ISTANBUL __Week one in Istanbul has flown by! Day one of week two has presented the group with a new topic, the natural sciences. Today, we set out to explore the primary inlet of the Bosphorus water way known as the Golden Horn, or Halic in Turkish, which means gulf. Upon arriving to the urban waterway, the group first made an appearance to Istanbul Bilgi University.
Istanbul Bilgi University was established in 1996 around the inlet area of the Golden horn as a liberal arts University. When the group arrived to the University, there was electric mix of architecture and green space as the campus was covered with different forms of art. The group was lucky enough to get a faculty-guided tour, which highlighted Bilgi’s School of Architecture. As soon as we walked onto the property, we saw a variety of sculptures covering the campus lawn. These structures were part of a first year architecture project where students had to design and build their own freestanding sculpture.
What was interesting about this Campus is the buildings used be part of a coal fired power plant. Built in the 1900s, the plant initially used to provide Istanbul with energy through the production of electricity. Mines located north of the Black Sea supplied coal to power the turbines of the plant as the surrounding bay provided the plant with cooling water and a place to discharge waste. The campus is mostly made up of large industrialized buildings that have been restored to house faculty offices, classrooms, and studio areas for students. A few of the larger buildings still contain turbines and the original control center of the plant and the rest of the area has been turned into an energy museum.
The group made its way into the Santralistanbul Energy Museum, exploring the history of the restored turbines and control room. The museum also housed interactive games, where the students brushed up on their physics knowledge. Concepts of matter and energy were explored as the group tinkered with interactive experiment tutorials of optics, magnetism, fluid dynamics, and circuits.
We ended the day with a brief summary from Professor Leavitt about the estuarine environment of the Golden Horn and a scenic lift ride overlooking the converging Kagithane and Alibeykoy Rivers. In the next few days we will learn more about the joining rivers and the significant role they have played in the development of Istanbul earlier civilizations.