HomeLifestyleIn the private retreats of the Sultans of Istanbul, time stands still

In the private retreats of the Sultans of Istanbul, time stands still

Inside a beautiful pavilion known as Kasir in Istanbul, the hustle and bustle of big city life subsides. The noise of car horns and shouting vendors has been replaced by almost silence. Listen carefully to the imaginary whisper of silk rustling in the air or the echo of a once-important conversation. In these sophisticated and sophisticated structures and summer palaces built only for the Sultans, time stands still. Apparently intended as private retreats away from the formality of the courts in the Topkapi and Dolmabahs palaces, were in fact the location of the Kasir plan and plot. Each has a snapshot of a special moment history And an intimate and enticing slice of Ottoman life.

Hidiv Kasari, in Bekoz in the Asian part of Istanbul. Hidev Qasri was built by the Egyptians to sway the Turkish power in their favor. (Bradley Secker/The New York Times)

In these exquisite Kasirs scattered around Istanbul, sultans They could imagine that they were the absolute masters of the Ottoman universe, saved from turmoil and fomenting political discontent in their courts and territories. Today, these kasirs exist as more than just historical monuments made of wood, stone and tile. They depict the majesty and splendor, mystery and intrigue of the once mighty empire that enthralled the world for more than 600 years. Here are three.

hunkar kasari

It is easy to walk directly from Hunkar Kasari to Aminonu on Halik (Golden Horn). Nothing beats strict exterior walls and a simple entrance. The Kasir Yeni Kaimi (New Mosque) complex is part of Sultan Murat III, built in the 16th century at the request of his favorite concubine, Safiye Sultan. Aminonu was a commercial center then as it is now, but it was a multicultural neighborhood largely inhabited by non-Muslims. Safiye wanted to Islamize the area by building a sultan Mosque, The first stones were laid around 1597, but the work stopped shortly after.

It resumed in 1661 by order of Walid Turhan Sultan, mother of Sultan Mehmet IV, who was brought into the palace as a slave and eventually became the chief wife of one Sultan and mother of the next. As Walid Sultan, he oversaw the completion of the entire complex, which contained not only a mosque, but also a school, public fountains, a market, and a mausoleum. It is believed that this is the first such complex that a woman has built. It was opened in 1663 and is believed to have been designed as a place to rest before or after prayer, or on special religious days.

A couple explores the gardens of Hidev Kasari while taking pictures for their upcoming wedding in Istanbul. (Danielle Vilasana/The New York Times)

The first room on the right after the entrance is believed to be the Walid Sultan’s chamber. Note the masonry windows, both screwed to the left. It is said that the ladies of the court bow down to him and watch the activities outside. Given that Turhan was the only legitimate sultan with the legal right to help run the Ottoman Empire, this seems like mere fiction. More likely he took the frames off while planning his son’s next political move.

as small as it is, building The shape has an Escher-like quality, as rectangular door frames repeated along a small hallway, giving the impression of a much larger space. All the walls and the eaves, the vaulted space from the central hall, are covered with rare and exquisite Iznik tiles from the 17th century, specially made for this building. It’s worthwhile to stand quietly in each room for a while because tile work has more color and movement than can be absorbed with a casual glance.

Hunkar Kasari is now used as an art gallery, open from 9 am to 5 pm from Tuesday to Sunday throughout the year. Admission is free.

ehlamur kasari

Located in the valley, a short taxi ride inland from Besiktas Wharf european Originally a royal garden, Ohlamur Kasari, on the banks of the Bosporus, was built on land used as a Habahs. It was part of the hunting grounds established by Sultan Ahmed III in the 17th century and stretched across the strait to the Yildiz Palace. Even now, moss-covered stones carved with archery records of various sultans remain half-hidden in the field.

One of these was Sultan Abdulmecid I. Between 1848 and 1855 he had Nigos Balyan, the architect who, with his father, Garabet Amira Balyan, designed the Dolmabas Palace, the Mersem Kosku (ceremonial pavilion) and the Harem Kosku (also known as Mayott Kosku). was constructed. or retinue pavilion) which together make up the halamur kasari. buildings and Garden Was laid out according to Islamic principles, the placement of the pavilions in the most important places to provide the best view of their surroundings. At the same time, these structures had to blend in with the gardens, as if they were part of nature. To achieve this they were merged into the terrain using terraces, embankments and waterways which are maintained to this day.

Hidiv Kasari overlooks the Bosphorus from the top of its hill towards the European side of Istanbul. (Bradley Secker/The New York Times)

Although Halamur Kasari was primarily intended as a place for the Sultan and his family to rest, the small but imposing Merasam Kosku was used to entertain influential diplomatic guests. Tours take place with at least three people. There is no explanatory text on the walls, but the decor speaks for itself. The front doors open into a small vestibule surrounded by two reception rooms. Decoration The style is French, with hand-painted ceramics over the fireplace, stucco walls made to look like marble, and gilt-covered pelmets with heavy brocade curtains. All rooms are filled with original furniture, but in contrast to the mirror-image designs of the rooms at Dolmabahçe Palace, one room has a barrel ceiling embellished with gold moulding, while the other has delicately painted floral designs that rise upwards. do dance.

Before leaving, have a glass of tea at Harem Kosku, the second pavilion on the grounds. It is home to a Beltur Café, which is owned and operated by the Istanbul Municipality Council. Open from 9 am to 9:30 pm, it serves a variety of hot drinks and snacks. Prices range between 10 and 35 Turkish lira (about 55 cents to $2). In this serene oasis, despite being surrounded by tall buildings, it is easy to imagine the Sultan Children Running through the trees in search of game.

Ehlamur is open to visitors every day except Mondays. Entrance to the pavilion is 40 Turkish lira, which includes the garden; The park is only 10 Turkish lira.

hidiv kasari

By the end of the 19th century, the power of the Ottoman Empire was waning, yet foreign dynasties still looked to Turkey when they needed a powerful ally. Hidiv Kasari, in Beko, in the Asian part of Istanbul, was created by Egyptians with this in mind.

When Abbas Hilmi II became Khedive or Viceroy of Egypt in 1892, he decided to work together rather than against the Ottomans. He hoped to weaken the British, who had occupied Egypt and Sudan since 1882, by fostering a spirit of cooperation with the Turks. His plan was to make the Ottomans drink and eat wine and seduce them to do the Egyptian bidding.

He commissioned Hidev Kasari, a renowned architect, to build it as a beautiful summer residence in the Art Nouveau style, either one of the Italian architects Delfo Seminati or Raimondo d’Arcano, or possibly even the Slovenian. Court too. architect Antonio Lasiak; It is not clear which one. To complicate things further, Egyptian Princess Cavidan Hanim, originally Hungarian Countess May Torok von Sjandro, who was at the time the unofficial and secretive second wife of Abbas Hilmi II, claims to have designed the layout of the rooms, the final interior. Design and planting of palace gardens. The building was completed in 1907, and it is still uncertain whose creative mind was behind the finished work.

The field around Ihlamur Kasari, near Beikta in the city of Istanbul. The buildings and gardens of Ihlamur Qasri were designed according to Islamic principles. (Bradley Secker/The New York Times)

Whatever the truth, the building is a curious mix of on-trend European design and Arabic architectural features reimagined for an Ottoman sensibility. Marble fountains adorn the interior courtyards and a curved dining room features Art Deco inspired ceiling lights that transport diners across the plot of an Agatha Christie novel. minimalist in DesignIn a contemporary five-star hotel, the poolside terrace wouldn’t look out of place. The building now serves as a restaurant and cafe.

Hidiv Kasari, situated on top of a hill, is easily accessible by taxi from Kanalika Ghat for about 30 Turkish Lira. It is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and serves a menu that the sultans would be proud of, without the booze. Enjoy a Fabulous Turkey Breakfast Or dine on hot and cold meats or vegetable mezes such as artichokes cooked in olive oil, followed by cozu locum, tender slices of lamb cooked to perfection.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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