The historic city of Mardin in southeastern Turkey will undergo changes to return to its physical appearance of 100 years ago, in an attempt to preserve the history of the city as well as move from UNESCO's Tentative List to the organization's World Heritage List.
Mardin, which has a history of 7,000 years, will remove unattractive buildings that spoil the skyline of the historic city. The Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKİ) will construct replacements that blend in with local architecture. Projects have already been drawn up for the construction of low structures that resemble the city's historic buildings. The Mardin Governor's Office and the Mardin Municipality are supporting the project financially.
As part of the project, more than 5,000 buildings will be totally or partially demolished in old Mardin, as well as in the Saraçoğlu, Ensar and İstasyon neighborhoods. The residents of these buildings will receive new apartments from TOKİ. In the old city, roughly 570 buildings will be totally demolished and some 860 others will be partially torn down.
The urban transformation project became official in 2008. The second phase of the project began with the signing of an agreement between the Mardin Governor's Office and the Mardin Municipality last month, in the presence of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Officials are currently deciding what to demolish and who to relocate.