Prof. Dr. Doğan Kuban calls the residences “Nameless heroes of the Turkish city.” According to Kuban, “commonalities” define the Turkish residence type. “Commonalities” is meant to mean: Religious, cultural and geographical commonalities. Beykoz grew with inward migration at all times and is one of the few districts where this commonality is felt the most. Its settled life mostly consists of Turks, Armenians, Greeks and Jews migratin from the Black Sea, and this richness is reflected in the residential architecture of Beykoz. The fact that the first name of Mahmud Şevket Pasha Village was Arnavudköy, and that the Polish lived in Polonezköy contributes to this richness.
The architects of Istanbul residences paid special attention to the materials that were enforced by the geography and climate, and to the integration of these materials with the texture of the area. Of course, small differences set the residences of muslims and non-muslims apart in Istanbul, where even the clothes were shaped according to religious compartments.
There were 634 muslim and 639 non-muslim households in Beykoz near the 1900s. Following the 93 war, Sultan Abdulhamid II. settled around 1.200 refugees to the land he bough from Abraham Pasha. This massive population increase of course also increased the diversity of the building inventory of Beykoz.
The Turkish houses in Beykoz are based on the anteroom. The traditional Turkish residences were shaped according to the economic activities of the owner and the region. Generally two generations lived together in the house and there were cellars and storehouses in all of them. As the direction of Mekka affected every aspect of life, it also affected the positioning of the house on the land. There were definite indications of kiblah (the direction of Mekka) inside the house.
The toilets in Turkish houses were generally outside. The main reason for this was the fact that the water requirements of the house were met from the well in the yard. Not only the toilets, but the oven, floor furnace and hearth were also outside the building. In the period when water and electricity were brought inside the house and made life relatively easier, the toilets moved inside too. Water coming inside the house caused an important change in the Turkish house typology: the cellar was replaced by the kitchen. In districts like Anadoluhisarı, Kanlıca, Paşabahçe and Anadolu Kavağı, and in villages like Dereseki and Kılıçlı, it is still possible to see traditional Turkish houses inside gardens.
Some of the traditional Turkish residences in Beykoz have alcoves. Especially the adjacent houses in Yalıköy and the center of Beykoz still keep this feature. An alcove is a kind of protrusion. It is actually the main part of the house that opens on the street. The protrusions that can see the street from three sides are considered a sign of dominion and are also important in terms of safety. Another feature of these protrusions is that they are shaped according to the need for privacy. A grid cage prevents the outsiders from viewing the interior of the house.
In contrast to the religious and social areas, less durable materials are used in residential architecture. This symbolizes mortality and it is also a measure against the risk of earthquakes. The structures in Beykoz were built by masters raised in a master-apprentice relationship. The owner of the building was frequently present during construction and worked. Althouh some older examples are found in Beykoz, most civilian architecture was built in the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th. The Beykoz residences with yards are generally built with stone filling between wooden frames. The block wood technique was applied with the filling technique and iron was also used in some parts.
The Turkish houses in Beykoz are generally two-storey houses. Although very few, there are also buildings with a stone first floor and a wooden second floor. These structures have wings and the walls of the wooden doors are covered with the earth called “kis”. For heat insulation the wood was sometimes laid perpendicularly, and sometimes sloped, with the technique called “şamdolma”. The reason to use kis is to increase earthquake resistance. Kis can be easily observed in some residences in Hacı Muhittin Street in Kanlıca on buildings whose plaster is removed. The upper floors have a load bearing wooden skeleton system. The “Hımış” technique used in the skeletons is prominent.
Especiallly in Yalıköy’de; Hacı Osman, Baharatçı, Kuyu, Fıstıklı Yalı, Orta Çeşme; and on Şahinkaya Avenue, the non-muslim residences laid with the fire brick “dizeme” method survived until today.
Many neighborhoods and villages in Beykoz contain many buildings that are examples of the traditional Turkish architecture and that didn’t lose their historical texture. Anadoluhisarı, Kanlıca, Çubuklu, Paşabahçe, İncirköy, Merkez, Yalıköy, Anadolu Kavağı are some of the districts where you can find the traces of the traditional residential architecture everywhere.