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Yeniköy: The "New Village" of Istanbul

Updated: Apr 5

Located in the Sariyer District along the European Coast of the Bosphorus, Yeniköy is sandwiched between the neighborhoods of Istinye and Tarabya. The precise date of its settlement is unknown, however, it was heavily redeveloped under the reign of Süleyman the Magnificent in the sixteenth century.

The waterfront of Yeniköy (Source: Mapcarta)

Currently, it is also known as Yeni Kioi or Nihori (Νεοχώρι) which means “New Village,” but the Greeks also called it Camarodes, a name bearing tribute to the abundant strawberry crops of the region. Over the next few centuries, Yeniköy developed a considerably large population of ethnic minorities; it ultimately consisted of three Muslim quarters and seven Christian quarters by the seventeenth century. Most of these minority groups were of Greek, Jewish, and Armenian descent. Despite attempts at eradicating these groups during the twentieth century, the Surp Asdvadzadzin Armenian Church and Yeniköy Synagogue still stand.

The Yeniköy Synagogue (Source: Planeta Estambul)

Additionally, the Greek influence over the city can be no better exemplified than through the Greek Orthodox church of Dormition of the Mother of God. The church was built in 1837 by Sultan Mahmud II at the request of his Greek physician, Stefanos Karatheodori. Karatheodori was a member of a prominent Phanariot family and was the father of Alexander Karatheodori, an Ottoman diplomat who served as the ambassador to Rome and was an important figure in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877. The tombstones of the father and son are still located next to the church's wooden bell tower today.

The Surp Asdvadzadzin Armenian Church (Source: Turanakinci)

The church contains numerous beautiful depictions of saints wearing Greek and Roman garments. Furthermore, the Church of Saint George also serves as a testament of Greek influence, with three Greek Orthodox patriarchs having been buried on the church grounds.


Romantic depiction of St. George in the church of Dormition (Source: Queens Gazette)

By the nineteenth century, Yeniköy became a prestigious neighborhood occupied by figures within the Ottoman administration. The suburbs consist of the iconic oceanside yalı houses, the architectural hallmark of the Ottoman bourgeoisie. There is no more obvious presence of the elite in Yeniköy than the waterfront mansion of Sait Halim Pasha. He was an Ottoman statesman of Albanian origin who was prominent in the early twentieth century and may have been one of the perpetrators of genocide against the Armenian population in Turkey beginning during the first World War. The mansion was originally built in the 1770s by a Greek architect named Aristarkis. Besides this mansion, numerous other splendid residences contribute to the representation of the district’s wealth, such as the mansions of Faik and Bekir Bey, as well as the old Iranian summer embassy.


 

References

“Fig. 1. The area between Yeniköy and Kü ̧ ükdereköy in the cartography...” n.d.

ResearchGate. Accessed 2023. https://www.researchgate.net/figure/The-area-between-

Yenikoey-and-Kue-uekderekoey-in-the-cartography-of-the-Turkish-

General_fig1_228793039.

Foundation of the Hellenic World. n.d. “Μεγάλη διαδικτυακή εγκυκλοπαίδεια της

Κωνσταντινούπολης.” Μεγάλη διαδικτυακή εγκυκλοπαίδεια της

Κωνσταντινούπολης. Accessed 2023.

Mode=LemmataSearch&paramid=N.

Tsounis, Catherine. 2019. “In Byzantine Footsteps: Patriarchal Service in Neohori Church,

Istanbul, Turkey.” Queens Gazette. https://www.qgazette.com/articles/in-byzantine-

footsteps-patriarchal-service-in-neohori-church-istanbul-turkey/.

“Yeniköy, Sarıyer.” n.d. Wikipedia. Accessed 2023.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yenik%C3%B6y,_Sar%C4%B1yer.

“Yeniköy Map - Suburb - Turkey.” n.d. Mapcarta. Accessed 2023.

https://mapcarta.com/13820932.

“Yeniköy Surp Asdvadzadzin Kilisesi.” n.d. turanakinci.com. Accessed 2023.

https://www.turanakinci.com/portfolio-view/yenikoy-surp-asdvadzadzin-kilisesi/.



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