The paper describes the earthquake performance assessment of two historical buildings located in Istanbul exposed to a Mw = 7+ earthquake expected to hit the city and proposes solutions for their structural rehabilitation and/or strengthening. Both buildings are unreinforced clay brick masonry (URM) structures built in 1869 and 1885, respectively. The first building is a rectangular-shaped structure rising on four floors. The second one is L-shaped with one basement and three normal floors above ground. They survived the 1894, Ms = 7.0 Istanbul Earthquake, during which widespread damage to URM buildings took place in the city. Earthquake ground motion to be used in performance assessment and retrofit design is determined through probabilistic and deterministic seismic hazard assessment. Strength characteristics of the brick walls are assessed on the basis of Schmidt hammer test results and information reported in the literature. Dynamic properties of the buildings (fundamental vibration periods) are measured via ambient vibration tests. The buildings are modelled and analyzed as three-dimensional assembly of finite elements. Following the preliminary assessment based on the equivalent earthquake loads method, the dynamic analysis procedure of FEMA 356 (Pre-standard and commentary for the seismic rehabilitation of buildings, American Society of Civil Engineers, Reston, 2000) and ASCE/SEI 41-06 (Seismic rehabilitation of existing buildings, American Society of Civil Engineers, Reston, 2007) is followed to obtain dynamic structural response of the buildings and to evaluate their earthquake performance. In order to improve earthquake resistance of the buildings, reinforced cement jacketing of the main load carrying walls and application of fiber reinforced polymer bands to the secondary walls are proposed.