales and with multiple agendas. See Koumaridis Yorgos, “Urban Transformation and De-Ottomanization in Greece,” East Central Europe, vol. 33, no 1-2, 2006, p. 213-241; Stavridopoulos Ioannis, Μνημεία του άλλου: η διαχείριση της οθωμανικής πολιτιστικής κληρονομιάς της Μακεδονίας από το 1912 έως σήμερα [Monuments of the Other: The Management of the Ottoman Cultural Heritage in Macedonia from 1912 Onwards], PhD thesis, Department of History and Archaeology, University of Ioannina, 2015.

12 Peckham, National Histories, op. cit.

13 Mazower Mark, Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims, and Jews, 1430-1950, New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 2005, p. 354.

14 For a concise, but comprehensive overview of the issue, see Mazower Mark, The Balkans, London, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2000, p. 116-142.

15 Carabott Philip, “Monumental Visions: The Past in Metaxas’ Weltanschauung,” in Keith S. Brown, Yannis Hamilakis (eds), The Usable Past: Greek Metahistories, Oxford, Lexington Books, 2002, p. 23-37.

16 Yerolympos Alexandra, “Προσφυγική εγκατάσταση και ο ανασχεδιασμός των βορειοελλαδικών πόλεων (1912-1940),” [Refugee installation and town replanning in Northern Greece (1912-1940)], in Maria Stefanopoulou (ed.), Ο Ξεριζωμός και η άλλη πατρίδα. Οι προσφυγουπόλεις στην Ελλάδα. [The Uprooting and the Other Homeland. Refugee Towns in Greece], Athens, Society for the Study of Modern Greek Culture and General Education, 1999, p. 89-118.

17 Voudouri Dapnhi, “Αρχαιότητες και νομοθεσία” [Antiquities and Legislation], in Nikos Papadimitriou, Aris Anagnostopoulos (eds), Το παρελθόν στο παρόν. Μνήμη, ιστορία και αρχαιότητα στη σύγχρονη Ελλάδα [The Past in the Present. Memory, History and Antiquity in Modern Greece], Athens, Kastaniotis, 2017, p. 101-115 (103). Conceptions of “Middle Ages” in the early nineteenth century included the Ottoman Empire, through its – erroneous – reduction to a Western-like feudalism which was seen as the opposite of capitalist modernity. Vergopoulos Kostas, Το αγροτικό ζήτημα στην Ελλάδα. Η κοινωνική ενσωμάτωση της γεωργίας [The Agrarian Question in Greece: The Social Incorporation of Agriculture], Athens, Exantas, 1975.

18 Voudouri, “Antiquities,” art. cit., p. 104.

19 Ibid., p. 105.

20 “On the amendment and supplementation of the laws ΓΨΛ’ and 479 on the Archaeological Service.”

21 Gratziou Οlga, “Βυζαντινά μνημεία: από τη θεσμική προστασία στην αναγωγή τους σε ψυχή του έθνους” [Byzantine monuments: from institutional protection to their elevation to the soul of the nation], in Τasos Sakellaropoulos, Αrgyro Vatsaki (eds), Ελευθέριος Βενιζέλος και πολιτιστική πολιτική. Πρακτικά Συμποσίου [Eleftherios Venizelos and Cultural Policies. Conference Proceedings], Athens and Chania, Benaki Museum and National Foundation “Eleftherios Venizelos,” 2012, p. 81-91.

22 Gerousi Eygenia, “Τζαμί Τζισταράκη: η περιπετειώδης διάσωση και ανάδειξη στις αρχές του 20ού αιώνα ενός εμβληματικού οθωμανικού μνημείου της Αθήνας” [The Tzistarakis Mosque: The Adventurous Rescue of an Iconic Ottoman Monument of Athens], in Elias Kolovos et al. (eds), Οθωμανικά μνημεία στην Ελλάδα. Κληρονομιές υπό διαπραγμάτευση [Ottoman Monuments in Greece. Heritages under Negotiation], Athens, École française d’Athènes / Kapon Editions, 2023, p. 41-46.

23 Samara Samia, Les politiques de protection et de sauvegarde de sites archéologiques et des monuments historiques en Grèce (1830-2013). Le cas d’Athènes, thèse en aménagement et urbanisme, Université Paris Ouest – Nanterre La Défense, 2016.

24 “On the codification of the provisions of L.5351 as well as the relevant provisions of Laws ΒΧΜΣΤ’, 2447, 4823 and of the Legislative Decree of 12/16 June 1926 in a single text, bearing the number 5351 and the title ‘On antiquities.’”

25 Pateraki Marilena, “Monumental Management, Landscape Iconography and the Muslim Other in Interwar Greece,” IKON-Journal of Iconographic Studies, no 15, 2022, p. 247-260.

26 Hartmuth Maximilian, “De/constructing a ‘Legacy in Stone’: Of Interpretative and Historiographical Problems Concerning the Ottoman Cultural Heritage in the Balkans,” Middle Eastern Studies, vol. 44, no 5, 2008, p. 695-713; Kolovos Elias et al., “Introduction,” in Kolovos et al. (eds), Ottoman Monuments, op. cit., p. 9-27.

27 Christian churches of the Ottoman-era in Greece are still widely called “post-Byzantine,” both in scholarly and institutional documents. For a concise note on the historiographical caveats of the term “post-Byzantine”, see Kolovos et al., “Introduction,” art. cit.

28 For an extensive analysis of numerous publications of the era, see Filippidis Dimitris, Νεοελληνική αρχιτεκτονική. Θεωρία και πράξη (1830-1980) σαν αντανάκλαση των ιδεολογικών επιλογών της νεοελληνικής κουλτούρας [Modern Greek Architecture. Theory and Practice (1830-1980)], Athens, Melissa, 1984, p. 149-159.

29 Zygomalas Dimitrios. Η προστασία των αρχιτεκτονικών μνημείων του βορειοελλαδικού χώρου από την οθωμανική κατάκτηση έως τον ΒΠαγκόσμιο Πόλεμο (1361-1939) [The Protection of Architectural Monuments of Northern Greece from the Ottoman Conquest to WWII (1361-1939)], PhD thesis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 2019, p. 352.

30 Government Gazette, 312/Α/ 16 December 1924 and 428/Α/ 23 October 1937.

31 Indicatively: Xyggopoulos Andreas, “Μεσαιωνικά μνημεία Ιωαννίνων.Τα μνημεία της πόλεως” [Medieval Monuments of Ioannina], Eperotica Cronica, no 1, 1926, p. 295-303; Id., “Τα βυζαντινά και τουρκικά μνημεία των Αθηνών” [The Byzantine and Turkish Monuments of Athens], in Konstantinos Kouroniotis, Georgios Sotiriou (eds), Ευρετήριον των μνημείων της Ελλάδος Β [Inventory of the Monuments of Greece, v. 2], Athens, Ministry of Education, 1929, p. 1-222; Orlandos Anastasios, “Ο Μενδρεσές του κάστρου της Μυτιλήνης” [The Medrese of the Fortress of Mytilene], HME (Calendar of Greater Greece), 1929, p. 121-129; Id., “Τα τουρκικά κτήρια της Άρτης” [The Turkish Buildings of Arta], Archive of Byzantine and Medieval Monuments of Greece, vol. B, no 2, 1936, p. 200-202; Id., “Τα τουρκικά κτίσματα της Καστοριάς” [The Turkish Structures of Kastoria], Archive of Byzantine and Medieval Monuments of Greece, vol. D, no 2, p. 211-213.

32 Fortresses gathered the attention of heritage services in the 1920s, as their demilitarization progressed and urban reform projects promoted interventions in those that were inhabited. One of the first monument registrations issued in 1922 contained 42 fortresses (Government Gazette, 68/A/ 6 February 1922). The history of their heritagization goes beyond the scope of this article, but it is worth mentioning that in most cases, fortresses were registered as “Byzantine,” “Venetian” or “medieval,” either avoiding the reference to their Ottoman phase or even hiding that sometimes they were, in fact, built under Ottoman rule.

33 Stavridopoulos, Monuments of the Other, op. cit., p. 96.

34 Ibid., p. 353.

35 Kiel Machiel, “A Note on the Exact Date of Construction of the White Tower of Thessaloniki,” Balkan Studies, vol. 14, 1973, p. 352-357 (352).

36 Stavridopoulos, Monuments of the Other, op. cit., p. 95. Georgios Oikonomos was an archaeologist, future director of the Numismatic Museum and the National Archaeological Museum, Professor of Archaeology, and President of the University of Athens, who also served as Minister of Education in two postwar governments.

37 Papazoglou Aris, Οι μιναρέδες της Θεσσαλονίκης [The Minarets of Thessaloniki], Thessaloniki, Kornilia Sfakianaki Editions, 2010, p. 120.

38 Koumaridis, “Urban Transformation,” art. cit., p. 228. Stavridopoulos mentions material from the local Ephorate’s archive documenting the systematic campaign of Oikonomos for the preservation of the White Tower, as well as the city walls. Stavridopoulos, Monuments of the Other, op. cit, p. 96-97.

39 Koumaridis, “Urban Transformation,” art. cit., p. 229.

40 Papazoglou, Minarets, op. cit.; Mazower, Salonica, op. cit.

41 Papazoglou, Minarets, op. cit., p. 127.

42 The demolition contract referred to twenty-six minarets, two of which belonging to former Christian churches (Saint Sophia and Acheiropoietos). Twenty-seven were finally torn down, as the minaret of the Kadi Kemal Mosque was demolished by mistake. Papazoglou, Minarets, op. cit., p. 131; Stavridopoulos, Monuments of the Other, op. cit., p. 101.

43 Efimeris ton Valkanion, 16 August 1925, p. 1, cited in Stavridopoulos, Monuments of the Other, op. cit, p. 102.

44 Ibid.

45 Telegram of Georgios Sotiriou, Ephor of Byzantine Antiquities, to the Ministry of Education, 13/8/1923, HAAR, Box 590 Γ.

46 Letter of the Minister of Education to the Regional Government of Macedonia, 12/8/1923, HAAR, Box 590 Γ.

47 Letter of the Minister of Education to Oikonomos, 13/8/1923, HAAR, Box 590 Γ.

48 Letter of K. Avrasoglou, Curator of Antiquities, to the Ministry of Education, 15/8/1923, HAAR, Box 590 Γ.

49 Letter of Sotiriou to the Metropolitan Bishop, 18/10/1923, HAAR, Box 590 Δ.

50 Letter of the local ephor to the Ministry of Education, 25/3/1924, HAAR, Box 590 Δ.

51 Letter of the President of the Community Delegation of Thessaloniki to the Regional Governor, 24/10/1924, HAAR, Box 590 Δ.

52 Letter of Sotiriou to the Ministry of Education, 14/1/1925, HAAR, Box 590 Δ.

53 Letter of the Ministry of Education to the Regional Government, 16/3/1925, HAAR, Box 590 Δ.

54 Letter of Sotiriou to Metropolitan Bishop Gennadius, 18/10/1923, HAAR, Box 590 Δ.

55 Letter of Sotiriou to the Ministry of Education, 9/4/1924, HAAR, Box 590 Δ.

56 Letter of the local ephor to the Ministry of Education, 25/3/1924, HAAR, Box 590 Δ.

57 Letter of the President of the Community Delegation of Thessaloniki to the Regional Governor, 24/10/1924, HAAR, Box 590 Δ.

58 “Mosque of the Market,” “Turkish Bath,” “Fortress” “Aslan Pasha Mosque,” “Turkish Library,” “Namazgâh Mosque” in Ioannina; “Kurşunlu Mosque,” “Medrese,” “Metropolis” (former Gazi Mosque), “Tabakhane Mosque,” “Prodromos Mosque” in Kastoria (Government Gazette, 152/Α/ 16 June 1925) “Kalu Çeşme Mosque” in Ioannina (Government Gazette, 306/Α/ 15 October 1925), “Mosque of St. Andreas” (Eski) in Preveza (Government Gazette, 4/Α/ 7 January 1926), “Hamza Bey Mosque” and “Alaca Imaret” in Thessaloniki (Government Gazette, 191/Α/ 11 June 1926).

59 Circular of the Ministry of Education no 33123/1158, 18/7/1927, HAAR, Box 573 B.

60 See Pateraki, “Monumental Management,” art. cit. and Pateraki Marilena, “Signs of the Past, Means to the Future: The Heritagization of Ottoman-era Architectural Vestiges in Interwar Greece between Ideology and Financialization,” International Journal of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies: Annual Review, Special Issue: Aspects and Challenges of Heritage in Greece, forthcoming, for a concise and a detailed account of the whole negotiation, respectively.

61 See HAAR, Box 590 E, Folder Γ. The material in HAAR’s archive focuses on the logistics of the mission and does not contain information about its actual work, such as the reports submitted. Dispersed references can be found in other documents: for example, a letter of the Curator of Antiquities of Chania (11/8/1927, HAAR, Box 573 B) mentions that the committee proposed the conversion of Küçuk Hasan Mosque, located in the town’s port, to a “Museum of Turkish Antiquities” – a proposal that was not realized.

62 Circular of the Ministry of Education no 33802/1661, 12/9/1928, HAAR, Box 573 B.

63 The de-spatialized view of monumental policies is also reflected in the graphic documentation found in HAAR’s archive, which consists in disperse architectural or topographical diagrams, often drafted by the National Bank or by engineers employed by local administration or by private owners/tenants. The first comprehensive architectural survey of Ottoman-era registered monuments by the Service occurred in 1939, when the Ministry of Finance took over from the Bank.

64 Pateraki, “Monumental Management,” art. cit., p. 250.

65 Ibid., p. 250.

66 Letter to the Ministry of Education, 16/3/1927, HAAR, Box 573 B.

67 Letter to the Ministry of Education, 2/3/1937, HAAR, Box 573 B.

68 Letter to the Ministry of Education, 22/10/1928, HAAR, Box 573 B.

69 Letter to the Ministry of Education, 23/3/1931. Archive of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Heraklion. Box “1930-1940 Outgoing Correspondence.”

70 Epirus, no 1908/69, 30 July 1924.

71 Pateraki, “Monumental Management,” art. cit., p. 250.

72 Letter to the Ministry of Education, 23/7/1937, HAAR, Box 573 B.

73 Letter to the Ministry of Education, 22/10/1928, HAAR, Box 573 B.

74 Letter to the Ministry of Education, 22/11/1928, in stationery of the Metropolis of Ioannina. HAAR, Box 573 B.

75 Essay to the Ministry of Education, 11/8/1927, HAAR, Box 573 B.

76 Letter to the Ministry of Education, 5/8/1927, HAAR, Box 573 B.

77 The Eski Mosque in Preveza, an 1840s building used since 1912 as a military storage space, was claimed in the early 1920s by the Service so as to be used as an archaeological museum (Letter of the Minister of Education to the Ministry of Military Affairs (19/10/1923), HAAR, Box 590 Γ). The Yeni Mosque in Thessaloniki was claimed for the same purpose since 1917. See: Kallimpoulou Eleni et al., “From the Call to Prayer to the Silences of the Museum: Salonica’s Soundscapes in Transition,” in Dimitris Keridis (ed.), Thessaloniki: A City in Transition, 1912-2012, Thessaloniki, Epikentro, p. 316-331. The mosque in Nafplio, the so-called Vouleftikon, was functioning since 1915 as storage space for antiquities; Αmygdalou Kalliopi, Kolovos Elias, “From Mosque to Parliament: The Vouleftiko (Parliament) Mosque in Nafplio and the Spatial Transition from the Ottoman Empire to the Greek State during the Greek Revolution,” Bulletin de correspondance hellénique moderne et contemporain, vol. 4, 2021, online: https://doi.org/10.4000/bchmc.801.

78 Pateraki, “Monumental Management,” art. cit., p. 252.

79 Letter to the Ministry of Education, 1/9/1925, HAAR, Box 573 B.

80 Letter of the local Curator of Antiquities to the Ministry of Education, 5/7/1937, HAAR, Box 573 B.

81 Letter of the Mayor of Pagassoi to the Ministry of Education, 24/8/1936, HAAR, Box 573 B.

82 Pateraki, “Signs of the Past,” art. cit.

83 Telegram to the Ministry of Education, 17/8/1925; Letter of Servetas to the Ministry of Education, 18/8/1925, HAAR, Box 573 B.

84 Letter of Servetas to the Ministry of Education, 24/8/1925, HAAR, Box 573 B.

85 Letter of the Minister of Education to Servetas, 5/10/1925, HAAR, Box 573 B.

86 Letter of Miliadis to the Ministry of Education, 9/6/1926, HAAR, Box 573 B.

87 Letter of the Minister of Education to Miliadis, 22/6/1926, HAAR, Box 573 B.

88 Government Gazette, 18/Α/ 20 January 1938.

89 Letter of the Temporary Curator of Antiquities to the Ministry of Education, 10/7/1940, HAAR, Box 573 Α.

90 Letter of the Mayor of Kastoria to the local Curator of Antiquities, 12/2/1935, HAAR, Box 573 Α.

91 Letter of the local Curator of Antiquities to the Ephor of Antiquities of Macedonia, 25/2/1935, HAAR, Box 573 Α.

92 Letter of the Minister of Education to the local Curator of Antiquities, 9/2/1936, HAAR, Box 573 Α.

93 Essay to the Ministry of Education, 5/8/1927, HAAR, Box 573 Β.

94 Giannopoulos Nikos, “Το φρούριον του Βόλου” [The Fortress of Volos], Bulletin of the Society of Byzantine Studies, no 8, 1931, p. 110-133.

95 Soulis Christos, “Τουρκικαί επιγραφαί Ιωαννίνων” [Turkish Inscriptions of Ioannina], Eperotica Cronica, no 8, 1933, p. 84-98.

96 Ibid.

97 Pateraki, “Monumental Management,” art. cit., p. 254-256.

98 Epirus, no 1931/86, “The Old Yanina,” 3 October 1924.

99 “Truth and Legend,” art. cit.

100 Pateraki, “Monumental Management,” art. cit., p. 253-254.

101 Epirus, no 1938/94, “Epilogue on the Mosques,” 19 October 1924.

102 Ibid.

103 Epirus, no 1933/89, “The Veliye and Hadjiye Mosques,” 8 October 1924.

104 Ibid.

105 Ibid.

106 Anorthosis, no 4763, “Names and History,” 15 January 1938.

107 Ibid.

108 Anorthosis, no 4705, 3 November 1937.

109 Epirus, no 1935/91, “Zevadiye Mosque,” 12 October 1924.

110 Hamilakis, Greenberg, Archaeology, Nation, and Race, op. cit. Navaro-Yashin writes about the installation of Turkish-Cypriots or Turkish settlers in places left behind by the Greek-Cypriots in 1974. Navaro-Yashin Yael, “Affective Spaces, Melancholic Objects: Ruination and the Production of Anthropological Knowledge,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 15, no 1, 2009, p. 1-18.

111 “Epilogue on the Mosques,” art. cit.

112 Ibid.

113 Ibid.

114 “Zevadiye Mosque,” art. cit.

115 McDonald Sharon, Difficult Heritage: Negotiating the Nazi past in Nuremberg and Beyond, London and New York, Routledge, 2009, p. 3.

116 “The Veliye and Hadjiye Mosques,” art. cit.

117 “The Veliye and Hadjiye Mosques,” art. cit. Emphasis (bold) in the original text.
Helvaçi: the maker or seller of halvah, here referring to a pastry/coffee shop making and selling halvah.
Boza: malt beverage of thick consistency and slightly acidic sweet flavor, which comes in either a low-alcohol or a non-alcoholic version. Originating from the Middle East, it spread, during the Ottoman Empire, around the Eastern Mediterranean.
Salep: the word corresponds both to an orchid-based flour and (as here) to a winter beverage made using this flour.
Dodolma: phonetic transliteration of the word used in the Greek text (νδοδνολμά). I believe that it corresponds to a sound shift of the Turkish word dodurma, meaning a special kind of ice cream made with the use of mastic and salep flour.
Sherbet: sweet, fruit- and spice-flavored refreshment drink.
Sujuk: semi-dry, cured meat product (sausage) mixed with spices.
Fincan: cup, usually without a handle.
Zarf: metal, often wire, case that surrounds the cup so that the fingers will not be burnt.
Tabak: plate.
Ligen: metal basin.

118 Hartog François, Régimes d’historicité. Présentisme et expériences du temps, Paris, Seuil, 2003.

119 Lefebvre, La production…, op. cit.

120 McDonald, Difficult Heritage, op. cit.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1. Map of the territorial evolution of the Greek state
Légende Territorial evolution of Greece, 1830-1947.
Crédits Edited by Marilena Pateraki, 2023.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/balkanologie/docannexe/image/5116/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,7M
Titre Fig. 2. The first page of “The Turkish Structures of Kastoria” by Anastasios Orlandos (1938), with a photograph of the Kursum Mosque
Légende The first page of “The Turkish Structures of Kastoria” by Anastasios Orlandos (1938), with a photograph of the Kursum Mosque.
Crédits Source: Orlandos, “The Turkish Structures,” op. cit., p. 211.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/balkanologie/docannexe/image/5116/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,2M
Titre Fig. 3. Catalogue containing Ottoman-era structures considered worthy of monument registration, drafted by the Ministry of Education, 1928
Légende “Table of the Ephorates that responded, and those that did not, to the Circular no 32802/1661 about indicating exchangeable archaeological monuments.” Catalogue containing Ottoman-era structures considered worthy of monument registration drafted by the Ministry of Education, 1928.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/balkanologie/docannexe/image/5116/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,2M
Titre Fig. 4. Map of Islamic structures used as museums or proposed for museum reuse, as mentioned in the official correspondence of the Archaeological Service, 1927-1928
Légende Islamic structures used as museums or proposed for museum reuse, as mentioned in the official correspondence of the Archaeological Service, 1927-1928.
Crédits Edited by M. Pateraki. Pateraki, “Monumental Management,” art. cit., p. 251.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/balkanologie/docannexe/image/5116/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,1M
Titre Fig. 5. Photograph of the Aslan Pasha Mosque in Ioannina in the 1930s
Légende The Aslan Pasha Mosque in Ioannina in the 1930s.
Crédits Photo by Vassilis Koutsavelis. Palaiologou V., “Το Κάστρο Ιωαννίνων” [The Fortress of Ioannina], Αρχαιολογία και Τέχνες [Archaeology and Arts], no 122, December 2016, p. 118-144.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/balkanologie/docannexe/image/5116/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 566k
Titre Fig. 6. Photograph of the Fotiki sarcophagus exhibited in the Aslan Pasha Mosque in the 1930s
Légende The Fotiki sarcophagus exhibited in the Aslan Pasha Mosque, in the 1930s. The city museum also included local antiquities, which were transferred in the 1970s to the new Archaeological Museum of Ioannina.
Crédits Photo attributed to Nelly’s, found in the local news website https://typos-i.gr/​, URL: https://typos-i.gr/​article/​temenos-toy-aslan-pasa-parko-politismoy (accessed in December 2023).
URL http://journals.openedition.org/balkanologie/docannexe/image/5116/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 242k
Titre Fig. 7. Photograph of the Faik Pasha (Imaret) Mosque in Arta in the interwar years
Légende The Faik Pasha (Imaret) Mosque in Arta in the interwar years.
Crédits Source: HAAR, Box 573 A, Folder 6A.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/balkanologie/docannexe/image/5116/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 263k
Titre Fig. 8. Topographical diagram of the Kursum Mosque in Kastoria
Légende Topographical diagram of the Kursum Mosque in Kastoria, drafted by the municipal engineer, outlining the main temple (yellow) and the demolished revak (green).
URL http://journals.openedition.org/balkanologie/docannexe/image/5116/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 399k
Titre Fig. 9. Photograph of the Kaloutsiani Mosque in Ioannina in the interwar years
Légende The Kaloutsiani Mosque in Ioannina in the interwar years.
Crédits Source: HAAR, Box 592 Α, Folder 6.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/balkanologie/docannexe/image/5116/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 97k
Titre Fig. 10. Photograph of the Kaloutsiani Mosque in Ioannina
Légende Undated, older picture of the same mosque.
Crédits Source: HAAR, Box 592 Α, Folder 6.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/balkanologie/docannexe/image/5116/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 132k
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Référence électronique

Marilena Pateraki, « Heritage Policies and Public Memory between Continuity and Rupture: The Treatment of the Ottoman-era Architecture in Greece in the Aftermath of the Population Exchange »Balkanologie [En ligne], Vol. 18 n° 1 | 2023, mis en ligne le 15 décembre 2023, consulté le 24 février 2024. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/balkanologie/5116 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/balkanologie.5116

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Auteur

Marilena Pateraki

Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne / University of Crete
pateraki.marilena[at]gmail.com

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