We have written much about the changes in Turkey over the past 40 years, but there is one small corner of Istanbul that has not changed one iota.

This is the current window display at the Kelebek Corset Shop on Istiklal Caddesi in Beyoğlu.

Nowadays Istiklal, as many readers will know, is a happening street. Pedestrianised apart from a vintage tram, it is the street that never sleeps.

However, the Kelebek Corset Shop looks as though it has emerged from an episode of ‘Are You Being Served’ and, we can assure you, it looked exactly the same in 1969 when this writer first moved to Istanbul.

However, it has been around for much longer than that. It first opened 90 years ago in Terkoz Pasaj (a narrow street at the back of the Paşabahçe shop, almost exactly opposite its current location).

The grandfather of the current owner established the first shop and, when the premises it now occupies became vacant, he moved his business onto Istiklal in 1936.

The shop window of the Kelebek Corset Shop Istanbul

Last year the shop celebrated 75 years of business on the street, with the third generation now in charge.

He told local press that the shop now employs 9 people and business is good. They deal strictly in cash ‘no credit or cheques here’ he said.

So next time you are in Istanbul go and visit the Kelebek Corset shop for a whiff of genuine nostalgia. And for any reader who doesn’t know: ‘kelebek’ means ‘butterfly’.

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