Located on the shores of the Bosphorus, on the Asian side of Istanbul, the Beylerbeyi Palace was a summer residence for Ottoman sultans and a guest house to entertain foreign heads of state. Sultan Abdulaziz ordered the construction of the palace in 1863 and it formally opened two years later. Over the years, it hosted visitors such as Empress Eugenie of France, Emperor Joseph of Austria-Hungary, Crown Prince Oscar of Sweden and Nasireddin, the Shah of Iran. It also served as the last place of captivity for deposed Sultan Abdulhamid II, who lived there until his death in 1918.
The two-story stone palace consists of six halls, 24 rooms, one hamam and one bathroom. The interior decorations mix Western neo-classical elements and traditional Ottoman design, with much of the furniture coming from Europe. The elegant reception hall is known as the Hall with Mother-of-Pearl and leads to a fine seaside room covered with rich wood paneling. The Hall with Pool and the Blue Hall make up the center of the palace, the former featuring a large oval pool in its center and the latter named after its sixteen blue columns.
On the grounds of the Beylerbeyi Palace, you will find exquisite garden terraces and several annexes, including bathing houses and stables.
Beylerbeyi Palace is located on Abdullaha Aga Caddesi in the Beylerbeyi neighborhood on the Asian side of Istanbul. You can spot it while on a Bosphorus cruise, but to explore the palace, you will need to either find a ferry directly to Beylerbeyi or take a ferry to Uskudar and from there catch a bus north to Beylerbeyi. The palace is open for visitors 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., daily except Mondays and Thursdays. Admission is 20 Turkish Lira.