THE BOSPHORUS AT PASABAHCE: In this watercolor, by Hoca Ali Riza, from the beginning of this century, the wooden yalı is painted in a traditional color – rose-red. Yet nothing I could be more modern than the numerous bay windows, all large enough to permit the rooms within to be viewed from the garden. The garden surrounding the yalı is planted with pines, plane trees, and climbers, such as wisteria and sweetly fragrant honeysuckle.
Yali of Sefik Bey at Kanlica
Yali of Rutiye Sultan
The ferry stops next at Çubuklu, which means “with a cane” (in Turkish çubuk). Evliya Celebi, writing in the mid-16th century, tells an amusing story about it: “Beyazıt II, having brought his son Selim, the future Selim I, from Trebizond to Constantinople, gave him in this place, in a fit of anger, eight strokes with a cane, which eight strokes were prophetic of the years of his reign. At the same time, he said to him, ‘Boy, don’t be angry, these eight strokes shall fructify during the eight years of your reign.’ Selim stuck the dry cane and bear fruit. The Seyh Kara Beyazıt and Beyazıt himself into the ground, praying to heaven that it might strike root said, ‘Amen,’ after which the cane began to grow and even now bears cornels, five of which weigh a drachma.”
On a hilltop between Çubuklu and Kanlıca, the next village along the Bosphorus is the former palace of the Khedives, the viceroys of Egypt. Its distinctive tower makes it one of the most distinctive landmarks on this stretch of the strait. It was built in c. 1900 by Abbas Hilmi Paşa, the last Khedive. The western façade, overlooking the Bosphorus, is semi-circular, with a marble-columned porch and a semi-circular hall within. The upper floor, especially the tower room and a loggia on the roof, commands some of the finest views of the Bosphorus.
The Turkish Touring and Automobile Club has recently restored and redecorated the palace to its original Art Nouveau splendor. The structure now serves as a deluxe hotel and restaurant.
The village of Kanlica has long been famous for its delicious yogurt, which is served in restaurants around the iskele and the little square behind it. The mosque at the rear of the square was built by Sinan between 1559 and 1560 for Iskender Paşa, a grand vizier under Süleyman the Magnificent. The mosque is of the simplest type, with a wooden porch and a prayer room covered by a flat ceiling.
Between Kanlica and Anadolu Hisarı, the next ferry stop, we pass once again under Fatih Koprusu, the bridge spanning the upper Bosphorus. Just along here, on the Asian shore, you can see the oldest of all the surviving yalı on the Bosphorus, a rose-red wooden ruin suspended over the water on rotting stilts and corbels. The yalı, which is being restored, was built in 1698 by Amcazade Huseyin Pasa Koprulu, grand vizier to Mustafa II. The Peace of Carlowitz was signed here on January 26, 1699, which concluded one of the several wars between Tsarist Russia and the Ottoman Empire.
The old fortress of Anadolu Hisarı lies just downstream from the iskele of the same name. Beyazıt I had the site fortified in 1394 as a base from which to keep Constantinople under siege. This lasted until 1402, when Tamerlane defeated the Turks at the Battle of Ankara, thereby granting the Byzantines a reprieve until 1453.
A relatively small fortress, Anadolu Hisarı comprises a donjon or keep encircled by stout walls with barbican outworks, now partly demolished, and three bastions. According to the French scholar Gabriel, only the keep and its walls date from the reign of Beyazıt I. The barbican wall and the three bastions would have been added by Fatih Mehmet when he built the fortress of Rumeli Hisarı on the opposite shore, in order to control the Bosphorus and thus strangle Constantinople. The village itself is very picturesque, with old wooden houses clustered around the castle on its promontory, where the Bosphorus is joined by a little river known as Göksu – the “Heavenly Stream”.
This pretty little rococo building on the Bosphorus was built for Abdul Mecit 1856-7 Nikoğos Balyan. The sultans used the palace as a pied-à-terre when they visited the Sweet Waters of Asia. Later, under the Turkish Republic, it was
used as a presidential residence and also as a guest house for visiting dignitaries. Restored in the 1970’s, it is now a museum, Beside the palace to its south stands the Kucuksu Çesmesi, an exceptionally beautiful Baroque fountain, built for Selim III in 1806. A 32-line calligraphic chronogram inscribed on the fountain gives the Sultan’s name and the date of construction. The text is by the poet Hatif, who refers to the çeşme as a “soul-caressing fountain … a fragile beauty in the meadow.”