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Khedive’s Villa or Hidiv Kasri Istanbul

Khedive’s Villa or Hidiv Kasri Istanbul

History

The Khedive Villa’s (located in Cubuklu district of Istanbul) original purpose was to be a summer home for the Egyptian Khedive Abbas Hilmi Paşa, whose mother had commissioned the magnificent building used as the Egyptian Embassy in Bebek . The Khedive already owned a palace that stood on two waterside plots in Cubuklu and he purchased the sloping land behind them and started construction of a building
 that became known as the Çubuklu Summer Palace. Surprisingly the architect of such a large and significant building is unknown although some list it as a work of Raimondo d’Aronco and others to Italian architect Delfo Seminati or Austrian architect Antonio Lasciac. Abbas Hilmi used the villa every summer up until the 1930s and was visited by Pierre Loti who said that he actually preferred the original waterside palace.  

The Khedive sold his summer retreat to the  Istanbul authorities and went to live in Switzerland where he died in 1944. The building was left more or less abandoned until 1984 when Çelik Gülersoy, chief of the Turkish Touring and Automobile Association, wisely took it over and had it fully restored. Today there is a circular restaurant inside wrapped around the main lobby and outside a garden café.

Design of Khedive's Villa

The villa’s design is in a style of neo-Renaissance and its most prominent feature is the high flat roofed tower that offers fantastic views across the Bosphorus. Over the main entrance and in the intricate metal work you will see the Khedive’s coat of arms and when you enter the villa through the Art Nouveau glass doors; they lead you to a circular reception area that has marble columns and a fountain in the centre. In its glory days, there was a steam powered elevator with plush velvet padded seats that would take the VIPs up to the top floor. Look out for the beautiful door frame that leads into the main dining room, it is adorned with gilded bears using leaves as cloaks draped over their shoulders and picking berries from trees. It’s also worth checking out the restrooms as they have all retained their original Art Nouveau tiles.  

The Gardens

At the back of the villa there is a formal rose garden that dates from 1909 and a shady park that is filled with hydrangeas, the park is at its best in springtime when the air is fragrant with the sweet perfume of hyacinths and the lawns planted with tulips come into full bloom.  

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