TRADITIONAL RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECTURE OF BERGAMA
The housing activities in Bergama and environs beginning since the 1300s with the Turkish age are formed by the new cultural concept. Residential architecture that forms a part of these activities is reshaped with both new values and the cultural elements going back to the Antiquity.
Bergama’s traditional residential architecture concentrates around the slopes of Acropolis where Bergama is founded, to Bergama (Selinus) Rover and to the southwest looking over to Bakircay plain where Red Basilica takes place. On the northeast of Selinus (Bergama) River looking over to the Acropolis Grek houses, along both shores of Selinus River Jewish and Armenian houses on the area of the river looking over to Bakircay Plain Turkish houses take place.
The houses, which their examples are seen as of the 18th century, are shaped according to the influence of the structure of the land climate conditions, life style and beliefs of the people. Local stonemasons reflected their skills in various form while they were giving life to the houses. Especially Jewish stone masons were the standing out masters in the construction of Bergama houses.
At the present day, the traditional houses try to stand against time. Many houses with the Western influence (Greek houses) on the slopes of the citadel reached to today due to the resistance of the stone material used in their construction. Unfortunately, the Greek and Jewish houses on both banks of Selinus River could not survive to today. Only a small part of the traditional Turkish houses is evtant because of the building material (timber framework).
The houses are divided into two main groups according to their plan types and building material:
Houses with Exterior Anteroom: In this plan type, which the earliest examples are seen in the 18th century, the two-storey house with a ground and an upper (main) floor has a courtyard. The various dimensiones two or more rooms open to the anteroom (a wide space the doors of the rooms open to, covered court) along the courtyard. The side and front of the anteroom are open. The open parts are limited with a wooden columned balustrade. The room projecting towards the street like a bay window or has a windowed street facade is usually the main chamber. It is the most characteristic of the Turkish house with the wooden wardrobes (built-in closet), the racks (shelf) along the walls, a central designed or plain ceiling and plaster or wooden lamp stands. The main chambers of some houses are more decorated, engraving decoration take place on the upper parts of the wardrobes nearer to the ceiling and on the ceiling surface. Necessity units such as lavatory, owen, stable and sometimes kitchen take place within the courtyard.
Houses with Interior Anteroom: The anteroom is between the opposite rooms with equal dimension. Three sides of the anteroom are closed and the side opening to the courtyard is open. The inner arrangements of the rooms are parallel to the houses with exterior anteroom. In this plan type, which the earliest examples are seen in the 19th century, the street facades are less dynamic differing from houses with exterior anteroom. The courtyard is a arranged similar to the houses with exterior anteroom.
These houses on the slopes of the Acropolis are located in now housing order on small plots. Therefore only the facades looking to the street are more dynamic. They are generally built with stone and in places with brick in an alternate style. They reached to the present day in good condition as they are built with material that is more durable. The entrance door is usually in a deep niche and the ceiling is decorated with large rosettes. Regarding the facade decoration, the Windows and doors are surrounded with stone frames and shutters and iron balustrades are added. The cornices from antique Grek architecture reflect the influence of the 19th century Greek style with regular like rows instead of eaves. The doorknobs and handies are anthropomorphic and zoomorphic. There are semi-dorned riches on the surfaces of the waits of the rooms and hails for prayers and gather purposes. The bay window of traditional Turkish houses does not take place; but a few houses have balcony-like projections, which is a characteristic of Chios style.