Known for its sets for movies and TV series today, Beykoz Kundura owns a deep-rooted history including the Ottoman and Republic Period. This venue where leather and paper factories were located in the Ottoman period continued its activities as Sümerbank Beykoz Leather and Shoe Factory after the establishment of the republic, until 1999. In this period, Beykoz Kundura served as a living space populated by almost three thousand people with its units such as daycare, canteen, movie theater, healthcare center and library, as well as the business spaces when leather and shoe were produced. It therefore had a vital role in the social and economic structure of Beykoz.

Kundura Memory represents an actualized archive project to understand and know this industrial and cultural heritage better and cherish the memory of people who shaped and maintained Beykoz Kundura, and carried it to its important place in Turkish economy.

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A selection of data obtained in Kundura Memory project researching the history of Beykoz Kundura is exhibited in Carpenter’s Shop. As the name implies, this space which was used as carpenter’s shop in Sümerbank period offers information and documents on the background of Beykoz Kundura. A venue where data like paper materials, plans and drawings, banners, machinery and ads remaining from the factory period are archived, Carpenter’s Shop plays a remarkable role making Kundura Memory simply more than just an oral history project. Likewise, the exhibition area displays many objects, from a baby’s crib remaining from the nursery, to an old sewing machine, which all enshrine the memory of factory.

Along with that, Carpenter’s Shop takes its guests into a nostalgic travel through time with its enchanting atmosphere, where photographs are exhibited, showing the people who used to be an indivisible part of Beykoz Kundura in its past. Since there are ongoing renovation works in the exhibition area, Carpenter's Shop is presently available only for the former factory workers, together with the visitors of Kundura Cinema and Kundura Stage.

A poet ın Beykoz Kundura

Maintaining the traces in Beykoz Kundura’s centennial history as an oral history project, Kundura Memory attributes to the memoirs of the workers, officers and families the factory employed.
Beykoz Kundura opened its doors to the former workers of the factory once again, within the scope of this project started in 2015. The workers reminisced about the past days; Kundura Memory Archive was formed by their memories, nearly 1500 photographs and hundreds of press clippings, together with various documents. In addition to officers and workers at every level, almost 200 people were interviewed, including the drivers, fire crew, captains and their relatives. The interviews, which continue within the scope of Kundura Memory project, focus on social life and sense of belonging in factory period, rights granted to employees, life in lodgment, social facilities of nursery, cinema and concerts, as well as the relations between the employees, in addition to the general operation, manufacturing type and output, technological developments and working conditions of the factory.
“(...) We were taking out the leather with planks when the boat berthed and carrying everything just like that. Two big sacks of 180 kilograms, 90 kilograms each… We used to hump the saddle with two people in 1955. Then the manpower disappeared when crane and machineries came. Everything became easier. Just like that young lady; 26 years, 6 months and 17 days…”
Hasan Yeşiltaş worked at Lime Pit section for 26 years, between 1956 and 1981.
This anthropic-industrial archeological excavation project that started in 2015 in collaboration with History Foundation and continues with Kundura Memory team comprises of information and documents compiled from state, university and press archives.
The famous poet, Cahit Sıtkı Tarancı’s job application document filed for a position in the factory in 1937 was also brought to light within the scope of this project. In this application document, filed prior to the composition of his well-known poem “Age Thirty Five”, the famous poet answers the question for “desired salary” as “whatever deemed suitable”...

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