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Saint Pierre Han

Eski Banka Sokak, Galata, Beyoğlu, Istanbul

Soon to be converted into a cultural centre for Bahçeşehir University, explore it before all of its vaulted rooms are transformed. The building was commissioned in 1771 by the Comte de Saint-Pierre to be the ‘lodging place and bank of the French Nation’ (John Freely), and takes its name from the Sts Peter and Paul Church nearby. In 1856, it became home to the first Ottoman Bank. It was also home to the Constantinople Bar Association and the Italian Chamber of Commerce.

A plaque commemorating the birth of the French poet André Marie Chénier (see Cornucopia 2) in 1762, the faded letters ‘CAISSES’ (French traders’ bank) and the still working mustard-powder factory are all reminders of the building’s rich past and present. Malik Browne takes us on a tour of the Han in ‘The European City’ in Cornucopia 51.

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Issue 59, June 2019 Behind Closed Doors
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