Istanbul is home to countless cultures, history and life. Istanbul has switched to reinforced concrete and multi-storey apartment style since the early 1900s. Valpreda Apartment is the first example of apartment life that continues from the past to the present. If you wish, let’s examine the final version and story of the apartment building located in Yeldeğirmeni district of Kadıköy on the Anatolian side of Istanbul!

Valpreda, also known as the Italian Apartment, is the first apartment in Istanbul. The reason why it is called an Italian apartment is; It is caused by the accommodation of Italian engineers and workers working in the construction of Haydarpaşa Train Station in Velprada apartment. Although the Italian apartment is still intact today, it awaits urban transformation and restoration works as it is very old and neglected.

Celal Muhtar Apartment, the first Turkish Apartment in Istanbul, was built by Doctor Celal Muhtar before the First World War. The apartment, which was used as a hospital for immigrants injured in the war after the First World War, is located in the Yeldeğirmeni district. The building, which is a Muslim-only apartment building in the Yel Değirmeni district, still maintains its existence, although it has undergone some changes due to the population density.

Doğan Apartments are again the oldest known and one of the first apartments in Istanbul. The apartment in Beyoğlu was built by the Belgian family and was used for many years. This building, which has been sold many times, was recently purchased by Kazım Taşkent. The apartment named after his deceased son is ranked among the oldest and most popular apartments in Istanbul. The apartment building, which is still popular today, is now among the most valuable buildings of Istanbul, besides being a building where famous people rent houses, commercials and movies are shot.

Mısır Apartment, another of Istanbul’s first reinforced concrete apartments, was built in Taksim-Galata by the famous architect of the period Hovsep Aznavuryan. Since the owner of the apartment is Egyptian Hidivi Abbas Halim Pasha, the apartment is named as ‘Mısır Apartment ‘. The building, which preserves its historical features and structure today, is also known as the apartment where the famous poet Mehmet Akif Ersoy spent his last days. Nowadays, some floors of the building are used as restaurants and art galleries.

Arif Paşa Apartment is one of the first examples of apartment buildings from the Ottoman period. The apartment on Elmadağ Street  was built by Abdullah Sarıcazade, the last doctor of the Ottoman palace. Today, the building known as ‘Sarıcazade Abdullah, Osman Bey apartment building’ is among the historical buildings where restoration works are planned to be made after the allegations that it is not resistant to earthquakes.

Apartment Culture of Istanbul

Istanbul met with the apartment culture at the end of the 1800s, and this culture began to be developed in the early 1900s. Apartment-type buildings, which were built especially by non-Muslims in the Ottoman period, have survived until today, with their architectural features changing with that period. It is features of the first apartment building in Istanbul; high ceiling, wide staircase and window details. The first apartment buildings, which had the influence of the Art Nouveau movement, became plain and simpler over time and reached their current form.

Where Are The First Apartments In Istanbul?

The first apartments in Istanbul are mostly located in Beyoğlu, Nişantaşı and Kadıköy districts. The first examples of apartments in Istanbul were built by Europeans living in Istanbul. It is known that Italians and Germans especially built apartment buildings.

Beyoğlu was the place where Europeans living in Istanbul started to build their first buildings. Although not as much as Beyoğlu, it is another district in Kadıköy where the first apartment buildings were seen in this sense. The Ottoman Sultan of that period, Abdulhamid I, built 4 windmills in Kadıköy to meet the flour needs of the palace and the people, and although windmills have not survived until today, the district takes its name from here and becomes Yeldeğirmeni and the people begin to adopt the apartment-type architecture here as a living space.

The first apartments of Istanbul started to exist in the districts of Maçka, Tünel, Nişantaşı, Yıldız and Gümüşsuyu, especially Beyoğlu.

Istanbul’s First Apartments and Architecture

Art Nouveau influences are seen in the first apartments of Istanbul. Art Nouveau architecture in both the trend and year 1890-1920 in Turkey in Europe begins to show itself. Art Nouveau architecture; It is a movement of art with architectural features that includes motifs surrounding the building in the form of ivy with fine, elegant curves and dense plant patterns, and sometimes flashy, sometimes simple styles are added.

Botter Apartment, Frej Apartment and Mısır Apartment, which are among the first apartment buildings in Beyoğlu, represent the best examples of the trend. The wide stairs, windows and doors of the apartments, which have a high ceiling and generally consist of 6 floors, are among the striking features. Ceiling decorations also constitute other important architectural features of this period..

Another important architectural feature of the period is the ceiling decorations. “Light” is among the important details in the Art Nouveau movement. For this reason, the use of large windows and glass in architecture becomes very important. Although it is not as common as in Beyoğlu, in Kadıköy, where the first apartment buildings are seen, Art Nouveau and Neo-Classical style apartments stand out. The less ornamented buildings in Kadıköy are also not as high and spectacular as those in Beyoğlu. Some of the buildings, which have undergone some changes over time, were later added to an elevator.

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