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KÜÇÜKSU

kkasriMidway between Kandilli and Anadolu Hisarı stands Küçüksu Kasrı, a small palace - - or rather a hunting lodge -- that was built by Sultan Abdülmecid I in 1856-7, to a design by the Armenian architect, Nikoğos Balyan. It stood on the site of an older wooden building in an area beside the Göksu and Küçüksu rivers that was at that time still so beautiful that it revelled in the title “the Sweet Waters of Asia”.

Küçüksu Kasrı has a mere eight rooms, which makes it very manageable to visit and ideal for those with limited enthusiasm for baroque ornamentation. As at Beylerbeyi, you approach from what was originally intended to be the back of the building rather than from the water, which means that the face that initially greets you is quite restrained - - only when you walk round to the front do you see the Balyan love of stone ornamentation given full rein.

Inside, a wonderful double staircase winds up through the middle of the lodge and opens onto a set of rooms with beautiful parquet floors, elaborate fireplaces and the usual array of Bohemian crystal, Yıldız porcelain and Hereke carpets. Since this was a hunting lodge, there is no proper bedroom, although the bathroom does feature a wonderfully ornate sink that contrasts sharply with a very workaday shower.

The gardens of Küçüksu Kasrı feature a pair of pretty lily ponds, and if you walk round to the side you'll find a waterside café waiting to offer you refreshments. While you're sipping your tea, it's worth taking a look at the gorgeous free-standing Mihrişah Sultan Çeşmesi (fountain) just outside the lodge grounds. It was built by Sultan Selim III for his mother in 1807 and is one of the finest of its kind in İstanbul.kkasr3

Until recently a foul-smelling mess, the Küçüksu Deresi (creek) right beside the lodge is being dredged to make it more inviting to visitors. The Göksu Deresi has already been given new life, with lots of pleasure boats now moored in front of a set of fish restaurants. Hopefully the Sweet Waters of Asia may soon be back, if not quite to their former beauty, at least to a state that will inspire families to want to bring along their picnic baskets once again.

Transport info

A limited number of ferries stop at Anadolu Hisari and Kandilli (http://sehirhatlari.com.tr/en/timetable/cengelkoy-istinye-368.html). Ferries timed to suit commuters also come here from Beşiktaş and İstinye. Küçüksu Kasrı is only a short walk from either terminal. 

Alternatively you can get here by bus from Üsküdar or any of the suburbs en route. 

Nearby areas

Andolu Hisarı

Kandilli

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