05 July 2015

A Walk Through the Centuries - Part I - in... (Constantinople/Istanbul - 4457 km)

(Istanbul, 29.06.2015 - 05.07.2015) Let's take a walk through the centuries, starting in Constantinople in the 18th century. This is Dimitrie Cantemir, son of Romanian/Moldavian nobles, twice Prince of Moldavia, which at various times up to the year 1775 included the regions of Bessarabia and Bukovina.

Following Dimitrie Cantemir's attempt to get rid of the Turkish reign through the alliance with Peter the Great and his defeat in 1711, the Turks decided not to grant the reign of Moldavia and Wallachia to a Romanian Prince, but to a Greek one who came from Phanar - the famous neighbourhood in Constantinople - whom they would permanently be able to supervise. So the Phanariot reigns began in two of the three Romanian provinces: Moldavia and Wallachia. Dimitrie Cantemir graduated from the Phanar Greek Orthodox College, established in 1454, which soon became the school of the prominent Greek (Phanariotes) and Bulgarian families in the Ottoman Empire. Its present building from the 19th century, was built in 1881 on a parcel endowed by Dimitrie Cantemir.

Fener, Phanar in the traditional spelling, was a previously wealthy area of Constantinople/Istanbul. Today, Fener looks like a dilapidated area and faces the danger of total ruin. The situation of the buildings worsened corresponding with the economic condition of the inhabitants, who don't have the resources to carry out the necessary repair and maintenance of the architectural structure.

In spite of all that, the last three photos are showing that young people, artists and tourists are finding - however still hesitantly - their way to Fener, the district thus getting the potential of becoming a hip and trendy neighbourhood of Istanbul.

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