Lifestyle, Travel

Strolling in the royal hunting grounds

Yildiz Park: the north point on the hill, you walk the slope down from here.

Hidden in a silent lonely hill, away from the skyscrapers, hustle and bustle of the cafes, shops and bars, in an old suburb of Beşiktaş district lies Yildiz park (Yıldız Sarayı). The entrance to the park eluded me several times, until I planned to go there directly on foot. Its main entrance was blocked for public, so my friend and I took a 20 minute walk to the gate on a high point left of the main road towards the Beşiktaş İskelesi (Ferry Station).

The Şale Pavilion, a well preserved palace quarter of Yildiz Palace and Park complex.

We started at the highest point of the park from Şale Pavilion. An unexpected beauty we were taken by surprise. The imperial hall was breathtaking in hues of scarlet and gold. The palace is a huge complex of pavilions, gardens, scattered all along the park. Originally it was a hunting ground which explains why it is on a hill so steep and is so large.

The spellbinding imperial hall inside the Şale Pavilion

There was no chance of strutting in the hunting grounds whilst the sultan was alive. It was a privilege to roam around so leisurely in the beautiful complex, reserved only for the palace residents. It’s still a long walk in a hidden area opposite Çirağan Palace and a great escape from the urban jungle and nightlife craze. The palace was an entirely walled complex and the old walls and imperial gates can still be seen.

A leisurely me strolling towards the imperial garden greenhouse

This palace is an excellent hideaway from the noisy metropolitan lifestyle of Istanbul. The park is huge and usually empty apart from a few ecstatic brides and grooms shooting their wedding albums. It is quiet and peaceful and finding a place like that in the fast paced Istanbul is near impossible.

The old wall of the enclosed Royal Hunting Grounds, seen from Beşiktaş main street. At the Ottoman time the entire hunting ground was walled.

To see the entire palace and hunting complex you have to visit all the pavilions, some are not too close by. There are Çadır Pavilion and Malta Kiosk to explore too. You will have to walk through the entire length of the besiktas bazar to reach the Linden Pavilion (Ihlamur Kasri). It is worth it, you can relax in the park and then join the buzzing resturaunts for a meal to relish and end up with coffee at the kasri.

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