Çiçek Pasajı (literally Flower Passage in Turkish), originally called the Cité de Péra, is a famous historic passage (galleria or arcade) on İstiklal Avenue in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, Turkey. It connects İstiklal Avenue with Sahne Street.
Opened in 1876, Çiçek Pasajı is a covered arcade with rows of historic cafes, winehouses and restaurants.
The site of Çiçek Pasajı was originally occupied by the Naum Theatre, which was severely damaged by the Fire of Pera in 1870. The theatre was frequently visited by Sultans Abdülaziz and Abdülhamid II, and hosted Giuseppe Verdi's play Il Trovatore before the opera houses of Paris.
After the fire of 1870, the theatre was purchased by the local Greek banker Hristaki Zoğrafos Efendi, and architect Kleanthis Zannos designed the current building, which was called Cité de Péra or Hristaki Pasajı in its early years. Yorgo'nun Meyhanesi (Yorgo's Winehouse) was the first winehouse to be opened in the passage. In 1908 the Ottoman Grand Vizier Sait Paşa purchased the building, and it became known as the Sait Paşa Passage.
Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, many impoverished 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 (Flower Passage).
After the restoration of the building in 1988, it was reopened as a galleria of pubs and restaurants.
The most recent restoration was made in December 2005.
Notes and references
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