Hidiv Pavilion

The palaces or mansions outside the city built for Sultans are called pavilions (Kasr) The exception of this generalization in Beykoz, is the Hidiv Pavilion. Abbas Hilmi Pasha, who bekame Khedive of Egypt in his youth, sought Turkish-German support against the English influence over Egypt, by spending most of his time here in Istanbul. Abbas Hilmi Pasha bought the two wooden seaside mansions in Çubuklu in 1903, and later he buys the hillsides behind the mansions. In 1907, the Italian Architect Delfo Seminati builds a magnificiant mini-palace in the then-fashionable Art Nouveau style. Perre Loti criticizes the construction of a Western-style building while there are exquisite examples of the Ottoman Architecture “untasteful”. The wife of the Pasha, Lady Cavidan, occupies herself with the spiritual aspect of the Pavilion, instead of its architectural style. She says that the pavilion is a place where they can get away from the official atmosphere of Egypt, with its protocol-laden events, a “home” where they can be alone with her husband, her “true home.” The Khedive calls his mansion a “Chalet Suisse” and a “palace”.

The Çubuklu Grove with its 170.000 m2 area gets enriched with tagged trees that have lineages, and becomes a fairy-tale grove with its magnificent Bosphorus view. The name of the grove takes the name of its benefactor from then on.

What gives a unique character to the Hidiv Pavilion built upon 1.000m2 of land is, doubtless, its majestic tower. The tower is reached with an elevator. The elevator is powered by a steam engine and is the first in the country. 

According to Lady Cavidan, both her and the Pasha paid attention to everything, including the project phase, and they chose the decorations, furniture, landscaping and even the trees and flowers to be planted themselves. Special trees were brought over from France and Switzerland for the grove, the most precious pines, firs, cedars, tujas and magnolias were gathered together.

Its marble columns, fountain-filled halls, massive walnut wall panels, almost all the materials were brought over from Europe. 

In later years, Abbas Hilmi Pasha established an electric power plant in the land on which the fire station was located until recently, on the Çubuklu Shore to light up the building. He ensures that the whole grove, roads and the mansion are lit. The Khedive also lights up the Çubuklu Mosque with the electricity his plant produces.

Following the naming of his uncle, Hüseyin Kamil Paşa, the “Sultan of Egypt” by the English, Abbas Hilmi Pasha loses his crown and throne and as he does not doubt that he will be taken prisoner by the English in case Istanbul falls, emigrates to Switzerland in 1914. Although the pasha tries to sell the pavilion after his migration, he cannot find a buyer.

The pavilion remains neglected for a long time, until it is bought by the Istanbul Municipality in 1937 by the initiative of Governor Muhittin Üstündağ for a really low price of 60 thousand liras. However, no works are conducted in the pavilion until 1983. Gaining the approval of the Military administration following the 1980 coup, the restoration works that began under the direction of Touring and Automotive Board Chairman Çelik Gülersoy, was completed in 1984. The grove and the pavilion are being operated as a restaurant by the Istanbul Municipality. 

Hidiv Pavilion