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x0x Eastern Black Sea houses

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    [[See more on this subject by visiting the pages selected for you by Anita Donohoe: http://turkradio.us/k/blackseahouse/ ] x0x Eastern Black Sea houses By
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 26 12:05 AM
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      [[See more on this subject by visiting the pages
      selected for you by Anita Donohoe:
      http://turkradio.us/k/blackseahouse/ ]

      x0x Eastern Black Sea houses

      By MUSTAFA RESAT SUMERKAN

      Shaped by the culture of the local people, Eastern
      Black Sea houses peek out from the greenery like a
      delightful surprise...

      Describing the lush greens of the Eastern Black
      Sea region to those who havent seen them isnt
      easy... Its as if nature has used a different
      shade of paint in every valley, on every ridge. As
      your eyes are drawn in by the colorful palette of
      the steep slopes, you suddenly notice in the
      distance the houses that follow you with their
      eyes from between the trees. Houses of stone and
      timber, the homes of the irrepressible and
      energetic Black Sea people, shaped by their
      culture, raised and built by their hands...

      CLOSED CULTURAL BASINS

      Eastern Black Sea villages nestle against the
      slopes of the valleys that run down to the sea
      from the mountain ranges parallel to the coast.
      Finding a patch of level ground in these villages
      is extremely difficult, and people are forced to
      climb up or downhill for all their activities.

      If the particular spot where you live has no view
      of the sea, then you wont find even a single
      horizontal line among the trees, hills and
      mountains on which to rest your gaze. The road
      that follows a rushing stream along the valley
      floor is shared by all the villages in that
      valley. Since such roads only meet at the shore,
      the people living in one valley have virtually no
      relations with the inhabitants of even the next
      valley. In other words, each valley is virtually a
      closed cultural basin.

      The houses of the Eastern Black Sea are so
      scattered within the boundaries of their village
      that there is usually not even a tiny central
      square. Why then are houses built so far apart on
      the Black Sea? The reason naturally is not that
      people want to avoid each other.

      The sole explanation is the rough terrain.
      Consequently, any spots suitable for building are
      snapped up with no concern for proximity to a
      neighbor. This insular and solitary way of life is
      universally acknowledged to be responsible for the
      temperamental, contentious and ruggedly
      independent nature of the Black Sea people, which
      has endowed them with a capacity for solving their
      own problems without seeking help from others.
      With building materials gathered and techniques
      gleaned from the environment, these people have
      succeeded in constructing houses that are
      perfectly suited to the region's natural
      conditions.

      STONE AND TIMBER

      In this region, where erosion has thinned the
      topsoil, houses are built wherever a patch of
      cultivable land can be found. Another factor that
      influences the location of houses is water,
      sources of which tend to be scattered all over the
      village.The building traditions and house-plans of
      the Eastern Black Sea take a variety of forms
      within the region, exhibiting yet other variations
      along the coast. In the far east, for example, in
      Savsat township of Artvin province, the houses are
      made completely of wood. In Yusufeli on the other
      hand the side and back walls are of stone.In the
      township's coastal sector we begin to find walls
      built by the 'goz dolma' technique.

      This technique, which is widespread along the
      coast of Rize, gives way to timber again as one
      travels inland and upward. The minute you enter
      Trabzon, the 'goz dolma' technique is replaced by
      the 'muskali dolma' style, consisting of
      amulet-like triangles that appear to be made of
      tiny cubes. (Both of the so-called 'dolma' styles
      are based on a building technique of 'filling' in
      timber frames with stones or other materials.) In
      the sparsely forested Arakli and Duzkoy valleys of
      Trabzon province, there are houses, albeit few in
      number, whose facades consist entirely of stone
      walls. The timber exteriors encountered on the
      coast from the Georgian border to near Trabzon do
      not appear again all the way to Ordu. Meanwhile
      the interior dividing walls of houses throughout
      the region are made exclusively of wooden
      materials. All along the coast the roofs are made
      of tiles, whereas in the higher villages they are
      covered with thin wood shingles known as 'hartama'
      or 'bedevra'.

      While bedrooms in villages west of Trabzon open
      onto the kitchen, in the eastern regions a
      corridor separates the two areas in an arrangement
      that affords more privacy. Meanwhile, in the
      coastal villages of Artvin and Rize, this corridor
      becomes a large living room called a 'hayat', a
      light and spacious area affording a panoramic view
      of the valley and a place to pass the time on
      boring winter days when one is cooped up inside.
      This section is heated by a stove, from whose
      warmth the bedrooms benefit as well. All daytime
      and nocturnal activities are carried out on the
      ground floor of Eastern Black Sea houses. Besides
      the usual household chores, people are constantly
      busy raising vegetables, tea, hazelnuts and
      tobacco, procuring firewood and feeding the
      animals. An upper floor would naturally increase
      the burden of, and the fatigue caused by, these
      tasks. The tradition of having an upstairs can be
      seen only in the villages of Ardesen and
      Camlihemsin in Rize province. Here the bedrooms
      are on the second floor, which results in a
      substantial increase in living space.

      While bedrooms in villages west of Trabzon open
      onto the kitchen, in the eastern regions a
      corridor separates the two areas in an arrangement
      that affords more privacy. Meanwhile, in the
      coastal villages of Artvin and Rize, this corridor
      becomes a large living room called a 'hayat', a
      light and spacious area affording a panoramic view
      of the valley and a place to pass the time on
      boring winter days when one is cooped up inside.
      This section is heated by a stove, from whose
      warmth the bedrooms benefit as well. All daytime
      and nocturnal activities are carried out on the
      ground floor of Eastern Black Sea houses. Besides
      the usual household chores, people are constantly
      busy raising vegetables, tea, hazelnuts and
      tobacco, procuring firewood and feeding the
      animals. An upper floor would naturally increase
      the burden of, and the fatigue caused by, these
      tasks. The tradition of having an upstairs can be
      seen only in the villages of Ardesen and
      Camlihemsin in Rize province. Here the bedrooms
      are on the second floor, which results in a
      substantial increase in living space.

      A DIFFERENT BEAUTY: THE MANSIONS OF CAMLIHEMSIN

      It is impossible to speak of big houses without
      mentioning the veritable mansions of Camlihemsin.
      These large, solid and imposing structures, built
      in the township's central villages in the late
      19th and early 20th century, dazzle the eye. But
      don't be fooled by their ostentatious exteriors.
      They are not the homes of big landowners or local
      governors. The owners of these homes are ordinary
      people who have turned the money they earned
      working in Moscow, Rostov and St Petersburg into
      homes. The accessories such as door handles,
      window grilles and colored glass used in the
      Camlihemsin mansions, which number some 30 to 40
      in all, were all brought from Russia. Similar
      mansions, albeit few in number, can also be seen
      in the coastal villages of Trabzon's Surmene and
      Of townships. The most famous of them is the
      mansion of 'Memis aga', 4 km east of Surmene on
      the main road.

      And its owner really is an aga (local landowner).
      Unfortunately these lovely relics of the living
      culture of a period are facing extinction today.
      The process of destruction began the minute the
      houses were left unattended when their owners
      abandoned the towns and villages for economic
      reasons.

      This year the worlds architects are meeting in
      Istanbul for the International Asian Architecture
      Conference in June and the UIA 2005 World Congress
      of Architecture, organized by the Union of
      International Architects, in July. A photography
      exhibition featuring the rural architecture of the
      Eastern Black Sea will also open at Istanbuls
      Milli Reasurans Art Gallery in July. If you cant
      go to the Black Sea, then at least visit the
      exhibition. As we said at the beginning, its
      difficult to describe the greenery there, or the
      red-roofed houses that bedeck the hillsides...

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