Republic Monument, Istanbul

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Monument to National Rebirth

The Republic Monument (Cumhuriyet Anıtı) is right in the midst of bustling Taksim Square at the northern end of İstiklal Caddesi (Independence Avenue, formerly the Grande Rue de Péra).

A monument? So what?

There’s more to it than you may think….

Under Shari’a (Islamic religious law) in force during the Ottoman Empire, public monuments were not allowed—they were “effigies” (portrayals of beings with an immortal soul) and therefore forbidden as idolatry.

With the coming of the Turkish Republic, however, Kemal Atatürk wanted to make the point that Turkey was now a secular republic with division of state and religion.

The government commissioned the Italian sculptor Pietro Canonica to make a work honoring the leaders of the struggle for independence and the formation of the republic in 1923.

The monument was unveiled in 1928, only five years after the republic was founded.

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