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Short History


When relating the concept of cultural heritage protection to the laws related to this field, the history of Turkish cultural heritage goes back to the year 1869. It was in this year that the first law on cultural heritage in Turkey was issued. The law, however, was mainly concerned with small objects, not with monuments or sites. On the other hand, the idea of protecting cultural heritage and the importance attributed to heritage was already visible in the early Ottoman period. Each public building, such as mosques, baths, caravanserais, and schools, had its own pious foundation that was responsible for their maintenance. These foundations allocated money to the maintenance of these buildings, which helped most of them to survive until the present day. Obviously, the aim of the pious foundations was not primarily based on the idea of protecting cultural heritage, but it may still be seen as a first step towards the modern idea of protection and the importance given to the maintenance of monumental buildings.