Ulus affiliated to Altındağ; It is very important both because it is the district where the foundations of the Republic were laid and because it contains artifacts from the very old times of Ankara’s history. There is also the well-known Samanpazarı of the district, Cikrikcilar Yokusu, and a Jewish Quarter, which is right next to the Kale line, but perhaps most of the Ankara residents do not know about, and do not visit even if they know about it. In Ulus, which I visited last week, I visited the Jewish Quarter with two of my dear friends. As soon as I stepped into the neighborhood, I felt that we entered a different atmosphere. In the street where there were neglected houses, the silence was accompanied by the smoke of the stoves burning in the houses.
It needs to be protected
What art historian Muzaffer Karaaslan said about the architecture of the Jewish Quarter in an article published in the newspaper Şalom in 2020 is illuminating: The close proximity of synagogues and mosques in the neighborhood proves that Jews and Muslims live together. Today, architecture is one of the most important elements that enable the unique texture of the Jewish Quarter to be seen. Architectural structures generally belong to the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. The buildings, which are generally designed as residences, are important in terms of showing the building materials in Ankara as well as containing the features of the late Ottoman period. When examined as a plan, the houses are generally designed with two floors, an inner sofa and a bay window. The covering system of the buildings is wooden ceiling from inside and hipped roof from outside. The main materials of these architectural works are stone, brick, adobe and wood.” In the light of this information, I have to say with regret that the houses in the neighborhood we visited have become unrecognizable due to neglect.
Although many buildings in the neighborhood are locked and about to be demolished, Hayim Albukrek and Araf houses have managed to preserve the architectural characteristics of the region and carry them to the present day. (Hayim Albukrek house)
However, there are some that are still standing and must be preserved in terms of architectural and cultural heritage. The most important of these are undoubtedly Hayim Albukrek and Purgatory houses. Both were built in the early 20th century. It is said to have been built by an Italian architect. The eye-catching embroideries on the exterior of the Albukrek House are impressive. Unfortunately, the Yasef Ruso House, which is said to have once housed Atatürk, is about to be demolished. One of the buildings that make the neighborhood known as the Jewish Quarter is the synagogue. It is said to be opened for worship once a year. The information given by Fügen İlter regarding the synagogue is as follows: “Some of the Jews (Sefarads) who immigrated to Turkey from Spain in 1492 and from Portugal a few years later settled in Ankara. Those who came have found a Jewish community that has lived there for a long time and also has a synagogue. When the number of Jews who came to Ankara increased in number, they owned two synagogues, one for the Jews, one from Spain and the other from Portugal. Ankara Jewish District Synagogue, which gave a different example of the rectangular planned group of Anatolian synagogues in 1907, shows similarities with many synagogues based on floral motifs with its decorations.
Man is surprised!
The region has so many layers that one gets confused as to which one to look at while traveling. Prominent in the neighborhood; Örtmeli Mescid, Eskicioğlu Mosque, Leblecioğlu Mosque, symbolizing the process from the 14th century to the 19th and early 20th centuries; Buildings such as the 16th century Şengül Hamam, identified with Anafartalar Caddesi, are also close to the Jewish Quarter campus and enrich the historical journey as places to see. A full day may not be enough to tour the neighborhood. It’s best for you to spend some time in this neighborhood to experience a few days full of history and get lost in the streets with a few friends.