A Journey in Time: Beyoğlu

Büyükünal, Feriha. Bir Zaman
Tüneli, Beyoğlu
. İstanbul: Doğan Kitap, 2006, 214pp.




Journey in Time: Beyoğlu


Zaman Tüneli, Beyoğlu


This is a work
of popular history by an author who is not a professional historian but a
native of Istanbul, who aims to shed light on the social and cultural history
of Beyoğlu by utilising memoirs and secondary sources. It is a compilation of
the author’s essays previously published in the journal Sanat Çevresi. She emphasises the cosmopolitan nature of Beyoğlu in
her narrative and investigates under separate headings the various communities,
such as the Armenians, Jews and White Russians, who arrived in Istanbul in the
1900s. The book demonstrates that by accumulating wealth in economic terms and
developing educational systems and printing press facilities, the Armenians,
Greeks, Jews and other Levantines became Beyoğlu’s first bourgeoisie and acted
as the focal point of its social and cultural life.

The author
provides information on the traditions and customs of each community and
mentions their harmonious relationships with the Turks. While she does not
explore the Greeks, who were one of Beyoğlu’s main communities, under a
separate heading, she provides detailed information on their customs and lives,
and talks about their good relationships and integrated lives with the Turks.


At times, the
author refers to her own memories. She mentions Beyoğlu’s religious spaces,
outstanding buildings, arcades, shops, hotels, cafes, patisseries and taverns,
giving information on those that are still functioning – such as Rejans,
Abdullah Efendi Restaurant, Markiz and Lebon, Nüsuaz and Petrogard. She also
talks about famous artists and intellectuals – such as Said Naum Duhani, Cahide
Sonku, Cahit Burak and Vitali Hakko – mentioning their relations with the
quarter and giving information on their lives. She describes the unsightly
urban sprawl that Istanbul has been experiencing since the 1950s and emphasises
the role the ‘Society for Saving Beyoğlu’ plays in protecting old Beyoğlu
buildings and stopping uncontrolled urban expansion. The books utilises
reliable secondary sources and as a work of popular history on Beyoğlu, it has
its merits.



by Aysu Dincer


Tansuğ, Feryal. '"English abstract of 'A Journey in Time: Beyoğlu'". Translated by Aysu Dincer. In Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi. 28. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
Muslim Civilisations Abstracts - The Aga Khan University
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