The historic Prinkipo Greek Orthodox Orphanage – located on Istanbul’s Büyükada island and considered as Europe’s largest wooden structure and as the world’s second largest – is rotting and is at risk of collapse, said the pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP) deputy Tuma Çelik.
Built at the end of the 19th century, the 20,000-square meter building was initially built as a casino and hotel before being donated to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in 1903. It was used as an orphanage until 1964. Between 2003 and 2010, the building was under the control of Turkey’s General Directorate of Foundations before being returned to the patriarchate.
“The Greek orphanage, which is one of the most important structures in Europe, was left to rot during the years it was under the control of the General Directorate of Foundations. The building faces the risk of destruction. In 2018, it was included among the twelve most endangered heritage sites in Europe [by the Europa Nova foundation] and the leading cultural foundations called for it to be protected. The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate announced that it could not come up with enough funds to protect the building,” Çelik said in a parliamentary question submitted to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
“With the ongoing winter conditions, parts of the roof of the orphanage are collapsing and falling to the ground, the structure is on the verge of destruction,” Çelik said.