Genoese Heritage

St. Benoit High School and Church – Karakoy

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This famous school’s background is dated back to Genoese nuns’ decision to open up a school to educate the poor children in 1362.

The school was taken over by Italian Benedict monks in 1427, and French Benedict monks in 1450. In 1540, Suleiman the Magnificent gave the permission for the French Embassy to take over the school as a chapel, granting the building diplomatic immunity status. In 1583, with the request of the French King, the Pope transferred the ownership of the monastery from Benedicts to Jesuits. During this period, the monastery started to provide education and healthcare services.

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Due to the turmoil France was going through, in 1783 the Jesuits resigned from the management of the monastery and instead gave the responsibility to Lazarist reverends from Marseilles. With the financial support of the French Foreign Policy Minister, from 1841 the building was used as a publishing house for 25 years.

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The parts of the building that was damaged by fire and time were destructed and rebuilt between 1875 and 1880; later the property was registered to the French Embassy.  If you want to read on the detailed history of St. Benoit, click here.197

Since this is a private school today the public is not allowed to visit the building. However, if you still wish to glance by just go towards Tophane from Karakoy on Kemeraltı Avenue and you can find this magnificent building and its bell tower on your left.

Take care of yourselves,

Tracer of Istanbul

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