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Looking From In-Between

A profile of Meşrutiyet Street

March 21, 2019 – September 21, 2019

Istanbul Research Institute, Meşrutiyet Caddesi No: 47, Tepebaşı, Beyoğlu, Istanbul

For Istanbul, and especially Pera, the 19th century was a time of unprecedented cultural encounters, not to mention economic, social upheaval, modernization, a new urban identity, new habits and new institutions.

Pera was in the front-line of change: both from necessity – fire after fire had devastated the quarter – and out of choice – a deluge of new consumer goods ensured that the new Pera that rose from the old was flamboyantly decked out with shopping arcades and enticing shop windows. As a new kind of social whirl enveloped the Grand’ Rue de Pera, the cracks in society and class inequality would inevitably follow.

This exhibition turns the limelight on the glory days of Meşrutiyet Caddesi, something of an obsession in modern Beyoğlu, itself under threat from high rents and crass development. Meşrutiyet Caddesi (Constitution Street) is the main drag running parallel to İstiklal Caddesi. Home to the Istanbul Research Institute with its sister organisation, the excellent Pera Museum, in those days the Bristol Hotel, not to mention the legendary Pera Palas Hotel. At one end stands Pera House (the British Embassy) and the famous Balık Pazarı (Fish Market), at the other Şişhane ( the Sixth Municipaility – the quarter was named after the 6th Arondissement). What was once the flourishing epicentre of a world of entertainment and theatre, alas is now a carpark, towered over by a true travesty of 90s architecture, the modern, and one hopes, temporary, home of TRT.

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Issue 61, Summer 2020 The Road to Pergamon
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