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The apartment's 'spine': all the rooms bar one open up from this hallway
Elegant library flat with panoramic Istanbul vista
Elegant library flat with panoramic Istanbul vista
3 guests
2 bedrooms
2 beds
1 bath
3 guests
2 bedrooms
2 beds
1 bath
You won’t be charged yet

Perched on the 4th floor of a listed, historical 1913 walk-up, 5' walk from Istiklal Street, this well-equipped, tastefully decorated apt boasting a huge library and rare documentary photography travels you back to Istanbul's 19th century. The library spans Mediterranean/Middle East/North Africa/Central Asia-specific literature, philosophy, travel writing and current affairs. Just renovated and 5' walk from Istiklal, 10' from trendy Cihangir and Galata districts. Needs care, not for hotel types.

The space

Many apartments are located around Taksim but it's rare to get access to an architect-designed one with such a well-stocked library and furnished with custom-built bookcases, Ottoman sedir seating and Levantine, North African and Viennese antique furniture. Rounded off with a modern kitchen and bathroom, this beautiful apartment is decorated with antiques from around the Middle East and Central Asia, and illustrated with documentary photography shot by its owner, a Mediterraneanist who employs print, photography and video to highlight little-known aspects of the region's shared past.
This fully-equipped 100m2 flat is part of a network of centrally-located properties in Athens, Beirut, Istanbul and Tunis, dedicated to reminding us of an earlier, kinder period of cosmopolitan coexistence in the Mediterranean.
Roadworks ongoing since August 2017 may result in additional 200m of walking from taxi drop-off to apartment.

Guest access

High-end electrical appliances (washing machine, gas stove, oven grill, electric juicer, fridge), plasma LED TV with international and Turkish channels, laptop hookup, free Internet included.

Interaction with guests

I am usually travelling when renting out the flat but the wonderful Melek will do your check-in and check-out, lives locally, and is on call during the day. Both myself and my cohost Semi will be available should something come up.

Other things to note

When you book to stay here, you get the owner's personal, 30-page guide to Vintage Istanbul, a compendium of epicurean information about the city's lesser-known neighbourhoods, pleasures and absences.

Wireless Internet
Cable TV
Extra people $31 CAD / night after 2 guests
Cleaning Fee $62 CAD
Security Deposit $619 CAD
Weekend Price $122 CAD / night
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Sleeping arrangements
Bedroom 1
1 queen bed
Bedroom 2
1 sofa bed
Common spaces
2 sofa beds
House Rules
No smoking
Not suitable for pets
No parties or events
Not safe or suitable for children (0-12 years)
Check-in time is 2PM - 11PM
Check out by 12PM (noon)

Children, pets, smoking, anything more raucous than a dinner party unwelcome. The apartment is over a hundred years old and much loved, so please remove shoes at the entrance, don't throw paper into the toilet or semi-waste solids (like coffee) down the sink to avoid blocked plumbing.
Appropriate for academics, lovers of libraries, photography and architecture, cultural purists and ethical symmetrists. Unsuited to party animals and families with children.
When using the a/c, guests are requested to keep an eye on the container into which the a/c exhaust feeds, and empty it when approaching full. Please be sure to empty it out into the kitchen sink, rather than tipping it over into the street below.
In line with Turkish government legislation, all guests staying on the property must present their passports upon checkin for registration.

You must also acknowledge
Must climb stairs - Being over 100 years old, the building lacks an elevator. The apartment is on the fourth floor.
No parking on property - There is an open-air, overnight carpark 100m from the apartment.
Safety features
First aid kit
Safety card
2 nights minimum stay

24 Reviews

Check In
Naregh User Profile
September 2017
This was not my first time at the Old Lady of Tarlabasi. Going up the stairs not only reminded me of how important our heart is - and that I should stop smoking again - but how the Old Lady loves courtship before opening her arms, and letting you in with unconditional love and acceptance, ready to lull you with its walls, books, lights and stories in the night after a long day walking across hills and seas. Thank you. And thank you, Iason, Semi and Melek, for everything. I already miss her.
Iason User Profile
Response from Iason:
Naregh, you're officially the Old Lady's most-visited guest... after Preethi of course :) Long may your heart keep pumping up those stairs!
September 2017

Gonzalo User Profile
March 2017
Iason gave me very clear indications to get to the apartment. The place is beatiful, very nicely decorated.

Naregh User Profile
February 2017
I couldn't have stayed in a better place to fully enjoy my experience in Istanbul. I've come to consider it my own 'home', a refuge from the bustling City at night diving into Iason's extremely rich library offering insights in Greek, English, Farsi, Arabic and Turkish on the 'Near East' and the Mediterranean's history, politics, thoughts, cities and peoples. Photographs from Greece to India bring humanity through different lenses when you turn on the lamp in the living room at dark. You feel excitement and peace by staring at the reflections of the light upon the red brick wall, hundreds of books, and compelling photographs. Then you are kicked out by this same refuge to go out absorbing and living everything that surrounds you. The apartment lies a few minutes walk from the pedestrian Istiklal street, where thousends of people walk every day despite the recent events that hit the City. You have to walk uphill, cross the underpass below Tarlabasi street that cuts Iason's neighborhood where the residual Greek dwellers were forced to leave by 1964, from the more familiar, known, touristy Taksim area. Yet, they are part of the same whole despite this surgical separation of concrete. Everywhere you walk, you feel the legacy of previous communities and dwellers who inhabitated the City despite violent, silenced departures. While many have gone, others have come offering a contrast between the architecture and those who actually inhabit these places now. Walking uphill requires resistance, but walking downhill easens it. You have to fight, yet everything embraces you at the same time. You seek refuge, yet you need to go out. Places might inspire you different thoughts, including the more touristy spots, yet they are not fully tarnished, nor fake, nor dead. Everything is a contrast, not as it appears, and in between runs a vibrant life that doesn't look at its past nor at its future. It is there for you to live with its beauty and complexities, a meeting point of peoples, cultures, and cats, despite everything and everyone. And that's exactly what Iason's apartment makes you feel, viscerally part of the City (except that he has no cats). Thanks for this unique experience, by far the best so far.
Iason User Profile
Response from Iason:
Best review left so far. The apartment is always happiest when it's inhabited by someone who understands it.
February 2017

Aisling User Profile
November 2017
My husband and I spent 8 nights in Iason’s apartment. We both highly recommend it. Here are a few words from both of us: Aisling - I’m a very sensory person and this home touched me in many ways. I can still recall the feeling of my feet on the old boards and rugs, the sounds of the heavy doors closing, the calming effect of the rich chalky colours. One of my favourite rooms was the kitchen; narrow and long, with windows on two sides. For some reason, it reminded me of a Kevin McCloud style tree house. Perched high up and overlooking the cluttered, grungy backstreets of Istanbul. Full of angry skies and mismatched roofs. We enjoyed lengthy, home-cooked breakfasts here! This is a home you want to spend time in. We happily explored the hilly landscape of the city on foot and returned home to chill out and recharge. As Ben mentions below, our hosts Sami and Iason were super helpful. Thanks to you both for making us feel so welcome. Ben - Sami and Iason are courteous and helpful hosts. The apartment is a stylish eyrie with views west over the city's rolling hills. There are two basic supermarkets close by, so we enjoyed eating breakfast in the bright kitchen, or heading out to breakfast places in the back streets leading towards Taksim square. The location of the apartment is superb - it's off the tourist trail but still right in the city centre. You need to be comfortable hiking up and down steep hills and staircases.

Hakan User Profile
October 2017
This was the third time we visited Istanbul. The apartment of Iason is the perfect hideaway in the city center of beautiful Istanbul. Beyoglu is a gem in the rough with a rich history and divers inhabitants. Within a heartbeat your in Cihangir, go to Istanbul Modern or take the boat to Kadikoy. The apartment has an middle eastern feel to it....exceptional. Iason and Semi are superb hosts. Respond fast (by mail app phone) and interested. They give you advice on every aspect of Istanbul and Iason has an alternative guide that has pieces of the city that you don't want to miss. Go to Uskudar and eat at Ficcin. Enjoy to discover the fast changing city.....
Iason User Profile
Response from Iason:
We've been lucky to have been blessed with guests as sensitive and intuitive as your good selves. Thank you for choosing the Old Lady, it was a pleasure to have people so attentive to the city, its beauties and sadnesses.
October 2017

Andy User Profile
October 2017
A truly beautiful apartment where you can really immerse yourself in Istanbul culture and way of life. The apartment was immaculate and had everything we needed. A thoroughly enjoyable experience made possible by the location and vibe of the apartment.

Ruby User Profile
September 2017
The library apartment is very well equipped, comfortable and has wonderful artifacts and books. I felt like I had a home not just a place to stay in Istanbul for a week. It's well located and if you like walking, there are many areas to go and explore as well as easy access to the dining districts and public transport. Iason and Semi were great hosts, provided lots of useful and interesting information about Istanbul and were super easy to contact and responsive to all our queries.

Istanbul, TurkeyJoined in January 2014
Iason User Profile

I've been travelling since my mother bundled me onto a bumpy transatlantic Olympic Airways flight in 1979, a few months after I was born. Since then, I've learned to share less of my tears, screams, and dinner portions with fellow travellers.
Now, I work as a Mediterraneanist, meaning that I write and make films seeking to raise awareness about the heritage-at-risk of the body of water connecting the three cities I live in: Athens, Istanbul and Tunis.

Languages: English, Türkçe, Ελληνικά, العربية
Response rate: 100%
Response time: within an hour

About the home

When you stay in an Airbnb, you’re staying in someone’s home.

This is Iason’s place.
Sami helps host.

The neighbourhood

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