While walking through the old part of Beyoglu (Istiklal avenue), you’ll come across an eclectic Ottoman building called Cité de Pera just opposite Galata Palace, today’s Galatasaray Lycee. It might remind you some of the 19th century buildings in Paris and Vienna with their beautiful architectural ornaments on their facades.
Colbert Pavillon, Louvre-Paris
Cité de Pera
The first thing that attracts your attention among the exaggerated architectural lines and ornamentation of the building is the two Caryatids standing above the engaged columns on the left and right side of the main arched entrance. These two ladies look like the stagehands ringing the curtains up, even though they are the imitations of the Hellenistic caryatids look as if they were supporting the upper architectural element above their heads.
Being commissioned by banker Hristaki Zografos Efendi, Cité de Pera was built as a new type of shopping arcade in 1874-76 by Cleanthe Zanno. When the Florist’s Cooperative moved here in 1930, it was named Flower Arcade. In 1950’s it has become an arcade full of pubs and fish restaurants. Today, the caryatids continue to welcome many people day and night as they used to do in different architectural contexts of the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman and Renaissance times.
Here, in Istanbul they are some of the youngest sisters of the Limyra caryatids located in southern Turkey at Pericles’ Heroon in Limyra.