Beautiful Mansions Along The Bosphorus, Another ‘Crazy’ Dream
“Keep your dreams alive. It is free and costs nothing” , My late father once said.
It was summer time. No lectures, no academic journals, no assignments, no text books, and no class to attend. What I like the most from summer in Istanbul was I could have cruise as much as I could without worrying the freezing cold appears in the middle of the sea. Bosphorus tour was one of tourist attractions, where most of travelers would not miss when they were in Istanbul. There are many boat companies offering their service to bring passengers to witness the beauty of the busiest strait in the world. The boats would carry passenger from Eminonu port, sailing along the strait, closed to the European side of Istanbul.
While many took opportunities to go with the tourist boats, I took chances to travel with regular boats. It has longer route than the one purposed to tourists ones, cheaper, more chances to mingle with the locals, and I had chances to see more. The problem was these regular boats do not operate in the weekend. So, for working people, it would not be an option.
Back to the cruise, normally I took my normal Bosphorus Cruise from European side. The cruise started from Eminonu Port, passed Besiktas, Ortakoy, Arnavutkoy, Emirgan, Sariyer and ended at Rumeli kavağı. Nonetheless, this time I would try the different route. Instead of taking the boat from European side, I went to Asian side in Uskudar to take the cruise to Anadolu kavağı. The route is the the same with the one in Europe, but the boat will sail closer to Asian side where I could witness different view and scenery. It would leave Uskudar Port, passed Beylerbeyi Palace, Cengelkoy, Beykoz and ended at Anadolu kavağı.
Bosphorus has been the most desirable residential area in Istanbul. The strict building codes prohibit new construction conducted along the shoreline. It keeps the neighborhood with its natural beauty and amazing water view that makes the areas are so special. The Bosphorus in Asian side is also well known with its yalıs. Yalıs are the waterfront mansions situated along the Bosphorus. It was traditionally built from wood, the laters were built from concrete. They were popular during Ottoman Empire when the Turkish bourgeoisie used them as summer houses. It has typical large windows so the constant breeze would easily flow through the mansions. The furniture was handmade with beautiful decoration reflecting the family’s wealth. Today, the yalıs date from 18th to 20th century, makes them as an important part of history in the area. Owning yalı is not only about having gorgeous property. The prestige and social status come along once you live in one of them. Among the high-net-worth neighbors living there are the billionaire Şevket Sabancı (the family owns Sabancı university and some famous museums throughout Turkey), the businessman and philanthropist Rahmi Koç (Koç family has university too), Turkey’s former prime minister, celebrities, and other Turkey’s notables and top businessmen. However, it is still possible to buy one of the mansions through property companies. Just prepare the money, the range started from US$9 million to US$ 200 million.
I always enjoy seeing them. Imagining myself sitting in one of morning tea rooms, with my tea and book in my hands. For me, it is not about privilege, nor social status. It just feel good to imagine myself living in those beautiful mansions, with my favorite Bosphorus strait which is only few steps from home. I won’t need to go far for swimming. Well, I know my dream sounds crazy. With those crazy prices, even if I have to work for the next centuries, I am still not sure if I will be able to live in one of them. Today, sharing the beauty with you is all that I can do. But, as my father said. I will keep my dream alive. As long as it is free and costs nothing.