The Flower Arcade

1876

During the Reformation (Tanzimat) Period, Sultans Abdülmecid and Abdülaziz would come to the district of Pera to watch theatrical performances at the famous Naum Theater. Verdi’s opera Il Trovatore was first performed there, even before it had been shown in Paris. Indeed, the Naum Theater had become one of the principal cultural centers not only of İstanbul, but of Europe too.

The Naum Theater was destroyed in the great fire of 1870. Hristaki Zoğrafos Efendi, a Greek financier (and one of the powerful so-called “Galata Bankers”) purchased the land and commissioned the Greek architect Kleanthis Zannos to build a new kind of structure in its place, a large building that would include both shops and residences. Construction was completed in 1876; its ground floor was built as an arcade, very fashionable in Paris at the time, consisting of twenty-four shops. Upper floors housed eighteen luxury apartments. The arcade was called Hristaki Pasajı (Hristaki Passage) and the apartment building Cité de Pera (Pera Estates). During its early years, the arcade was home —among others— to the tobacconist Acemyan, Maison Parret, Caffé Vallauri, the Japanese store, the Naturel and Pandeli florists, the Schumacher pastry shop, the Papadopoulos book bindery, the tailor Keserciyan, Yorgo’s tavern, and the furrier Sideris.

The building was acquired by Grand Vezir Said Pasha in 1908, at which time the shopping arcade was renamed Said Paşa Geçidi (Said Pasha Arcade). During the Armistice, the arcade became popular among florists, including Russian aristocrats who had fled the Revolution of 1917. The Cité de Pera served as a site for flower auctions for some time, so that the arcade came to be known as Çiçekçiler Pasajı (Florists’ Arcade). This name was later shortened to Çiçek Pasajı (Flower Arcade).

Today, the Flower Arcade is home to numerous restaurants and taverns.



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İstiklal Caddesi Saitpaşa Geçidi 176/6 Galatasaray - İstanbul
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