Kavalalı’s Istanbul (2)

Zeynep Kamil Hospital: This hospital is actually one of İstanbul’s oldest. It was commissioned by the daughter of Mehmet Ali Paşa — Zeynep Sultan — and her husband, Grand Vizier Yusuf Kamil Paşa, who was also the translator of the first translated novel in Turkish literature, Terceme-i Telemak.

The hospital was built in 1862, and it took no payments from patients, as it was a completely charitable institute. In 1896, Zeynep Hanım’s nephew Sâid Halîm Paşa turned the building over to palace doctor Cemil Topuzlu Paşa as a special surgery clinic. Here, surgical operations as well as cesarean operations were carried out.

Zeynep Hanım Estate: Yet another memory left to Istanbul by Zeynep and Yusuf Kamil. During the era of Sultan Abdulaziz, this home belonging to the couple was donated by Zeynep Hanım to the Turkish Republic. The building was the first stone masonry residence in İstanbul, and in 1903, the building was allocated to one of the first orphanages and schools of İstanbul, the Daru’l-Hayr-ı Âli. But when this establishment was disbanded in 1909, the building was turned over to the more European-style school of higher learning, Darulfunun. When the Turkish Republic was formed, Darulfunun was encompassed into Istanbul University, and in 1935, an observatory was opened there. Later, in 1942, a fire broke out in the building, and what was rebuilt in its place is used today by Istanbul University’s Faculties of Science and Literature.

Sarı Koşk (Yellow Mansion)

Emirgan mansions: The first member of the Kavalalı family to formally use the title of khedive (viceroy), İsmail Paşa, built three mansions — white, yellow and pink — in Emirgan between 1871 and 1878. And in fact, these mansions remained as part of the private properties of the Kavalalı dynasty until the 1930s.

Hidiv Kasrı: This summerhouse, located on the hills of Beykoz’s Çubuklu area, was built in 1907 by the last Egyptian khedive, Abbas Hilmi Paşa. Abbas Hilmi Paşa’s summerhouse was built in the place of two older wooden yalı (seaside residence) that had stood in the same spot; the summerhouse is quite grand, and it was built in the Art Nouveau style with a tower that overlooks the entire Bosporus. Its steam elevator, built to bring people to the top of its tower, was the first of the era. The family of the paşa stayed in this grand dwelling until 1937.

Said Halim Paşa Yalı: This structure is known as the “Aslanlı Yalı” because of the two lion statues on the shoreline; it is certainly one of İstanbul’s most expensive and grandest buildings. It was commissioned by one of the four sons of Kavalalı Mehmet Ali Paşa, Prince Mehmet Abdulhalim Paşa, but the building took its name from the son of Abdulhalim Paşa, Sait Halim Paşa. He bought the shares to the building from his father’s brothers after his father’s death, and was in fact one of the most important names in Ottoman bureaucracy of the times, taking on a number of roles and titles including that of grand vizier. Interestingly, the accord that wound up seeing the Ottomans enter World War I was signed at Said Halim Paşa Yalı.

Mısır Apartment: This historic apartment building, located in Beyoglu, was built in 1910 as a winter residence by Abbas Hilmi Paşa. The building stood in the same spot where the Trocadero Theater had once stood. Construction materials for this residence were imported from France, and in fact, the apartment was one of the first cement structures in İstanbul. After the paşa’s death, the residence was divided up by its various inheritors and turned into an apartment building. Some famous names like Mithat Cemal Kuntay and poet Mehmet Akif Ersoy lived here for a while. In fact, Mehmet Akif also stayed at the Baltacı Farm in Alemdag for a while, which belonged to Prince Sait Halim Turkkan. And so it was that the poet who wrote the Turkish Republic’s “İstiklal Marşı” spent his last days here.

Atlı Koşk (Horse Manor)

At one point, Abdulhalim Paşa Yalı existed near the Baltalimani Bone Diseases Education and Research Hospital, and right across from the yalı, a koşk (manor) that belonged to Halim Paşa called the Sungerli Koşk. The son of Kavalalı İbrahim Paşa, Mustafa Fazıl Paşa, was a benefactor of the Young Turks, and he had a manor in Çamlıca, a residence in Beyazıt and a yalı near the Kandilli Docks. Even though neither the koşk nor the yalı made it to today, the residence now operates as Istanbul University’s Faculty of Education. Sait Halim Paşa’s brother Prince Abbas Halim Paşa’s Vidali Manor on the island of Heybeliada was brought to Egypt in 1897 on his death, as he asked for in his will. As for the residence belonging to Abbas Halim Paşa in Yakacık, it was donated by his wife, Princess Hatice Tevfik, to the Maarif Agency, with the condition that it be used to help children with weak lungs. Later, local villagers protested that they did not want people with “verem” (tuberculosis) nearby, so the building was turned into an orphanage instead.

Some not satisfied

Many in Istanbul waited with great anticipation for the time when the Egyptians would visit, because they distributed generous tips and purchased many items when they came. In fact, Ahmet Cevdet Paşa rained down criticism on the Kavalalı family for bringing such luxury to Istanbul with them. Clothing, jewelry, fabrics, furnishings… all the most expensive and much of it imported from Europe. More and more members of the Ottoman family and dynasty began to desire these possessions the more they were seen in the Ottoman palace. According to Cevdet Paşa, the profligate and extravagant ways of the khedive’s family were ruining the younger members of the Ottoman family. After all, the Ottomans were at that point a state in debt. And when they entered into a competition over luxury goods, their debts only rose more.