Santral Istanbul in HistoryIn 1911 construction began on the huge Silahtarağa Power Plant, the first power station to be built in Istanbul , and was in operation until 1983. This plant supplied all of Istanbul’s electric power from 1914 to 1952 and was built by an Austro-Hungarian company. It was erected in Istanbul’s first industrial zone covering an area of 118,000 square metres and first supplied electric to the city’s European side, which was the most commercialised, and in 1926 an underwater cable was laid making it possible to supply the Anatolian side.
The government took over the company in 1937, gave it to IETT ( Istanbul Elektrik, Tramvay ve Tünel) a company that still runs the city’s public transport system and although it has retained its acronym it no longer has anything to do with electricity. The plant was given to a new electric generating company called TEK in 1970 but at that time it was nearing the end of its days.
Museum of Energy and Art GalleryUnder the guidance of the Bilgi University it was turned into a contemporary art space and opened to the public in 2007. Today you will find a museum and art gallery; the gallery hosts excellent short term exhibitions, most of which are very modern and conceptual.
Inside the same building is the Museum of Energy which houses the preserved and original Santral machinery. Visitors can examine the turbine engines that at the time were state of the art, and enter the old Control Room that has most of its equipment still intact; there is also a small interactive science museum.
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