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The Ramparts

The city ramparts bordering on the Sea of Marmara, the natural southern border of our rectangular neighborhood, constituted yet another important definitional landmark for the Kasap ƒlyas mahalle. A gate on the walls (Davudpaœa kapısı) opened on a small plot of land from which jutted out our wharf. These walls had lost all defensive function after the capture of Constantinople and had not undergone any substantial repair work.24 Materials were often extracted from them to build houses. Among the sixteen houses donated to a pious foundation in Kasap ƒlyas in the first half of the sixteenth century, no less than nine were set very close to these city walls. As the description in the deeds of trust shows (cidar-ı kal’a ile mahdud), either the houses themselves or their gardens were abutting on the waterside ramparts. Many shops and warehouses were also contiguous to the city walls in the sixteenth century. We know that three of these shops were endowments of pious foundations, in 1511, 1521, and 1529. The last two were shops/ warehouses for timber and wood. Then as now, there were vegetable gardens as well under the city walls, and one of them, too, had been bequeathed to a foundation in 1515.25
All this leads us to believe that the center of gravity of the sixteenth century population of Kasap ƒlyas had been nearer to the sea. There probably was a relatively greater concentration of houses, shops, and people in the part of the neighborhood between the Kasap ƒlyas mosque, situated more or less in the center of the mahalle, and the southernly ramparts. Compared to this part of the neighborhood, the slopes of the hill toward the Davudpaœa mosque must have been more sparsely settled.

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