SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF RURAL TOURISM WITHIN THE PERIPHERY OF METROPOLITAN AREAS: THE POLONEZ VILLAGE (ISTANBUL, TURKEY)


Bakirci M.

CARPATHIAN JOURNAL OF EARTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES, vol.10, pp.157-166, 2015 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 10 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Title of Journal : CARPATHIAN JOURNAL OF EARTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
  • Page Numbers: pp.157-166

Abstract

Located in the periphery of Istanbul, Polonez village stands out with its authentic attributes for physical and human geography. Being a rural settlement in the forest, the village was founded by the Polish refugees in 1842, with the approval of Ottoman Empire. Originally designed on a temporary basis, it turned into a permanent rural settlement when the immigrating population began to stay. This society reflected their own lifestyle and cultural structure in this village. Although tourism became prominent through the hunting activities in early 1900s, the traditional structure had been preserved for a long time, leaning on agriculture and livestock. Thanks to the infrastructural improvement activities conducted since 1970s, Polonez village began to attract more visitors. Following the inauguration of the Second Bosphorus Bridge in 1988, the interconnecting road allowed easier transportation to Polonez village, and tourism became even more prominent for the development of the village. Being recognized as a "Natural Park" in 1994 and a "Natural Protected Area" in 1995, the village has been able to focus on tourism activities by preserving its authentic nature for a long time, and it has become even more attractive in respect of touristic investments. Currently being an important centre of attraction for daily recreation activities as well as weekend tourism particularly due to its close proximity to Istanbul, Polonez village holds tourism on top of the list, considering its activity structure. 426 people live in the village in accordance with the 2013 data, it is inaccessible by public transport, and there are quite a range of guesthouses and hotels for lodging. Offering an opportunity to visit historical places, to taste local food, to use picnic areas, to take place in a range of touristic activities including nature sports, creative activities and festivals, Polonez village currently faces a change in its structure due to the amendment made on the zoning plan in November 2013, and the recent infrastructure activities conducted within its periphery. Although the village preserved its authentic structure for decades thanks to the consciousness actions of its people as well as the legal restriction, it is now feared that the draft zoning amendment may pave the way for housing, and its authentic characteristics will fade away, with negative effects on its sustainable development.