Pedro Sousa Raposo

photography and cinema

sulukule

 Istanbul’s Old City, Turkey  2014

For a thousand years, the Roma neighborhood of Sulukule in Istanbul’s Old City was world famous for its unique cultural, dancers and musicians. In recognition of its historical and cultural importance, UNESCO named Sulukule a World Heritage Site; this however did not stop the Turkish government from demolishing the neighborhood.

 

Roma presence in this part of Istanbul dates back to Byzantine times, while it is in the 15th century, upon Ottoman conquest, that the quarter became (reportedly) the first district in the world permanently settled by sedentary Roma.

 

The 3.400 current inhabitants are to be relocated to outside of the city limits in Taşoluk, around forty kilometres west of the centre of Istanbul, in large apartment blocks.

 

The ethnic and cultural diversity of the Polis, better known nowadays as Istanbul will after nearly two thousand years finally vanish. The over 80 different languages that used to be spoken there, the diversity and the bridge between Western Europe and the rest of the world will finally vanish. A pity if one thinks that without this city and without this bridge, Europe would not be what it is today.

 

 roma belong to Istanbul. In fact, it is this city that created their identity.