Mapping Memory

Welcome to the website of Dr. Gonul Bozoglu’s 3-year Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at Newcastle University, UK. This explores the place memories of the historic Greek-Istanbuli populations in two cities: Istanbul and Athens.

The Greek ‘Rum’ Community of Istanbul date back to Byzantium. This refers to the Eastern Roman Empire or what is also called the ‘Byzantine’ Empire. Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) was conquered by the Ottomans in 1453. Both the ancient Greek Orthodox Church and the community remained in the city after the Conquest. They played a significant role in the social and economic life of the city and in the political and diplomatic life of the Ottoman Empire.

The Rum is a diminishing and ageing community that has been subject to marginalisation and sometimes persecution. In 1955 there was a violent pogrom targeting the Rum. In 1964, the Turkish state expelled Rum with Greek citizenship, although the majority had never been to Greece. Consequently, many Greek-Istanbulis emigrated to Athens in the twentieth century, although others remained in Istanbul.

From the beginning of the twentieth century to today, Istanbul’s Rum population has reduced from 30% to less than 0.1% of the overall city population. Many of the remaining Rum worry about the future of their community. 

The histories and memories of the Rum are poorly represented in museums and official platforms. This website is one way of countering this. It is an archive, a map, and a repository of voices, stories, objects, sensations, and emotions. 

Please click on the coloured tabs below to read the stories of people that I have interviewed (when you go to the tabs, you can click on the titles to get the full story with images and/or sound). The interviews took place in Athens and Istanbul. The stories are sometimes linked to dates, images, objects, sites, or sounds.

This project is in progress and the website is in development. Contact me (gonul.bozoglu2@ncl.ac.uk) for more information and visit again.

This project is funded by the Leverhulme Trust and hosted by the School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University.

 Web and map design by Dan Foster-Smith

Many photographs on this site are by me, or have been provided by participants. In other cases, with historic images, I adhere to Fair Use principles and have made efforts to trace the origins of photographs used on this site. If you own the copyright of any photograph on the site and object to its use here, please contact me and I wil immediately remove it.