Armenian school to be turned into hotel
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
The historical building that is to be transformed into a hotel dates back to the beginning of the 1900s and is located in Istanbul’s Gedikpaşa district in the Fatih area. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL
A historical Armenian school, Mesrobyan School in Istanbul’s Gedikpaşa district, is being transformed into a hotel.
Gedikpaşa Surp Hovhannes Church Foundation head Harutyun Şanlı, who is also the general secretary of the Armenian Foundations Solidarity Platform, spoke to the Hürriyet Daily News and said the main reason they took this step with courage was the moderate policies the government had adopted in recent years.
“Before 2008, we could not even hammer a nail on the property we owned, but since 2008, everything has changed. With the new Foundation Law passed last year, we can reclaim our property and have the ownership returned to us,” he said.
The building that is to be transformed into a hotel dated back to the beginning of the 1900s, said Şanlı, adding that the building served as a school until 1983 but had to be closed down because there were no students left.
The place which is located on the historical peninsula of Istanbul was then used as a shoe manufacturing shop for years.
The revenue generated by the hotel will be transferred to Armenian establishments in Istanbul and will be used to support people in need.
Şanlı said they believed the hotel would be in high demand because of its vicinity to the historical peninsula.
“I hope that the administration will soon decide also about the Tokatlıyan Hotel in Beyoğlu which is in ruins so that this hotel is transformed back into the glorious hotel it used to be.”
If Tokatlıyan is also renovated like the hotel in Gedikpaşa, then the Armenian community would be free of financial problems, Şanlı said.
“Now, we have difficulty raising funds for our churches, schools and families in need. We are trying to make ends meet with donations and funds raised at certain events,” he said.
Tokatlıyan Hotel on İstiklal Street in Beyoğlu hosted several leaders when it operated, first and foremost Atatürk, and the high society of the world.
Because the administration of the Tokatlıyan Foundation, which is the richest foundation of the Armenian community, has not changed for the past 30 years and because they have rejected all projects, the community has sued the administration of the foundation.
Considered by scholars to be a significant architectural achievement, the Tokatlıyan-Pera is one of the best examples of fin-de-siècle architecture in Turkey.
The hotel belongs to the Üç Horan Armenian Church Foundation, one of the richest foundations of Turkey’s Armenian community.
The foundation’s administration, which has remained unchanged for 30 years, has chosen not to adopt any of the numerous renovation proposals that have been submitted over the years.