100 families of Istanbul featured in book
ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
The stories of 100 families who have made great contributions to Istanbul’s development throughout its history have been gathered in a book titled “Istanbul’un 100 Ailesi” (The 100 Families of Istanbul), the new book of the “Istanbul’un Yüzleri” (The Faces of Istanbul) series.
The book, prepared by researcher-writer Sevengül Yılmaz during a one-year process of examining various historical resources, tells the stories of 100 families who have left their mark in the history of Istanbul.
Among the families mentioned in the book are some well-known ones including the Sabancı, Kıraç, İpekçi and Mardinzadeler families, along with less-known ones such as Kamondo, Karateodori, Lenas, Çorluzade, Zografos, Pepagomenos and Glavani families.
Avram Salomon Kamondo (1758-1873) from the Spanish-Portuguese origin Kamondo family, established the first Kamondo and Şürekası Bank with his brother. This bank has become one of the leading international finance institutions in the world.
The bank, which loaned money to the Ottoman Empire for defense needs during the Crimean War, moved its central branch to Paris in 1872, but the bank later closed in 1910s.
Avram Kamondo’s family, which was the leader of Istanbul’s Jewish families in the first half of 18th century, established the Istanbul Streetcar Company. Following the death of Kamondo, other surviving members of the family died in the Auschwitz Nazi camp in 1943.
The İpekçi family, who became involved in the silk business in Thessaloniki for a few generations, continued their silk trade when they moved to Istanbul in 1893. The family first opened a store named “Hüsn-i İntihap” in Eminönü neighborhood and later on opened the largest store at the time, the Selanik Bonmarşesi. This store was destroyed during the rearrangement of the Eminönü Square and the family became involved in cinema business with the Elhamra Movie Theater in 1923.
One year later, the İpekçi family turned the Skating Palace show center into a movie theater and opened today’s Melek Movie Theater. Later on, the family established the İpek Film Company.
Another family member, the late İsmail Cem, worked in Turkish media and politics. Journalist Abdi İpekçi, who was killed by Mehmet Ali Ağca in 1979, was another member of this family along with famous fashion designer Cemil İpekçi.
Sisters Lebibe İhsan Sezen and Neyyire İpekçi, who recorded albums with the nicknames Lale and Nerkis, were daughters of a family from Thessaloniki. They moved to Istanbul after graduating from high school in Thessaloniki and took Western and Turkish music lessons at the beginning of 1920s.
The sisters, known as the first female singers to produce an album in Istanbul, recorded many albums between 1923 and 1933 for Columbia, Sahibin Sesi and Pathe companies.
Rafayel Manas, the oldest known member of Manas family, which immigrated to Istanbul at the beginning of the 17th century from the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri, was known by the nickname “Diratzu.” Thanks to his painting education in Italy, Manas worked as palace painter during the reigns of Mahmud I, Osman III and Mustafa III.
Another member of the same family, Manase Manas, also worked as the palace painter. Filip Lenas, the founder of Baylan Patisserie, moved to Istanbul in 20th century and becmae involved in the patisserie business after working for Turkey’s first chocolate factory, Mulatier.
Lenas opened his first patisserie, “Loryan,” in 1923 on Beyoğlu’s Deva Çıkmazı street. The name of the patisserie, which meant l’Orient, was later changed to “Baylan,” meaning “perfection” in Chagatai Turkish (an extinct Turkic language which was once widely spoken in Central Asia). The second branch of the patisseries opened in 1925 in Karaköy and the third branch opened in 1962 in Kadıköy.
Sabancı and Kıraç families
The southern province of Adana’s renowned Sabancı family also made important contributions to Istanbul’s economic, cultural and social life.
Sakıp Sabancı, who began working as a probationary employee for Akbank in 1948, has formed Turkey’s one of the most important calligraphy art collections. This collection had been on display at Atlı Köşk for many years.
With his brothers, Sabancı founded the Hacı Ömer Sabancı Foundation, and opened the Sabancı University.
Ali Numan Kıraç (1897-1954), the first known member of the Kıraç family, was the first agriculturalist who was sent to the United States by modern Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, to develop the business of agriculture. Can and İnan Kıraç, the children of Ali Numan and his wife Semiha Kıraç, have made great contributions to Turkey’s social, cultural and economic life.