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Raymond Charles Père
Personal information
Name Raymond Charles Père
Nationality Levantine / French
Birth date 1854
Birth place Smyrna, Ottoman Empire
Date of death October 15, 1929 (aged 75)
Place of death İzmir, Turkey
Buildings İzmir Clock Tower

Raymond Charles Père (1854-1929) was a Levantine architect of French descent, who was born and spent his entire life in İzmir, Turkey. He is best remembered as the designer of the İzmir Clock Tower, the landmark of İzmir situated at city's Konak Square.


Early life

He was born in 1854 in a neighborhood known then as Punta (today's Alsancak) in Ottoman Empire's cosmopolitan city of Smyrna to Jean Père and his wife Marie Pasyade, Levantine people of French extraction.[1]

Raymond Charles married Anais Russo, the daughter of a prominent Levantine family from İzmir. They had seven children named Pierre, Marie, Henriette, Charles, François, Louis and Joseph.[1]


Landmark of İzmir: İzmir Clock Tower at Konak Square

Père was commissioned to design a clock tower in commemoration of the silver anniversary of Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II's (reigned 1876-1909) ascent to the throne. Completed in 1901, the structure of 25 m (82 ft) height with North African inspired motifs is the landmark of the city today.[1]

Père's another important work is the Church of St. Helen in Karşıyaka district of İzmir. It was built with the permission of the sultan in 1904 in "Gothic Revival" style on land donated by a prominent Levantine Nicola Aliotti. He performed also the stain-glass work and added sculptures of the relevant saints in the interior. The church served the district's Roman Catholic community. France's former prime minister Édouard Balladur (in office between 1993-1995), was born in Karşıyaka in 1929 and baptized in this church.[1]

He is also the architect of İzmir's one of the first hospitals, which was built in 1908 as an annex to the French Hospital Complex following a restoration work. Recently, the building serves as the emergency room of the State Hospital in Alsancak.[1]

A building in the neighborhood of Köprü, known today as the Ayşe Mayda Mansion, is considered to be Père's work. The mansion was built for Grand Vizier Mehmed Kamil Pasha the Cypriot (1833-1913), governor of İzmir from 1895 to 1907, as a Turkish interpretation of the "Art Nouveau" style.[1]

Raymond Charles Père made pencil drawings of the area including the French Catholic mission in İzmir, undertook the restoration of the Church of St. Polycarpe, the oldest church in İzmir built in 1625,[2] and made the church's interior wall paintings (frescoes). Here, he put himself in the scene of a fresco called "The Martyrdom of St. Polycarpe", depicting İzmir's bishop and guardian saint being murdered by the Romans in 155 AD. Père's daughter Marie is seen as Mary on a side wall painting known as the "Saint Anne and the infant Mary".[1]

In addition to his works as public buildings, Raymond Charles Père is also known for creating architectural designs for some houses for Levantine families residing in Alsancak and Buca, even though it is not easy today to identify them.[1]


Raymond Charles Père died on October 15, 1929 in İzmir. After his death, his wife and children emigrated in 1934 to France.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Berkant, Cenk (February 2006). "The Man Who Put His Signature On Izmir: Raymond Charles Péré". Skylife (Turkish Airlines). Retrieved February 8, 2009. 
  2. ^ Sansal, Burak. "Highlights of Izmir - Saint Polycarp Church". All About Turkey. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 


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