CIU Department of Architecture lecturer Asst. Prof. Reyhan Sabri published research on the work of the Ottoman Evkaf organization and its work maintaining and covering architecture during the British Colonial period. The article was published in the International Journal of Heritage Studies, a leading international publication based in the United Kingdom.

In her analytical work based exclusively on original documents, Dr. Sabri examined the changes in the traditional conservation system reserved for buildings administered by Ottoman Evkaf. Sabri focused on the need for maintenance works on Evkaf buildings, the preparation of necessary projects, the issuance of relevant authorization, and the realization of the repair works.

Speaking on the researchundertaken in the article, Dr. Sabri said that the analysis of perceptions and attitudes prevalent in the British colonial era shed light on the past. Sabri pointed out that the work had also established a guideline for a sustainable model of protection and renovation that could be adopted by the Cypriot Evkaf Office.

According to the findings established in the work, the Evkaf Office was taken over from the Ottoman administration in 1878. Pointing out that a sustainable system of renovation concerning the foundation buildings had been in Ottoman practice for centuries at the time of the administrative transfer, Dr. Sabri said “the end-user society had quite an active role within the system. The need for renovation would thus be timely detected, and pressure would be exerted on relevant authorities in instances where the required maintenance was not carried out. Necessary funds were endowed for maintenance purposes”.

Dr. Sabri underlined that the need for maintenance had to be determined early on in order to facilitate reparation works with the readily available funds, without stretching out and triggering more costly repair works. She added that, as exposed by the works, the practice existing in the Ottoman Evkaf system relied on stakeholder participation, systematic control, and preventive reparation works, concepts that are currently adopted in the contemporary practice of sustainable conservation, within the international domain of   cultural heritage.

Dr. Sabri explained that the Evkaf Office had adopted certain practices in the same era leading to disappearance of the Ottoman principle of sustainable conservation, adding “the Office was passive in developing a stand concerning the conservation of buildings that were part of the cultural heritage. As a case in point can be pointed to the particular attention being paid to conservation of Evkaf buildings of Latin roots, whilst those of Ottoman roots were being considered as modern buildings of no particular significance”.

Dr. Reyhan Sabri research article is entitled “Transitions in the Ottoman Waqf’s Traditional Building Upkeep and Maintenance System in Cyprus during the British Colonial Era (1878–1960) and the Emergence of Selective Architectural Conservation Practices”. It can be read in the current issue of the International Journal of Heritage Studies.