Neoclassical Architecture Born From The Ashes of Pera: Pera Palace Hotel
In the 1870s most of the buildings in Beyoglu were wooden and masonry, until the Great Pera Fire. The destruction and transformation caused by the Great Pera Fire was not the first or the last example of its kind in history. In 1666, London had the Great Fire which put most of the city in flames. After the 30 year long reconstruction period stone and marble buildings replaced wooden ones and streets were widened. Another example is the Great Chicago Fire! In 1871 after the devastation that caused hundreds, even thousands of casualties, the city went into a great transformation and reconstruction period. Just like Pera… Recovery process took a bit longer after the fire that destroyed most of Beyoglu but the neighborhood was reborn from its ashes with new buildings of better quality materials and embellished with statues and ornate facades. Finally in 1892 Pera Palace Hotel was born. It is time to refresh information about Pera Palace Hotel after a new Netflix show, Midnight in Pera Palace, was released recently!
Hotel of Firsts Pera Palace Hotel
Designed by Levantine architect Alexander Vallaury and opened to the public in 1895 with a ball, Pera Palace Hotel was the first in Turkey of its kind with comparable standards to the European ones. It was the first building with electricity other than Ottoman palaces, first with an electrical elevator, first with hot water and also as a witness to very important historical events after the First World War in Istanbul, it has become a unique and iconic building both in Turkey and globally.
The Start of Everything
Pera Palace Hotel is known as a museum hotel with first grade historical monument status and started its story in the end of 19th century. World famous Orient Express started its services in 1888 between Paris and Istanbul but at the time there weren’t any hotels with adequate quality standards in Istanbul for the visiting guests. Pera Palace Hotel was built to fill this need, starting construction in 1892 and having its opening ball in 1895.
La Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits et des Grands Express Européens, owner of Orient Express at the time, founded its own operations company and bought half ownership of the hotel built by Levantine architect Alexander Vallaury. The hotel had a great run until the outbreak of the First World War.
A Parade of Celebrities
The unique architectural style of Art Nouveau at the Pera Palace Hotel does not only send its guests on a journey through time but it continues to own its historical mission, as it was in the past it still holds an important part in the cultural and artistic life of the city. Jazz and literature filled Pera Palace Hotel’s inspiring and valuable guests…
Most valuable guest of Pera Palace Hotel was the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Other famous guests were İsmet İnönü, King Edward VIII, Queen Elizabeth II, Austria Hungary Emperor Franz Joseph, Shah Reza Pahlavi, Yugoslavian Head of State Tito, General Franz von Papen, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Greta Garbo, Sarah Bernhardt, Alfred Hitchcock, Pierre Loti, Jacqueline Kennedy, Ernest Hemingway, Ninette de Valois, the spy Mata Hari, the spy Cicero, Mikis Theodorakis…
The Most Valuable Visitor of the Pera Palace Hotel: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
Pera Palace Hotel witnessing history was home to room 101 where Ataturk made important decisions and received guests. The room became a museum, containing his private belongings such as books, magazines, carpets and medals from the early 20th century, on his 100th birthday. Ataturk first visited the hotel in 1917 but returned repeatedly for its exquisite accommodations. You can visit the Ataturk Museum Room everyday between 11:00-12:00 and 15:00-16:00.
Murder on the Orient Express: Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie, the author of some of the most read books in the world and the queen of crime fiction literature, was one of the first artists to stay at Pera Palace Hotel. It is said that when she was writing Murder on the Orient Express in 1933 while staying at room 411 of the Pera Palace Hotel, she was inspired by a real murder on the Orient Express. If we turn back time on the clock to the time she just started publishing her mystery filled stories, we came face to face with the year 1926 and the famous 11 lost days. Some say the answer for the secret of the 11 lost days are still in Pera Palace Hotel.
A Day in Pera Palace Hotel
An exploration, jazz and literature filled day is waiting for its visitors at the 130 year old Pera Palace Hotel surrounded by mysteries and historical stories.