Home to one of the most beautiful seas in the world, Istanbul boasts quite a few mansions along Bosphorus. Some of these mansions harbour interesting stories from the past; others create a marvellous scenery for us to behold. We have compiled ten of them for you in this piece.
Yusuf Ziya Pasha Mansion / The Haunted Mansion
Rumour has it that Yusuf Ziya Pasha, aide-de-camp for a pasha of higher rank, intended to build this mansion for two purposes: to impress the young woman he loved, and put her in a place where she would be out of another people’s sight. The building of the mansion started in 1910; however, it halted in 1914 due to the First World War breaking out.
Unable to cope with the consequences of the war, Yusuf Ziya Pasha decided to leave Istanbul for Egypt, taking his young and beautiful woman with him. He was hoping to lead a happy life away from the worries the war had brought about. Yet, he was abandoned by the young woman since he was not able to provide her with a life as luxurious and magnificent as in Istanbul.
As the building of the mansion was left unfinished, creating a gothic imagery, over time it came to be called “The Haunted Mansion” by the people of İstanbul. By 2002 the mansion was fully built by the company that rented it.
Deli Fuad Pasha Mansion
This mansion originally belonged to Sheriff Hussein of Mecca, who revolted against the Ottomans during the First World War with a dream of founding a Middle East Empire. Thus, he collaborated with the English, namely Lawrence of Arabia. Yet his endeavour failed terribly, and he passed away in Cyprus when in exile.
The mansion is named after its fourth owner, Deli Fuad Pasha. Fuad Pasha was titled “Deli” (meaning mad) because of his extremely courageous acts in battlefield. Deli Fuad Pasha was punished by Abdul Hamid II as he had been opposing him in political issues. Fehim Pasha played quite an active role in this punishment, which is rumoured to be because they both had been in love with the same woman. Deli Fuad Pasha spent six years in Damascus in exile, and he bought the mansion from Sheriff Hussein upon his return to İstanbul.
In his final years, Fuad Pasha literally went mad, somehow fearing that he would get killed. He passed away in 1931, aged 96. A serious fire broke out in the mansion in 2013 and damaged some parts of the mansion.
Doctor Hulusi Behçet Mansion
Formerly knowns as “Çaycı İstepan Mansion,” the mansion was named after Hulusi Behçet when he bought it. Hulusi Behçet is a globally-acknowledged doctor; he found Behçet’s disease, which is a kind of skin disease.
Mediha Sultan Mansion
This mansion was built by Mustafa Reşit Pasha in 1830, who was a stateman identified with Tanzimat Reforms Era as he announced the reforms one by one in Gülhane Park. In order to pay some of his debts, Mustafa Reşit Pasha sold the mansion to the palace, yet his son married Fatma Sultan, the daughter of Sultan Abdulmejid I, and started residing in the mansion. Upon the death of Fatma Sultan, her sister Mediha Sultan moved in to the mansion and the place was named after her.
The importance of this mansion stems from the fact that Damat Ferid Pasha was living in this mansion when, during the War of Independence, he allied with invader countries and tried to prevent national struggle.
The mansion became a state asset as the Republic of Turkey was founded. At the moment haremlik (the portion reserved only for women) is used as a hospital; selamlık (the portion reserved only for men) is used by Istanbul University as a social facility centre.
Recaizade Mahmut Ekrem Mansion
Recaizade Mahmut Ekrem is an author significant not only for Tanzimat Era of Ottomans but for Turkish literature overall. He became known thanks to his book titled “Araba Sevdası.” He grew up in this mansion and witnessed his marriage with the daughter of his uncle.
The mansion was used as a corn oil factory in 1950s. In 1988, the factory was closed, and the mansion was restored. Today it is used by Haydar Akın family.
Afif Pasha Mansion
This mansion is the second most expensive in Bosphorus.
Afif Pasha was among the generals of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. He had Alexander Vallaury, one eminent architect of the time, build the mansion in 1890s.
The very first Turkish TV series, Aşk-ı Memnu was also shot in this mansion. At the moment it belongs to Suzan Sabancı.
Tansu Çiller Mansion
This mansion was a place which Mustafa Kemal Atatürk frequently dropped by while visiting Istanbul. Tansu Çiller, who worked as the prime minister of Turkey, bought the mansion in 1981 and it was then named after her.
Şehzade Burhanettin Efendi Mansion
This mansion is the most expensive mansion in Bosphorus with a price of $150 million. It has a for-winter mansion behind it.
It was built by the son of Abdul Hamid II, Şehzade Burhanettin Efendi. He was a nice painter and played piano quite well. He passed away in the USA in 1949.
Said Halim Pasha Mansion
Said Halim pasha was an Islamist educated on social sciences. He became an influential figure in the making of islamist discourse in Turkey. He was harshly advocating against Western culture.
The alliance agreement signed on August 2, 1994, which caused Ottomans to enter the First World War, was penned in this building.
Used now as the presidency palace, Huber Mansion symbolized German-Ottoman alliance that developed in the First World War. The owner of this mansion, August Huber, was the Ottoman representative for German gun company Mauser.
It is not known who built the mansion. What is known is that August Huber bought the mansion in 1890 from an Armenian family. In 1985, then-president Kenan Evren publicized the mansion and turned it into a presidency palace.
I am a literature major at Boğaziçi University in İstanbul. I hate İstanbul, yet I am in love with it.