Vol. 20 No. 1 (2023): Earthquake. risk. reduction.

Changing the identity of a place by changing street names: The process of renaming the streets of Üsküdar between 1927-1934

Architectural and Urban Studies, Graduate School, Kadir Has University, Istanbul, Turkey
Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, United Kingdom

Published 2023-03-30


  • Place,
  • Urban history,
  • Urban memory,
  • Üsküdar,
  • Toponymy.

How to Cite

DALGIÇ, E. N., & YILDIRIM OKTA, B. (2023). Changing the identity of a place by changing street names: The process of renaming the streets of Üsküdar between 1927-1934. A|Z ITU JOURNAL OF THE FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE, 20(1), 181–197. https://doi.org/10.58278/0.2023.1


Street names are part of our everyday lives. People constantly encounter street signs during their daily practices. Their visible position in the urban landscape makes street names suitable to use as visual/linguistic signifiers of cultures, histories, values, and ideologies. Renaming streets is one of the first actions of the new regimes to create their ideological hegemony in the territories they rule. It is essential to resolve the conflicts between urban memory and the sovereign’s history to legitimize their geographical claims by changing anything that does not match with their mental constructs in the urban landscape. This article provides a critical discourse analysis of the relationship between space, place, identity, urban memory, and street names by examining the alteration of street names in Üsküdar, a district of Istanbul, between 1927 and 1934. Even though Üsküdar was one of the regions where the minorities lived exceedingly in the Ottoman period, in the current Üsküdar identity, there are only a few traces left of its former inhabitants. Hence, in terms of redefining identity, Üsküdar can be considered a prominent example compared to the other regions the minorities lived in Istanbul. The primary source for this inquiry is Osman Nuri Ergins İstanbul Şehri Rehberi (Istanbul City Guide), which was published in 1934. Archival documents and newspaper articles about street name changes are also used in this research. The relationship between socio-political transformation in Üsküdar and changes in urban toponymy is investigated in this study.