It was the White Russian émigrés who introduced Istanbul to the trend of beaches. Russian beauties who openly entered the sea half-naked soon became a focus of interest for Istanbulites. Having run away from the sea for centuries, the inhabitants of Istanbul now began rushing to “Fülürye”. People had previously come here for the area’s famous historic plane trees and spring water; and to listen to the song of the “fülürye” (green finch) birds. This time round, they came first to get an eyeful of the Russian beauties lying on the hot sand, and then to have sea baths with them… Meanwhile, “Fülürye” turned into “Florya” in the Russian accent. Thus, the old tradition of seclusion was gradually undermined and Istanbulites, too, began to expose their bodies on beaches, men and women alike.
Curated by Zafer Toprak Istanbul’s Seaside Leisure: Nostalgia from Sea Baths to Beaches exhibition can be visited at Pera Museum and İstanbul Research Institute until August 26th!