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Summer Houses in Tarabya Istanbul

Summer Houses in Tarabya Istanbul
During the 18th century in Buyukdere many foreign embassies opened countryside bases in large houses that had gardens so that their employees could get away from the suffocating heat of Istanbul .  Later it was Tarabya that became the more popular base for them as it was closer to the city and Greek people from overcrowded Fener also had summer houses here, same as they do today on Princes’ Island .  

British and German Embassies

The British Embassy’s summer house was burnt to the ground in 1911.  Today’s German Consulate, in the south of Tarabya , is where Abdulhamid II spent most of his adolescence and gifted the building to
Kaiser Wilhelm II in recognition of re-establishing the Ottoman navy.  The Belgian architect Cingria won a competition to find the best plans for the mansions design and it was restored in 1990 when it unfortunately lost most of its original internal features.  The building stands on 45 acres of gardens with a path through that leads through them to a small cemetery that has 265 graves.  There is an obelisk-shaped war memorial that records the stay of Sultan Mahmud II at the military camp here in 1829 and also that Marshall Helmuth von Moltke the Elder (1822-1888) helped reform the Ottoman army.  

Italian Consulate

As you leave Tarabya towards Kirecburnu you see two summer residences; the Italian Consulate, a very grand design by Raimondo d’Aronco, completed in 1908 and has a mix of Ottoman and Palladian styles of architecture.  Sultan Abdulhamid II gave the building to Princess Elena of Montenegro as a wedding present and today the building is slowly being restored.  

French Embassy

The French Embassy is the oldest of the summer palaces and originally the building was owned by the Phanariot Greek governor of Wallachia, Prince Alexander Ipsilanti who in 1806 was executed for treason.  As it was the French that helped discourage the British from attacking Istanbul, Sultan Selim III was persuaded into giving the building to Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and after a fire in 1913 only some basic parts of the structure survived.  The building is now owned by the Marmara University .

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