Methodology

Seven bound notebooks containing church registers from the Ottoman Archives of the Prime Minister’s Office (Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi), the late nineteenth century survey of the Ottoman Empire prepared by French geographer Vital Cuinet for the Ottoman Department of Public Debt, and a number of sources of more limited temporal or geographical scope have been used for this research. For a more detailed list of the main sources click here.

The data has been defined and classified based primarily on ethnic groups: This inventory project currently comprises Syriac, Armenian, Greek, and Jewish cultural heritage; information concerning Bulgarian, Georgian, and Catholic communities has been coincidentally recorded in the course of this research, but is not shared through the map.

“Ownership” and “belonging” have been taken in their literal sense in this inventory. While being aware of the limitations of such an approach and acknowledging the exceptions, it has been assumed that the patrons, owners, and users of a given building in Kayseri belonged to the same community. Buildings which were not owned or used by the non-Muslim communities have been left outside of this study regardless of the identity of their builders. Similarly, the use of spolia has not been a criterion for inclusion in the inventory.

Because religious buildings tend to vary according to denominational specifications, the latter have been included in the categorization of the inventory. For Greek, Syrian, and Jewish cultural heritage, differences in denominations have been recorded when available, but they have not been shared at this preliminary stage. In certain cases, denominational specifications have been included in the information on a building’s individual tab.

Because the inventory focused more on sources pertinent to the Armenian community throughout 2014, during its first year, it has been possible to share a more sophisticated level of information concerning the cultural heritage of this group and to record its denominational (i.e. Apostolic, Catholic, and Protestant) specifications. Buildings have been categorized as “Armenian” starting from 301 AD, which is traditionally assumed to correspond to the year when the Armenian state adopted Christianity as their official religion.

Jewish cultural heritage in Turkey has been assumed to date as far back as to the aftermath of the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, which corresponds to the (second) migration en masse of Jewish people westward, towards the Mediterranean. The identity of the users or owners of the buildings, such as Romaniote, Sephardic, Karaite, or Ashkenazi, has been specified when it was deemed important for the history of the buildings. Jewish cultural heritage may be studied in more detail in the future under these sub-categories in the future depending on the demand and feedback of the user of this map.

The category of the “Syriac” cultural heritage is taken as comprising the divisions of both “Eastern and Western communities” and the “Eastern and Western Churches.” The former relates a geographical distinction starting from 37 AD, when the Syriac community is assumed to have adopted Christianity, and the latter corresponds to a theological schism between the years 430 and 460. While buildings belonging to these communities have all been categorized under “Syriac,” in an effort to take into consideration divisions and disputes over nomenclature that went on from the 5th century until the end of the 19th, their ethnic and denominational sub-divisions (Jacobite, Syriac Catholic, Syriac Protestant, Chaldean, and Nestorian) have been included in the detail tabs of individual buildings.

The Greek cultural heritage has been conceptualized in this book to comprise not only the Turkish Republican and Ottoman periods, but also the Byzantine period. “Byzantine” has been accepted here not as a separate ethno-religious category but as a period and its beginning has been attributed to 330 AD, when the Eastern Roman Empire is accepted to have officially set up a separate capital in Constantinople and when, concurrently, Christians were granted privileges. Public buildings from the Byzantine period have been categorized as “Greek,” unless they demonstrably belong to another ethnic group.

Provinces have been taken with their current official names and borders. The online inventory of settlement units in Turkey, Index Anatolicus, prepared by Sevan Nişanyan and Tahir Sezen’s dictionary of Ottoman place names published by the General Directorate of the State Archives of the Prime Minister’s Office (Başbakanlık Devlet Arşivleri Genel Müdürlüğü) have been the main sources for matching the old and current province and settlement/neighborhood/village names. Following the 2004 legislation that has determined 16 provinces to be redefined as metropolitan areas and the 2013 legislation that has increased the number of provinces designated as metropolitan areas from 16 to 29, villages of these metropolitan areas have been redefined as neighborhoods and the old “center” districts of these province-turned-metropolitan areas have been obviated, being turned into one or more districts with new names. Additionally, the geographical boundaries on provinces, districts, and villages are generally prone to change over time. For the inventory entries, the exact locations of which are unknown, the geographical attributions have been approximate and have been noted down as such.

The immovable public cultural heritage belonging to the non-Muslim communities has been organized under the following main categories: “hospital,” “church,” “monastery,” “cemetery,” “school,” “chapel,” “synagogue,” and “orphanage.” Among these building types, multi-functional ones that subsume other categories (such as monasteries and orphanages) are recorded as single entries. Certain categories, such as ayazma, cathedral, basilica, midrash, and yeshiva, which further specify a building according to its institutional or functional framework, have not been considered as separate classification categories but have been included in the historical information on a given building’s individual tab. Other categories of public architecture such as temples, castles, fountains, flophouses, and nursing homes that lie outside of the scope of this research have been recorded when they were come across, but have not been publicly shared at this stage.

Treasure hunting constitutes one of the most serious threats to cultural heritage in Turkey today. The accurate geographical coordinates, directions, and maps section and lot numbers of the buildings have been shared only when this information is known to have been previously publicized: in the book titled Kayseri with its Armenian and Greek Cultural Heritage, which comprises results of the field work in Kayseri that the Hrant Dink Foundation undertook in collaboration with the Association for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, on the websites of the Patriarchate of Turkey Armenians, Greek Community Foundations in Turkey, Turkish Jewish Community, Syriac Orthodox Patriarchal-Vicariate of Istanbul and Ankara, Syriac Orthodox Patriarchal-Vicariate of Adıyaman, Deyrulzafaran Monastery, as well as addresses of historical buildings that currently function as museums.

Geographical coordinates of other buildings on the map are approximate. At the current stage of the project, the directions and geographical specifics of these buildings will only be shared for academic and advocacy purposes through applications made to the Hrant Dink Foundation.

In order to determine whether the buildings on the map have been officially registered as cultural heritage by the regional branches of the Committee to Protect Cultural Heritage, which operate under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the following sources have been used: cultural inventories prepared by local governorships and museums in Turkey (a full list of which can be accessed through the bibliography), the lists of official decisions by the Committee to Protect Cultural Heritage concerning the registration of immovable cultural heritage, which is published on the website of the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage, and the online inventory published on the website titled Cultural Portal of Turkey. The registration dates of buildings, which have been assumed to be the latest date on which their registration information has been revised, have been included in the small information boxes of the buildings on the map. The registration numbers, as well as block, map section, and lot numbers, if available, are shared through the individual tabs of buildings.