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A City That Remembers: Space and Memory from Taksim to Sultanahmet

Start Date: 01.01.2019

End Date: 01.01.2020


"A City That Remembers" is a book and a digital memory tour centered around the route between Taksim and Sultanahmet in Istanbul.


Whether going to school, work, or touring as a tourist, we are often forced to experience a present time and state stripped of its history. With "A City That Remembers", our aim is to shed light on the suppressed history of Istanbul during the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey. Every place we pass by or visit inevitably carries a history. This history can often be read as a history of usurpation, violations, injustice, and power struggles. Our goal is to narrate the unofficial history of Istanbul through an unofficial tour covering 18 locations, squares, and buildings from Taksim Square to Sultanahmet Square.


In recent times, along with the shrinking of civil space in Turkey and the rise of the "post-truth" trend worldwide, the official single narrative has gained even more power. Today, one of the methods employed by the authorities in Turkey is to rewrite the official history from the prevailing perspective. We believe that civil society in Turkey should resist this trend by persistently reminding the public of significant human rights violations and the need for reconciliation at all levels. "A City That Remembers" aims to bring to the forefront the intertwined history of places we encounter daily but seldom think about, involving human rights violations, different struggles, and political violence, and aims to create an alternative memory of Istanbul.


Co-authored by Asena Günal and Murat Çelikkan, this work offers readers a lasting memory guide. "A City That Remembers" is both a book and a website project that takes us on a journey from Taksim Square to Sultanahmet Square, passing through various locations, squares, and buildings such as Gezi Park, İstiklal Avenue, Emek Cinema, Galatasaray Square, Hazzopulo Passage, Egypt Apartment, Karşı Sanat, Aras Publishing, Narmanlı Han, Neve Şalom Synagogue, Salt Galata, Kamondo Stairs, San(a)saryan Han, Union of Municipalities Building, Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, and Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul. The journey not only reveals the social and cultural life of minorities and human rights violations but also tells the stories of social movements for democracy and social reconciliation.

Project Story

Asena Günal had initially organized a tour from Taksim to Sultanahmet for participants from different civil society organizations representing the Middle East, North Africa, and the Caucasus, who attended the Historical Dialogue and Confronting the Past Regional Network Summer Schools in 2015 and 2016. In this one-day tour, participants explored Istanbul's most touristic route while tracing the traces of political history outside the official narrative.

Click hereto visit the interactive website.  
Click here to access the PDF version of the book. You can request the printed version of the book by emailing