Why Istanbul’s largest and last Ottoman palace won’t sell

The 26,900-square-foot mansion is the largest home on the Bosphorus

New York Weekend Edition /
Mar.March 11, 2018 10:00 AM

Istanbul, Turkey. (Credit from back: KLMircea, Max Pixel)

The last house of its kind, the Istanbul mansion sitting on the bank of the scenic Bosphorus could be yours for $95 million, though you’d have to be comfortable under this bridge.

The regal history of the home began around the turn of the 20th century when an Ottoman sultan’s minister commissioned French architect Alexandre Vallaury to design the five-story home. It was later lived in by the last of sultan’s youngest daughter before the current owners, the Bastimar family, wealthy from their tobacco business, bought the home about 85 years ago, according to Bloomberg.

“It’s one of the biggest estates in Istanbul,” Pinar Ayikcan, the broker handling the listing, told Bloomberg. But the house is right under eight-lane highway, and, as a result, the home has been on the market for five years.

“A local person could buy it for business purposes, to perhaps, make a unique hotel. Or it could be a consulate,” Ayikcan proposed, but so far, no one’s taken up the offer.

Four generations of the Bastimar family resided in the massive home which includes a hamam — a traditional Turkish bath, landscaped gardens and intricate interior decoration, which has been preserved by the family. Though buyers may not want to live there themselves, the home’s furnishings alone are an antique collector’s dream.

“There are chairs that were owned by Louis XIV, along with furnishings, including Murano chandeliers, that date back to the Ottomans,” Ayikcan told Bloomberg. “The windows, the marble, the ceilings, even. It’s all original.”

Maintenance of the 23-bedroom residence is predictably a challenge; 15 servants currently handle the interior upkeep — that’s three people per floor. [Bloomberg]Erin Hudson


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