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ITHAKA ON THE HORIZON: A Greek-American Journey



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    The Patriarchal Theological Seminary of Halki is located on the Turkish island known as Heyelbiada in the Bosporus straits. It was closed in 1971 by the Turkish government and is the subject of much controversy since it is the only seminary in Turkey and the position of Ecumenical Patriarch can only be filled by a Turkish citizen. Sign the petition to reopen it at

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03 December 2007



About 15 years ago, I enjoyed some nice outings with friends/relatives in Ortakoy (old city), which I assume is adjacent to Yenikoy (?) Lots of nice restaurants and bars. I also spent several afternoons roaming up and down the Izmir waterfront looking at the old homes and imagining what life was like back then.
After learning more about your family's history, I can see why the movie 'Politiki Kouzina' has such a special meaning for you!



Yenikoy (Neohori) is south of Ortakoy on the European side of the Bosporus.

My maternal great grandparents and my grandfather are buried in the Orthodox cemetery in Neohori. Yes, Politiki Kouzina struck a few chords when I saw it as I am sure Izmir (Smyrna) might have done the same for you.

These faraway places are a part of us and regardless of who owns them now, we carry them around with us in our brain and in our heart.


Useful infos really! I am writting in a blog about Constantinople, too. Our memories are strong (


ΕΥΓΕ, your blog is very well done and I intend to show it to my 93 year old Uncle who grew up in Neohori first chance I get. Our memories are indeed strong.


My grandmother's family came from Serbia in the beginning of the 19th century and settled in Yenikoy. They had to sell the house in the 70s due to economic reasons and she hasn't been back yet after marrying my grandfather (a more recent emigre from Bulgaria) and moving to Ankara. But my grandmother and her sisters love to tell stories about her times in Yenikoy and the time she spent with her Greek neighbors. During the Istanbul Pogrom her family hid their closest neighbors and became even closer to them. Although the family has moved back to Greece she's still in contact with them and three years ago we went to visit them. I ended up being in a long term relationship with their grandson (twist of fate!) and we're still really good friends and he's thinking of moving to Istanbul (though Yenikoy is very much above he's price range!).

So even though I'm a Turk living in Turkey I really do understand that heavy historic feeling you get when you walk along the same stones that have existed for centuries and that your ancestors have also walked on. Yenikoy has a very special meaning for my family and especially my grandmother and she would love your article just as I have! I should translate it for her thank you very much!



I am glad you like this post. Coincidently, my 95 year old uncle Elias is staying with us and I showed him your comment. It made him very happy. He was in Yenikoy last year to visit the graves of my great grandfather and grandfather. He wanted me to mention the corner grocery store that once belonged to my grandfather (Bakal Dukani Gellati nin) near the main street (Koybasi) where the ferry arrives. Forgive my misspelled Turkish words.

God willing he and I will walk the streets of his hometown together in the near future. Best wishes to you and your grandparents.

If you ever get around to translating this post please send it to me and I will publish it on my blog.

Cok tesekur ederim


AntigoneSis and Stavro,

Thanks for a nice post. I live not far from Yenikoy (Neochori).

Just a correction if you don't mind: Ortakoy means Central Village and it is located to the south of Yenikoy about 10 km closer to the old city.

In between is another Greek village called Arnavutkoy with a still functioning church.



You are lucky to live in such a nice spot. I am glad you liked this post. My Mother and her siblings had good memories of growing up there. I am hoping that I can see it soon for myself.

Thanks for taking the time to comment and for the info.

M. K. (Bounatsas) Lagod

My relatives, Bounatsas's came from and settled in America.


Hi there
Can anyone remember Domani restaurant by the boat landing(vapur iskelesi).It was run by a man called Hasan in late 60s.We used to visit it often for extended english lectures. Also Dr Alexis Miliopoulos lived there for some time before he moved to Greece with his family.He used to practice in Pasabahce.Yenikoy always struck me as one of the noblest suburbs of Istanbul



My grandfather, Panagioti Gellati, owned a grocery store on the corner down the street from the landing. He later owned the Alaska Restaurant. He passed away in 1953. I have written about my visit to istanbul here:

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  • Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you're destined for. But don't hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you're old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you've gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to make you rich. Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you wouldn't have set out. She has nothing left to give you now. And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean. C. P. Cavafy


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