In Cappadocia, the cave dwellers who dwelt in living organisms for centuries, were forced to evacuate because their fairy chimneys were argued by the authorities and ministries to be collapsing. Local people went on saying: ‘Bir evi tutan, içindeki nefestir’, meaning, ‘what keeps a house alive is the breath of those living inside’. Since the houses were deserted, with the lack of maintenance, fairy chimneys started collapsing.
The-whole-organism-in-its-environment’, having been kept alive for centuries by the people and the pigeons living inside, now, left all alone, was destroying its own environment. One could easily see the empty pigeon nests, as half of the fairy chimney entirely collapsed.
Over recent years, large-scale disasters have occurred more often, causing losses to life and property and damage to cultural heritage. Disaster risk statistics and methodologies usually fail to take into account heritage as a sensitive and valuable element, though it is increasingly affected by diverse threats, and damages and losses are no longer extraordinary events. With a few notable exceptions, efforts to protect heritage from disaster risk remain
fragmented while efforts to learn from heritage for building resilience are idiosyncratic or inconsistent.
We must prepare to avoid irreparable loss and generate new mechanisms to provide appropriate response are needed. Disasters’ severity depends on the impact of the hazard on a system; while the scale of the impact depends on how prepared we are. Different choices can either make us more vulnerable or more resilient to disasters.
Even if and where the relation between climate change and increase in disaster frequency, such as flooding, drought, rising temperatures etc., is acknowledged, the impact of climate change on cultural heritage is rarely addressed. Furthermore, review of emergency protocols over the last 20 years, mostly in response to major natural disaster events, has rarely taken into account long-term climate change scenarios, although recent developments in climate change modelling have resulted in more stable and reliable predictions, allowing advanced impact assessments and modelling. Similarly to climate change impact, cultural heritage is rarely consistently integrated into disaster management.
Proposed Solution: FAIRY DUST
A brand owned by the local community that ensures preservation of biocultural diversity and functions as a social hub for scientists, conservationists, farmers, artisans, artists and pigeons. Arising from long term research and activities in the area since 2008, we developed the idea of creating a social enterprise called Fairy Dust, that will become not only a brand but will also function as a social hub.
Inspired by the unique relationship between the Cappadocian cave dwellers, their fairy chimneys, and pigeons, we have initiated this project to market the quality products that grow in the area; to revitalize the traditional methods of vineyard keeping; and to sustain the cultural heritage site.
For centuries, cave dwellers worked together in the fairy chimneys, which served as social hubs. Their caves provided the space to perform social networks and affirm ties between households. The fairy chimneys and the outer, surrounding space and the landscape shared by the community and the pigeons were not only influential in terms of experiencing the place, but also as a stimulative force for building peoples’ own presence in the landscape.
Also, by functioning as the central base where families participated in and constituted their relationship to society, the landscape of fairy chimneys make it possible to talk about experiences of collective presence and collective identity-building processes.
Revitalizing such traditions, our Enterprise runs non-hierarchically, led by an interdisciplinary group. We will work to exploring and researching the area, while other group members focus on branding the local products (dry fruits, raisins, tea and others) that are produced on volcanic ash solely with pigeon manure. When mixed with the volcanic ash and ‘tuff’ soil eroded from volcanic rock, the manure produces the very special Cappadocian wine and ‘pectin’, the aromatic wine syrup prepared by women in almost every household, and served to guests during the harvest festival in September.