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

Early life

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

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


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 height with North African inspired motifs is the landmark of the city today.

Père's another important work is the Church of St. Helen in Karşıyakamarker district of Izmir. 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. Francemarker's former prime minister Édouard Balladur (in office between 1993-1995), was born in Karşıyaka in 1929 and baptized in this church.

He is also the architect of Izmir’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.

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 Izmir from 1895 to 1907, as a Turkish interpretation of the "Art Nouveau" style.

Raymond Charles Père made pencil drawings of the area including the French Catholic mission in Izmir, undertook the restoration of the Church of St. Polycarpe, the oldest church in Izmir built in 1625, 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 Izmir’s bishop and guardian saint being murdered by the Roman 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".

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.


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


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