— The Erimtan Angle —

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In the heart of Istanbul’s old city, in the neighbourhood of Sultanahmet, named after the world-famous Blue Mosque erected by Sultan Ahmed I in the early 17th century, an even older building, or rather its remains, are now up for sale. The 550-year old İshak Paşa Hamamı (or ‘Turkish bath’) was first put up for sale in 2014, with a price tag of $6 million. At that stage a suitable buyer did apparently not materialise and the owners gave up on the idea of selling the old ruin. But, some time ago, at the end of 2018, to be precise, the precarious economic circumstances prevailing in the AKP-led New Turkey forced the owners to reconsider, putting the property up for sale again and this time even halving the price tag as well. In the local daily Gazete Damga, the writer and editor Ekrem Hacıhasanoğlu claims that the potential buyer is supposed to have the property restored wthout damaging or altering its external appearance and to refurbish the interior according to the requirements of the original. Furhtermore, Hacıhasanoğlu maintains that the lucky buyer is also not allowed to exploit his new piece of real estate as a hotel.

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İshak Paşa was an Ottoman statesman active during the reigns of the Sultans Mehmed II (aka Fatih) and Bayezid II, and the hamam had been part of a külliye also containing a mosque and a school. In fact, the now ruined bath is on the UNESCO world heritage list, according to the report published in the daily Cumhuriyet.1

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1“550 yıllık İshak Paşa Hamamı satılığa çıkarıldı” Cumhuriyet (04 January 2019). http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/1191276/550_yillik_ishak_Pasa_Hamami_satiliga_cikarildi.html

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