1. Byzantine period
The Hasköy district is located in the northern part of the Golden Horn, across Fanari (Fener) and Balatas (Balat). The area that nowadays covers Hasköy has been known to be populated since at least the 6th century. Is it also referred to as Areovindou or Aravindou, from a nobleman who built his summer house there. The name Pikridio was given towards the end of the 8th century and originated from the great Pikridio monastery, founded by the protospathariοs Ioannis Pikridios. The multitude of monasteries and churches built in the area (monastery of the Lykaones, monastery of Eutychius, monastery of Virgin Mary “the Matron”, monastery of Galakrines etc) indicate Pikridio’s importance during the Byzantine period.1
2. Ottoman period
2.1. Hasköy from the 15th to the 19th century
After the Fall of Constantinople, Pikridio was named Hasköy. During the Ottoman period the area, also called Agia Paraskevi (St. Paraskevi) because of the church of the same name, was populated by Greek-Otrthodox and Armenians, as well as many Jews purged from Eminönü when the Yeni or Valide Cami was built at the end of the 16th century.2 However, even before the Jews of Eminönü settled in the area, Jews had been living there since the Byzantine period.3
In fact, Hasköy was one of the most important Jewish districts of Constantinople, where Sephardim, Romaniote, Ashkenazim, but also Karaite Jews co-habited. According to Evliya Çelebi, about 11,000 Jews lived in Hasköy in the 17th century, a figure that obliges him to compare it to Thessaloniki. Also according to Evliya Çelebi, the Greeks lived in two quarters (mahalle) and the Armenians in one.4 Most of the Armenians living there were immigrants from Eğin in the region of Erzincan and were involved in the building business.5 Evliya mentions that there were 50 tanneries and 100 taverns in the area.6 According to Skarlatos Vyzantios, Hasköy “is populated partly by Greeks and Armenians, most of them tile-makers and tavern proprietors, mainly though by Jews, who had moved there from the Custom House, around which they used to live, until the Yeni – Valide Cami was built.7
In 1688 Manouil Karyophyllis, the Grand Orator of the Patriarchate, was buried in Pikridio. Since then the village would be closely associated with the so-called “noble” cemetery. This cemetery, located exactly across Fanari, in contrast to the “popular” cemeteries of Zoodochos Pege and Eğri Kapu, for many years served as the most official burial ground for the Orthodox Christians of Constantinople. Many Patriarchs were buried here, as well as prelates, princes and scholars.8 Due to a prohibition on burials in church precincts in 1865, the last burial dates to 1866. Nowadays, only a handful of tombs are still standing: most were destroyed by time, while many were used during the last century for the incrustation of the church’s floor and the construction of a bell tower.9
2.1.1. Ecclesiastical buildings – schools
In the Hasköy district there was an ecclesiastical building commemorating Agia Paraskevi as early as the Byzantine period. After the Fall, this small chapel was transformed into a proper church. The main part of the church was built on the ground where the original 15th century building stood. In 1724, with a subsidy granted by Constantin Basarab Brâncoveanu at the time he was the prince of Wallachia, and other Phanariots, the construction of the church of Agia Paraskevi commences, to be completed in 1752. In 1833 the church was renovated and took the form it has today. The church is built in the type of three-aisled basilica and has a massive bell tower. It has a long narthex connected to the women’s section, which takes up the whole narthex.10
The Hasköy Orthodox community was also in charge of two agiasmata (springs of holy water). In Aynalı Kavak lies the agiasma of Agios Panteleimon (St. Panteleimon); the agiasma of the Agia Paraskevi church is located on Kalaycı Bahçe Street, on the Çıksalın Hill among Orthodox, Muslim and Jewish cemeteries. The stone Byzantine holy water fountain is built by relics of an ancient aqueduct.11 According to Eremya Çelebi Kömürciyan, during the 17th century the Jews of the area, within the framework of inter-communal conflicts, were trying to defame and diminish the Agia Paraskevi agiasma, which was attracting Greek-Orthodox as well as Muslims.12
2.2. Hasköy in the 20th and 21st century
The church of Agia Paraskevi in Hasköy was badly damaged during the riots of September 6-7, 1955 and was renovated in 1958.
Moreover, the gradual relocation of the Greek-Orthodox population of Constantinople after World War II from the Golden Horn and the city walls districts to the city centre (Stavrodromi, Feriköy and Tatavla), which becomes even greater after the riots of September 6-7, 1955, had its toll on the Hasköy community. In 1973 the elementary school was shut down lacking students.13 Nowadays, hardly any Greek-Orthodox inhabit the area, and in 2004, the use of the church was ceded from the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the Romanian community of Constantinople.14
According to records from the Greek embassy in Constantinople, at the beginning of the 20th century the Greek-Orthodox population of Hasköy amounted to ca. 2,000 inhabitants.15 In 1906 a six-class urban school operated within the community, as well as a six-class all-girls school. Concerning Hasköy brotherhoods in the 19th century, a charitable one is mentioned in 1868, the Educational Brotherhood “Apollo” in 1855 and the Brotherhood “Agios Nikolaos” (St Nicholas) in 1905.16 According to a patriarchal record of 1949, 61 families constituted the Hasköy Greek-Orthodox community at the middle of the 20th century.17 This number is reaffirmed by Christophoros Christidis’ archives, according to which in 1955 the community was consisted by 60 families and had a three-class elementary school and a charitable brotherhood.18 In the mixed elementary school of Hasköy, 157 students were enlisted in the academic year 1920/1921, while in 1948/1948 there were only 13.19
1. Μήλλας, Α., Σφραγίδες Κωνσταντινουπόλεως (Athens 1996), pp. 432-437.
2. Evliya Çelebi, Evliya Çelebi Seyahatnamesi, Üçdal Neşriyat (ed.), 1-2 (İstanbul 1975), p. 287.
3. See Belge, M., İstanbul Gezi Rehberi (İstanbul 2007), p. 290.
4. Evliya Çelebi, Evliya Çelebi Seyahatnamesi, Üçdal Neşriyat (ed.), 1-2 (İstanbul 1975), p. 287.
5. Παπαστράτης, Θ.Ο., Γειτονιές της Κωνσταντινούπολης (Athens 2003), p. 109.
6. Evliya Çelebi, Evliya Çelebi Seyahatnamesi, Üçdal Neşriyat (ed.), 1-2 (İstanbul 1975), p. 287.
7. Βυζάντιος, Σ.Δ., Η Κωνσταντινούπολις Περιγραφή Τοπογραφική, Αρχαιολογική και Ιστορική 2 (Athens 1862), pp. 11-12.
8. Βυζάντιος, Σ.Δ., Η Κωνσταντινούπολις Περιγραφή Τοπογραφική, Αρχαιολογική και Ιστορική 2 (Athens 1862), p. 12.
9. Παπάς, Α., «Σημειώσεις επί των ορθόδοξων νεκροταφείων της Πόλης κατά τον ΙΘ’ και Κ’ αιώνα», Η Καθ’ ημάς Ανατολή 5 (2000), pp. 26-27.
10. Τσέτσης, Γ., «Αγία Παρασκευή Πικριδίου (Χάσκιοϊ). Ο ναός μιας προγονικής εστίας που έσβησε», Η Καθ’ ημάς Ανατολή 1 (1993), pp. 175-186. Also see Karaca, Z., İstanbul’da Osmanlı Dönemi Rum Kiliseleri (İstanbul 2001), pp. 185-190; Γκίνης, Ν. – Στράτος, Κ., Εκκλησίες στην Κωνσταντινούπολη (Athens 1999), pp. 114-115.
11. Ατζέμογλου, Ν., Τα αγιάσματα της Πόλης (Athens 1990), pp. 89-91.
12. Çelebi Kömürciyan, E., İstanbul Tarihi (İstanbul 1952), pp. 35-36.
13. Παπαστράτης, Θ.Ο., Γειτονιές της Κωνσταντινούπολης (Athens 2003), p. 107.
14. Σταυρίδης, Β., Αι εις την Πόλιν χριστιανικαί εκκλησίαι, ομολογίαι, κοινότητες και παροικίαι (Thessaloniki 2005), pp. 77-84.
15. Σβολόπουλος, Κ., Κωνσταντινούπολη 1856-1908. Η ακμή του ελληνισμού (Athens 1995), p. 47.
16. Μήλλας, Α., Σφραγίδες Κωνσταντινουπόλεως (Athens 1996), pp. 432-437.
17. Σταματόπουλος, Κ.Μ., Η τελευταία αναλαμπή. Η Κωνσταντινουπολίτικη ρωμηοσύνη στα χρόνια 1948-1955 (Athens 1996), p. 290.
18. Χρηστίδης, Χ., Τα Σεπτεμβριανά (Athens 2000), p. 299.
19. Alexandris, A., The Greek Minority of İstanbul and Greek-Turkish Relations 1918-1974 (Athens 1983), p. 328.