Rumeli Han, İstiklal Cad, Istanbul

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Ah, classicism! (Sort of…)

In the late 1800s, Pera (Beyoğlu) was the European district of Istanbul, with European-style buildings of stone and plaster rather than the wooden structures of Old Istanbul (Sultanahmet).

This is a detail from the Rumeli Han, one of my favorite old shopping, office and residential building on Beyoğlu‘s İstiklal Caddesi (once the elegant Grande Rue de Péra). The Ottoman Turkish inscription (in Arabic script) gives the building’s date of construction and its name, which is also given in Greek andFrench on either side of this detail.

Looking at modern buildings, which tend to be gigantic blocks, I wonder…when we’re strolling down a city street, why can’t we have interesting things like this to look at on buildings anymore?

—by Tom Brosnahan

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