Büyükada, the largest of the Prince Islands, has become the touristic attraction center of Istanbul. Büyükada is surrounded by blue and green all around. Almost as if nature embraces its visitors. In addition to this feature, the island also has a deep-rooted history.
The island is home to old buildings such as the church of St. Yorgi, many historical mansions and wooden structures from the past. In this article, we highlight the Prinkipo Greek Orthodox Orphanage in Büyükada, which has been talked about in recent weeks.
About the history of the Greek Orphanage
The building, planned and built as a hotel between 1898-1899 and given to the Greek Community just before its opening, stands out as one of the largest wooden buildings in the world.
In 1903, the orphanage was inaugurated with a ceremony attended by Sultan Abdülhamit and the Patriarch of the time Ioakim III.
Used as an orphanage until the 1960s, the building was used by the General Directorate of Foundations for a short period and was vacated in 1964. In 2007, the building was transferred back to the Patriarchate.
The architect of the building
The building was designed by Alexandre Vallaury, one of the famous architects of the period. Vallaury, a French architect who made great contributions to Ottoman architecture in the late 19th century, is the architect of many famous buildings in Istanbul. Buildings such as Pera Palas and Istanbul Archaeology Museum, which are still very popular today were all designed by Vallaury.
At the end of the 19th century, the remarkable aspect of the project in Büyükada was that it was designed entirely by using wooden materials. It was said to be the largest wooden building in Europe, as well as having the highest number of floors among wooden buildings in the world. The magnificent orphanage is designed in 3 sections, main and side sections, with 6 floors in the side sections and 5 floors in the main section.
The building is literally 'in the footsteps of the tree' with its use of wood and its positioning in the greenery.
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