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8000 Years of Water Civilisations in Turkey
(20.05. - 29.05. 2011)

Mehmet Bildirici, Bahar Suseven, Thomas Schmitz
for G.A.S.-Der, in the framework of the REMEE Project
“Rediscovering together the Heritage of Water in the Mediterranean” 

Water… without it no human settlement, no technical development, no life is thinkable. In Turkey the potential of water was known even 8000 years ago, when the first structures were built and developed to “tame” water into a useful source for human purposes. Dams and barrages for flood protection, irrigation canals, whole water systems- the traces of these very early engineering accomplishments are still standing today and we have to admire their thoughtful constructions and functionality.  

Through time and millennia water related engineering became more and more refined and more and more important. Water had to be kept, cisterns and depots were built, one of them the cathedral like magnificent Yerebatan Cistern in Istanbul. The energy of some streams had to be broken by flood gates and terraces, other places required the equilibration of water by water scales, like the famous water scales of Kadıköy in Istanbul. Water had to be carried over far distances and the first water bridges and aqueducts were constructed, like the Polio Aqueduct in Ephesus. Irrigation canals became more intricate and durable, like the Urartu “Kheriz” canals in the vicinity of Van, which are still in use today!

 Most of these structures used gravity and other simple principles of physic and hydraulic. With the understanding of pressure hydraulics and the production possibilities for the right watertight materials for pipes and systems technique changed and opened the gate for yet different structures. Later followed the development of simple water driven machines, mills, saw mills, looms and other basic mechanical inventions; then the discovery of water heated power and the first steam driven machinery, the era of industrial revolution.

Water was and still is literally the driving force of power in human development.

Nowadays with the capacity of using different industrial sources, many of these first inventions are forgotten, not thought of any longer as the miracles of invention and innovation they once have been.

The REMEE Project was developed and implemented to “Rediscover the Heritage of Water in the Mediterranean”. This framework gave us, G.A.S.-Der, the incentive to compile the expertise and passion for water and water related constructions of two very enthusiastic specialists for the subjects of water, Mehmet Bildirici and Bahar Suseven and Thomas Schmitz, whose computer skills were indispensable to collect, digitalise and optimise the research results of these two experts.   

This exhibition takes us on a journey from the beginnings of water construction up to recent historical water related techniques, giving us the possibilities to “rediscover the heritage of water” in Turkey, linking our present to a precious past, that should not be forgotten.


Pics of the opening