Küçüksu Kasrı is an ornate nine-room Ottoman imperial hunting lodge on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus, south of the Fatih Bridge, opposite Bebek (map), in Istanbul.
Used by several 19th-century Ottoman sultans on country outings, the elaborately-decorated Ottoman Baroque structure was designed by the Balyan family of architects, 19th-century sultans' favorites.
You can visit Küçüksu Kasrı (kew-CHEWK-soo kahss-ruh) on a half-day excursion up the Bosphorus by ferryboat or Marmaray and city bus. The best way to come is on the Dentur Avrasya Hop On - Hop Off boat. More...
Küçüksu Kasrı is open from 09:00 am to 17:00 (5 pm) daily except on Monday and Thursday. Admission costs only a few liras. It seems never to be crowded.
The sultan and his hunting companions would arrive by imperial barge. The west, north and south sides of the building are heavy with high-relief stone carving. The east, landward, façade is much plainer.
The Ottoman Imperial Lifestyle was apparently one for which the padişah (sultan) needed many, many rooms richly and expensively decorated—silk carpets on inlaid wood floors, Bohemian crystal chandeliers, Italian marble fireplaces—in which to sit and chat with others. Küçüksu has nine such rooms, all of equally elaborate decoration, all equipped with sofas and chairs for sitting, and more sitting.
After hunting, sitting...in palatial splendor.
There are no bedrooms, as Küçüksu was meant for day use.
In recent years, as heavy traffic along the Asian shore road increased, the weight of the traffic caused shifts in the filled land on which the palace was built. It was being pushed off its foundations into the Bosphorus. The shore road was re-routed, and steel and concrete bulwarks sunk on the Bosphorus side of the structure to support it.
Take a ferryboat or Marmaray train to Üsküdar, then any city Bus 15 north up the Asian shore of the Bosphorus to the Küçüksu stop. Walk west from the bus stop toward the Bosphorus for 5 minutes and you'll arrive at the palace.
You can combine your visit to Küçüksu Kasrı with one to Beylerbeyi Palace, a larger palace to the south of Küçüksu on the Asian shore, and also to the Khedive's Villa in Beykoz. The palaces are closed on Monday and Thursday, both can be reached by the same No. 15 buses.
—by Tom Brosnahan