Vlora Hanı – Istanbul, Turkey - Atlas Obscura

Vlora Hanı

An Art Nouveau gem hides beneath the layers of city grime obscuring this once-magnificent building. 


Gorgeous Art Nouveau details hide beneath the layers of grime coating this seemingly unloved building. Hints of its architectural beauty, like the intricate stone roses blooming all around its bay windows and fancy wrought-iron balconies, provide a glimpse of the building’s former glory.

Flora Han (also spelled Vlora Han) was built at the beginning of the 20th century with a rather mundane purpose: to house offices. Its beautiful architecture highlights the western influences that crept into the city at a time when the Ottoman court was enthralled with the Art Nouveau styles spreading throughout European cultures. Many of the buildings are the work of Italian architect Raimondo D’Aronco.

Architects appointed by the Sultan built similar Art Nouveau buildings all over Beyoğlu, Nişantaşı, and on the Bosphorus. Istanbul embraced this style of architecture, and buildings sporting asymmetrical façades and floral details popped up throughout the city, even spreading to its Anatolian side.

But, as with most trends, enthusiasm eventually waned. As such, the magnificent Flora Han fell into disrepair. The filth clinging to its edges and the assortment of advertisements pasted across its exterior now mask the building’s grandeur. Though in need of proper maintenance and restoration, it’s currently still occupied by various businesses as per its original purpose.

Know Before You Go

This building is found in a historical neighborhood of the city, accessed easily by the ferry to Eminönü. It is close to the large post office building.

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