Once, Avcılar was a small village where Greeks, Armenians and Turks used to live together. Later, migrants from Bulgaria joined to this cultural mosaic. They all used to live in a small, cute, single-floor houses with gardens and earn their lives from agriculture and fishing.
Starting with 1950s, wealthy families explored this beautiful village. They bought lands and built summer houses around seaside of Marmara Sea and Küçükçekmece Lake, thus causing Avcılar to become a districts of summer resorts for these wealthy families.
In 1960s, many factories moved to Avcılar causing change in district’s natural beauty. As factories started to function, working-class families started to settle in Avcılar. Since they couldn’t afford living in this wealthy community, they started to build what their own income and life style can afford. The result was an increasing number of quarter houses which eventually caused Avcılar to become a shanty town. As soon as locals stopped earning money from fishing and agriculture due to industrial investment, they also started too involved in trade. Factories and stores opened, population increased vastly and consequently cute small village became a big district consisting of 10 neighbourhoods.
There is a day in history which residents of Avcılar had a terrible night. On 17 August 1999 which is a sad day for all Turkey, unfortunate earthquake happened and caused incredible destruction in and around Avcılar. That day was a milestone for this district. Numerous buildings, built with lacking materials by greediness of contractors while governor was passing over, were demolished. Many people were trapped in the wreckage and died. Devastation was huge, Avcılar was looking like a place where a big war has happened.
Although after earthquake property prices dropped dramatically, nowadays with the help of the new projects Avcılar become a zone for construction investment. Nowadays, the district is once more gaining value due to big urban transformation which is planned for this district. A lot of modern housing complexes are being built as the housing stock demolished in the past and people no longer prefer the old buildings although they remained safe after earthquake. With the help of government, Avcılar recovered itself very fast causing economic, social and cultural life to change completely.
Avcılar has a very interesting museum located on the seaside, on the west of fast-ferry pier. You can find a copy of Atatürk’s house in Thessaloniki where he was born. You can also find the building models of houses where Sivas and Erzurum Conferences organized by Atatürk were being hosted. These two important conferences held just before Turkish War of Independence are essential to Turkish history as main decisions made and aims discussed during them. Being visited by over 30.000 people per year, Atatürk’s House museum is a popular place to visit if you are into history, art and architecture.
Greatest advantage of this district is to be located in a place where transportation lines across. Avcılar- Zincirlikuyu- Kadıköy metrobus line and sea transportation provides an easy accessibility for Avcılar.
Photo Credits: Dogan Iyice