Beylerbeyi Sarayı, 2.5 km (1.5 miles) northeast of Üsküdar (map), is
a "small" Istanbul summer
palace overlooking the Bosphorus from
its Asian shore. It makes a delightful Bosphorus visit, perhaps along with the even smaller but similarly-ornate Küçüksu Kasrı, but not on Monay or Thursday, when both palaces are closed.
You can see both via Dentur Avrasya's Hop On - Hop Off Bosphorus cruise.
on orders of the Ottoman Sultan
Abdulaziz (1861-1876), Beylerbeyi is a
delightful, if ornate, imperial residence
with a fountain in the main
salon, the usual sumptuous chambers,
Bohemian crystal chandeliers, Sèvres
and Chinese vases, and pleasant gardens.
palace was often used as a guest
house for visiting royalty. Empress
Eugénie of France, Shah Nasruddin
of Persia, Grand Duke Nicholas of
Russia and other worthies enjoyed
Abdulhamid II was deposed by
the Young Turks in 1909, and spent
the last years of his life (1913-1918)
under house arrest at Beylerbeyi.
of the furniture in the palace was
made by the
sultan himself, who was
an accomplished cabinet-maker.
Üsküdar and Beylerbeyi have
many good waterfront restaurants just
right for a pleasant lunch or afternoon
snack during sightseeing, as does
the village of Çengelköy,
a few minutes' ride to the north
Best way to get there is on Dentur Avrasya's Hop On - Hop Off Bosphorus cruise. More...
Or you can take a ferryboat from Eminöü, Kabataş or Beşiktaş to Üsküdar (very
frequent), or a Marmaray train from Sirkeci or Yenikapı to Üsküdar, then any Bus 15 north to Beylerbeyi.
You can combine your visit to Beylerbeyi with one to the Küçüksu Kasrı, a smaller palace to the north of Beylerbeyi on the Asian shore. Both palaces are closed on Monday and Thursday. You may also want to visit the Khedive's Villa, farther up the Asian shore in Beykoz.
—by Tom Brosnahan