History of Beyoğlu name
There are several rumors about the origin of Beyoğlu name. According to one of them, Beyoğlu name originates from the acceptance of Islam by Alexios Komnenos, one of the Pontus princes in the reign of Mehmet the Conqueror and his settlement in this area. According to another rumor it originates from Luigi Giritti, the son of Venice, the Venetian Baylo during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, not the Pontus Prince. This man called by Turks “Bey Oğlu” (literally Son of Governor) was born when the Baylo got married to a Greek woman. He lived in a mansion close to Taksim. Another rumor states that this area was known as Beyoğlu because the Venetian Baylo residing here was called Beyoğlu in the correspondences during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. After it was removed from official correspondences in 1925 Pera name started to be used less day by day whereas Beyoğlu name became popular and started to refer to the area. Pera became the later settlement area of Istanbul in Byzantine period.
Beyoğlu is the most characteristic district of Istanbul and have a cosmopolitan atmosphere. Istiklal Street and surrounding streets may be regarded as the center of not only Beyoğlu but also Istanbul. This is an area that represents a different life and appearance than the rest of Turkey in general in terms of clothing, life style and buildings. Its architecture has always been in a Western style. There are more churches and synagogues in Beyoğlu and neighborhood than the rest of Istanbul. Some of the important areas in the area are as follows:
Beyoğlu is the apple of eye in Istanbul.
It is maybe the only place that more than 10 million Istanbulites cannot help visiting every now and then by making excuses. It is not possible for those coming from the suburban areas not to visit with Beyoğlu when they come to Istanbul. There are definitely one or two places of Beyoğlu which are important for everybody from Taksim Square to Tunnel Square, from upper parts to lower parts, from Tarlabaşı to Kasımpaşa, from Çukurcuma to Tophane, from Banks Street to Galata. It is the center of country’s modernization for 150 years. It draws domestic and foreigner visitors from every generation to itself like a magnet with its hotels, patisseries, cafés, restaurants, public soup-kitchens. It created a tolerance atmosphere to allow several faiths to coexist together thanks to its mosques, churches and synagogues. It is known as all arteries of culture and art originate from Beyoğlu from past to present. It calls over cinema, theatre, opera, art gallery, bookshop, festival and biennial lovers. Beyoğlu renews itself. As it managed to be reborn from the ashes of so many fires like a phoenix now the governors and citizens are moving forward together to gain a modern look. Beyoğlu 1857-2007 is an album prepared on the basis that those who know their past well would have a better future. It is a journal for Beyoğlu lovers.
Ahmet Misbah Demircan