Located on the European side of the Bosphorus, the Feriköy Protestant Cemetery has been the main burial place for Istanbul’s Protestant (and otherwise non-Catholic or Orthodox) foreign community for just over 160 years. Its roughly 5,000 dead from many nations include about 200 US citizens, the largest number of Americans interred at any cemetery in Turkey. Americans helped establish the burial ground in the 1850s and have continued to play a key role in its care until today.
It is one of the most important historic landmarks with American heritage in Istanbul as well as the entire country. A new visitor’s guide, Evangelicorum Commune Coemeterium. A Brief Guide to Istanbul’s Feriköy Protestant Cemetery, presents some of its most famous residents, highlighting their contributions to life and culture in the late Ottoman Empire and modern Turkish Republic. Among the Americans featured are several members of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, about whose lives and careers the American Research Institute in Turkey (ARIT)’s American Board library and archives offer further details. Also included are travel and history writer John Freely, photographer and ethnographer Josephine Powell, and the cemetery’s very first resident, Elizabeth Riggs.
Prepared by ARIT Istanbul librarian Brian Johnson and Orient-Institut Istanbul deputy director Richard Wittmann, Evangelicorum Commune Coemeterium. A Brief Guide to Istanbul’s Feriköy Protestant Cemetery is published online by the Feriköy Protestant Cemetery Initiative, comprised of scholars from six Turkey-based research centers working together to document and preserve the burial ground as a historic landmark. A Turkish edition of the guide will be available soon.