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Alfred Heilbronn Botanical Garden

  • Kind of Object:
    Garden
  • Name:
    Alfred Heilbronn Botanical Garden

    Word Count: 4

  • Alternative Names:
    Alfred Heilbronn Botanik Bahçesi, Hortus Botanicus Istanbulensis
  • Creator (Person):
    Alfred Heilbronn
  • Year Start:
    1935
  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    Süleymaniye Mahallesi, Fetva Yokuş. 41, Fatih, Istanbul.

  • Introduction:

    The botanical garden in Fatih was established above the Galata Bridge in historic Stambul in the 1930s. This was carried out at the suggestion of the exiled botanist Alfred Heilbronn.

    Word Count: 30

  • Content:

    The Institute of Pharmaceutical Botany and the scientific botanical garden were established in the neighbourhood of Fatih, above the Galata Bridge, in historic Stambul in the 1930s. This was carried out at the suggestion of the botanist Alfred Heilbronn (born 28 May 1885), whose authorisation to teach at the University of Münster was withdrawn in 1933 for ‘racial’ reasons. That same year Heilbronn was invited to take up a post as professor of pharmaceutical botany and genetics in Istanbul through the agency of the refugee organisation “Notgemeinschaft deutscher Wissenschaftler im Ausland” (Emergency Association of German Scientists) (Ludwig 2014; Raß [2014], 6). Shortly after his arrival, Heilbronn managed to convince the ministry of education of the necessity for a botanical garden, and the foundations of the Alfred Heilbronn Botanik Bahçesi were laid in 1935.

    The Alfred Heilbronn Botanical Garden was created on a site with a constantly-changing history. During the Ottoman Empire it was occupied by the Ağakapısı, the headquarters of the leader (Ağa) of the Janissary Corps, the elite infantry unit of the Ottoman Sultan. The premises later housed the Bab-I Meşihat, the office of the Shaykh al-Islam, the administrative head of the ulema (organisation of religious scholars). After the foundation of the Turkish Republic in 1923, the Istanbul Girls High School was established on the same site, together with the Istanbul Muftiate, then a religious office without political power responsible for the city’s religious institutions, such as mosques, churches and synagogues. It was destroyed in a fire in 1926 (Aladağ/Aslan 2018). The site then remained undeveloped for almost a decade before the decision was made to establish the botanical garden. The garden offered views of the Galata Bridge and the Golden Horn and the pathways through it were arranged to make the most of these uplifting views. The Botanical Institute with its horizontal structure was designed by the Swiss-Austrian architect Ernst Egli in 1935/36 (Nicolai 1998, 32). A professor of architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts, he designed a number of buildings in Ankara and Istanbul from 1927, including the Ragip Devres villa in Bebek. Heilbronn was responsible for the artistic and technical installation of the garden, helped design the greenhouses, planned the heating and cooling system, and arranged for a garden inspector from Germany to take personal charge of the garden (Namal et al. 2011, 197).

    In the first edition of the Istanbul University Botanical Garden’s first seed catalogue in 1936, Heilbronn presented its request for plant seeds in four languages (Aladağ/Aslan 2018).  This was the beginning of a worldwide exchange with other botanical gardens who sent their plant seeds to Istanbul. Eventually, as many as 3,000 plant species were able to be planted in the terraced area.

    With its wide diversity of plants, the botanical garden not only provided the public with an accessible refuge from the noise of the city, it was also a place of remembrance for the community of German emigrés to Istanbul. In 1946 Alfred Heilbronn was naturalised as a Turkish citizen. He returned to Münster in 1956, where he taught as a professor emeritus at the university. Just one year later, in 1957, the architecture of the Botanical Institute was radically changed during the prime ministership of Adnan Menderes. Arguing that the institute disturbed the silhouette of the nearby Süleymaniye Mosque, the upper two floors of the four-storey building were demolished – leaving only a torso (Nicolai 1998, 199).
    Alfred Heilbronn died on 17 March 1961, at the age of 76, and for many years the Alfred Heilbronn Botanical Garden kept his memory alive as a legacy of the botanist in his city of exile.

    Since 2015, when the Istanbul Muftiade laid claim to the property, the existence of the garden has been under threat. The Institute of Pharmaceutical Botany moved out of Egli’s building in 2018, and since 2019 it has been undergoing a process of deconstruction, as has the scientific botanical garden.

    The Garden of (not) Forgetting artistic research project carried out by Dilşad Aladağ and Eda Aslan (2017–) is dedicated to the remaining traces of the Botanical Garden in the memory of the city of Istanbul. Aladağ and Aslan collected plants they found lying on the ground in the garden, made scans, compiled Botanical Institute seed catalogues (1934–2002) and devoted themselves to the political history of the botanical garden and the ground on which it was established. This entry also benefits from their outstanding research.

    Word Count: 719

  • Signature Image:
    Alfred Heilbronn Botanical Garden, Istanbul Fatih, 1935/1937, entrance (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2018).
  • Media:
    Alfred Heilbronn Botanical Garden, Istanbul Fatih, 1935/1937 (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2018).
    Alfred Heilbronn Botanical Garden, Istanbul Fatih, 1935/1937 (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2018).
    Alfred Heilbronn Botanical Garden, Historical Plant Sign, 1935/1937 (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2018).
    Alfred Heilbronn Botanical Garden, Historical Plant Sign, Istanbul Fatih, 1935/1937 (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2018).
    Ernst Egli, Botanical Institute, 1935/1936 (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2018).
    Ernst Egli, Botanical Institute, 1935/1936 (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2018).
    Ernst Egli, Botanical Institute, 1935/1936 (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2018).
    Ernst Egli, Botanical Institute, 1935/1936 (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2018).
    Ernst Egli, Botanical Institute, 1935/1936 (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2018).
    Ernst Egli, Botanical Institute, 1935/1936 (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2018).
    Alfred Heilbronn Botanical Garden, 1935/1937, view at the Bosporus (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2018).
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Aladağ, Dilşad, and Eda Aslan. “The Garden of (not) Forgetting, The Memory of Place and the Topography of Destruction.” 2018, Academia, https://www.academia.edu/41789284/The_Garden_of_not_Forgetting_The_Memory_of_Place_and_the_Topography_of_Destruction. Accessed 21 March 2021.

    Aladağ, Dilşad, and Eda Aslan. Bir Yerin izinde Pek Çok Yer. Manifold, 2021.

    Anonymous. “Alfred Heilbronn Botanik Bahçesi Tahliye Ediliyor.” 2 July 2018, Arkitera, https://www.arkitera.com/haber/alfred-heilbronn-botanik-bahcesi-tahliye-ediliyor/. Accessed 21 March 2021.

    Dogramaci, Burcu. “Arrival City Istanbul: Flight, Modernity and Metropolis at the Bosporus. With an Excursus on the Island Exile of Leon Trotsky.” Arrival Cities. Migrating Artists and New Metropolitan Topographies in the 20th Century, edited by Burcu Dogramaci et al., Leuven University Press, 2020, pp. 205–225, https://library.oapen.org/handle/20.500.12657/41641.

    Halili, Arnisa. “Istanbuls erster Botanischer Garten: Deutsch-türkische Geschichte mit allen Sinnen erspüren.“ 21 September 2020, treffpunkteuropa.de, https://www.treffpunkteuropa.de/istanbuls-erster-botanischer-garten-deutsch-turkische-geschichte-mit-allen?lang=fr. Accessed 21 March 2021.

    Ludwig, Astrid. “Die Frankfurter Goethe-Universität ehrt den jüdischen Pathologen und ehemaligen Professor Philipp Schwartz mit einer Gedenkstele.” Jüdische Allgemeine, 25 November 2014, https://www.juedische-allgemeine.de/kultur/der-vergessene-retter/. Accessed 28 March 2021.

    Namal, Arin, et al. “Ein deutscher Emigrant als Namensgeber des Botanischen Gartens der Universität Istanbul: Prof. Dr. Alfred Heilbronn (1885–1961) und seine Stellung in der Geschichte der Botanik der Türkei.” Botanische Gärten und botanische Forschungsreisen (Europäische Wissenschaftsbeziehungen, Vol. 3), edited by Ingrid Kästner and Jürgen Kiefer, Shaker Verlag, 2011, pp. 179–212.

    Nicolai, Bernd. Moderne und Exil. Deutschsprachige Architekten in der Türkei 1925–1955. Verlag für Bauwesen, 1998.

    Polat, Raife. “Köhne Güzel: Alfred Heilbronn Botanik Bahçesi.” 18 March 2018, manifold.press, https://manifold.press/kohne-guzel-alfred-heilbronn-botanik-bahcesi. Accessed 21 March 2021.

    Raß, Oliver. “Zum Gedenken an Alfred Heilbronn.” flurgespräche, n.d. [2014], http://www.flurgespraeche.de/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Gedenkblatt_Heilbronn_Alfred.pdf. Accessed 21 March 2021.

    Röhrs, Christine-Felice, and Linda Say. “Botanischer Garten in Istanbul:. Vermächtnis eines jüdischen Exilanten in Gefahr.” Tagesspiegel, 7 June 2019, https://www.tagesspiegel.de/wissen/botanischer-garten-in-istanbul-vermaechtnis-eines-juedischen-exilanten-in-gefahr/24434672.html. Accessed 7 October 2020.

    Word Count: 318

  • Acknowledgements:

    My deepest thanks go to Dilşad Aladağ and Eda Aslan for sharing their knowledge on Alfred Heilbronn Botanical Garden and giving permission to reproduce their work The Garden of (not) Forgetting.

    Word Count: 32

  • Author:
    Burcu Dogramaci
  • Metropolis:
    Istanbul
  • Entry in process:
    no
  • Burcu Dogramaci. "Alfred Heilbronn Botanical Garden." METROMOD Archive, 2021, https://archive.metromod.net/viewer.p/69/2949/object/5140-8103294, last modified: 20-06-2021.
  • Leonore Kosswig
    BiologistPhotographerEthnographer

    The exiled biologist and photographer Leonore Kosswig was one of the pioneering women researchers travelling alone in the 1950s and exploring customs and ways of life in Turkey and Iraq.

    Word Count: 30

    Cafer Türkmen, Leonore and Curt Kosswig in Birecik, 1954, photography, detail (Private Archive).
    Cafer Türkmen, Leonore and Curt Kosswig in Birecik, 1954, photography (Private Archive).Curt and/or Leonore Kosswig, House of Family Kosswig in Bebek, Istanbul, 1940s (Private Archive). The Kosswig house is pictured at the back, left of centre.Leonore Kosswig, House of Family Kosswig in Bebek (Haus am Berg), Istanbul, Spring 1957 (Private Archive).Curt and/or Leonore Kosswig, House of Family Kosswig in Bebek, Istanbul, interior, 1940 (Private Archive).Leonore Kosswig, Sütçü Ibrahim [Milkman Ibrahim], Bebek, Istanbul, 1956 (Private Archive).Leonore Kosswig, Way to Balık Pazar [Fish Market], Istanbul, March 1957 (Private Archive).Leonore Kosswig, Behind Mısır Çarşı [Egypt Market], Istanbul, March 1957 (Private Archive).Leonore Kosswig, At the old bridge near Eminönü, Istanbul, March 1957 (Private Archive).Leonore Kosswig, Çeşme [Fountain], Istanbul, 1957 (Private Archive).Leonore Kosswig, Gemiç, 1957, colour slide (Private Archive).Leonore Kosswig, Near Faluja, Irak, 1958, colour slide (Private Archive).Leonore Kosswig, In the Tent, after 1955, colour slide (Private Archive).Leonore Kosswig. “Hochzeitsgebräuche in Anatolien.” [Wedding customs in Anatolia]. Oriens, vol. 13–14, 1961, pp. 248–249 (Private Archive).Leonore Kosswig. “Über Brettchenweberei insbesondere in Anatolien.“ [About board weaving especially in Anatolia]. Baessler-Archiv, vol. 15, 1967, pp. 98–99 (Private Archive).Leonore Kosswig. “Über Brettchenweberei insbesondere in Anatolien.” [About board weaving especially in Anatolia]. Baessler-Archiv, vol. 15, 1967, pp. 100–101 (Private Archive).Leonore Kosswig. “Über Brettchenweberei insbesondere in Anatolien.” [About board weaving especially in Anatolia]. Baessler-Archiv, vol. 15, 1967, pp. 104–105 (Private Archive).Leonore Kosswig, Couple in Üçpınar, Kayseri, c. 1967, colour slide (Private Archive). From a series of photographs for the Leonore Kosswig’s essay “Über Brettchenweberei insbesondere in Anatolien” Baessler-Archiv, vol. 15, 1967.Board weaving with Kıvrım pattern, 1961 purchased by Leonore Kosswig in Çığdık next to Adana (Private Archive, Photo: Jana Weber).Curt Kosswig. In memoriam Leonore Kosswig. Leonore Kosswig’i anarken. Baha Matbaası, 1974 (Private Archive). Published, along with her travelogues, after Leonore Kosswig's death.
    Istanbul
    Ragıp Devres Villa
    BuildingResidence

    The house designed by the Swiss-Austrian architect Ernst Egli for the engineer Ragip Devres in Istanbul Bebek left its mark on the Turkish villa landscape.

    Word Count: 25

    Ernst Egli, Ragıp Devres House, Istanbul Bebek, Cevdet Paşa Caddesi No. 101, 1932/33, view from the street (Werk, no. 25, 1938).
    Ernst Egli, Ragıp Devres House, Istanbul Bebek, Cevdet Paşa Caddesi No. 101, 1932/33, interior (Werk, no. 25, 1938).
    Istanbul