Christakis Zografos

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Christakis Zografos
Christakis Zografos.jpg
Portrait of Christakis Zografos
Born 1820
Qestorat, Ottoman Empire (now in Albania)
Died August 19, 1898(1898-08-19) (aged 77)
Paris, France
Nationality Greek ethnicity, Ottoman citizen
Occupation Banker
Known for Benefaction

Christakis Zografos (Greek: Χρηστάκης Ζωγράφος; Turkish: Hristaki Zoğrafos; 1820 – 19 August 1898[1]) was a Greek[2] banker holding Ottoman citizenship, benefactor and one of the distinguished personalities of the Greek community of Constantinople (modern Istanbul).

Early years-Career[edit]

Zografos was born in the village of Qestorat in southern Albania (Northern Epirus), when the region was under Ottoman rule.[3] He attended the Zosimaia School in Ioannina and then went to Istanbul to join his father's business there. He was initially a co-partner in a small money changing stand at Galata.[4] During 1854-1881, Christakis became one of the major creditors of the Ottoman state.[5] Zografos became one of the leading banker and financiers and president of the Ottoman capital's trolley company. He was awarded by three sultans and sat on the Imperial Board of Estimate and served as president of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Clerico-Lay Advisory Board. Because of the social status he acquired among the society of the Ottoman capital he was widely known as Christakis Effendi (Lord Christakis).


Christakis Zografos donated huge fortunes and lavishly endowed educational and other community facilities to the Greek communities living in regions that belonged, at that time, to the Ottoman empire.[6]

He offered an enormous amount of money for the erection of middle level schools in Constantinople, the one (Zographeion Lyceum) in the district of Beyoğlu (Pera) in Constantinople and the other a female school in Yeniköy on the Bosporus, both schools were called 'Zografeion' after him.[7] Moreover, sponsored the rebuilding of a Greek library in the city. At the Universities of Munich and Paris he made an 1,000 Franc endowment for awards in the fields of Greek literature and history.[8]

In his home place in Epirus he founded a male and female teachers college (Zographeion College) where the graduates became Greek language teachers. Zografos offered on annual base scholarships to 60 assiduous students (30 females and 30 males) that came from poor families, with complete coverage of their living costs.

Other grants went to the Patriarchate's Halki seminary on Heybeliada (Halki), while he was awarded with the Gold Cross of the Ecumenical Patriarch Joachim II.

His son Georgios Christakis-Zografos became a notable diplomat, politician and head of the Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus (1914).


During the Communist regime in Albania (1945–1992), Zografos and his son G. Christakis-Zografos, were stigmatised as 'enemies of the state'. Anyone from his home town who held the name 'Zografos' (whether relatives or not), was therefore persecuted. After 1992 however, the situation has changed. Today, the Zografeio school in Qestorati, founded by himself, has been renovated and has reopened as a museum.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Archives de Paris, Etat-civil, Décès, 1893-1902, XVIe arr., n° 865.
  2. ^ Karpat, Kemal H. (2001). The politicization of Islam: reconstructing identity, state, faith, and community in the late Ottoman state. Oxford University Press US. p. 325. ISBN 978-0-19-513618-0. With financial support from the Greek government and rich Greeks, including Abdulhamid's own friends, G. Zarifis, the banker, and Christaki Effendi Zographos... 
  3. ^ Χρηστάκης Ζωγράφος (1820-1896) Archived July 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.. "Καταγόταν από την Ήπειρο αλλά εργαζόταν στην Κωνσταντινούπολη ως τραπεζίτης. Ήταν ένας από τους κύριους συντελεστές της ίδρυσης της Γενικής εταιρείας του Οθωμανικού κράτους. Στήριξε οικονομικά την ελληνική παιδεία και συνέβαλε σημαντικά στην ανάπτυξή της. Προσέφερε γενναίες δωρεές σε κάθε τομέα των γραμμάτων και των επιστημών. Επίσης, ίδρυσε τα «Ζωγράφεια» ιδρύματα." Accessed: December 3, 2008.
  4. ^ Ruches (1967) p. 81
  5. ^ Fatma Müge Göçek. Rise of the bourgeoisie, demise of empire: Ottoman westernization and social change. Oxford University Press US, 1996. ISBN 978-0-19-509925-6 p. 178.
  6. ^ Braude Benjamin, Lewis Bernard. Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire: The central lands. v. 2. The Arabic-speaking lands. Holmes & Meier Publishers, 1982. ISBN 978-0-8419-0519-1, p. 196
  7. ^ Alexandrēs Alexēs. The Greek minority of Istanbul and Greek-Turkish relations, 1918-1974. Center for Asia Minor Studies, 1983, p. 47
  8. ^ Ruches (1967) p. 82
  9. ^ ...were stigmatised in Albanian historiography as shovinistë and borgjezë (chauvinist, bourgeois) who had worked to destroy the Albanian nation by pretending that all Orthodox Christians were Greek or should be Greek, and by supporting the opening of Greek schools in Lunxhëri and elsewhere. In consequence of this negative propaganda, the last people who still hold the family name Zografi in their village of origin, Qestorat, were persecuted during communism....its re-opening as a museum of Lunxhëri...


  • Pepelasis Minoglou, Ioanna (October 2002). "Ethnic minority groups in international banking: Greek diaspora bankers of Constantinople and Ottoman state finances, c. 1840–81". Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press (PDF). 9 (2): 125–146. doi:10.1017/S0968565002000112. 
  • Ruches, Pyrrhus J. (1967). Albanian historical folksongs 1716-1943. Argonaut Inc. 
  • Seni Nora (November 1994). "The Camondos and Their Imprint on 19th-Century Istanbul". International Journal of Middle East Studies. 26 (4): 663–675. doi:10.1017/s002074380006116x. JSTOR 163808.