At the beginning of 17th century, a different settlement pattern emerges in Istanbul. The radical changes experienced in the economic structure of the country direct the administrative class to extrvagant consumption. On the other hand the ship-owning Greeks from Fener who own the Black Sea transport industry and the embassy staff in Istanbul started a new way of life in Beyoğlu and some villages of the Bosphorus. A summer house concept emerges in these years, albeit not in its true sense. The old vegetable gardens in Kağıthane start to be adorned with pavilions and gardens. Seaside Mansions, mansions and gardens are established in the old hermitages of the Bosphorus.
Wooden seaside mansions with prominences built upon wooden sticks that hug the shore are also a sign of social status. The existence of the arched boathouse, the size of the garden or the grove are directly related to the wealth of the owner.
The color of the seaside mansions were set in the Ottoman era. The red seaside mansions called “ocher paint” belonged to the government officials, the lighter colored mansions belong to the Muslims, and gray shaded mansions belonged to the non-Muslims. The mansions of those who don’t obey these rules are expropriated and their owners are sent to exile.
Şinasi says that “the old, large seaside mansions were a miniature version of the Ottoman Empire: The nanny is Circassian, the sister is black, the servant is Greek, the adopted child is Turkish, the wet nurse is crossbred, the butler woman is Thracian, the footman is Armenian, the cook is from Bolu, the boatman is Turkish or Greek, the eunuch is Ethiopian and the gardener was Albanian. These MuslimChristian elements gathered under the same roof and reflected the state of the empire in the house.”
While there were 445 seaside mansions (confused with the regular mansions by the pbulic) in the Ottoman Era, only 366 could reach the present. Some of those were demolished and forgotten, some lost their characteristics and names because a road was built between them and the Bosphorus. 280 of 366 seaside mansions are first degree historical buildings and are registered.
The seaside mansions that have their backs to the green groves in the Ottoman Era had a color harmony with the blue Bosphorus. The old inhabitants of these mansions fished from their alcoves, swam in the Bosphorus by lifting the hatch in their rooms closest to the sea, shopped from the salesmen in their rowboats by dangling baskets from their windows, and could come to the door of their mansions in a boat.
So, the grandest seaside mansions of the Bosphorus in the Anatolian side, with their historical adventures, architectural features and many interesting tales of their inhabitants, were in Beykoz.
Seaside mansions of Beykoz start at Göksu. At the time, a wooden bridge crossed over Göksu to the first Turkish settlement of Istanbul: Anadoluhisarı. The town’s population soars after the conquest. Its fort, mosque, open air masjid and pier make Anadoluhisarı, a neighborhood that never lost its traditional Turkish texture, a focus of attention at all times. Its seaside mansions that witnessed the history are all subjects for a monograph of their own.
Amcazade Hüseyin Paşa Seaside Mansion is just one of those. Pasha is a member of the Köprülü Family. He becomes Grand Vizier in 1697. The seaside mansion witnessed many historical occasions, including the feast thrown in the Nemçe Ambassador’s honor on the occasion of the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699.
The seaside mansion of the Minister of Maritime Affairs of Sultan Abdulhamid I., Sedat Bey, the mansion of İsmail Hakkı Efendi of Mostar, the preacher of prominent mosques such as Dolmabahçe, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, the most scrupulous writer of the Islamic treatises, the author of the Sebilurreşad Magazine and an important personality of the Second Constitutional Monarchy; the Seaside Mansion of Talat Efendi, one of the sheikhs of the Halveti Congregation, are some of the seaside mansions mentioned in the histories that are located in Anadoluhisarı.
It is told that Shaykh al-Islam Bahai Efendi started the Moon party tradition in the 17th century. The bay in which his seaside mention was located was called “Bahai Bay” until the end of the 19th century due to his large mansion in the Bay. The Bülbül River flowed out to this cute and tiny bay of Istanbul. The people went to listen to nightingales near the Bahai Efendi Seaside Mansion where the river meets the bay, especially in the cherry season. The nightingales bore a tiny hole in the cherry when the cherry matured and waited for the evening. In the evening the bird drank the slightly fermented cherry water that filled the hole. Then started to sing in pleasure. The nightingale’s pleasure drew the people to itself.
The seaside mansion of Bahai Efendi burned down in the 19th century, and the İhtisap Aga Blind Tahsin Efendi built a new one in its place.
The seaside mansion of Fuad Pasha in Çubuklu is one of the famous seaside mansions of its time. The mansion is frequently visited by the ministers and politicians of the era. It once even hosted Sultan Abdulaziz. The seaside mansion also witnessed an agreement with the Greeks, and the agreement signed in the seaside mansion of Foreign Minister Fuad Pasha in 1854 was recorded in history as the “Kanlıca Covenant”. The iftars in the mansion in Ramadan were legendary. The tables were set in the garden, the iftar was made in the garden, the trees were decorated with many colored lanterns groynes were set between large trees, carpets and prayer rugs covered a part of the garden, the harem garden was closed off with a separator, the evening and tarawih prayers were conducted in the garden. When foreigners were present at the iftar, they stood up silently under the trees while the congregation prayed.
Another seaside mansion that has a special place with its historical narrative is Edhem Pasha Seaside Mansion. İbrahim Edhem Pasha, the owner of the mansion, is a scientist and statesman born in the Chios Island. His son, Ibrahim Edhem is one of the first four people sent over to Paris for mining engineering education. The young Ibrahim Edhem graduated from the Ecole de Mines first of his class, and meets Napoleon III according to custom. He works in the field as the first mining engineer of his country. Then he enters the palace as the private French tutor of Sultan Abdulmecid. He serves as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Young Ibrahim Edhem has two sons. The elder is the famous painter Osman Hamdi Beg, and the younger is Halil Edhem Bey. Both serve as mayors in Istanbul. Osman Hamdi Bey serves as the mayor of Beyoğlu, and Halil Edhem Bey serves as the Mayor of “Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality” as it is called today. As it is known, Osman Hamdi Bey receives special attention from Sultan Abdulhamid, and is assigned as the director of the Imperial Museum. Moreover, Osman Hamdi Bey’s son is also called Edhem. Four generations of Edhem Beys live in this seaside mansion.
Tahir Pasha Seaside Mansion, Ahmed Necip Bey Mansion, Amcazade Hüseyin Pasha Mension, Asaf Pasha Seaside Mansion, Bahriyeli Sedat Bey Seaside Mansion, Esad Bey Seaside Mansion, Hacı Ahmed Bey Seaside Mansion, Hakim Şevket Bey Seaside Mansion, Hamamcı Hafız Bey Seaside Mansion, Hekimbaşı Salih Efendi Seaside Mansion, İnönü Seaside Mansion, Kadri Pasha Seaside Mansion, Köseciler Seaside Mansion, Niyazi Kaptan Seaside Mansion, Nuri Pasha Seaside Mansion, İlyas Bey Seaside Mansion, Prenses Rukiye Seaside Mansion, Marko Pasha Seaside Mansion, Ahmed Mithat Efendi Seaside Mansion all constitute the narrative of the 18th and 19th centuries, and the city, reflected in Beykoz.