Home of the Revolutionist Poet, Home of Capitalism

Saint Pierre Building (Sen Piyer Han) – Karakoy

This week we are in a fairy tale.

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We are feeling pretty lucky to be able to visit Saint Pierre Han (a large commercial building) that is mostly abandoned, and most definitely closed to public.

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According to records, one of the most famous revolutionist poets of the French Revolution Andre Chenier was born in this building. However, conflicting accounts from the Pierre and Paul Church’s records suggest that the poet was either born in an adjacent building or the house that was formerly located here.

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Either way, the building is intriguing as it is with the St. Priest family’s and Bourbons’ fleur-de-lys coats of arms on the façade, the plaque in Chenier’s name, and the window on its main door.

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This building has also housed many important businesses through out its history including Muhteşem Kot’s jeans workshop (Jeans are called “kot pantalon” in Turkish, hence Muhteşem Kot intentionally or not, named an entire clothing item after himself). 083

The oldest business that took lodging in this building was the Ottoman Bank, which opened its doors in 1865.

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The bank’s gold reserve that weighed thirteen tons were moved with carriages and donkeys when the bank moved to its current museum’s location in 1892 on Karakoy Banks Avenue.061

Saint Pierre Building is currently owned by Bahcesehir University. Although the university has plans to reform the building into a campus and a library, there is no current construction on site.

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To get to Saint Pierre Building, the Han is located on the parallel street of the Karakoy Banks Avenue, at the beginning of Old Bank Street (Eski Banka Sokagi).052

Take care of yourselves,

Tracer of Istanbul

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