Jul, 2024
Jul, 2024

Nadya Karayan Interview

The oldest living member of Karayan family, who is the second owner of Meziki Mansion.

Nadya Karayan, who lived in France in 2012, her grandchildren, son-in-law and daughter Lusi Karayan-Tapon came to Meziki Mansion again after a long time and became our guest for 2 days. We are very happy to have known her and listened to her memories.


Sofi (Shahbaz) and Maseh Masehyan belong to a family which works in textile industry; the family comes to Istanbul from Manchester. Sofi marries Yahya Shahbaz, who is engaged in brick production and has extensive lands on the banks of the Golden Horn. Yahya and Sofi’s daughters, Lusi, become the bride to the Karayan family. The mansion of the Karayan family, which was used as a summer house, is located in Buyukada; the white building opposite the Meziki Mansion houses the crowded Karayan family and their servants before being rebuilt and split into two. Lusi Karayan decides to open a separate house for his mother after the death of his father. The Meziki Mansion on their cross is bought with this idea. According to the family, after the mansion in the Golden Horn, Sofi Shahbaz “what a small place, all the walls are coming down on me!” said about Meziki Mansion! The Meziki who gave the mansion its name did not have much chance of living in this house: shortly after the construction of the house, Father meziki dies, and two sons who are said to be fond of gambling sell the House. Sofi Shahbaz allows mother Meziki, who was caught in the middle, to stay in the outbuilding that is not in place today. This outbuilding was located in the garden of the house which opened to Cukurcoban Street and the coachmen lived here with their family.


Lusi Karayan has three children: Adrine, Sirarpi and Vahe. Nadya Karayan, whom we chat about at Meziki Mansion, marries Vahe in 1949 and spends all her summers here until 1989, until the mansion was sold.


In reality this mansion was bought just to spend summers but Lusi Karayan and her children lived in this mansion from 1920s to 1940 even during the winter: after a fire in Uskudar, Lusi settled with her family in her mother’s house in Buyukada.


Family are all together during summer: after the death of Sofi Shahbaz, the eldest of the family, Lusi Karayan, stays on the first floor in the room on the front right, while Nadya and Vahe are in the room on the left. The children sleep in the hall in the middle of two rooms. Rooms facing the back are for guests. On the second floor Sirarpi and his wife, Adrine with his wife Dr. Oskar And their kids reside. There are servants’ rooms in the attic, and laundry (in bad weather) hangs there. Each room has a stove.


The room on the left at the entrance is used as the lounge, the room on the right as the dining room. Nadya Karayan and her daughter Lusi Karayan-Tapon told us that the crowded family had a pleasant time at the dinner table here. The one that’s not pleasant is the bathhouse facing the backyard! The marble counter in this bath, which is already used as a laundry, stays the same. The large furnace, which was made with Shahbaz bricks, is now missing. The washing man, who comes once a week, is a terrible punishment for the children of the house, because the bath of the children is gotten out of the way with boiling water for the laundry! Nadya Karayan remembers those days with laughter! For her daughter, Lusi, wearing locked up old clothes (because they weren’t used for a long time) on the second floor and playing house with old things are the memories she remembers with joy.


In Sofi Shahbaz’s time, a crowded group of servants work in the house. All rooms have a ringing system: when the button is pressed from above, the room numbers are dropped in the mechanism in the service window below, and the servant knows which room to call from. Later on the servants are getting fired one by one.


Nadya Karayan sells her house in 1989 along with all her belongings. However, the massif console in the main hall of the first floor and the brass bed in the room to the right of the entrance are representative of the existence of the Karayan family in the house.


Interview: Zeynep Ceylanli Bahcesehir University