Midway between Kandilli and Anadolu Hisarı stands Küçüksu Kasrı, a small palace – or rather hunting lodge – that was built by Sultan Abdülmecid I in 1856-7, to a design by the Armenian architect, Nikoğos Balyan. It stood on the site of an older wooden building in an area beside the Göksu and Küçüksu rivers that was at that time still so beautiful that it revelled in being a popular Turkish picnicking area nicknamed “the Sweet Waters of Asia”.

With a mere eight rooms, Küçüksu Kasrı is a very manageable place to visit and ideal for those with limited enthusiasm for baroque ornamentation. As at Beylerbeyi Palace, you approach from what was originally intended to be the back of the building rather than from the water, which means that the face that initially greets you is quite restrained – only when you walk round to the front do you see the Balyan love of stone ornamentation given full rein.

Inside, a wonderful double staircase winds up through the middle of the lodge and opens onto a set of rooms with beautiful parquet floors, elaborate fireplaces and an array of Bohemian crystal, Yıldız porcelain and Hereke carpets. Since this was a hunting lodge, there is no formal bedroom although the bathroom does feature a wonderfully ornate sink that contrasts sharply with a very workaday shower.

The gardens of Küçüksu Kasrı feature a pair of pretty lily ponds. A separate gate leads into a modern picnic area beside the water with tables set up ready for alfresco dining.

It’s well worth taking a look at the gorgeous free-standing Mihrişah Sultan Çeşmesi (fountain) just outside the lodge entrance. Built by Sultan Selim III for his mother in 1807, it’s one of the finest of its kind in İstanbul and was much drawn and photographed in the 19th century.kkasr3

The Küçüksu Deresi (creek) right beside the lodge has been dredged to make it more inviting to visitors and the Göksu Deresi has also been given new life, with lots of pleasure boats moored in front of a set of fish restaurants.

Beside the ferry terminal there’s a pleasing waterside cafe with a channel cut out of the floor so you can see the water lapping beneath your feet.

Transport info

Close to the narrowest point on the Bosphorus, Küçüksu is one of three stops on a ferry that operates continuously between Aşiyan on the European shore and Anadolu Hisarı and Küçüksu on the Asian. This links to a funicular from Aşiyan to Boğaziçi Üniversitesi/Hisarüstü and then to the Metro system, making it very easy to get to.

A limited number of other ferries, including those from Beşiktaş and İstinye timed to suit commuters, also stop at Anadolu Hisari and Kandilli . Küçüksu Kasrı is only a short walk from either terminal.

Alternatively you can get here by bus from Üsküdar or any of the suburbs en route.

Nearby areas

Andolu Hisarı





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