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Pera Palace Hotel

  • Name:
    Pera Palace Hotel
  • Alternative names:

    Pera Palas, Пера Палас

  • Kind of Organisation:
    Hotel
  • Introduction:

    The Pera Palace was the gem of Pera district where people gathered to wine and dine and be entertained, as well as to discuss the issues of the day.

    Word Count: 29

  • Content:

    There is no doubt that the Pera Palace was and still is the gem of the Pera district. However, it is important to understand that it was once more than just a hotel. It was a meeting place where people gathered to wine and dine and be entertained, as well as to discuss the important issues of the day.
    Construction of the Pera Palace Hotel began at the end of the 19th century. The building was designed by the architect Alexandre Vallaury (born Alexander Vallauri) and was built to accommodate the tourists who came to Istanbul on the long-distance passenger train, the Orient Express. The hotel’s restaurant served excellent food and wine, and its musical evenings were very popular. Balls were also held and Christmas and New Year were celebrated. According to Jak Deleon, after the First World War, occupying forces used the Pera Palace as their headquarters. In 1921, it also hosted the Russian bazaar, where, among other works, the icons of artist Natalia Yashvil (or Jašvili – Наталья Яшвиль, 1861–1939), who later left Istanbul for Prague, were presented. Every one of her icons was bought by an American collector before the bazaar even opened. On the subject of American collectors, one cannot fail to mention Thomas Whittemore, who was constantly greeted in the hotel lobby by Russian painters dreaming of selling him some of their new works. Here is what Eugenia S. Bumgardner wrote about Whittemore's room: "The French window in Mr. Whittemore's room opened on a gallery, with a marvelous view. Rising from the Golden Horn to the high hills, on which, in broken lines, she stretches from Seraglio Point to beautiful Eyoub five miles distant, lay Stamboul" (Bumgardner 1925, 53). The hotel also saw two remarkable exhibitions, in 1921 and 1922, by the Russian émigré painter Nikolai Becker (Николай Беккер, 1877–1962), who painted portraits of prominent people of the time (including Foster Waterman Stearns and Mark Lambert Bristol). However, the Russian painters were not the first to organise exhibitions at the hotel; Şeker Ahmet Paşa, a prominent Ottoman painter, had a major exhibition there in 1897. In addition to exhibitions, concerts were regularly organised by Russian musicians in the early 1920s. The authors of Les Russes sur le Bosphore almanac mention the Russian Salon Orchestra, conducted by the talented orchestra leader and violinist, Pavel Alekseevich Zamoulenko, and, according to the local newspapers, residents of Istanbul frequently had an opportunity to attend balalaika concerts. Baroness Valentina Taskina (1902–1992), who lived in Istanbul from 1920 until her death, wrote in her memoirs: “What a sight it was, this fantastic building reminding us Russian aristocrats of the palaces we had once known… On dusky, quiet evenings, the lights of the Pera Palace would rise like those of a majestic liner on a vast twilight sea. I spent countless hours at the Orient Express Bar with my sister Alexandra and my musician friends: Maestro Denisof played the balalaika, Maestro Artamonof sang old Russian songs, Natalie Protasyef danced and sometimes I accompanied them on the grand concert piano. Later, we would sip French cognac with guests and converse until the small hours of the morning” (Deleon 1998, 109). In addition, Alexander Vertinsky (who later settled in Shanghai and was a frequent performer at HLAM’s Wednesdays) lived at the hotel for some time: “Boris Putyata and I settled no more and no less than in the most fashionable hotel of Constantinople, the Pera Palace. We ironed our Russian ‘suits’ – actor’s famous ‘wardrobe’ –, looking at which entrepreneurs sternly appraised young actors, and [...] went out into the street. On the Grand Rue de Péra, many of our compatriots who had arrived before us were already walking back and forth. Putyata even stuck a carnation in his buttonhole. We walked just like at home – somewhere in Kharkiv, on Sumskaya” (Vertinsky 1991, 124).
    Among the hotel’s guests of honour was Agatha Christie, who, according to legend, was inspired to write her detective novel Murder on the Orient Express while staying at the Pera Palace. The hotel was also frequented by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk after 1917 and room 101, which he often used, was subsequently turned into a small museum. There are a myriad of stories to be told about this legendary hotel, which, despite restoration, remains a fine example of late-nineteenth-century Istanbul architecture. The Pera Palace had a sister hotel in Tarabya, the Summer Palace Hotel opening in 1893/94 and accommodating travellers on the Orient Express from May to October. The opening of the Park Hotel, located Ayaspaşa-Gümüşsuyu, in 1930/31 possibly increased competition in the luxury hotel segment in Istanbul.

    Word Count: 752

  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    Kabristan Street 520 (now Meşrutiyet Cad. 52), Tepebaşı, Istanbul.

  • Signature Image:
    Pera Palace Hotel, Tepebaşı (SALT Araştırma, Fotoğraf ve Kartpostal Arşivi, Istanbul).
  • Media:
    Pera Palace Hotel, Tepebaşı (SALT Araştırma, Fotoğraf ve Kartpostal Arşivi, Istanbul).
    Image of Pera Palace Hotel (Güneş Newspaper, 14 April 1991).
    Jazz-Band du Pera Palace by photographer Jean Weinberg (Les Russes sur le Bosphore Almanac, 1928).
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Anonymous. “Bazar kn. M.V. Baryatinskoy.” Zarnitsy, 20 March 1921, p. 23.

    Anonymous. “Vystavka hudojnika N.N. Beckera.” Presse du Soir, 20 May 1922, p. 3.

    Anonymous. “Atatürk’den Agatha Christie’ye dek yüzlerce ünlüyü ağırlayan otelin kitabı yayımlandı. Pera Palas’ın tarihi ve konukları.” Güneş, 14 April 1991, n.p. Core, https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/38305676.pdf. Accessed 2 January 2021.  

    Bournakine, Anatoliy, editor. Russkiye na Bosfore. Les Russes sur le Bosphore. Imp. L. Babok & fils, 1928.

    Bumgardner, Eugenia S. Undaunted Exiles. The McClure Company, 1925.

    Deleon, Jak. The Pera Palas. A Historical Hotel Overlooking the Golden Horn. Gözlem Gazetecilik Basın ve Yayın A.Ş., 1998.

    King, Charles. Pera Palas’ta Geceyarısı. Modern Istanbul’un Doğuşu. Translated by Ayşen Anadol, ALFA Tarih, 2019.

    Vertinsky, Aleksandr. Dorogoy dlinnoyu... İzdatel’stvo “Pravda”, 1991.

    Word Count: 131

  • Archives and Sources:

    Slavonic Library (Slovanská knihovna) in Prague.

    SALT Araştırma in Istanbul.

    Istanbul Çelik Gülersoy Library.

    Word Count: 17

  • Author:
    Ekaterina Aygün
  • Date of Founding:
    1892
  • Metropolis:
    Istanbul
  • Entry in process:
    no
  • Ekaterina Aygün. "Pera Palace Hotel." METROMOD Archive, 2021, https://archive.metromod.net/viewer.p/69/2949/object/5145-10703456, last modified: 14-09-2021.
  • Rudolf Belling
    Sculptor

    As a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts and Technical University in Istanbul from 1937 until 1966, Rudolf Belling taught his students the technicalities of form, material and proportion.

    Word Count: 28

    Rudolf Belling during an interview shortly after his arrival in Turkey, 1937. Yedigün, no. 212, vol. 9, March 1937, p. 8 (Archive Burcu Dogramaci).
    Rudolf Belling with a student in front of copies of antique sculptures, 1937. Yedigün, no. 212, vol. 9, March 1937, p. 9 (Archive Burcu Dogramaci).Rudolf Belling. “Heykeltraşlık.” Arkitekt, no. 12, 1936, p. 348 ([url]http://dergi.mo.org.tr). Here, Belling explains his future teaching programme at the Academy of Fine Arts. Below, his likewise newly-appointed colleague, the French artist and professor of painting Léopold Lévy, expresses himself.Rudolf Belling, Draft for the monument Atatürk hands over responsibility for the Republic to the youth, Istanbul University, 1938, model, second version, published in the journal Ar, no. 19, 1938, p. 8 (Archive Burcu Dogramaci).Studio exhibition class of Rudolf Belling at the Academy of Fine Arts, 1940, published in Güzel Sanatlar Dergisi, no. 4, 1942 (Archive Burcu Dogramaci).Studio exhibition class of Rudolf Belling at the Academy of Fine Arts, 1940: Hüseyin Özkan Anka, Athlet, before 1940, published in Güzel Sanatlar Dergisi, no. 4, 1942 (Archive Burcu Dogramaci).Rudolf Belling, Monument for Ismet Inönü, Courtyard of the Agricultural Faculty of the University of Ankara, 1943/44 (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2004).Rudolf Belling with students at the Academy of Fine Arts, Istanbul, c. 1945, 1st from left: Hüseyin Gezer, photographer unknown (Rudolf-Belling-Archiv, Krailling).Rudolf Belling, Moulding for the Istanbul University, entrance to conference room of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, 1946, detail (Photo: Dogramaci, 2002).Rudolf Belling, Skulptur 49 (In Memoriam Dreiklang), 1949, bronze, Collection Elisabeth Weber-Belling, Krailling (Nerdinger 1981).Rudolf Belling, Segelmotiv, 1959/1962, Bank für Gemeinwirtschaft, Hamburg, Dornbusch/Rolandsbrücke (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2020).Rudolf Belling, Blütenmotiv (called Schuttblume), 1967/1972, Olympiapark, Munich, (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2019).
    Istanbul
    Alexis Gritchenko
    PainterArt Historian

    During the two years of his life that he spent in Istanbul, Alexis Gritchenko produced more paintings dedicated to the city than many artists produce in an entire lifetime.

    Word Count: 29

    Portrait of Alexis Gritchenko by Turkish painter Namık İsmail, 1920. Private collection. Istanbul, Meşher Art Gallery, “Alexis Gritchenko – İstanbul Yılları” Exhibition (Photo: Ekaterina Aygün, 2020).
    Portrait of Alexis Gritchenko by Turkish painter Namık İsmail, 1920. Private collection. Istanbul, Meşher Art Gallery, “Alexis Gritchenko – İstanbul Yılları” Exhibition (Photo: Ekaterina Aygün, 2020).Istanbul, Meşher Art Gallery, “Alexis Gritchenko – İstanbul Yılları” Exhibition (Photo: Ekaterina Aygün, 2020).Byzantine Church Converted Into a Mosque, March 1920. Collection of the National Art Museum of Ukraine. Istanbul, Meşher Art Gallery, “Alexis Gritchenko – İstanbul Yılları” Exhibition (Photo: Ekaterina Aygün, 2020).Landscape with Domes, October 1920. Collection of the National Art Museum of Ukraine. Istanbul, Meşher Art Gallery, “Alexis Gritchenko – İstanbul Yılları” Exhibition (Photo: Ekaterina Aygün, 2020).Street in Eyüp, November 1920. Ömer Koç Koleksiyonu. Istanbul, Meşher Art Gallery, “Alexis Gritchenko – İstanbul Yılları” Exhibition (Photo: Ekaterina Aygün, 2020).Three Turks in a Coffeehouse, February 1921. Ömer Koç Koleksiyonu. Istanbul, Meşher Art Gallery, “Alexis Gritchenko – İstanbul Yılları” Exhibition (Photo: Ekaterina Aygün, 2020).
    Istanbul
    Nikolai Becker
    PainterGraphic Artist

    Nikolai Becker worked tirelessly in Turkey for three years. He created at least 168 portraits of men and women (among them admirals and their families, commanders-in-chief, diplomats, etc.).

    Word Count: 27

    Nikolai Becker (Teatr i Jizn’, no.10, 1929).
    Nikolai Becker (Teatr i Jizn’, no.10, 1929).Photograph of the portrait (Natalia Khomyakova Deleon) by Nikolai Becker, Istanbul, 1922. The same portrait, but in colour, was published on the cover of Jak Deleon's Beyoğlu'nda Beyaz Ruslar 1920-1990 (Istanbul Kütüphanesi Yayınları, 1990). Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 12 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Foster Waterman Stearns, by Nikolai Becker, 1923. Foster Waterman Stearns was the third secretary of the American Embassy in Istanbul from 1921 to 1923 (© Courtesy of the Holy Cross Archives, Worcester, MA. All Rights Reserved).
    Istanbul
    Russkiy v Konstantinopole/Le Russe à Constantinople
    Guide-book

    The guide-book was created for Russian-speaking refugees who had to leave their country and settle in Constantinople.

    Word Count: 17

    Russkiy v Konstantinopole / Le Russe à Constantinople, 1921, cover (Slavonic Library/Slovanská knihovna, Prague).
    Announcement concerning the publication of the guide-book in the Russian newspaper Presse du Soir, 1921, n.p. (Slavonic Library/Slovanská knihovna, Prague).Russkiy v Konstantinopole / Le Russe à Constantinople, 1921, cover (Slavonic Library/Slovanská knihovna, Prague).Layout of the Grand Rue de Péra (Istiklal Street) from the guide-book, 1921 (Slavonic Library/Slovanská knihovna, Prague).Schematic plan of Constantinople for ‘Russian’ refugees in the guide-book Russkiy v Konstantinopole/Le Russe à Constantinople, 1921 (Slavonic Library/Slovanská knihovna, Prague).Most common words in Turkish for ‘Russian’ refugees from the guide-book, 1921 (Slavonic Library/Slovanská knihovna, Prague).
    Istanbul
    Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople
    Association

    The Union existed for less than two years but in that short space of time a tremendous amount of work was done by its members, refugees from the Russian Empire.

    Word Count: 30

    Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople logo from 1922 membership card of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople (Private Archive of Dimitri Ismailovitch that belongs to Eduardo Mendes Cavalcanti).
    Members of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, Summer 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 8 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).1922 membership card of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople (Private Archive of Dimitri Ismailovitch that belongs to Eduardo Mendes Cavalcanti).Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople logo painted by T. Sabaneeff, 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 1 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).One of the exhibitions of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, Summer 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 10 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Exhibition of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople at Taksim military barracks, Summer 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 6 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).
    Istanbul
    Rejans
    Café / Restaurant

    Rejans (now 1924 Istanbul) restaurant, at the end of the Olivya Passageway is one of Beyoğlu’s landmarks. A relic of 1920s “Russian Istanbul”, where the original atmosphere has been preserved.

    Word Count: 31

    1924 Istanbul, interior (© 1924 Istanbul, Sashah Anton Khan).
    An advertisement from the Nashi Dni almanac, 1921.An advertisement from the Nashi Dni almanac, 1921.Announcement concerning the Turkuaz/Turkuvaz restaurant's (Olivio Passageway) events. From the Russian newspaper Presse du Soir, 1924, n.p. (Slavonic Library/Slovanská knihovna, Prague).Turkuaz/Turkuvaz restaurant-casino, beauty contest, 1931 (CFA_003750, © Suna ve İnan Kıraç Vakfı Fotoğraf Koleksiyonu, Istanbul).Turkuaz/Turkuvaz restaurant-casino, beauty contest, 1931 (CFA_003754, © Suna ve İnan Kıraç Vakfı Fotoğraf Koleksiyonu, Istanbul).1924 Istanbul, interior (© 1924 Istanbul, Sashah Anton Khan).Atatürk's table which is reserved forever (© 1924 Istanbul, Sashah Anton Khan).1924 Istanbul, Borsch Soup (© 1924 Istanbul, Sashah Anton Khan).1924 Istanbul, "Yellow vodka" (© 1924 Istanbul, Sashah Anton Khan).
    Istanbul
    Park Hotel
    Hotel

    Park Hotel in Ayazpaşa- Gümüşsuyu was frequented by newly-arrived emigrants. Rudolf Belling and Paul and Gertrud Hindemith stayed there before moving into more settled accommodation or leaving town.

    Word Count: 31

    Studio Jean Weinberg, Park Hotel terrace, postcard, undated [c. 1931] (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Park_Hotel,_Gümüşsuyu,_İstanbul_(14263772573).jpg).
    View of Park Hotel, Istanbul, date and photographer unknown (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Park_Hotel,_Gümüşsuyu,_İstanbul_(14220447736).jpg, detail).Gertrud Hindemith, Paul Hindemith on the balcony of Park Hotel in Gümüşsuyu, Istanbul, April/May 1935 (With kind permission of the Fondation Hindemith, Blonay, CH).Park Hotel letterhead, Istanbul, 1938 (Private Archive).
    Istanbul
    Foster Waterman Stearns
    LibrarianDiplomatCollectorPolitician

    Foster W. Stearns not only actively supported Russian-speaking émigré artists in Istanbul but also assembled a collection of their works which has survived to this day.

    Word Count: 26

    Foster Waterman Stearns, by Nikolai Becker, 1923. Foster Waterman Stearns was the third secretary of the American Embassy in Istanbul from 1921 to 1923 (© Courtesy of the Holy Cross Archives, Worcester, MA. All Rights Reserved).
    Foster Waterman Stearns, by Nikolai Becker, 1923. Foster Waterman Stearns was the third secretary of the American Embassy in Istanbul from 1921 to 1923 (© Courtesy of the Holy Cross Archives, Worcester, MA. All Rights Reserved).Formal letter of thanks to Foster Waterman Stearns from the members of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 2 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Formal letter of thanks to Martha Stearns from the members of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 9 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Portrait by Mikhail Starikoff, Istanbul, most likely 1921/1922. Mikhail Starikoff was a Russian émigré artist who first settled in Istanbul where he was a member of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople and later moved to France (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Work by Alexandre Pankoff, Istanbul, 1922. Alexandre Pankoff was an émigré artist from the Russian Empire and a member of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople who is famous for his colour frontispiece for Memoirs of Halide Edib (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Landscape by Pavel Kravchenko, Istanbul, 1922. The writing on the back is indecipherable, but most likely says: “The Asian Shore of the Bosphorus”. Pavel Kravchenko was an émigré artist from the Russian Empire and a secretary of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople. His fate is unknown (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Christos Pancratos (Zeyrek Mosque / Monastery of the Pantocrator) by P. Fedoroff, Istanbul, 1922. P. Fedoroff was an émigré artist from the Russian Empire and a member of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople. Presumably he was Pyotr Fedoroff, who settled in Paris in 1924 and mainly worked as a painter of icons (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Caricature by Mitritch Karelin, Istanbul, 1922. Mitritch Karelin was an émigré artist from the Russian Empire and a member of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople. Presumably, Mitritch is a pseudonym, and this caricature (as well as others from this series on Istanbul) was created by Vladimir Kadulin, who liked to use different brush names (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Letter from Pyotr Wrangel to Foster Waterman Stearns, Box 2, Folder 2 of Stearns Family Papers (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).
    Istanbul
    Les Russes sur le Bosphore
    Almanac

    The almanac Les Russes sur le Bosphore is a joint work of Russian-speaking émigrés in Istanbul who were faced with the challenge of leaving the country or becoming naturalised.

    Word Count: 30

    Cover of Les Russes sur le Bosphore Almanac, 1927.
    Cover of Russians on the Bosphorus (Les Russes sur le Bosphore Almanac, 1927).Newspaper announcement concerning the publication of the almanac (Radio Newspaper, 1927, n.p.).Newspaper announcement concerning the almanac’s publication and its points of sale (Radio Newspaper, 1927, p. 3).Self-portrait by Nikolai Saraphanof who created an elegant cover for the almanac, 1927 (Russkiye na Bosfore. Les Russes sur le Bosphore Almanac, 1928, n.p.).
    Istanbul
    HLAM – Society for Artists, Writers, Entertainers and Musicians
    Association

    As Shanghai’s largest and most popular Russian émigré association focused loosely on art, HLAM provided a platform for weekly encounters between the self-professed bohemians and a general audience. The HLAM evenings included theatre scenes, comic routines, dance numbers and poetry readings.

    Word Count: 42

    Wednesday party at HLAM, photography, around 1930 (© Amir Khisamutdinov).
    Portraits of Members of Harbin’s HLAM society, magazine page, photo collage, Piliulia (The Pill), 1922. Abel Bershadsky is at the top left.HLAM banquet in a restaurant, photography, around 1930 (© Amir Khisamutdinov). The Russian lettering for HLAM is at the back.La Renaissance restaurant at 795 Avenue Joffre, photography, Modern Miscellany (Shidai), no. 12, 1932.
    Shanghai