tarabya1Old German Embassy summer residenceOld names: Pharmakeus, Therapeia

Few foreign visitors make it as far up the Bosphorus as Tarabya which is a shame since it sits on one of the  most magnificent bays on the strait. What's more this was once the favoured place for the summer residences built for the various İstanbul embassies so that their staff could escape the heat and humidity of high summer. As a result a handful of particularly fine 19th-century buildings can still be seen here.

The bay is dominated by the Grand Tarabya Hotel, a hotel with a venerable history as the old Tokatlıyan that has just been restored after many years in the doldrums. Just beyond it is Kireçburnu (Lime Point), a promontory jutting out into the Bosphorus at the point where you start to be able to glimpse the Black Sea far into the distance. It's home to several fine fish restaurants. 

Around Tarabya

As you come into Tarabya from Yeniköy you will pass what was once the summer residence of the German Embassy. Designed by the Belgian architect Cingria, it was given to Kaiser Wilhelm II by Sultan Abdülhamid in return for his help in recreating the Ottoman navy. The back garden contains a German military cemetery and a memorial to Marshall Helmuth von Moltke the Elder who helped Sultan Mahmud II reform the Ottoman army in 1829. Restoration in 1990 robbed the building of most remaining features of the historic interior. 

Further north, the summer residence of the Italian Embassy was housed in a beautiful wooden Raimondo d'Aronco-designed mansion put up in 1908. Slow restoration seems to have been aimed at retaining more of its historic features. 

The summer residence of the French Embassy was originally built for one of the Fener grandees who also kept summer homes on this part of the coast. When owner Alexandre İpsilanti was executed for treason in 1806, his home became the property of the French emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte. A fire in 1913 virtually destroyed the property which now belongs, in its reincarnated form, to Marmara University. 


A branch of the upmarket kebab chain Big Chefs (tel: 0212-262 7070) now occupies the striking building that was once home to the the Le Pecheur fish restaurant.


Grand Tarabya Hotel. tel: 0212-363 3300

Transport info

Most of the buses plying the coast road from Kabataş or Beşiktaş to Sarıyer pass through Tarabya as do minibuses from the 4.Levent Metro station.

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