Selection of foreign schools in the Ottoman Empire

This is a problematic definition as schooling for Levantine children was diverse in terms of the institutions providing that service. Capitulations allowed for Levantines to be schooled separately and right from the start this service was extended in part to non-Moslem (and later Moslem) Ottoman citizens who wish to be schooled in foreign / Catholic (or Protestant) curriculum and outlook. The initial volunteer led schools quickly evolved to state backed schools some deep in the heartlands of Anatolia where few Levantines lived and it was part of the big nations rivalry in increasing influence in this strategically important region. Some of these schools have survived till the present day but through having to evolve with the times and become secular and for all intent and purposes Turkish institutions carrying the name, often kept for prestige purposes. Below is a tiny slice of this variety:

Smyrna / Izmir

The Scuola D’Ivrea Centrale in Smyrna, run by the Italian Sisters under the order of ‘Suore dell’Immacolata di Ivrea’ operated from late Ottoman times (1908?) to around 1947 when it was demolished for road widening. It was the chief primary school for the Italian Levantines of the city for generations. Photo shows the “La Piccola Olandese” [The small Dutch girl] theatre production early 1940s - full gallery:

St Joseph Catholic (now secular) school of Izmir, one to which most Levantines still go. At the center (in civil attire), teacher of French, Monsieur Pol Cavusoglu 1930s - full gallery:

Göztepe Catholic school circa 1927, which had two nuns as Italian teachers (Suor Tommasina and Suor Maddalena), a French teacher and a Turkish one. Unusual for its time, it was a mixed school. Middle back Turkish teacher, left and on the bottom picture, the French teacher (Demoiselle Temenotti she was Italian). - full gallery:

The Catholic school run by the order of the Sisters of Charity in Bornova, circa 1930.

Ecole Française run by the Petit Soeurs de Charité, in Alsancak Izmir, circa 1939.

St Vincent de Paul School in Alsancak Izmir, French kindergarden, from 1948.

The former American run secular Kindergarten, in Basmane area of Smyrna near the former Boyaci brook. Below the former nearby American college.

The American run secular International College of Paradise, Smyrna that functioned between 1891 and 1932 - full gallery:

Mekhitarist (monastic order of the Armenian Catholic Church founded in 1717) school in Smyrna around 1900, in the background the Austro-Hungarian consulate flag, under whose protection the school functioned.

Constantinople / Istanbul

One of the many French run Catholic schools spread across the Levant, some of which continue in secular form. This one was in the edge of Constantinople district of Feriköy (present continuation in Harbiye), a girls’ school, first opened in 1856, still functioning today in a strictly secular form. - full gallery:

The main American educational institution of the city for over a century, Robert College. Group photo of the staff of Robert College, taken March 1892, with the then president George Washburn sitting behind the table and H.W. Edson 3rd from the right, back row. The fourth person standing from the right is possibly Dr Friedrich Schrader, who was a member of the staff of Robert College from 1891 until 1895. The man on the left end of the seated row is Professor Alexander Van Millingen. - full gallery:

St. Joseph School in Kadıköy, Istanbul, French Catholic established during Ottoman times like many others in the city, continuing today in a strictly secular form. - full gallery:

St. Michel School in Sisli, Istanbul, French Catholic established during Ottoman times like many others in the city, continuing today in a strictly secular form.

The former British High School for boys in Nisantasi, Istanbul - the girls school in Pera continued longer as a mixed school in the 1950s. - full gallery:

Byzantine Rite Catholic Greeks have always been a minor population in Constantinople however after 1895 they received support the Assumptionists and founded in 1910 a seminary in the city where there were about 1,000 worshipers with 12 priests, 10 of which were Assumptionists. - full gallery:

Plan of the Austrian National school in Constantinople 1864

The Italian School of Istanbul today in the former Austro-Hungarian National School

St Georg Austrian school in Galata, Constantinople. St Georg was founded in 1882 by Austrian Lazarists and was originally intended for German-speaking Catholic children living in the Ottoman Empire.

German lesson at St. Georg High School in Constantiople (Archive of St. Georg College).

The Lazarist teaching staff of St. Georg High School in Constantinope, 1918 (Archive of St. Georg College).

St. Georg College today, providing completely secular education.

The German-Swiss school in Constantinoplewas opened in Constantinople in 1897.

The former German school of Yedikule, Constantinople.

The former French school of Notre Dame du Rosaire of Makrikeuy (Bakırköy), Constantinople.


A British run school for the blind locals of Beirut region - full gallery:

A mission school of some sorts in Beirut.


An Italian Catholic missionary school in Alexandria, one of a whole network across the Levant. - full gallery:

The French Jesuit College of François-Xavier, Alexandria - full gallery:

The French College for boys of Alexandria


The French school of Saint Marc of Alexandria - full gallery:

The French College of Sainte Catherine of Alexandria

The British Victoria School of Alexandria

The British Victoria College of Alexandria

The Italian school of Alexandria

The former Romanian school of Alexandria

The former German school of Alexandria

The former Scottish school of Alexandria

The former Greek school of Alexandria


The French Catholic St George Academy of Cairo

The French College of Sainte-Famille of Cairo


The French College of De La Salle of Cairo


What appears to be a British run secular school in Jerusalem.

The Swedish Jerusalem Association’s school in Jerusalem with Signe Ekbladh as director, for local Palestinian children. Jerusalem is a symbolic city where even minor powers wished to show their presence. - full gallery:

Italian Catholic school of Jerusalem


The former Catholic French School of Bursa (Brousse) set up for the merchant community in that silk processing city and no doubt also catering for the local non-Moslem minority population. - full gallery:


The former Catholic French School of Eskishehir set up for the local merchant Catholics and non-Moslems of the area. - full gallery:


The French Catholic school of Terre-Sainte with Frère Mangin and his students in 1921, Aleppo.

The former German School of Aleppo

The former Franciscan School of Aleppo

A former Catholic School in Syria / Lebanon area.

Alexandretta / Iskenderun

A former Catholic School in Alexandretta


The German School of Salonica

The French School of Salonica established 1906.


Naxos Island Ursulines Catholic girls’ school group from 1934.


The former Italian Catholic Dominican school of Piraeus.

The St Paul French Catholic school of Piraeus, 1923 with frere Bourboune - further images:

Adrianople / Karaagac

Bulgarian (termed Slav in the French version of the 3 languages here - Slovenian is the top language for some reason) school of Adrianople / Karaagac - full gallery:

Italian Catholic girls’ school (parish school for girls as noted on the back) of Andrianople - it appears this later became a mixed school.

French Catholic school of Andrianople - further images: - further information on the foreign communities of Edirne, Graham Lee.


Aintab American College, one of a series of Protestant missionary led institutions geared towards particularly the local Armenian communities - full gallery:



The Catholic Freres School in Gallipoli.