Oldest bookstore in Istanbul's Beyoğlu closes due to urban transformation

Oldest bookstore in Istanbul's Beyoğlu closes due to urban transformation

Hülya Vatan ISTANBUL - Radikal
Oldest bookstore in Istanbuls Beyoğlu closes due to urban transformation

Librairie de Pera is the oldest bookstore in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, but is closing due to high rent prices and urban transformation projects.

The oldest bookstore in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district, Librairie de Pera, has closed its doors due to the latest developments in urban transformation in the city.

However, the bookstore's current owner, Uğur Güracar, said they were still hopeful that they would be able to open the bookstore again, according to daily Radikal.

The store opened in 1920 and started out selling German books, maps and guides. It changed hands between many owners over time was the first bookstore to hold a book auction in Istanbul.

Tremendous efforts have been made to keep the store open, against the orders of the Directorship of Foundations of Istanbul. The document from the foundation said the store would be restored and put up for rent.

“After the restoration there will be a tender, which means that it will be impossible for us to buy it,” said Güracar. For this reason, he offered to restore the store and maintain it, but his offer was not accepted.

On the other hand, the rent of the store has also increased every year. Güracar said that when they offered to keep the store and restore it themselves, the foundation said it was being taken "for the benefit of society."

The problem of rent

The dispute was taken to court, which ruled in favor of the Librairie de Pera in its decision. However, pressure from the Directorship of Foundations continued, and as a result of this the Court of Appeals rescinded the judgment and decided to allow the tender process to go ahead. The tender has since taken place and has now been completed.

Güracar said it was impossible to continue Librairie de Pera in another venue or another store, but he has decided to continue with the name and the tradition via the Internet.

According to him, the loss of Librairie de Pera amounts to the loss of a certain character to Istanbul.

Another bookstore that is facing trouble for similar reasons, Robinson Crusoe on İstiklal Avenue, recently created a “RobKart” advance payment system, in an attempt to deal with its financial problems.

Arkeopera, close to Galatasaray High School is also at risk of closure. Due to urban transformation projects, the building in which Arkeopera is located may now host a new hotel. The owner of the store, Nezih Başgelen, stressed that institutions were needed to act as sponsors for such places.