October 14, 2016
There are so many places to explore in a city that covers almost 600 square miles with a population of over 14 million people.
One that is worth venturing out for is the Sakip Sabanci Museum. The museum’s permanent collection of the Arts of Calligraphy is comprehensive and stunning. It is comparable, and in my opinion slightly superior, to the Calligraphy Museum in Sultanhamet. Located about 30 minutes by public transportation from the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul, it can be a trek, but is worth every moment.
The mansion was purchased in 1951 by industrialist Hacı Ömer Sabancı from the Hidiv family to also be used as a summer residence, at that time it came to be known as Atlı Köşk, “The Mansion with the Horse”, because of the statue of a horse that was installed in the garden; the statue is the 1864 work of the French sculptor Louis Doumas.
Do not go to the museum without planning on dining. In the museum is Changa, an award-winning restaurant that is worth seeking out for the food, and then it is accompanied by a view of the Bosphorus to make your day perfect.
A stroll along the water is a must after such a meal.
*You can view the yali that line both sides of the Bosphorus. Yali literally means “seashore, beach” and is a house or mansion constructed at the immediate waterside, almost exclusively on the Bosphorus. These were usually built as second homes.
Most date from the 19th century and are finely worked wood construction. The Yali of today are some of the most expensive homes in Istanbul, and a few are listed as the most expensive homes in the world.