Historical Buildings in Beyoğlu and Their Stories

Beyoğlu, one of the most popular districts of Istanbul, is among the places that attract attention with its historical buildings and architecture from the 15th century. The district, which is one of the few major districts of the world and witnessed countless cultures, takes you on a deep journey in the past with its historical buildings that are the subject of stories.

Turkey’s First Fashion House; Botter Apartment

Botter Apartment is an apartment located next to the Swedish Consulate on Istiklal Street. Built by the famous architect Raimondo D’Aronco in accordance with the request of Tailor Jean Botter, the apartment is among the oldest buildings in Istanbul. Jean Botter, the private tailor of Sultan Abdülhamid, the sultan of that period, used the apartment for many years, both as a living space, as a tailor shop and boutique. Jean Botter, a member of a Dutch family, gives the building his surname Botter. Thus, the Botter Apartment takes its name from the Tailor Jean Botter
The Botter family’s Istanbul adventure ends with the news of the death of the family’s young son. After sad farewell to Istanbul, the family leaves the country by selling the Botter apartment and settles in Paris.

Apartment Overlooking the Golden Horn and With a Tragic Story; Frej Apartment

Frej Apartment takes its name from the Selim Hanna Frej of Lebanese. The Frej family is among the few wealthy people in the high society of the period and wealthy enough to lend money to the state. All 4 floors of Frej Apartment belong to the Frej family. It is rumored that the children’s figures in the architecture of the building reflect the children of the family. Frej Apartment, located at the intersection of Bankalar Street and Meşrutiyet Street in Şişhane, is an example of classical European architecture with its grand and magnificent architecture.

When we look at the story of Frej Apartment, we come across a tragic story. One of Selim Hanna Frej’s children, Angel marries Feridun Dirimtekin, one of the well to do and handsome young people of the period when she reaches the age of marriage. Angel, who took the name Aysel with this marriage, continues to show up in high society and invitations that he is accustomed to from her family. The change in Aysel Hanım’s life begins with Feridun Bey’s retirement. First of all, Frej Apartment, which remained from his family, is sold. She then moves to an apartment in Nişantaşı with her husband. For Aysel, the setbacks precisely begin when her husband, Feridun Bey, broke her leg as a result of an accident and died in a short time. The inheritance fights that started with the death of Mr Feridun continue with the theft of the antiques in his house and finally, with the heirs sending Mrs Aysel to the mental hospital and from there to the nursing home. Mrs Aysel eventually falls into a pit like her husband, first breaking her leg and then passing away in a short time.

Istanbul’s First Reinforced Concrete Building: Mısır Apartment

As the name suggests, the building built by architect Hovsep Aznavuryan in the name of Egyptian Hidivi Abbas Halim Pasha in 1870 takes its name from here. Mısır Apartment is located at the intersection of İstiklal Street and Acara Street and consists of 6 floors.

Having a classic story, the Egyptian Apartment is divided into floors by the heirs of the Egyptian Hidivi Abbas Halim Pasha and transformed into an apartment. In 1940, businessman Hayri İpar buys the building. Hayri İpar’s son Ali İpar settled here with his Hollywood star wife Virginia Bruce. The building lives its most magnificent life in this period; It hosts many invitations, balls and organizations.
The building was sold again in 2000, it is an apartment building that preserves its history for more than 100 years; poet Mehmet Akif Ersoy, Mithat Cemal Kuntay, Israeli Foreign Officer Reuven Shiloah mansions. Apart from these, the building was used as a practice by Atatürk’s dentist Sami Günzberg and as a work office by Hüsamettin Cindoruk over time.

Beyoğlu’s Oldest Building: Kamondo Apartment

Built by the Commando Family, the building attracts attention with its architectural features. The building, located on Serdar-ı Ekrem Street, is at the same allignment of Galata Tower.
The Kamondo Apartments is home to many poets and writers. The prominent names are; Sait Faik, Yaşar Kemal, Orhan Veli, Oktay Rifat, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar and Melih Cevdet Anday.

The Most Magnificent Building of the District; Cercle D’Orient (Big Club)

The building used by Abraham Pasha as a residence was built by French architect Alexandre Vallaury. Abraham Pasha, one of the few wealthy people of the period, rents the mezzanine of the building to the Big Club. Thus, Beyoğlu’s most intriguing building starts to attract more attention. The Paris’s famous Chavin’s shop, the shop of Mir and Cottereau, one of the famous tailors of the period, and Stavraki’s barber shop make the building more popular.

The upper floor of the building is used for a long time by the Big Club where bridge, baccarat and poker games are played. When Abraham Pasha, known for his gambling addiction, could not pay the debt he received from the bank, the building passed into the hands of the Ottoman Bank.

Italian Architecture; Dogan Apartment

The built by the Belgian Helbig Family at the end of the 1800’s, the building has been used as the Helbig Apartment for many years. Helbig Apartment, located on Serdar-ı Ekrem Street, also draws attention with its architecture.

The building is first auctioned to Mair de Botton and is named Botton Han. It is then sold to the Berlin based Victoria insurance company and takes the name Victoria Han. It takes its current name from Kazım Taşkent, the founder of Yapı Kredi Bank in 1942. The name of his son Doğan, who died in an accident in the Alps in 1939, is given to the building.

A Building Witnessing History: Pera Palace

Pera Palace, one of the stops of the famous Orient Express and the first hotel in the modern sense of our geography, is also the first place where electricity is used outside the palace. The building, whose construction started in 1892, opened with a magnificent ball in 1895. The hotel, which has neoclassical, art nouveau and oriental style architectural features, has been one of the international symbols of Istanbul since the day it was opened. Pera Palace, the first building in which electric elevators were used, has hosted many world famous names and at the same time preserved room 101 where Mustafa Kemal Atatürk stayed and turned it into a museum.

This building, which was born in Istanbul and bears the signature of Alexander Vallaury, which is of French origin and brought many beautiful architectural structures to Istanbul, continues to host guests today as a hotel.

The Inspiration Nest of Artists: Narmanlı Han

It is estimated that Narmanlı Han, another of the oldest buildings in Beyoğlu, was built in the first half of the 19th century. The building, which was used as the Russian Consulate building for many years, was bought by the brothers Avni and Sıtkı Narman in 1930 and took its current name.

Narmanlı Han, which is the source of inspiration for the artists, is the building in which Bedri Rahmi’s poems, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar’s “Peace” novel, and Aliye Berger’s paintings are completed.

Change of Historical Buildings in Beyoğlu

Buildings that have witnessed different cultures change over the years with restoration works.
Botter Apartments are divided into floors in the form of an apartment after the Botter family. The building, which was used as a bank branch in 1960, was started to be used as an advertising agency by Ferit Edgü in 1972. It is currently registered as a cultural asset that needs to be protected first degree.

Frej Apartment is divided into floors by his heirs as an apartment. The building, which was used as a business center for many years, is now waiting to become a hotel.
Once the owners of the Egyptian Apartment change, the building is divided into floors. Today, some floors are used as a restaurant, theater, art gallery, club and study area.
The Kamondo Apartment has been restored and made earthquake resistant. With its new appearance, the restoration is completed by emphasizing the architectural features closest to the original.
The Cercle D’Orient (Big Club) is among the other important historical buildings restored in 2016. The building, which was restored without spoiling its original appearance by remaining loyal to its interlocking halls, has now been brought to Beyoğlu as Grand Pera.

Doğan Apartment is the building which is the beginning of apartment life in Beyoğlu. The building, which preserves its Italian architecture and shape, is now rented as a living space by famous artists.

Narmanlı Han, which remained empty for many years, is restored by trying to remain faithful to its original. There are many restaurants and cafes in the building, which is currently used as a shopping center.

Historical Buildings and Architecture in Beyoğlu

The historical buildings in Beyoğlu attract attention with their European architecture and Byzantine ruins. The Art Nouveau architectural trend is striking in the structure of buildings. If you wish, let’s take a brief look at the architecture of the buildings whose stories we have learned and witnessed their transformation!

Botter Apartment, the Art Nouveau trend in Turkey is considered to be the most obvious example. The Botter Apartment attracts attention with its elegant and curved decorative ornaments. The most influential example of the Art Nouveau trend in the world where Baroque style features can be seen is Casa Batlló in Barcelona.

Frej Apartments are also among the historical buildings with Art Nouveau style. The decorations on the front of the building are quite high and the side facades are left plain. Another example of Art Nouveau architecture is the Mısır Apartment.

The Kamondo Apartment, designed in Neo-Classical architecture, is the best example of the trend in Istanbul in this sense. The most important known example in the world is the Prado Museum in Madrid.

It is located in the Cercle D’Orient building among the buildings with Neo-Classical architecture. Doğan Apartment also has Italian architecture.
Narmanlı Han has a very ornate and flamboyant architecture on its front and draws attention with its simple and plain design on its side facades. The courtyard in the middle of Narmanlı Han is among the features that distinguish the building from Art Nouveau influences.


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