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The Church of Panagia of Pera

Filed in Ecumenical Patriarchate by on November 14, 2011 0 Comments • views: 2809
The Church of Panagia of Pera is the Cathedral Church of the Ecumenical Patriarch as Archbishop of Constantinople,New Rome. At this Church on the feast of the entrance of the Theotokos (November 21st) the Ecumenical Patriarch celebrates the Divine Liturgy with the members of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. 

 

 

 

Beyoğlu (Stavrodromi / Pera

1. Name – Geographical Details

The Pera or Beyoğlu district of Constantinople (Istanbul) has been referred to with this name in Ottoman administrative documents from the late 15th century as the area beyond Galata.1 During the first years after the Fall of Constantinople it was considered a Galata suburb, standing over it on an altitude of 110 m. above the sea level.2 The area was quite scarcely populated until the 18th century and mainly by non-Muslims.

Beyoğlu was a name also used by the few Orthodox Christian residents that remained there the first centuries after the Fall of Constantinople.3 They also called it Stavrodromi (Crossroads), the name of the Greek Orthodox community established there in the 19th century. According to Manouil Gedeon, before the 19th century Stavrodromi and Beyoğlu were two distinct quarters, the latter including the densely populated districts between the Galata Tower and the place where the Russian embassy was built and the former including the land over the first crossroads in the area.4 More detailed, the name Stavrodromi, or Dörtyol in Turkish, essentially regards the morphology of the area, which gradually transforms and expands to the North; consequently, until the 18th century the name Stavrodromi refers to an intersection of two central roads (the Kumbaracı and Asmalı Mecit roads) that unified the Tophane and Kasım Paşa districts by a “narrow and long strip of road”,5 called Straight Road or Doğru Yol6 and later known as the High Steet of Pera. A century later the junction was transferred to the North, though.7

2. 16th – 18th centuries: The history of the area, the inhabitants, topography

Information on the area from the 16th to the 19th centuries mainly comes from travellers and indigenous historians. The local history is closely linked to the history of the Galata district, which as early as the Byzantine period had been a place where merchants from Venice, Genoa and Florence lived and traded.8 Until the 17th century Pera was merged with Galata and, therefore, most travellers did not consider it a separate district; Pierro della Valle, for example, described Galata and Pera as one single quarter.9

Galata merchants gradually expanded and increased their business thanks to financial conveniences granted by the Porte; consequently, commercial establishments in the area multiplied thus creating quite a significant zoning problem.10 Gradually, from the 16th century onwards merchants and foreign state representatives started to move their homes, initially, and their administrative seats, subsequently, to Pera. One of the first was the French Ambassador Jean de la Forest, who in 1535 transported the French Embassy to Pera, after an understanding reached between King Francis I and Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent.11

At the time, the Galata district was filled with vineyards and gardens, cottages and sheds, as recorded by the traveller Jerôme Maurand,12 a fact also affirmed by the correspondence of the French diplomats.13 The French example was soon followed by the ambassadors of other countries as well.14 Until the end of the 18th century, the re-location of foreign embassies in Pera had been completed; they were built there in the first place because of the district’s cosmopolitan ambience.

During that time the presence of Greek-Orthodox, Armenians and Jews in Pera was quite limited,15 while a few Muslims inhabited the areas around the teke of the Mevlevi order, founded in 1491 essentially over the Galata Tower and the Αsmalı Mescit, as well as the Galatasaray area.16

During the 17th century the district attracts more residents, while its boundaries expand from the Golden Horn to the Tophane, while new quarters, such as Fındıklı and Cihangir are constructed. The main part of Beyoğlu, however, reaches up to Galatasaray, the Northern part being covered by cemeteries.17 This is the period when the Westerners impose their presence in the area with the French leading the way, at least in the beginning of the century.18 Moreover, they also brought along their religious institutions. The Magnifico Communita di Pera, which was the community of Pera Catholics, enjoyed many liberties, according to contemporary travellers. The community was typically put under the jurisdiction of the Galata kadi, although it was essentially self-administered.19 This was also the time when, besides the houses and embassies with the beautiful gardens, many Catholic churches, chapels and monasteries were constructed in the Pera district.20 Furthermore, several wealthy Christian subjects to the Ottoman Empire also started building their mansions there, thus rendering the area a suburb inhabited by prosperous bourgeois population.21

The development is even more intensified during the 18th century, when the district is administratively put under the Galata voyvoda. Densely populated on the left and relatively empty on its right side, dominated by fields and cemeteries, Beyoğlu continued to attract Western diplomats and merchants.22 Indeed, during both the 18th and the 19th century it was developed on European standards.23 During the reign of Mahmud I the water-supply problem in the area was solved with improvements made on the water-supply system, but, mainly, with the construction of an aqueduct (Taksim), in the end of the High Street behind the Armenian cemetery. This construction would become a trademark and give its name to the area up to this day.24

The description of Pera in the beginning of the 18th century by Lady Montagu, wife of the English Ambassador, however defined by her social class and position, does present an area reminding her both of London and the Tower of Babel at the same time, due to the multi-cultural composition of its inhabitants.25 Around the late 18th century, however, the development of the Tatavla district causes the influx of residents from lower social strata in the area and this process transforms Pera into a less uniform district, both socially and financially.26

3. 19th century

19th century is the most important one for the history of Pera, mainly defined by the presence there of bourgeois representatives from all the millets of the Empire.27 The population increases greatly,28 while since the middle of the 19th century Beyoğlu reaches its expansion limits29 and transforms into a commercial centre of international stature.30

Generally, it must be noted that the development and the appearance of Pera during this period is a direct result of the political and financial changes and reforms passed in the Empire after the Crimean War and the signing of the Treaty of Paris (1856). Residents of this specific area enjoyed significant commercial privileges, thanks to agreements in trade and/or the presence of foreign embassies; consequently, an environment of administrative/legal liberty is created,31 allowing huge profit margins.

Within this context, the need for reform on municipal level was generated as well. The gradually emerging bourgeois strata were pushing towards a self-governing model for Pera, which would play on its Western profile thus enhancing the Empire’s status before Westerners, but also provide the opportunity for further political and economic advancement, particularly with regard to the non-Muslims. Thus, the 6th precinct was formed in Constantinople, which had been administratively restructured from 1854. The precinct included Pera, which since then operated as a model-district.32 Local municipal councils with the participation of non-Muslims attempted to re-create the area based on the model of European capitals.33

The commercial and cultural centre was located along the Pera High Street, Grand Rue de Pera in French and Cadde-i Kebir in Turkish (or Istiklal during the Republican period). On the celebrated Parisian-style passages formed along the road, luxurious establishments, theatres and – later on – cinemas could be found. Hotels, apartments and embassy buildings of architectural interest were located here and there, blending various architectural styles (eclecticism, art nouveau, classicism, etc).

This picture of cosmopolitan Pera, however, was completed by disreputable quarters and neighbourhoods developing around the district. Such were the multitudinous Yeni Şehir quarter or the areas aroundKasım Paşa, where Greeks, Bulgarians and Muslims of the lower strata, often immigrants, flocked in search of work. These parts were reputed for their taverns, dives and brothels.34

4. The presence of Christian Orthodox population in Pera

The international and Greek historiography, mainly the latter, have identified Pera as the foremost area for the location of non-Muslim populations, largely Greek-Orthodox. Indeed, the presence of wealthy Greek-Orthodox families is recorded as early as the 17th century,35 not only the 18th 36and 19th, when the Greek Orthodox Stavrodromi community will be estasblished.37 During the first quarter of the 20th century prosperous Greek-Orthodox, chiefly Karamanli, moved into neighbourhoods like Cihangir from places like Kontoskali, Cibali and Fanari (Fener).38

During the whole of the 18th century the community was under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Virgin Mary Kafatianon in Galata; its members attended service and participating in the parish administration.39 The population increase from the middle of the century onwards, along with political change, introduced the prospect of creating a separate parish in Beyoğlu.40 In 1804, during the tenure of Patriarch Kallinikos V, a church dedicated to the Presentation of the Virgin Mary was built41 and a year later the formation of this new parish was ratified by patriarchal decree.42

The following year members of both the ascending urban and grand bourgeois, as well as the middle classes, flock to the area. Moreover, from the 1840s onwards it seems to attract immigrants from the Aegean islands, Macedonia, Albania and Anatolia. The rise in the numbers of Christians, especially, dictated the construction of two more churches: in 1861 the church of St Constantine and Helen was built on the top of the Pera hill, while in 1880 the Holy Trinity church was completed on the Taksim square, a building dominating the urban setting symbolising the financial and political potency of the Greek bourgeoisie.43

In 1876, in the context of the Ottoman reform process, during which all the non-Muslim millets within the Empire composed their communities’ general regulations, the Stavrodromi community published the first statute by an Orthodox community in town.44 That meant that the community would regulate on its own its ecclesiastical, educational, philanthropic and general administrative business.

The Pera community wealth and its high level of organisation is indicated by the sheer number of associations founded in the area after1860, the most significant of which being the prestigious Greek Philological Association and the Stavrodromi Charitable Society, both established in 1861. Some of the most notable representatives of the grand bourgeoisie (grand merchants and bankers) and the neo-Phanariots (mainly high-level state officials) involve themselves with the former. Such men were Spyridon Mavrogenis, Xenophon and Ioannis Zografos, Stephanos Karatheodoris and Alexander Zoeros paşa, while the female members of the aforementioned families became active in the latter.45

In the beginning of the following century, according to a rough estimation based on the 1905-1906 census, the community numbered around 30,000 members, possibly being the most-populated Greek-Orthodox community in Constantinople. The only school within the district, the one of the tailors’ guild founded in 1810, was succeeded by many more. Thus, about a century after its establishment the Stavrodromi community ran two secondary schools and six primary schools (three for boys and three for girls). The “Zografeion” lycaeum, the “Zappeion” Girls School and the Central All-Girls School were the most significant educational facilities in town. The first was housed in an imposing stone building, bore the name of the banker Chistakis Zografos from Epirus and was recognised by the Athens University; the second (Zappeion) was founded in 1875 and bore the name of its benefactor Konstantinos Zappas.46At the same time certain private schools operated in the district, such as the A. Tagis Greek-French Lycee, the “Helicon” All-Girls school etc.47

The Pera community greatly suffered, as did all the Constantinople Christian Orthodox population, the consequences of the 1919-1922 war. Since October 1922 a significant number of Pera inhabitants, grand bourgeois and members of the middle classes, both Ottoman and Greek citizens, fled Constantinople in order to avoid retaliation by the Turkish army for their actions during the allied occupation of the city. During that time most of them bluntly embraced Greek nationalism and the politics of Eleftherios Venizelos. More would follow after the 1923 agreement on population exchange between the two countries.

The community of Pera remained one of the most active Greek-Orthodox ones in town, even during the Republican period. However, both the city in whole and the specific district went through many changes, most importantly the re-location of the capital in Ankara.48 The area continued being, up to a point, a notable commercial centre and a non-Muslim neighbourhood. Both Greek Orthodox and Armenian populations had a strong presence at least until the 1950s, when a significant migration wave from the country’s interior gradually started to alter the demographic balance.

Since 1980 both Constantinople and Pera were developed a-new, a process mainly based on the political and economic choice of transforming Constantinople into a global city. Within that context, the Beyoğlu district rose yet again in the light of a nostalgic and ideal (and often commercialised) reminiscence of its multi-ethnic and multi-cultural past.


1. Mantran, R., H καθημεριν ζω στην Κωνσταντινοπολη τον αινα του Σουλεϊμν του Μεγαλοπρεπος (Athens 1999), p. 72. The whole area lying within the city walls and on the East was called Pera or Peraia, thus referring to its geographical position with regard to the main city. This name was known as early as the Byzantine period “for the area opposite Constantinople”. Μήλλας, Α., Σφραγδες Κωνσταντινουπλεως: Ενορες Αγιωττης Αρχιεπισκοπς (Athens 1996), p. 304. It included the Galata cove, as well as the heights formed on the local hill known as the St Theodoroi hill among the Christian population. Μπόζη, Σ., O Ελληνισμς της Κωνσταντινοπολης, Κοιντητα Σταυροδρομου-Πραν (Athens 2002), p. 21. The name Beyoğlu is attributed, as recorded by Skarlatos Vyzantios among others, either to the sojourn there of Alexios, son of the last Emperor of Trabzon Ioannis Comnenos after the empire was seized by the Ottomans (Bey-oğlu = son of the prince), or – according to the traveller Joseph von Hammer – to the location of diplomats from the West in the area (Bey-yolu = road of the gentlemen). Βυζάντιος, Σ., Η Κωνσταντινοπολις. Περιγραφ Τοπογραφικ, Αρχαιολογικ καιΙστορικ Β (Athens 1862, photo reprint Athens 1993), p. 67. A similar to the latter explanation attributes the name to the son of the Venetian ambassador Luigi Gritti, who inhabited the area. Grosvenor, E.A., The Hippodrome of Constantinople and its still existing monuments (χ.τ.ε. 1899), p. 106, as cited in Dökmeci, V. – Çıracı, H., Tarihsel Gelişim Sürecinde Beyoğlu (Istanbul 1990), p. 9.

2. Dökmeci, V. – Çıracı, H., Tarihsel Gelişim Sürecinde Beyoğlu (Istanbul 1990), p. 11.

3. During this period the Christian Orthodox population was concentrated around the Kalyoncu Kolluk  quarter. They rarely used the name Pera and preferred, as indicated by their correspondence with the Patriarchate, the name Beyoğlu. Αναστασιάδου, Μ., «Η Παναγία του Πέρα, οι Ρωμιοί ενορίτες της και το Οθωμανικό Σταυροδρόμι», Απογευματιν (Istanbul 17/11/2004).

4. Γεδεών, Μ., «Σημειώματα και Έγγραφα περί της Κοινότητος Σταυροδρομίου επί τη εκατονταετηρίδι του των Εισοδίων ναού», Εορτολόγιον Κωνσταντινουπολίτου Προσκυνητού (Κωνσταντινούπολις 1904), p. 340.

5. According to Skarlatos Vyzantios, the Stavrodromi district is defined by the street starting from the Mevlevi tekke and “saddling the hill from the East to the West being intersected by many other side-streets […] it reaches the Great Tombs area and the Taksim”. See Βυζάντιος, Σ., Η Κωνσταντινοπολις. Περιγραφ Τοπογραφικ, Αρχαιολογικ και Ιστορικ Β (Athens 1862, photo reprint Athens 1993), pp. 65-66.

6. According to the traveller Jean de Contaut-Biron, Pera is comprised of “a long and straight road starting off from the Büyük Kule gate and reaching a place called the ‘Greek cemetery’; it is a mile long, while on both its sides houses with beautiful gardens have been built”. de Contaut-Biron, J., Αmbassade en Turquie… Voyage à Constantinople 1 (Paris 1888-1889), p. 91, as cited in Mantran, R., H καθημεριν ζω στην Κωνσταντινοπολη τον αινα του Σουλεϊμν του Μεγαλοπρεπος (Athens 1999), p. 72.

7. In sources dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries other names appear as well, such as Kerasohori (Cherry village) and Incir Bostanı, both of which apparently became obsolete. Αναστασιάδου, M., «Η Παναγία του Πέρα, οι Ρωμιοί ενορίτες της και το Οθωμανικό Σταυροδρόμι», Απογευματιν (Constantinople 17/11/2004). The name Incir is probably related to the ancient name Sykai (Figs) given to area, due to the noumerous fig trees growing there (incir is the Turkish word for fig). Μπζη, Σ., O Ελληνισμς της Κωνσταντινοπολης. Κοιντητα Σταυροδρομου-Πραν (Athens 2002), p. 21.

8. Right after the Fall of Constantinople, Mehmed I renewed the privileges in the area given to the Genoese. In the middle of the 16th century, it was inhabited by Venetians, Genoese, Florentines and merchants from Marseille – some of them located there as early as the Byzantine period. As time went by they were joined by Frenchmen, Englishmen and Dutchmen. Moreover, numerous Greek-Orthodox, Armenians and Jews populated the area, as well as a small number of Ottoman Turks, a fact that probably justifies its name “city of the infidels”. Most of the inhabitants involved themselves with commercial activities and professions related to shipping, although there were also several dives described graphically by the 17th century traveller Evliya Çelebi with the following words: “when one says Galata, it is like saying – God forgive me – tavern”. Mantran, R., H καθημερινή ζωή στην Κωνσταντινούπολη τον αιώνα του Σουλεϊμάν του Μεγαλοπρεπούς (Athens 1999), p 35.

9. Mantran, R., Istanbul dans la seconde Moitié du XVII siècle (Paris 1962), p 76.

10. Dökmeci, V. – Çıracı, H., Tarihsel Gelişim Sürecinde Beyoğlu (Istanbul 1990), p. 12. According to the Armenian historian Ε. Kömürcyan, another factor was the location of Arabs by the Ottoman government, a policy that raised security issues for the residents, resulting in the re-location of their homes and embassies in Pera. See Kömürcyan, Ε., İstanbul Tarihi XVII asırda (Istanbul 1952). The general increase of the population in the capital during the 16th century from 16,326 hanes, according to the 1478 census, to 80,000 in 1535, even though it appertains more to the intra muros habitation, probably affected the housing structure in the greater Galata area. See Mantran, R., H καθημερινή ζωή στην Κωνσταντινούπολη τον αιώνα του Σουλεϊμάν του Μεγαλοπρεπούς (Athens 1999), pp. 77-81. Evliya Çelebi, who visited the greater Galata area in 1638, provides a picture of the composition of the population recording 19 Muslim, 70 Christian Orthodox, 3 Westerner and 3 Armenian quarters. Evliya Çelebi, Seyahatname (Istanbul 1898), pp. 431-432, as cited in Rosenthal, S., “Minorities and Municipal Reform in Istanbul, 1850-1870”, in Braude, B. – Lewis, B. (eds.), Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire 1 (New York – London 1982), p. 383.

11. Dökmeci, V. – Çıracı, H., Tarihsel Gelişim Sürecinde Beyoğlu (Istanbul 1990), p. 12. To be perfectly accurate, the first location is completed a few years later after the issue of a permit by the Ottoman administration in 1545 and is attributed to the French ambassador Polin de la Garde, who fled to the Pera “vineyards” in order to evade a plague epidemic. The place where that first embassy was built is the same the French Consulate occupies today. “Istanbul”, Βulletin d’Informations Architecturales (1987), p. 14.

12. Maurand, J., Itinaire de Jerôme Maurand (Paris 1544), as cited in Dökmeci, V. – Çıracı, H., Tarihsel Gelişim Sürecinde Beyoğlu (Istanbul 1990), p. 11.

13. Βυζάντιος, Σ., Η Κωνσταντινούπολις. Περιγραφή Τοπογραφική, Αρχαιολογική και Ιστορική Β (Athens 1862, photo reprint Athens 1993), p. 66.

14. The Venetian Embassy for example was transferred there in 1560 and the British one in 1596. Βυζάντιος, Σ., Η Κωνσταντινούπολις. Περιγραφή Τοπογραφική, Αρχαιολογική και Ιστορική Β (Athens 1862, photo reprint Athens 1993), p. 13.

15. These populations mainly resided in Galata, Tophane, Kasım Paşa and Hasköy. See Mantran, R., Istanbul dans la seconde Moitié du XVII siècle (Paris 1962), pp. 83-88.

16. During the whole of the 17th century, the Asmalı Mescit and Galatasaray quarters were inhabited mainly by Muslims. See Dökmeci, V. – Çıracı, H., Tarihsel Gelişim Sürecinde Beyoğlu (Istanbul 1990), pp. 14, 24.

17. In the beginning of the 17th century, the following quarters comprise the Beyoğlu district: Dörtyol, Tomtom and Polonya on the right, as well as Asmalı Mescit on the left, while the Balık Pazarı quarter would start developing towards the end of the 17th century. In the Tünel quarter there were markets, while Jewish creditors and commercial intermediaries were mainly located on the left side. Towards Stavrodromi the grandiose ambassadors’ residencies were built, while the Muslim quarters were located on the way to Tophane. Dökmeci, V. – Çıracı, H., Tarihsel Gelişim Sürecinde Beyoğlu (Istanbul 1990), p. 16. For a beautiful description of the area see Kömürcyan, Ε., İstanbul Tarihi XVII asırda (Istanbul 1952), pp. 40-79.

18. According to Belin, there were about 3,000 Westerners inhabiting Pera at the time. See Βelin, F.A., Histoire de la Latinité de Constantinople (Paris 1894), p. 167, as cited in Dökmeci, V. – Çıracı, H., Tarihsel Gelişim Sürecinde Beyoğlu (Istanbul 1990), p. 24. Naturally, the political agenda of the time intensely affected the population composition in Beyoğlu. The aftermath of the 1789 French Revolution and the subsequent occupation of Egypt by Napoleon’s army froze diplomatic relations between the two countries; consequently, many Frenchmen left Pera and in 1799 the French Embassy was seized by the British with permission from the Porte, see Dökmeci, V. – Çıracı, H., Tarihsel Gelişim Sürecinde Beyoğlu (Istanbul 1990), pp. 20, 30.

19. Dökmeci, V. – Çıracı, H., Tarihsel Gelişim Sürecinde Beyoğlu (Istanbul 1990), pp. 15-16.

20. In 1628 the St Louis church is constructed, while in 1678 Franciscan friars build the St Maria Draperis monastery. See Dökmeci, V. – Çıracı, H., Tarihsel Gelişim Sürecinde Beyoğlu (Istanbul 1990), p. 17.

21. Μπόζη, Σ., O Ελληνισμός της Κωνσταντινούπολης, Κοινότητα Σταυροδρομίου-Πέραν (Athens 2002), p. 25.

22. The following embassies are located in Pera in 1671: the Danish, Swedish, English, Neapolitan, Russian, Dutch, Venetian and French. At the same time a Prussian representative is recorded in the area. See Dökmeci, V. – Çıracı, H., Tarihsel Gelişim Sürecinde Beyoğlu (Istanbul 1990), p. 25.

23. There were three big Catholic churches in the area (St Marie des Draperies, St Antoine de Padoue, St Trinité), while hospitals are also established; such as the French and Armenian ones. Çelik, Z., Τhe Remaking of Istanbul. Portrait of the Ottoman City in the Nineteenth Century (Seattle 1986), p. 30.

24. The aqueduct was later renovated in 1786, during the reign of Abdul Hamid I. Dökmeci, V. – Çıracı, H., Tarihsel Gelişim Sürecinde Beyoğlu (Istanbul 1990), p. 27.

25. Μπόζη, Σ., O Ελληνισμς της Κωνσταντινοπολης, Κοιντητα Σταυροδρομου-Πραν (Athens 2002), pp. 26-27.

26. Çelik, Z., Τhe Remaking of Istanbul. Portrait of the Ottoman City in the Nineteenth Century (Seattle 1986), p. 30.

27. According to the 1885 census, in the area where Beyoğlu belongs to the following data is recorded regarding the population ratio: 47% foreigners, 32% non-Muslims and only 21% Muslims. See. Çelik, Z., Τhe Remaking of Istanbul. Portrait of the Ottoman City in the Nineteenth Century (Seattle 1986), p. 38.

28. This is mainly due to the arrival of Muslim refugees (muhacır) from Southern Russia and the Balkans, but also of internal non-Muslim immigrants, who flock there from every part of the Empire, but also from the Greek state, in pursuit of a better life. See Karpat, K., Οttoman Population, 1830-1914 (London 1985), pp. 201-209. At the same time many upper-class Muslims re-locate to the northern part of the Golden Horn, as a result of the palace being transferred to Dolmabahçe in 1856, and later on to Yıldız. Çelik, Z., Τhe Remaking of Istanbul. Portrait of the Ottoman City in the Nineteenth Century (Seattle 1986), p. 38.

29. The area stretches to the north and the northwest, especially after the formation of the Τaksim-Harbiye high street. See Çelik, Z., Τhe Remaking of Istanbul. Portrait of the Ottoman City in the Nineteenth Century (Seattle 1986), p. 42.

30. It was a direct result of the Ottoman Empire entering the international capitalist system. See Pamuk, Ş., 100 soruda Osmanlı-Türkiye İktisadi Tarihi 1500-1914 4 (Istanbul 1997), pp. 151-199.

31. Many historians interpret this kind of freedom as a spiritual and moral freedom enjoyed by Westerners or Christians, as opposed to the “conservative – backward” Muslim mind, thus stripping the process of its economıc and political causes.

32. Çelik, Z., Τhe Remaking of Istanbul. Portrait of the Ottoman City in the Nineteenth Century (Seattle 1986), p. 64.

33. Indicatively, the Pera streets are cobbled, the High Street is lit by gas lamps, a Municipal House is built imitating the Parisian Hôtel de la Ville, a cogwheel railway is constructed connecting Galata and Pera (called “the Tunnel”) and two parks are created after 1870, one in Taksim and one in Tepebaşı. From 1870 onwards, after one of the most destructive fires broke out in Pera, stone- or brick-construction becomes mandatory. Çelik, Z., Τhe Remaking of Istanbul. Portrait of the Ottoman City in the Nineteenth Century (Seattle 1986), p. 64. It should be noted that initially the municipal board, largely comprised of non-Muslims with significant landed property, was restricted to improving and renovating only the most central Pera streets and buildings, essentially neglecting the neighbourhoods inhabited by the middle and lower social strata. These choices made by the first-ever committees bankrupted the municipality in 1862, when severe measures were adopted administration-wise. See Rosenthal, S., “Minorities and Municipal Reform in Istanbul, 1850-1870”, in Braude, B. – Lewis, B. (eds.), Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire (New York – London 1982), pp. 374-378.

34. Μπόζη, Σ., O Ελληνισμός της Κωνσταντινούπολης, Κοινότητα Σταυροδρομίου-Πέραν (Athens 2002), pp. 43-44.

35. In a patriarchal and synodic letter dating back to 1615, a lady’s will is recorded. She was called Soultana, was a member of the Mavroudis family, inhabited the Stavrodromi district and owned significant property in the area. According to Manouil Gedeon, this is a strong indication for the existence of a Christian Orthodox quarter before 1600. The writer adds that during the 15th century Orthodox Christians living in the area attended service in a Byzantine church opposite Galatasaray. Γεδεών, Μ., «Σημειώματα και Έγγραφα περί της Κοινότητος Σταυροδρομίου επί τη εκατονταετηρίδι του των Εισοδίων ναού», Εορτολγιον Κωνσταντινουπολτου Προσκυνητο (Κωνσταντινούπολις 1904), pp. 341-342. Furthermore, in 1656 Thevénot mentions the beautiful houses in Pera inhabited “exclusively by distinguished Greeks”, see Μήλλας, Α., Σφραγδες Κωνσταντινουπλεως: Ενορες Αγιωττης Αρχιεπισκοπς (Αθήνα 1996) pp. 341-342; the Armenian Kömürcüyan records that in 1680 the area was exclusively populated by Greeks. See Kömürcüyan, E., İstanbul Tarihi XVII asırda (Istanbul 1952), p. 41.

36. Μήλλας, Α., Σφραγίδες Κωνσταντινουπόλεως: Ενορίες Αγιωτάτης Αρχιεπισκοπής (Athens 1996), pp. 345-346.

37. One of the first to locate in Pera in the beginning of the 19th century was Dimitrakis Zafeiropoulos, father-in-law of G. Zarifis, the great banker, as well as the Syngros family. See Μπόζη, Σ., O Ελληνισμς της Κωνσταντινοπολης. Κοιντητα Σταυροδρομου-Πραν (Athens 2002), pp. 35-36.

38. Μπόζη, Σ., O Ελληνισμός της Κωνσταντινούπολης. Κοινότητα Σταυροδρομίου-Πέραν (Athens 2002), p. 45.

39. Between 1701 and 1713 someone named Lambrynos Alexandri “from Beyoğlu” is recorded as the Orthodox representative of Stavrodromi in the church committee. The increase in the representation of the Greek community in Galata from the middle of the 18th century indicates an increase in its numbers as well.. Γεδεών, Μ., «Σημειώματα και Έγγραφα περί της Κοινότητος Σταυροδρομίου επί τη εκατονταετηρίδι του των Εισοδίων ναού», Εορτολγιον Κωνσταντινουπολτου Προσκυνητο(Constantinople 1904), p. 346.

40. Since the signing of the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca in 1774, Russia was granted the right to protect Greek-Orthodox populations living in the Ottoman Empire, a right wich translated into relative freedom for these Ottoman subjects concerning building and restoring churches. See Anastassiadou-Dumont, M., “Construction d’églises et affirmations identitaire. L’installation des Grecs orthodoxes à Péra/Beyoğlu (Istanbul) au XIXe siècle”, in Anastassiadou-Dumont, M. (ed.), Revue des Mondes musulmans et de la Méditerrannée 107-110: Identités confessionnelles et espace urbain en terre d’Islam (Septembre 2005), p. 189.

41. In order for the official permit/firman to be issued by the Porte, it is recorded that the Prince Dimitrios Mourouzis had to intervene. According to another version of the story, an important part was played by two Muslims who acted as instructed. They came before the kadi after a fight. Both stuck to their part of the story claiming their right on the fight; also both, however, agreed on the place were the fight broke out: “Where the Greek church used to lie”. In this way the existence of a prior church was certified, giving the right to the Orthodox residents to merely repair it. Anastassiadou-Dumont, M., “Construction d’églises et affirmations identitaire. L’installation des Grecs orthodoxes à Péra/Beyoğlu (Istanbul) au XIXe siècle”, in Anastassiadou-Dumont, M. (ed.), Revue des Mondes musulmans et de la Méditerrannée 107-110: Identités confessionnelles et espace urbain en terre d’Islam (Septembre 2005), pp. 189-190.

42. The parish’s boundaries stretch over a huge area from the Galata Tower to the Taksim and from there to Dolapdere and to the Kasım Paşa quarter on the Golden Horn, a fact verified and acknowledged by the Ottoman government. Αναστασιάδου, Μ., «Η Παναγία του Πέρα, οι Ρωμιοί ενορίτες της και το Οθωμανικό Σταυροδρόμι», Απογευματιν (Istanbul 18/11/2004).

43. Anastassiadou-Dumont, M., “Construction d’églises et affirmations identitaire. L’installation des Grecs orthodoxes à Péra/Beyoğlu (Istanbul) au XIXe siècle”, in Anastassiadou-Dumont, M. (ed.), Revue des Mondes musulmans et de la Méditerrannée 107-110: Identités confessionnelles et espace urbain en terre d’Islam (Septembre 2005), pp. 189-202; Μπόζη, Σ., O Ελληνισμός της Κωνσταντινούπολης. Κοινότητα Σταυροδρομίου-Πέραν (Athens 2002), pp. 84-92; Παπαδόπουλος, Σ., Αναμνήσεις από την Πόλη (Athens 1978), pp. 14-15.

44. The community consists, as stated in its statute, of a union of three existing parishes, its boundaries extended over Taksim, the whole hill side until Dolmabahçe, as well as the area between Harbiye and Dolapdere. Αναστασιάδου, Μ., «Η Παναγία του Πέρα, οι Ρωμιοί ενορίτες της και το Οθωμανικό Σταυροδρόμι», Απογευματινή (Istanbul 18/11/2004).

45. The intense social and cultural life enjoyed in Pera during the 1860s by the bourgeoisie and some Neo-Phanariots, who entertained themselves by organising literary events in the evenings, is graphically described by Alexandros Zoiros paşa. Ζωηρός, Α., «Αναμνήσεις: το Σταυροδρόμιον κατά το 1860», Ημερολόγιον των Εθνικών Φιλανθρωπικών Καταστημάτων του έτους 1907 (Istanbul 1906), pp. 219-234.

46. Μπόζη, Σ., O Ελληνισμός της Κωνσταντινούπολης. Κοινότητα Σταυροδρομίου-Πέραν (Athens 2002), pp. 126-127, 161-171.

47. Αναστασιάδου, Μ., «Η Παναγία του Πέρα, οι Ρωμιοί ενορίτες της και το Οθωμανικό Σταυροδρόμι», Απογευματινή (Istanbul 18/11/2004); Μήλλας, Α., Σφραγίδες Κωνσταντινουπόλεως: Ενορίες Αγιωτάτης Αρχιεπισκοπής (Athens 1996), p. 362.

48. 1923 marks the beginning of the capital’s “de-imperialising” process. The choice of Ankara as the new capital of the newly-found Turkish Republic was largely symbolic. Constantinople / Istanbul was the corrupted symbol of the Western retail bourgeoisie, on the opposite side of which the new era was supposed to begin. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk himself visited the city after it was ceded to Turkey for the first time in 1928. See Ανδριανοπούλου, Κ. – Μπενλίσοϊ, Φ., «Οι μεταμορφώσεις μιας πόλης ή τα ευπώλητα της Πόλης», Ενθματα Κυριακτικης Αυγς (22/1/2006).

 

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