1. Anasayfa
  2. /


The “Union of Historical Towns” seems to have accomplished a great “unity”, a great “walk”, a great “meeting”; once again proved that nature and culture are inseparable and are primary agendas of living…

The permanent attempts of Turkey entering the “Twenty First Century” with widening, progressing effects will be re-evaluated in time and a foundation like the “Union of Historical Towns” will be specifically dwelled upon. In days that the problems following one another are reaching a new peak in Turkey and in the world, even those that came together for the correction of a series of mistakes may not have expected themselves to reach their targets partially in such a short time when they set out with the awareness that it is primarily their duty to achieve the “unity” which the country longs for. Now, they are sharing the joy of observing the power created by this great longing and solidarity.

“Public-local-civil-private” participants of the designated targets, those that walk together with the awareness of such responsibilities, met all over the country and started a debate with great clarity for “all the headlines that need solution”. They made it their unavoidable mission to put the resolutions into practice without loosing any time.

Persons-establishments have private moments, so do communities-cities. If the twenty first century is a starting, a turning point, the “Union of Historical Towns” seems to have accomplished a great “unity”, a great “walk”, a great “meeting”; once again proved that nature and culture are inseparable and are primary agendas of living… When initially you define your identity precisely, set your accumulation and power on sound assets, start out with the responsibility of being the Country of Civilizations; only then can you prove in a short while that the rest of the world will not be able to close their eyes to the facts that are attained. The “Union of Historical Towns” seems to have managed, accomplished this phase as well.

We hope that in our world full of ups and downs, for it to be our collective expectation, longing and hope to live in cities with identity in this country.

Prof. Dr. Metin Sözen
President of ÇEKÜL Foundation


As we entered the year 2000, “Europe, A Common Heritage” campaign was a part of the activities organized all over the world. Mr. Erdoğan Bilenser, the Bursa Metropolitan Municipality President of the period, attended the “European Historic Towns and Regions Association” foundation meetings held on 7-8 October 1999 in Strasbourg on behalf of Turkey as an observing member with the proposal of the Turkish Republic Ministry for Culture and Tourism and the foundation studies for the “Union of Historical Towns” has started within the Bursa Metropolitan Municipality. Ministry for Culture and Tourism, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Ministry for Internal Affairs, Çekül Foundation with its all being and Chamber of Architects had significant contributions to the foundation period of the Union.

In the “Kastamonu Declaration” published following the “Regional Governors Meeting” held on 3-4 June 2000 in Kastamonu under the presidency of Mr. Sadettin Tantan, the Minister of Internal Affairs of the period, the obligation for the regional administrations to become organized with the principle to protect and improve the cultural and natural assets, is publicized. On the 22 July 2000, the municipalities of 54 historic towns that are invited to the foundation meeting in Bursa accepted the Charter of the Union of Historical Towns and signed the “Union of Historical Towns Declaration”. Since that date on, the “Union of Historical Towns”, a member of the European Historic Towns and Regions Association with its number of members around 200, has its headquarters in Kayseri and is administered by Mr. Asım Güzelbey, the President of the Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality


The Union of Historical Towns aims to obtain solidarity and collaboration among the municipalities in protection of the natural, cultural and historical heritage of the cities.

Neutrality: The Union of Historical Towns is a platform that “can keep the political party connections in the background” for the impartial scrutiny of the national interests and its 455 members are the presidents of the regional administrations that “have proved their determination in protection of the natural and cultural assets within their region”.

Collaboration: The studies are carried on with a holistic approach and with the “public-local-civil-private collaboration”.

Holistic Approach: Not only tangible like architecture or intangible cultural heritage but also “nature” is at the center of protection. Natural, historical and cultural values are protected as a whole.

Protection at Basin Level: In the “protection at basin level” principle accepted by the union, protection overlaps with the regional economical development. Protection that was carried to the town scale from the building/ monument scale is now widened to the “basin”. The towns that border the same basin share “common” problems which have “common” solutions; therefore the towns forming the basin have started to collaborate in seeking those common solutions.



The most widespread communication of the union happens at the gatherings that are called the “meeting”. Each time, these meetings are arranged at a different geography with a different topic. Each meeting gives participants, the chance to know that region from the inside and the host, to take his problems out into the daylight first hand and to reach healthier solutions. With every new meeting the details of this “acknowledgement and introduction” grows finer, more creative and includes more functional elements.

Contest for the Encouragement of the Cultural and Historical Heritage Protection Projects and Applications

As the union’s objective is to institutionalize a “local administrations’ solidarity” for the protection of the cultural heritage and the old town texture in historic cities, the “contest for the encouragement of the cultural and historical heritage protection projects and applications” is organized each year between the members to encourage and support the municipalities’ efforts in this aspect.


Seminars aim to equip the member municipalities’ personnel and the supporting staff with the current and basic information to develop their existing capacity and increase their abilities. Seminars are intended for the supporting staff like the architects, restorators, city planners, survey engineers and the finance specialists working for the municipalities.

200 Common, 200 Creation

The purpose of this fund is to support the administrations of the municipalities that are partners of the Union of Historical Towns (UHT) in their projects that aim to protect the natural and cultural assets in their towns and to help achieve the sustainable historical and cultural progress with regard to the UHT principals.


The studies of the Union of Historical Towns are announced to extensive crowds of people by the Union’s publication “Local Identity from the Past to the Future” periodical and the web site www.tarihikentlerbirligi.org. Also the books titled “Seyir Defteri (The Log Book)” which collects the reflections of the Union’s activities in the press and “Kimlikli Gelecek için Tarihsel Buluşma (The Historical Meeting for the Future with Identity)” are amongst other publications of the Union.


1. The towns that give importance and priority to the protection of the historical and natural environment in their local administration politics; those towns that are making an effort to improve the city culture, the civil community participation and the sensitivity of the community about these issues.
2. The towns that an important and effective part of which is registered to be an “urban site, archeological site, historical site or natural site”.
3. The towns that have important buildings and that are known especially for these buildings.
4. The towns that live on top of or together with one or more ancient cities.
5. The historical towns that have formed the “sibling town” bond with historical towns in other countries.
6. The towns that important historical events took place.
7. The towns that were the capitals of civilizations.
8. The towns that host the cultural assets in the World Heritage List of the UNESCO.
9. Historical metropolitans.


1. The “Municipality Board Decision” stating the request to become a member and accepting the Union’s charter is taken;
2. The two full and the two extra members to represent the municipality in the Union of Historical Towns are designated in the Board Decision;
3. One of the full members to represent the municipality in the Union of Historical Towns is required be the president of the municipality and the other members are required to be the members of the Board.
4. The “Reasoned Report” is attached to the taken decision stating which of the membership conditions fit the municipality;
5. One copy of the “Board Decision” and the “Reasoned Report” are sent to the Union of Historical Towns Headquarters Serifler Yalisi Emirgan Mektebi Sk. No:7 Emirgan Sarıyer Istanbul and one copy of each are sent to the Union of Historical Towns Beyoglu Office Ekrem Tur Sokak No:8 34435 Beyoğlu, Istanbul.


President of the Union
Hayrettin GÜNGÖR – President of  Kahramanmaraş Metropolitan Municipality

1. Parliamentary Deputy Speaker

Recep GÜRKAN President of Edirne Metropolitan Municipality

2. Parliamentary Deputy Speaker

Mehmet SARI – President of Amasya Metropolitan Municipality


Members of Parliament Committee

Ali Orkun CENGİZ – Mayor of  Burdur
Mehmet Sait KILIÇ – Mayor of Oğuzeli
Özdilek ÖZCAN – Mayor of Niksar
İbrahim Sadık EDİS – Mayor of Vezirköprü

Board Members

Alp KARGI – Mayor of Merzifon
Cemal AKIN– Mayor of Bartın
Memduh BÜYÜKKILIÇ – President of Kayseri Metropolitan Municipality
Mustafa DÜNDAR – President of Amasya Metropolitan Municipality
Şükrü GENÇ – Mayor of Sarıyer
Ülgür GÖKHAN – Mayor of Çanakkale

Plan and Budget Commission Members
Bülent KANTARCI – Mayor of Çaycuma
Metin ORAL – Mayor of Altınova
Emin ERSOY – Mayor of Havran
Halil ÖZTÜRK – Mayor of Elmalı
Zehra ÖZYOL – Mayor of Gümüşhacıköy

President of the Advisory Board
Prof. Dr. Metin Sözen

Secretary General

Advisory Board Members
Prof. Dr. Metin Sözen
Erdoğan Bilenser
Mehmet Özhaseki
Dr. Asım Güzelbey
Kayhan Kavas
Prof.Dr.Ülkü Azrak
Prof.Dr. Zekai Görgülü
Prof.Dr.Ruşen Keleş
Fikret Nesip Üçcan
Süleyman Elban
Mithat Kırayoğlu
Hasan Özgen
Fikret Toksöz
Yusuf Ziya Yılmaz
Nihat Çiftçi


If you want to register for the newsletter, please fill out the form in the link.

Union of Historical Towns in Türkiye