With the events and activities it organizes, santralistanbul aspires to be a multidimensional and interdisciplinary international platform that contributes to urban revitalization. The Silahtarağa Electric Power Plant (Santral), which has been preserved and transformed into santralistanbul, was the Ottoman Empire’s first urban-scale electric power plant. The plant provided electricity to the city from 1911, when it first went into service on the Golden Horn, Istanbul’s oldest industrial district, to 1983.
Today, the power plant stands as a unique national industrial heritage site following its conversion into santralistanbul, a project that involved the collaboration of the public, private sector and non-governmental organizations. The Silahtarağa Electric Power Plant was granted to Istanbul Bilgi University on 1 May 2004 under a protocol convened with the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources. Between 2004-2007, extensive renovations were conducted at the power plant. Consequently, the once doomed power plant, which had been set up in one of the most prized locations on the Golden Horn, was rescued through the efforts of Istanbul Bilgi University. It thus became one of the most comprehensive transformation projects ever in the area of art and culture in Turkey. santralistanbul opened its doors on 8 September 2007. Located within santralistanbul is the Energy Museum. Set up around the preserved engine rooms of the power plant, it is Turkey’s first industrial archeological museum. The Energy Museum received the “DASA Award” in 2012 from the European Museum Academy. The Main Gallery building, which holds modern art exhibitions and cultural events, received the “International Architecture Awards 2010.” santralistanbul consists of a complex of buildings, some of which used to house the power plant’s maintenance workshops and storage areas. Currently, there are food courts operating in these buildings. There are also buildings where Istanbul Bilgi University’s classrooms are located.
The Energy Museum, which now stands where the former Silahtarağa Electric Power Plant used to operation, accepts visitors. The turbine room of the power plant, which had been built in 1910, was shut down in 1983. Its machines subsequently began to rust. Then came the idea of turning the place into a museum. Today, it is possible visit the AEG, Brown Boveri, Siemens and Thomson Houston-brand turbine generator, which is typical of the advanced technology of the era, in engine room number 1 and 2 in the Energy Museum. The panels through which electricity was generated and distributed to the various parts of Istanbul are located in the Control Room. On the entrance level, there is the Energy Game Area, where fun and science meet. This area contains 22 interactive units where visitors can conduct experiments and engage in such activities as generating their own electric power, making batteries and building magnetic sculptors.
For detailed information, go to www.santralistanbul.org