This chapter describes how the hamam began to show signs of aging. This included a redefinition of its economic family relations, as it became a burden to the endowment and was rented out according to a practice that approximated the status of renters to that of owners. Furthermore, old age now meant that after a disastrous fire in 1865 novel city planning practices assigned less value to the sixteenth-century structure and allowed the monument to be mutilated for the sake of building a European-style boulevard wide enough for tramway traffic. At the same time, the hamam took on a new identity as an emblem of Ottoman cultural heritage to be displayed at nineteenth-century world fairs and exhibitions which required each nation to represent itself by easily recognizable architectural icons. With the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, this split identity continued: on the one hand, hamams constituted an old, redundant institution standing for the Ottoman Empire and lifestyle, resulting in neglect and destruction; on the other hand, they were part of the cultural heritage that every nation-state needs to legitimise itself. Nevertheless, the Çemberlitaş Hamamı managed to survive for practical reasons, as it still provided hygiene and entertainment.
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