Challenges on Sustainability and Alternative Tourism as a Combination of Culture, Nature, and Rural Development: The Case of Cumalikizik
Cumalikizik is one of the rural settlements on the north slope of Mt. Uludag with its 700 years history, near the industrial city of Bursa. It has become one of the important attractions on the daily visitor route in Bursa. The sustainability of Cumalikizik is important since there is an expectation that it would be a good example for other rural settlements. In this section, the historical development process of Cumalikizik and how it became a tourism attraction point has been evaluated (Fig. 20.2). The potentials, issues, and challenges of Cumalikizik as a tourism destination are discussed, regarding the benchmarks of its life cycle and its main actors.
Cumalikizik is located 12 km from the center of Bursa and is on the north edge of Mt. Uludag. It was first settled in 1326 as one of the seven Kizik villages and was
Fig. 20.2 Historical development process of Cumalikizik (Source: Prepared by authors based on different sources)
Fig. 20.3 An aerial view of Cumalikizik (Yildirim Municipality—Photographer: Ekrem AKVARDAR)
on the Silk Road. Furthermore, it is the only one keeping its historical village fabric and Ottoman style architecture (Figs. 20.3, 20.4). Culture is an outcome of daily life experiences with its built environment. While the population of the village was 1000, it increased to 3971 in 1985. The first exploration of the village by academia was in 1981, and the village was announced as Urban and Natural Protection Site. A conservation plan was prepared in 1991. Cumalikizik became an object of pop culture as the stage of several popular movies and soap operas in the 1990s. However, the conditions of historical buildings were not suitable for contemporary requirements; therefore, people have been leaving the houses and deterioration has become a significant issue. Bursa Local Agenda 21 focused on Cumalikizik for the purpose of preserving cultural heritage (Schneider and §ebin 2000). The physical changes were handled, while the streets and courtyards of houses were organized for visitors. Traditional arts and a Raspberry Festival were the dissemination of culture and embedded values. A project house was established to provide consultancy and technical assistance to the local people.
The main economic sector was agriculture, while the traditional products such as silkworms and chestnuts disappeared because of some diseases. During the period, the Agricultural Development Cooperative and the Women’s Training and Development Association were the significant initiatives for capacity building within the community. The role of women in socioeconomic life has changed by stimulating homemade local products and opening the courtyards of houses as small restaurants (Akinciturk et al. 2010; Dostoglu 2002). However, there have been
Fig. 20.4 A street view of Cumalikizik (Yildirim Municipality—Photographer: Ekrem AKVARDAR)
attempts for family lodging, but the locals are not willing to do this. The strong part of Cumalikizik is the ownership of the properties, which has not changed yet. The population of Cumalikizik dropped to 870 in 2010, since the job opportunities have been quite low, especially for young people (Oren et al. 2001) (Fig. 20.2).
In 2007, the Living Ottoman Village in the Third Millennium-Cumalikizik Collaboration Project was prepared not only for conservation and revitalization of the historical settlement but also for sustainable development. The main actors were the Special Provincial Administration of Bursa (as central government) mainly to provide the funds for restoration and technical support, the Yildirim Municipality (as the local government) responsible for the implementation, and the Chamber of Architects. The project is identified as an experience of good governance not only for the collaboration of different level of authorities and stakeholders but also for the commitment of the inhabitants to the benefits of the village. But Ta§ et al. (2009) also concluded that the limited awareness about sustainability has caused inhabitants to give priority to the short-term economic benefits of the project.
The Development Agency and the Yildirim Municipality conducted a project in 2010, called the ‘Nonvanishing History Guard through Time’, for sustainability and for preserving and enhancing cultural heritage and promoting tourism. But the most important attempt was to apply for membership on the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List by the Bursa Greater Municipality. Actually after ‘Bursa and Cumalikizik Village Early Ottoman Era Urban and Rural Settlement’ application was made in 2000, the area was included on the Tentative List of World Heritage Sites. With this attempt, Cumalikizik may become a destination both locally and globally. Moreover, the management plan should be prepared with the aim of sustainability of world heritage sites. The Site Management Unit was founded in 2011, and the management plan was prepared for the period 2013-2018. With other cultural heritage sites in Bursa’s historical districts, Cumalikizik was declared the 998th among the World Heritage Sites (Fig. 20.2). Three objectives under the tourism- promotion-visitor management title of the Management Plan are identified as: creating a tourism infrastructure to sustain the original identity of the village; creating policies to increase awareness about the village as a national and international destination; and establishing a system to increase its quality. However, Bozta§ (2014) claimed that the success of the plan will depend on the willingness of all parties to cooperate for commonly formulated actions in the Action Plan 20132018.
The life cycle and development process of Cumalikizik pointed out the main issues and conflicts. Although it became one of the important destinations for domestic tourism in the 1990s, for more than 20 years it did not have a management plan for the sustainability of cultural heritage. Furthermore, there has always been an issue on the lack of finance for conservation and revitalization. Although the local people, especially women, are involved in the tourism development process producing homemade/local products, Cumalikizik could not escape the exhibit of artificial, non-local products during the time period. This change makes a negative impact on the image of Cumalikizik and does not stimulate the original and traditional goods and food. The influence of popular culture has increased the number of tourists, but it also makes Cumalikizik into something different than itself. Although the ownership has not been changing as was expected, the prices in the village have obviously increased. Another critical point is that all the projects or initiatives try to make Cumalikizik a well-known destination not only for national but international demand, while the increasing number of tourists would be a threat for the sustainability of the village. Finally, there should be an impact evaluation of the local community trying to find out the answers of the following questions: whether economic gains of the local people increase related to tourism; whether they continue agricultural production for sustainability as well; whether the economic gains are used for preserving natural and cultural values. If Cumalikizik would be successful in minimizing the negative impacts and sustain the economic gains and benefits of tourism, then it would be a good example with its experiences to the other villages.
For the sustainability of Cumalikizik, an integrated approach should be followed and realized that Cumalikizik is not only a cultural tourism destination but also has potential for ecotourism based on the natural values, and rural tourism in order to maintain agricultural economy (Fig. 20.5). Therefore, Cumalikizik is an original destination for alternative tourism with the combination of culture, nature, and rural tourism, whereas the local development should be at the center of these relations. Sustainability of alternative tourism is very much related to the preserving and improving of the local and unique features of destination in order to have a competitive advantage.
Fig. 20.5 Conceptual framework of integrated approach to sustainability of alternative tourism (Source: Authors)