There is a special description used for Büyükada (Prinkipo , istanbul) from old times. It is referred to as the place where you feel happy the moment you arrive and throughout your stay. When you reach the island by ferry or motorboat, a genuine feeling of happiness engulfs you, and this emotion continues until you leave. Some attribute this to the high oxygen levels emitted by the trees.
As you start walking from the pier, you choose the steeper uphill paths at each intersection, and after 800 meters, you arrive at the famous Taş Mektep (Stone School- house) structure in the middle of Kadıyoran Yokuşu (Kadıyoran Hill). In the years 1870-1880, Alexandria Archbishop Sofronios had this place built as a summer house and spent his summers here. After the major great war, the building was abandoned, and its ownership passed to the National Property. It was used as the “elementary school” until the late 1960s. Then plans for its renovation were made, it was vacated, and it remained empty until recent years. The cruelty of time took its toll on the building; windows were broken, floors and roofs decayed.
Last year, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality began restoration efforts with the aim of turning the building into a tourist attraction. Our house is located just diagonally behind the building, so we have been closely following the renovation works for the past two years. Throughout the day, we hear the sounds of drills, stone sanders, and chisels, and we see trucks coming and going. The roof, floors, and walls have been renewed and restored. Recently, it was opened as a social center. It houses the Beltur Cafe as well. Last Friday, the Adalar Children and Youth Orchestra performed their 100th-anniversary concert here. The orchestra played incredibly beautiful classical pieces. Since our house is very close, we had the opportunity to listen to both the rehearsal and the concert up close. We were very pleased. We extend our heartfelt thanks to Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality for achieving all of this.
However, there are a few shortcomings. Construction remnants, rubble piles, sand, stones, and cement have been accumulating at the corner of Nilüfer and Türkoğlu Streets and have not been removed for days. White cement was applied on top of the century-old stone stairs, but the result is not as desired. The old appearance should have been preserved. The stone-paved garden design was also covered with cement, which was not a suitable choice.
We hope that these issues will be addressed in the near future.