The Flower Passage, renowned as the heart of İstiklal Street in Beyoğlu has come until today after having survived many tribulations in its history. The Naum Theatre that used to be in the place of the passage was also destroyed in the great Beyoğlu fire that happened in 1870. Hristaki Zografos Efendi, one of the Greek bankers known by the name “Galata Bankers” bought the land that once used to be the Naum Theatre in 1876. He had an innovative style building, holding a storage area and apartment block built, designed by an Italian architect Cleanthy Zanno, on this parcel of land. He had stores designed according to the Parisian style, which was fashionable in those days, and 18 luxurious flats above them inside the building whose construction was completed in 1876. The alley composed of the stores was named “Hristaki Alley”, and the building was named “Cite de Pera”.
The passage was named “Sait Pasha Passageway” after the ownership of the building was passed onto Grand Vizier Küçük Said Pasha in 1908. Flowershops became established in the smaller shops during the war years around the 1940s. Pubs that opened in the passage in that period started to attract many customers. When towards the end of the 1950s Cite de Pera was also utilized as a flower auction for a while, flowershops at Beyoğlu started to fluctuate towards the passage, after which the name of the alley was changed into The Passage of Flowershops.
The three storeyed building including the ground floor is established on a spacious area. A magnificent frontal architecture dominates the front facade that is mainly constructed by stonework. Flower Passage, being one of the most ornamented buildings in Beyoğlu, stands out with its caryadits on the front façade, the lion and human head carvings in the middle section on the top floor. When the ornamentations and the variety in architectural designs are considered, this building is ranked as one of the typical examples of 19th century eclecticism.
These are some of the stores that have been deemed memorable in of one of the most ornate buildings of Beyoğlu, the Flower Passage: MaisonParret and the Vallaury'nin patisseries, the Japanese shop of Nakumara, Natural Flowershop of Dulas, Shumacher’s bakery famous for its pastries, Yorgo’s alehouse, Keserciyan’s tailor shop, Acemyan’s tobacco shop, and Hristo’s café.
The dilapidated building that collapsed overnight on May 10th, 1978 remained in its demolished state until 1988. Later, it was restored and put into service once again, in loyalty to its original state with the support of the municipality and endeavors of “The Sustenance and Glamorization of the Flower Passage Association”.
Flower Passage ranked first in a public survey made by “The Glorification of Beyoğlu Association, in which the participants were asked the first thing that comes to mind in association with the Beyoğlu district.