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Çiçek Pasajı

Hüseyinağa Mh., Beyoğlu, Istanbul

Çiçek Pasajı (Flower Arcade), originally the Cité de Péra, is a historic covered passage on İstiklâl Caddesi in Beyoğlu.

Opened in 1876, the site of Çiçek Pasajı was originally occupied by the Naum Theatre, which was severely damaged by a great fire in 1870. After the fire, the land was purchased by a local Greek banker, Hristaki Zoğrafos Efendi and a Greek architect designed the current building. Yorgo’nun Meyhanesi was the first restaurant to open in the passage. In 1908, the Ottoman Grand Vizier Sait Paşa purchased the building and renamed it to Sait Paşa Passage. Following the Russian Revolution, many once noble Russian women, including a Baroness, sold flowers here. By the 1940s, the building was mostly occupied by flower shops, hence the present Turkish name Çiçek Pasajı.

After the restoration of the building in 1988, it was re-opened as a galleria of bars and restaurants. One of these is Seviç, a meyhane that was very popular in the 1960s with the city’s literary circle.

In Cornucopia 51, Emre Aracı looks into the history of the Naum Theatre in ‘Nights at the Opera’.

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Issue 59, June 2019 Behind Closed Doors
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