An extract on #zeytinburnu
Zeytinburnu was a fortress and settlement known as Kyklobion (Greek: ) or Strongylon () during the Byzantine period, its name referring to the circular shape of the fortress.
The fortress was built in Late Antiquity as part of a series of strongholds that guarded the coastal road leading to Constantinople. It is first attested during the reign of Justinian I (527565). Kyklobion was used as the landing-site of the Arab armies on both of their assaults on Constantinople, in 674 and in 717. In the early 8th century, the iconodule Saint Hilarion was kept prisoner in the local monastery on the orders of Emperor Leo V the Armenian (r. 813820). The site is again, and for the last time in Byzantine times, mentioned in a property deed of 1388.
After the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, the name Kyklobion was transferred to the Yedikule Fortress by the local Greeks, and the original site was abandoned. Ruins of the original circular fortress survived until the 19th century, where the Austrian traveller Hammer-Purgstall saw them. Its name at the time was called in Greek Elaion Akra, "Cape of the Olive Trees"; the modern Turkish name has the same meaning.
From the early 19th century onwards Zeytinburnu was an industrial village, centred on the leather industry of the area called Kazleme, which being on the coast with a good water supply was well suited to leather production. (the area was named for a fountain with a goose carved into the stonework, the fountain is still in existence). Up until the mid-20th century the residents were an urban mix of Greeks, Armenians, Bulgarians, Jews and Turks and still today the Yedikule Surp Prgi Armenian Hospital is active in Kazleme, and has a museum in the grounds.
The character of Zeytinburnu changed when a large wave of immigrants from Anatolia came and settled there from 1950 on. Zeytinburnu is an important lesson for city planning in Turkey, because it was one of the first Gecekondu districts. In other words, most of the buildings were built illegally, without infrastructure, and without any aesthetical concern. In the 1960s legislation was passed to prevent this type of building but by then this type of development had become unstoppable. At first these were little brick-built single storey cottages. From the 1970s onwards the little houses were replaced by multi-storey concrete apartment blocks built in rows with no space in between. In most cases the ground floor was used as a small textile workshop, and thus Zeytinburnu became a bustling industrial area with a large residential population living above the workshops. All this was still illegal and unplanned and still lacked the infrastructure and the aesthetics. After a heavy rain the streets would run with dirty water for days.