It is a welcome carpet of verdure in this increasingly concrete city.
It is one of the largest and most verdant parks in Istanbul, a wonderful relief from the miles of stolid concrete that tower and throng on every other hill.
Most short-term visitors to Istanbul don’t visit Yıldız Parkı because it is well north of the city center, but if you’re staying at the Conrad Istanbul Hotel, Four Seasons Hotel at the Bosphorus, Çirağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul Hotel, or Radisson Blu Bosphorus Hotel, or if you plan to travel the European shore of the Bosphorus or spend any time in Beşiktaş, you’re close to the park and should consider a visit.
Yıldız Parkı contains three restaurants and a palace-museum.
|Çadır Köşkü Pool|
The “Tent Kiosk,” is a small palace-let by a placid pool complete with resident ducks. Hot and cold non-alcoholic drinks, snacks and light meals are served on the front terrace.
The “Country Café,” to the northeast, is a simple terrace serving mostly hot and cold beverages, with simple snacks.
The “Malta Kiosk,” is a more elaborate dining place with a fuller menu, larger eating areas inside and out, and some views over the Bosphorus.
As for the palace, Sultan Abdul Hamid II had the Yıldız Şale Köşkü (“Star Chalet Kiosk”) built at the very top of the hillside in preparation for a visit by r German Emperor Wilhelm II in the 1880s. The 60-room palace was to be a fitting “guesthouse” fo Kaiser Bill during his short stay in the city.
Every palace must have its own woodland. Yıldız has the whole hillside.
The Yıldız Şale, now a museum open to the public (closed Monday and Thursday), has 60 rooms, scores of bathrooms, and enough fancy gilt to make your head spin. It is the place to which Sultan Abdul Hamid II retreated when his fear of assassination became pronounced, and it is what he created while millions of villagers in his vast domains, lacking schools, clinics, communications and sanitation, were dying of tuberculosis. More…
Entry to the park is free for pedestrians, but there is a fee for cars, including taxis. If you don’t care to climb the slope to the top, you can take a taxi up, then walk down.
The southern part of the park, to the left of the main road up the hill, and the western part at the top of the hill, are better cared for. The area to the north of the road, where lovers linger, is less so.
—by Tom Brosnahan