How different cultures influenced lifestyle and its progress, Ottoman-era Istanbul

Time Travel to 1902, a great day at Parma House, Beyoglu Istanbul
The association Bridging Ages Venice has performed a Time Travel to 1902, linked to the history of the Italian community in Istanbul. The Time Travel was organized with the Italian School, Italian Koleji, the Armada Pera Hotel (the former residence of the family Parma) and in collaboration with the Italian Embassy in Turkey, the University Ca’ Foscari of Venice and the University of Ankara.

Last year Bridging Ages revived another event in Istanbul, the first school for interpreters of Oriental languages in the 16th century. This year Bridging Ages involved young students and members of the old Levantine and Italian communities, as well as from Turkish community, in a new project.
Wednesday November 19 was a very special day for Italians who lived in Constantinople in 1902: the award of the rosette (Grand Officer of the Order of Osmanie) to Paolo Parma, a businessman and tailor of Sultan Abdulhamid II. This ceremony took place at the Yildiz Palace. At Palazzo Venezia, currently the residence of the Italian ambassador in Istanbul, the students of the Italian Koleji relived various moments of the life of Paolo Parma and his family, before he went to the Sultan’s Palace. On that morning everybody was very busy in the Parma House, with the preparation of the gifts to be presented to the Sultan, visits of friends and neighbours for the congratulations to Paolo Parma. The remake of this event gave a further opportunity to remember the long history of life and friendship between the Turkish community and the Latine and Levantine communities.

The key questions focused on the diversity of cultures, languages and schools in Constantinople/ Istanbul, as well as scientific progress and technology. In particular, on the importance of knowing a foreign language, all of them answered positively. Afterwards some said they were happy to study a second language (Italian, in this case), ”so I better know the cultures of others.”