Producing Pera

with Nilay Özlü

hosted by Chris Gratien

During the nineteenth century, the urban space of Istanbul was transformed by actors consciously involved in reshaping the face of Ottoman and high society in this European capital. In this episode, Nilay Özlü explores the culture and architecture of the Pera neighborhood during these formative years through the story of three generations of the Vallaury family, Levantine Istanbulites who rose to prominence in the fields of cuisine, cafe culture, and finally architecture through the figure of Alexander Vallaury.

Nilay Özlü is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Boğaziçi University focusing on urban and architectural history (see
Chris Gratien is a doctoral candidate at Georgetown University studying the social and environmental history of the Ottoman Empire and the modern Middle East. His doctoral research examines the ecological transformation of the Adana region of Southern Turkey from the mid-19th century onward. (see

Episode No. 90
Release Date: 25 January 2013
Location: Cihangir, Istanbul
Editing and Production: Chris Gratien
Images and bibliography courtesy of Nilay Özlü (see below)

This episode is part of our series on Urban Space in the Ottoman World

Citation: "Producing Pera: A Levantine Family and the Remaking of Istanbul," Nilay Özlü and Chris Gratien, Ottoman History Podcast, No. 90 (January 25, 2013)

Select Bibliography

Kayaalp, N. (2008), Pera'nın Yersiz Yurtsuz Kahamanları, Unpuplished Thesis, Istanbul: YTÜ Fen Bilimleri Enstitüsü.

Akın, N. (2002), 19. Yüzyılda Galata ve Pera, Literatür Yayınları.

Bozdoğan, S. (2007), "Reading Ottoman Architecture through modernist lenses: Nationalist Historiography and the "New Architecture" in the Early Republic", Muqarnas 24.

Çelik, Z., (1993), The Remaking of Istanbul Portrait of an Ottoman City in the Nineteenth Century, University of California Pres, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London.

Eldem, E. (2006) "Levanten Kelimesi Üzerine", in A. Yumul, ed., Avrupalı mı Levanten mi, Istanbul: Bağlam.

Eldem, E., (2000a), Bankalar Caddesi Osmanlı'dan Günümüze Voyvoda Caddesi, Osmanlı Bankası Bankacılık ve Finans Tarihi Arastırma ve Belge Merkezi,  Istanbul.

Mardin, Ş., (2007), Türk Modernlesmesi Makaleler 4,  İletisim Yayınları,  Istanbul.

Ortaylı, İ., (2002),  İmparatorluğun En Uzun Yüzyılı,  İletisim Yayınları,  Istanbul.


View of Pera and Galata, c1870-1910, Guillaume Berggren (LOC)
Pera (Istiklal) Street, Istanbul (SALT Araştırma)
Letter from François Vallauri to Ali Paşa (BOA)
Galata Steps, Sébqh & Joaillier
Pera (Istiklal) and Sahne Streets Intersection, François Vallauri's cafe was on the (left) corner
Formerly Cafe Lebon, operated by François Vallauri's son in law Edward Lebon, interior was designed by Vallauri's
son architect Alexander Vallaury. (Photo: Nilay Özlü)

Students and Teachers of Ottoman School of Fine Arts, Alexander Vallaury taught architecture there.
He is seated in the front and wearing a bowler hat.
Ottoman Archaeology Museum, founded by Osman Hamdi Bey and Designed by Alexander Vallaury
Sébah & Joaillier (LOC)
Plans for the Ottoman Imperial Bank, designed by Alexander Vallaury (SALT Araştırma)
View of Galata from the Golden Horn. The Ottoman Imperial Bank looms above.
Abdullah Freres c. 1880-1893 (LOC)
Ballroom of Pera Palace (Palas) Hotel in Istanbul (Yapı Dergisi)


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