In memory of the trials gone through after the 1960 coup, Yassıada has been transformed into Democracy and Liberties Island with a mission of shining a light onto the future, and it has been one of the most unique projects implemented in our country.
One of Istanbul’s 7 islands, Democracy and Liberties Island stands out in the tranquil blue of the Marmara Sea. It is home to 3 museums highlighting the cultural and historic importance of the island.
There are also a variety of historical buildings, open-air installation artworks, and cultural areas with a library as well as event areas consisting of a hotel, the congress hall, cafes, and restaurants.
Our island welcomes everybody in pursuit of witnessing history step by step by experiencing the transformation within the island itself.
Democracy Lighthouse; visible from the coastline of Istanbul, from neighbouring islands, and from ships sailing on the Marmara Sea; is 24m high and gives uninterrupted light, symbolizing the never-ending light of democracy. Lighthouses were previously used for enlightening the surroundings to prevent dangers and to show the way to ships during foggy nights. On Democracy and Liberties Island, the lighthouse further has a metaphorical meaning about democracy; it is the guiding light of democracy in dark periods of time.
What is essential for democracy is the rule of law. Abandoning the law and incorrect practices leads to looking, yet not seeing.
This artwork represents the suitcases of people brought to the island during the trial period and their remaining memories.
This artwork displayed on the grounds shows the correspondence of Adnan Menderes with his wife Berin Menderes in form of letters. The artwork illustrates letters scattered to the sky through woven wires.
As one of the most important communication devices of the time, the radio installation transfers the contents such as music at the time and the coup statement to the visitors.
The building, which consists of three floors, is built for the purpose of holding exhibitions. On the ground floor, the history of the island is displayed chronologically with pictures and small pieces of information from the past to the present.
The island opened to construction late in the Ottoman Empire. It was purchased by the UK Ambassador in Istanbul, Sir Henry Bulwer; and he built some of the buildings on the island, including this castle. Greatly damaged as a result of large earthquakes, the castle was restored as part of the Democracy and Liberties Island project.
This building which was built as a living area during the Henry Bulwer period and used as a bakery and bathhouse in the military period, was renovated within the scope of the project and turned into a library.
A monastery was built on Yassı Island in the 9th century by Theofilos who was the Byzantine Emperor of the time. Later, a church in the name of “Kırk Azizler” (Forty Saints) was built by famous reverend Ignatius, who served as the Patriarch of Istanbul, along with a mihrab for the Virgin Mother Mary on the island. The cellars under the church started to be used as prisons after the 10th century and many were imprisoned here during the Byzantine period.