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.
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.
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.
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.
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.