10. The Material Past of the Other: The Ottoman Architectural Heritage of Greek Macedonia
Ioannis Stavridopoulos [+]
University of Aegean
Greek Macedonia was part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries. The area was absorbed into Greece in 1912 and the Muslim populations were forced to leave for Turkey in 1924. The Ottoman Turks and other Muslim groups during the centuries that lived in Macedonia left their architectural imprint by building secular, religious, public and private buildings in urban centres and in the countryside. Most Ottoman monuments preserved in 1912 do not exist. They were destroyed as part of a state or local authorities’ plan for modernisation, gentrification and redevelopment of the cities, a lot were reused and damaged, most were destroyed because of neglect. The result was that during the 20th century the greater part of the Ottoman architectural past of Macedonia vanished. In this chapter, my aim is to discuss the management of the Ottoman monuments from 1912 until present in Greek Macedonia. I will examine the consequences of this erasure of material traces in the cultural landscape of the area. Also, I am interested in the condition of the remaining Ottoman monuments and if these are protected, conserved and how they are used today. The Turks for Greece have always been the Other par excellence and their monuments a metonymy of their presence. A lot of the remaining Ottoman monuments in Greek Macedonia have been recently restored. I wonder if this really indicates a shift in the perception of the Other and our common heritage.