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The Importance of Architectural Structures in Cultural Geographical View: The Case of Elaziğ City

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Cities are sites where natural environmental changes are observed the most, where hundreds of thousands and even millions of people take shelter, and which change, develop, affect and are influenced by the actions people take in order to perpetuate their vital activities (Atalay 2001: 52). They have become an integral part of human life as a result of this mutual interaction. Since they are locations where people effectuate many of their social, cultural and economic activities, such as entertainment, relaxation, employment, etc., besides their sheltering function, they have been developed and greatly changed by people. In this way, they constitute a cultural geographical view by acquiring specific identifier features with the aid of architectural structures that reflect the civic culture of the people living in the cities.

It is a fact accepted by the geographers that all residences have a cultural geographical view. Cultural geographical views are artificial views that culture groups create with the physical features of the areas they have settled. Thus, every area that has a settlement reflects the cultural basis from which they originated (Tümertekin & Özgüç 2004: 93). Cities created by each nation are the product of its own geographical conditions and cultural level; cities do not resemble each other like people, and they reflect the historical structures, customs and traditions of the societies to which they belong (Tunçdilek 1986: 102).

Features that add value to cities and differentiate them from other cities are characterized as urban identity. Haapala (1998) and Karadağ (2006) have described urban identity as the geographical landscaping that sets the city apart from other cities and appears both within the framework of the mutual relation of natural, social and environmental components and as a reflection in its culture (Karadağ & Koçman 2007:5). Önem and Kılıçaslan have assessed urban identity according to factors from the natural, human and artefactual environments. Accordingly, identity factors arising from the natural environment are properties such as topographical features of the city, climatic conditions, vegetation cover, general location, etc. Identity factors generated from the human environment are individuals and the society, because values possessed by individuals and society are reflected in the city structure and make a contribution to urban identity in this way.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2011

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