Rainbow steps return after Beyoğlu mayor vows 'colorful era' in Istanbul's bohemian neighborhood

Rainbow steps return after Beyoğlu mayor vows 'colorful era' in Istanbul's bohemian neighborhood

Rainbow steps return after Beyoğlu mayor vows colorful era in Istanbuls bohemian neighborhood

The stairs were painted by a local resident 'to put a smile on people's faces.' DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

Istanbul's Beyoğlu municipality repainted the rainbow steps in the Fıkdıklı-Cihangir neighborhood in the early morning of Aug. 31, only a day after they had painted over them in grey, triggering an outcry from locals.

The Beyoğlu mayor had personally expressed his regret over the controversial "graying" of the previously rainbow Fıkdıklı-Cihangir neighborhood steps on Aug. 30, vowing to "color up" all the steps in the area linking the shore to the hillside.

"We have finished our works on the colorful steps. We will gather together the residents and organize a small plebiscite. My vote is 'yes.' I hope the votes of the residents will be the same," Ahmet Misbah Demircan said via Twitter on Aug. 30.

"I can say that an era of colorful steps will start in Beyoğlu," he added.

Locals had reacted strongly after municipality workers painted grey the famous "rainbow" steps, which had been orginally colored by a retired local "to put a smile on people's faces."

The mayor praised the project but defended the municipal workers, saying they had acted following a complaint.


The stairs have been repainted
in the early hours of Aug. 31.
DHA photo

"One of our citizens took a decision and offered Beyoğlu such a beautiful project. However, he made a methodological mistake. Not only did he not apply to the municipality, but he did not inform the other residents in the neighborhood," Misbah Demircan said, adding that this had led to complaints.

"Our friends [the municipal workers] who considered these complaints were obliged to paint over those colors," he said.

Local resident Hüseyin Çetinel had taken it upon himself to paint the nearly 200 stairs with an assistant, Volkan Tecimeroğlu.

Çelikel painted only three of the steps at first, but said he decided to paint them all after hearing very positive comments from passers-by. Joined by three of his friends, he spent around 1,500 Turkish Liras, nearly $725, with the painting taking one week and 40 kilos of paint.

In response to the graying, social media users had already organized an event to repaint the steps, which was set to take place on Aug. 31 at 5 p.m. The event called on everyone to gather at the stairs to create the rainbow again.

“Take your brush and come,” became a call on social media websites, while thousands used the #resiststeps hashtag on Twitter and Facebook, becoming Twitter’s most trending topic.