Istanbul is not only a city with unique historical and natural beauties, but also a memorable cultural city with its symbolic people. One of these symbolic names is Madam Anahit, who multiplies the fun and joy of the city with her accordion.

Madam Anahit, or her full name is Anahit Yulanda Varan. When you enter Çiçek Pasajı, he becomes the unforgettable symbol of the city with the rose on his lapel, the red lipstick that is loose on his lips, his huge glasses, his bitter voice that gets shorter in the high pitches, his vibrant clothes and most of all his accordion. For many years, she was known as the Accordionist Woman by the people of Istanbul. Anahit Yulanda, who was born to an Armenian family in Istanbul in 1926, lived her life by wandering around Beyoğlu, especially in Çiçek Pasajı, with her Hohner brand accordion, playing old Istanbul tangos, Greek butcher tunes and Armenian tavern songs until she passed away on August 29, 2003. continued. Madam Anahit, who was one of the indispensable people of Çiçek Pasajı for 40 years, also played at Nevizade Street in her last years.

Madam Anahit is widely featured in documentaries and Yeşilçam films about Beyoğlu and Çiçek Pasajı; and whose memory is kept alive in recent TV series; He became one of the most well-known faces of Beyoğlu photographs, especially those taken by Ara Güler.

Madam Anahit was born in Tarlabaşı, Taksim. His older brother was Vosgik Vartabed, known as ‘Vartabed’. He completed his primary education at Anarat Hığutyun Catholic School and his high school education at Esayan Armenian School. She started playing music at the age of 16, when she was a sophomore in high school, by joining the school choir. Years later, he would describe those days in 1944 as follows:

“I spent my early youth on the island, we had a Greek neighbor there, his son played the accordion very well. I would envy it. I gave my heart. I started taking accordion lessons from Arto Benon and I insisted my mother buy me an accordion. We went and bought the accordion and then went straight to Saint Antoine, I placed my accordion in front of the pulpit and fulfilled my vow.”

It is possible to watch him playing the accordion in many movies such as The Crime of the Father, Justice, My Liar, Children of Heaven, Women and Wine, Attack on Interest, Mr. Alcohol is My Presentation, Friend, 24 Hours, Teacher. Famous directors took part in their films as extras, but they left unique images to history without even knowing it. Madam Anahit, whose life story was broadcast on Dutch Television, also took part in the clips shot by Aşkın Nur Yengi and Grup Gündoğarken. In one of her interviews, Madam Anahit explains with some happiness and some tears that the famous star Johnny Weissmuller, whom she admires, listened to her at Çiçek Pasajı when he came to Istanbul, and that they even danced together, and that they were featured in the newspapers.

He was married four times throughout his life. He had two sons and a son and two grandchildren from his two marriages. Madam Anahit, who earned her living by playing her accordion to people who came to Çiçek Pasajı for fun, passed away in 2003 due to stomach cancer and heart failure. He was buried in Şişli Armenian Cemetery. Famous writer Cezmi Ersöz included Madam Anahit along with other famous faces of Beyoğlu in his book “Last Faces”. Another Istanbul lover, İlhan Berk, remembered him with his beautiful lines:

“Madam Anahit loved the accordion, the Fish Market, her four husbands, and her four cats.
The world was not barren then, it was a rose with forty petals.
He saw the accordion while he was still a child eating his ice cream in Büyükada.
“He felt like a sunset had passed through him.”

With Madam’s death, an era ended in Beyoğlu. But if you still want to remember him in our memories, spend fun hours in the unique atmosphere of Çiçek Pasajı, and have an unforgettable experience, set out from Aspera Hotel Golden Horn in the Heart of Pera, Where the Continents Meet, and visit the historical and cultural place in the middle of Istiklal Street. . Who knows, maybe the tunes of the accordion played by Madam Anahit will be heard in your ears without you even realizing it.