119-year-old commercial building in disrepair

119-year-old commercial building in disrepair

119-year-old commercial building in disrepair

The 119-year-old Vlora Han in Istanbul’s Sirkeci neighborhood, one of the oldest commercial buildings in the city, is in disrepair and its crumbling exterior attracts experts’ attention.

Intense cracks and decay can also be seen in the interior of the building.

The ground floor of the building houses a restaurant, a café, a barber and a shoe store, while on the first floor is the Istanbul 6th Notary Office.

It was learned that the building, which is known to be a private property, has been waiting to be restored for a long time.

Istanbul Technical University Department of Architecture Faculty Member and Restoration Program Coordinator Prof. Dr. Yegan Kahya Sayar evaluated the current state of the building and the damage that may occur in a possible Istanbul earthquake.

Giving information about the importance of the building, Sayar said that Vlora Han is one of the few remaining and most interesting examples of the Art Nouveau style, a “business inn” where many famous representatives of various important professional groups have had their offices.

He stated that registered as a protected building by the Preservation Board in 1990, the structure was initially designated as an example of civilian architecture. Later, it was classified as a first-group historical monument in the early 2000s.

The building, which has been recognized for its high quality, is now in a state of severe disrepair.

He mentioned that the damage may not be directly structural, but there are significant deteriorations in both the building’s spatial formations and the quality of the materials used.

Additionally, the structure was used as a storage facility for many years, causing it to bear loads that were never anticipated during its construction.

In the early 2000s, a stone cornice element measuring approximately six meters in length broke off the rear facade facing the side street.

“This posed a serious threat to both human safety and property security. In a poorly maintained building, the damage may increase over time, causing small fragments to break off and, in some cases, even leading to the collapse of certain sections,” he added.

Sayar also pointed out that it is clear that Vlora Han will be damaged by an earthquake like any other structure.

He stressed that the load-bearing system must be thoroughly examined, and reinforcements should be implemented.

He noted that the prompt restoration of this building is everyone’s responsibility as it is a cultural heritage site.