One of the Earliest Examples of 19th Century Apartments

128 Years Old


Barnathan Apartments

As one of the earliest examples of 19th century apartments in Galata, Barnathan Apartments was built almost 130 years ago.

On the two main gates of the building, the years 1892 and 1893, together with the corresponding Jewish date 5652 and 5654, were engraved.

The name of the apartment, just like the other Beyoğlu apartments, originates from the family name of the property owner.

The Barnathan Apartments is a representative example of neoclassical architecture.
This style was inspired by the classical Ancient Greece and Roman architecture and reinterpreted in the 18th and the 19th centuries.

The usage of marbles and castings beside the magnificent front façade carry the motives from these styles. The classical ancient architecture was reinterpreted in the 18th and 19th centuries especially inspired by the republican ideals after the declaration of independence in the United States and the French Revolution.



The decorations on the windows near to the gate had baroque and rococo relief of laurel wreaths with roses in the middle.
The ones on the top of the entrance had grapes, roses, flowers and curvy leaves.
The stairs were made of Marmara marble while landings were made of Italian Carrara stone.
The years 1892 and 1893, together with the corresponding Jewish dates 5652 and 5654, were engraved.

Where Does the Barnathan Name Come from?

The apartment blocks, which were peculiar to the end of 19th century, carried the names of their owners. One can identify the names of the apartments through the annual commercial registers of Istanbul.


While the non-Muslim landowners had given their family names to their properties, some Muslim landowners were using their first names with the abbreviation ‘Mr.’ in Turkish ‘Bey’ since some Muslims did not carry family names. ‘Barnathan’ is the family name of an Ottoman-Jewish family.


The most well-known member of the Barnathan family, Nissim Barnathan (b. 1827-d. 1907) was a banker and the owner of the Barnathan Han. He was a leading member of Balat Or-Ahayim community and a respectable person among the Ottoman Jewish community.

Nissim Barnathan and his kids.

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