“It is an Islamic White House,” a social media user quipped, while a tabloid simply branded it “a cathedral.” A new town hall building in northwestern Turkey may be both or neither. An image of the building built to house municipal services in Tekirdağ province’s town of Marmaraereğli went viral Thursday. White marble balconies, a glass pane taking up half its facade and a giant dome on the roof gave enough fodder for social media users to mock the odd mix of architectural styles.
The municipality was quick to respond via Twitter that it was based on “local architecture.” District Mayor İbrahim Uyan echoed support in an interview and said this small seaside town was home to three civilizations over the centuries. “When our population expanded, we decided to build an additional town hall. We did research on how it should look in terms of architecture. This is a historic town that was once the capital of Perinthus, an ancient city at the height of Greek civilization in the ancient region of Thrace. This is a town that was once controlled by Alexander the Great. We have Byzantine and Ottoman heritage as well. So, we decided that the building should reflect its cultural legacy,” he said. “It’s made of traditional Marmara marble mined in the region. It has columns representing classic architecture as well as traditional arches and windows seen in Turkish architecture. The dome is a globally used component in the architecture,” the mayor asserted.
He said they have received mixed reactions from the public. “Some people criticized it and some, including architects, praised it,” he said. Uyan added that the new building may attract more tourists to the town.
Melek Veliler, a local, believes the criticism is unfair. “I’m glad our town has such a beautiful building,” she said. Yusuf Erdeniz, another local, said the building is “unusual but fine.” “It fits well in our town. People love it as it resembles old buildings,” he says.
–Top Twitter To Follow: