Thursday, April 20, 2017


Sultanahmet, Fatih - İstanbul - Turkey

GPS : 41°00'29.0"N 28°58'35.8"E / 41.008056, 28.976611

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Cevri Kalfa, a slave girl who saved Sultan Mahmud II's life and was awarded for her bravery and loyalty and appointed hazinedar usta, the chief treasurer of the imperial Harem, which was the second most important position in the hierarchy. The building is one of the earliest modern school buildings in Istanbul. It was built by Sultan Mahmud II in the imperial style, in honour of the concubine Cevri Kalfa, who had rescued and carried him to safety during the events known as Alemdar Incident.

Protestors who stormed the Ottoman palace in 1808 and killed Sultan Selim III also wanted to kill Sultan Mahmut II. The prince was saved from the hands of the protestors by one of the women of the palace, Georgian Cevri Kalfa. She first hid him in her room, and then used her own body to shield him from the shooting protestors. She used ashes from a fire to try and distance the angry protestors from her room.

At that point two other palace officials, Anber and Isa Ağa, came to her assistance, rescuing the prince from the palace. Sultan Mahmut II received a knife wound to his arm, but at least he lived. When Mahmud II becomes sultan, he appointed Georgian Cevri Kalf as “hazinedarbaşı” (an office on par with that of being a vizier), and she stayed on for good.

When Cevri Hanım died, in 1819, Mahmud II had her buried alongside the grave of his mother and ordered a fountain and a primary school built in her name. The school in Sultanahmet was built by Sultan Mahmud II in 1839 as a gift of thanks to Cevri Kalfa, a slave girl from his Harem, who saved his life during an uprising of the Janissaries before he was a sultan.

Cevri Kalfa Sibyan Mektebi (Ottoman elementary school) was build in 1819 by Sultan Mahmut II in the loving memory of Cevri Kalfa Cevri Kalfa is the person that saved Sultan Mahmut’s live in 1808, when rebelstried to enter the harem after a death firman (imperial order) ruled by the Bab-ı Ali jurisdiction. Build with an empirical stylethis ottoman elementary school is the biggest one in Istanbul.

It has been used as an elementary school, art school for girls, vocational school specialized inprinting, courthouse and as a modern primary school. It was the largest primary school of its time in Istanbul and became a girl’s only school in 1858, a printing school in 1930 and reinstated as a primary school in 1945.


In 1985 it was donated to the Turkish Literature Foundation (Türk Edebiyat Vakfı) and in 2009 underwent full restoration. There is an attractive fountain built into the outside wall that forms an essential part of the main building.

Turkish people love deserts, coffee and tea. Yes, there’re lot of cafes offering this perfect trilogy but only a few are as historical as Edebiyat Kıraathanesi. This cafe used to be a school, Cevri Kalfa Sıbyan Mektebi, back in Ottoman Era. It was reborn four years ago when Ahmet Kabaklı, the founder of Turkish Literature Foundation, decided to open a cafe where writers, literature critics and book worms can come together and exchange their ideas while sipping their coffee or tea enjoy delicious desserts.

At the cafe, there’s a small souvenir corner. Also, there are two libraries. Today it houses The Turkish Literature Foundation and an inviting branch of the Hafız Mustafa pastry shop that has been in business since 1864.


WEB SITE : Türk Edebiyatı Vakfı

E-Mail :
Phone : +90 212 526 1615 / +90 212 527 5032
Fax : +90 212 513 7749

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