Here we see important sites of memory for the Greek [Rum] Communities of Istanbul: the historic Rum schools of Phanar Greek Orthodox High School and Ioakeimeion Girls’ High School which are located directly opposite to each in Fener neighbourhood of Istanbul (‘Phanar’ in Greek). These are prominent institutions and buildings, and the former is still active, albeit with vastly […]

Stelyos is from Istanbul. After many years as a member of the Ecumenical Patriarchate choir, he moved to the island of Gökçeada (Imroz) in 2020. He teaches music in a Greek high School and trains the Greek children of the island to sing traditional Orthodox church music.  Together with his wife Pelin Suer, Stelyos established […]

This story on this page was going to be different. It is not completed, and it won’t be. This is about Nikos Manginas, who was a journalist and a photographer at the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. We lost Nikos on 10th April 2021.  Nikos was a generous, helpful person with a great sense of humour. I […]

The independent initiative Istos is a Greek ‘Rum’ organization in Istanbul established in 2011. One of the first activities of Istos was to revive the historic publishing tradition of the Greeks of Istanbul that was discontinued over half a century previously due to political pressure. They aim to contribute to knowledge about the history, culture […]

Dimitris (Vafiadis) Daravanoğlu is a member of the Greek Community of Istanbul but also has Armenian and Italian roots in his family. He still lives in Istanbul. He is in his 30s and working as an electrical engineer. He has been interested in his family history and developing his own museum with his family history […]

Ligor was born in 1941 in Çengelköy, a district on the Bosphorus in the Asian site of Istanbul. His family moved to Kurtuluş on the other site of the city when Ligor was 8. He went to Zografyon Greek High School but could not continue his study. He started his working life at a very […]

Stelyos Berber talks about the importance of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople for the development of Greek Orthodox Church music and how music played a significant role in Greek Orthodox culture for centuries. Stelyos sang in the choir of the Patriarchate in Istanbul for 20 years, before which he attended as a child.  Greek Orthodox […]

Dimitris lives in Athens. His parents left Istanbul in 1964 when Turkish state exiled people with Greek citizenship. In the video, Dimitris talks about his journey from the harbour in Karaköy to Athens by himself as he had to follow his parents. It was the first time he left Istanbul. He tells the story of […]

Elena is the daughter of Dimitris, who left Istanbul for Athens in 1964 when holders of Greek passports were deported from the city. Dimitris talked often to his daughter of Istanbul. She was born in Athens and has lived all of her life there. Once, she travelled to Istanbul and took the tram from Atatürk […]

You walk from Tekfur Palace [inside the walls] to Eğrikapı… Gates are usually straight, but not this one. That’s why it’s called ‘crooked gate’… When you went out on the right-hand side there was a Greek cemetery, and there was a football pitch opposite, which was called Bozkurt Club. Behind that, there was a big open space where […]

Theodoros is in his 70s. He left Istanbul in 1964 and now lives in Athens. He graduated from the Zografyon Greek high school. Every year the school celebrates graduates from 50 years before. In November 2019, Theodoros and his friends and fellow graduates came from Athens to Istanbul to celebrate this event. After this, they visited the graveyards […]

Theodoros is in his 70s. He left Istanbul in 1964 and lives in Athens now. He likes football. His passion for football and his interest in other sports started in Beyoğlu Spor (Pera) Club in Istanbul in the 1950s. Theodoros started to play football at Beyoğlu Spor when he was a child. He was also in […]

Theodoros is in his 70s. He left Istanbul in 1964 and lives in Athens now. The family was affected by the political tensions between Turkey and Greece relating to the conflict over Cyprus. He was very upset about this because for him Cyprus meant little to his family. ‘My parents only had primary school education and they […]

This icon of Agios Eleftherios, the Patron Saint of childbirth, belongs to Dimitri’s family. This icon was hanging on the wall of their home in Istanbul until they left in 1964 due to the exile of the Greek citizens. Dimitris’s father, Nikos, had a shop in the Karaköy district of Istanbul. They both used to go to the Agios Nicolas […]

This chandelier is in Athanasios’s home in Athens. He brought it in the 1980s from his family’s flat in Africa Han, a well-known inn in Beyoğlu, Istanbul. The chandelier was a wedding gift to his grandfather from one of his closest friends, a chef at the famous Tokatlıyan Hotel. Athanasios’s grandfather married in 1914 in Kadıköy in Istanbul. He worked […]

Athanasios left Istanbul in 1975 in his teens because tensions over Cyprus between Greece and Turkey made his life very difficult. He is from Beyoğlu area of Istanbul, but very often they visited his maternal grandmother’s house in Göztepe. A trainline went by the house, but the nearest stop was about one kilometre away. His father, who also liked visiting […]

Maria is in her 80s. She is a retired teacher from a Greek school in Istanbul who emigrated to Athens after she retired in 1990s. Many members of her family were already in Athens. She went to university in Greece and finished in 1957. Maria pointed out that in those years there were political tensions […]

Mihalis’s grandfather was a horse-and-carriage driver in Büyükada in the early 20th century. Atatürk and his aide, Kılıç Ali, visited the Island in 1927. They both spoke Greek. According to Michalis’s grandfather, Kilic Ali’s Greek was especially good. Twenty carriages were needed for this official visit. The man in charge of the carriages didn’t expect that the drivers would be given any […]

Mihalis is from Büyükada. They left Istanbul in 1969 when he was 13. His first visit to Istanbul was about twenty years later, but his memories were still vivid. He remembered the way to his old house and other places where he used to go: his cousin’s home, his school, Panayia Church, Agia Georgios Church… He also went down to the seaside where there used be […]

When Yorgi lived in Samatya in 1948, the Land and the Sea Walls had ‘a very powerful effect’ on him. He said: ‘first of all, the Sea Walls, the Marmara Walls… I used to go out on top of the Marmara walls. I used to dream about old ships arriving from the sea. Then, when […]

Dimitris lives in Athens. His parents left Istanbul in 1964 when the Turkish state exiled people with Greek citizenship. They died in the 2000s, but they had always wanted to be buried in Balıklı cemetery where their families are buried. In 2020, some years after their deaths, it was possible for Dimitris to take their remains to be reburied at Balıklı to honour their wish. In […]