The Markiz Passage building is a landmark Grade H historic art nouveau
building on Istiklal Caddesi, in the centre of Istanbul and at the heart of
Istanbul’s main shopping, nightlife and entertainment districts. Istiklal
Caddesi is Istanbul’s high street, comparable to Oxford St in London. It
has at times a measured foot trafﬁc of up to three million people on a
The six storey Markiz Passage building includes a groundﬂoor arcade
area set behind an historic café, the famous “Patisserie Lebon” or later
The Markiz arcade (Passaj Oriental) was built in the 1840’s while the
café was designed in 1880 by Alexander Vallaury (1850-1921), a French-
Ottoman architect, who also designed the nearby Pera Palas Hotel and
Ottoman Bank buildings in Istanbul. The beautiful café interior is one
of only two high quality alt nouveau interiors on Istiklal Caddesi that
have survived to the present day. The panels on the café’s walls depict
spring and autumn and were designed by J .A. Arnoux in 1905.
The building was built to hold shops on the lower ﬂoors and offices and
residences on the upper ﬂoors. The six-storey building has a 65 metre
long T-shaped main corridor through which the arcade connects Istiklal
Caddesi and Asmalimescit Sokak.
The building is being made vacant in order to prepare for a hotel or a
shopping arcade project. There are two remaining tenants at the ground
and first ﬂoor levels, Darty and Yemek Kulub. They are both about to
complete their ﬁve—year tenancies and will be asked to vacate the premises.
Under the 1/ 1000 master planning approved on 21.12.2010 Beyoglu, the
site zoned for commercial, service and tourism use.
“In Pera’s heyday, there was no more glamorous spot to be seen than
Patisserie Lebon in the Grand Rue de Pera (now Istiklal Caddesi). The
place to enjoy gateaux and gossip, it was favoured by the city’s European
elite, who dressed to kill when they popped in for afternoon tea. Noting
this, tailors, furriers and milliners opened shops in the adjoining Passage
Orientale and did a brisk trade, making it the city’s most exclusive retail
In 1940 the Lebon was taken over by Avedis Caki’r, who renamed it
Patisserie Markiz. It continued to trade until the 1960s, when Pera’s
decline and a lack of customers led to its closure. Fortunately, closure
didn’t mean destruction — the building was boarded up and left just as it
had been, fittings and all.
In the 1970s, local artists and writers lobbied the authorities to have the
patisserie and passage added to the country’s register of historical buildings;
this occurred in 1977, ensuring the entire building’s preservation.
The building is located at the centre of Istanbul’s ‘high street ‘ comparable
to Oxford St in London. The building is located approximately halfway
between Tunel and Galatasaray and the elegant pedestrian avenue that
is Istiklal Caddesi is approximately 3 km long