Midnight at The Pera Palace: The Making of Modern Istanbul

In this book, the author reviews issues on different groups of people and social events in Istanbul since the fall of the Ottoman Empire till the World War II, represents a vivid scenario of the city back then.

During interwar period, the Young Turks, foreign occupants and Republic Government came to power in turns in Istanbul. The city was suffering from not only political turmoil but also cultural collisions and racial conflicts. The population condition was complicated. Greeks and Armenians were expelled from the city while Jews and Russians came for protection. People’s life style also went through a huge evolution. Feminism was rising. Modern transportation methods and entertainments became dominant in people’s lives. Although the author mainly focuses on the people-narrative history, through bottom-up, we can still see how the politics and economics issues played a role in reshaping modern Istanbul. Furthermore, Istanbul became a miniature of the entire Modern Mid-east history.

This book enables us to have a general background knowledge of how the city and social life changed during the interwar period and motivations from politics behind. It is also helpful to learn about activities and thoughts of Istanbul people at that time.


Charles King. Midnight at the Pera Palace: The Birth of Modern Istanbul. W. W. Norton & Company, 15 Sep 2014.

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