Built at the end of the 19th century, the house has been ‘taken care of well, but not remodeled’
The house is one of the largest on the Bosphorus, but is dwarfed by the bridge, built in 1988.
Each floor of the Zeki Paşa mansion has a different style, but the building is completely symmetrical.
A large marble sink in this reception room is said to have been turned on during important meetings so the sound of running water would foil eavesdroppers.The ceiling moldings and herringbone parquet are original.Only one room per floor doesn’t have views of the Bosphorus.The ceilings have heights varying between 10 feet and 16 feet.The original doors allow air to circulate, because such houses were intended as summer getaways. Note the marble floor.Three members of the Bastimar family currently reside in the home.The private, walled garden includes a fountain.
The Fatih Sultan Mehmet suspension bridge that connects the European and Asian sides of Istanbul soars 210 feet almost directly above this Istanbul palace.
Price: $95 million
Built for a pasha, a Belle Epoque palace with panoramic views of the Bosphorus is on the market in Istanbul for $20 million less than when it was first listed in 2011. Despite its grandeur, the Fatih Sultan Mehmet suspension bridge that connects the European and Asian sides of Istanbul soars 210 feet almost directly above the palace.
Müşir Zeki Paşa, an Ottoman field marshal, commissioned Franco-Turkish architect Alexandre Vallaury to build the five-story palace after the devastating 1894 earthquake, according to several books on Istanbul’s architecture and history.
Zeki served under the autocratic Sultan Abdülhamid II, who forbade Zeki to move into the mansion after royal gossips told the sultan such a sumptuous building was proof of Zeki’s dangerously high ambitions, according to "Neslishah: The Last Ottoman Princess." Zeki begged and was given the right to a single night in his palace. In 1909, Abdülhamid II was deposed, and Zeki was forced into exile.
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The house sat empty until Sultan Vahideddin bought it from Zeki’s heirs as a wedding present for his daughter, Sabiha Sultan. However, she, too, was sent into exile. The Bastimar tobacco family bought it a few years later and it has stayed in their family for about 80 years.
At first, the family used the mansion to store tobacco and as offices, but eventually they moved in. (They’ve decided the home is too big for them and are now downsizing.) "Everything in the house is original—the moldings, the floors. It was taken care of well, but not remodeled," said Pinar Ayikcan, the agent for Ayikcan Real Estate in Istanbul, which holds the listing.
The building is one of the largest on the Bosphorus and is now the largest waterfront property on the market, she said. With its size and prestigious address, the building could be converted into a hotel or business offices, or kept as originally planned—as a summer getaway, she said.
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Four living rooms, 19 bedrooms, four full baths and four partial baths, as well as four large foyers occupy the 27,000 square feet of living space spread across five floors. The floorplans of four of the five storeys are identical. Each has a grand reception room facing the water straight-on, while rooms on either side also have views of the Bosphorus.
The ground floor has a Turkish bath and hammam that predated modern bathrooms. The Turkish bath no longer is used but its decorative tile is intact. In addition to two staircases, an elevator serves all the floors. The waterfront has a private pier. The roof has an observatory.
An enclosed garage can hold four cars. The palace sits in a lush private garden that covers almost an acre, including 360 feet fronting the Bosphorus.
Vallaury designed many Istanbul landmarks and was in high demand as the city’s elite put up summer waterfront homes, or yalıs. While most such yalıs were built of wood—and as a result a number of them have been destroyed by fire—Zeki’s was made of brick and mortar, made to look like stones, with a baroque style.The mansion is a historic landmark.
Zeki Paşa Yalısı is in Rumelihisarı, on the border with Baltalimanı. Both are upscale neighborhoods, "lively, with restaurants and nice shopping malls a couple of minutes’ drive away," Ms. Ayikcan said. Rumelihisarı is named for a medieval fortress nearby on the waterfront. It is home to business leaders and government officials. The Bosphorus waterfront is the most desirable area of Istanbul. A yalı a few