Büyükada Greek Orphanage is an institution whose door was locked in 1964. As a matter of fact, its current situation is devastated. Today, the story of this building is told as follows:
Built by the French in the late 1800s, this building was the largest wooden structure in Europe and the second largest in the world. It was envisaged to be used as a casino and hotel similar to those in France. However, since this casino-hotel concept was contrary to the customs and customs of the Ottoman administration of the period, the necessary permission could not be obtained, the building was put up for sale. The building, whose construction could not be completed, was purchased by the Andreas Syngros Foundation, belonging to one of the richest Greek families of the period, for the use of the Balikli Greek Orphanage for 15 thousand Ottoman liras. Another rich Greek family, the Zarifis, was given to the protection of the Greek Patriarchate with 3,700 gold Ottoman liras and 1,180 Ottoman liras donated by Sultan Abdulhamit. The building was opened for service as an orphanage on May 21, 1903 with a ceremony attended by Sultan Abdulhamit and the Greek Patriarch of the period Ioakim. By the Sultan's decree, 7.5 okka of meat and enough bread were sent to the orphanage every day. The orphanage consisted of 206 rooms, a large kitchen, a magnificent library. there were also 15 staff members. It also housed a primary school and various vocational schools. There were three Greek and two Turkish teachers. However, the orphanage was suddenly closed after 61 years, on April 21, 1964 by the General Directorate of Foundations, the building was sealed. 177 Children in the orphanage were quickly transferred to churches and monasteries in Büyükada with their own means. 1964 was the year when Turkish warplanes gave 'intervention signals' by making low flights on the island after fascist Greek Cypriot gangs massacred Turkish Cypriots, and 12 thousand Greek Cypriot families of Greek nationality living in Istanbul were confiscated and deported in accordance with the Turkey-Greece Friendship Agreement of 1930...'
The last director of the orphanage, Marika Hatsu, wrote in her book about the orphanage in 2011, in which she wrote her memoirs::
'The Ministry of Education has requested that the building be evacuated within two days and handed over to them. The fire danger was cited as the reason. When the request for a few days' stay was refused, the children were quickly packed into two monasteries located on the island. A very sad sight appeared. By the evening, everyone, including small children, is running around carrying things in a panic. Some had a blanket in their hands, some had books in their hands, some had clothes in their hands, crockery. 177 of our children lost their homes like this. On the April 23 Youth and Sports Day, celebrated two days after the closure of the orphanage, orphaned children who were taken to the monastery would also participate in the ceremonies held on the island and sing anthems. The drama of our children would not end here either. The Ministry of Education requested the evacuation of the monasteries where the children were sent on the grounds that they did not meet the orphanage standards, and the children started looking for a family to shelter themselves this time.'