Step by Step in the Heart of Beyoğlu: Architectural Features of Pera Palace Hotel That Will Have Your Attention

Pera Palace Hotel, built in the Late Ottoman Period, is one of the places where the synthesis of East and West masterfully occurred. In the plan of Pera Palace Hotel, which has the status of a first-degree historical monument, Neoclassical, Art Nouveau and Orientalist architectural styles were used combined. Wood, glass, and marble materials were used mainly in the hotel and the plan arrangement was made with a rational-functional understanding. Let’s have a closer look at some of the intriguing architectural features of Pera Palace Hotel, the first big hotel building to enter Turkish architectural literature in Western understanding.


The First Hotel in European Standards

pera palace hotel

Pera Palace Hotel, which was one of the most glorious buildings in Istanbul when it first opened, also draws attention with its feature of being the first hotel in Turkey by European standards. The decoration and architecture of the hotel were designed by Alexandre Vallaury, the most famous architect of Istanbul at that time and his assistant Henri Duray. Being the architect of incredible buildings such as Istanbul Boys’ High School, Ottoman Bank, Cercle Orient and Archeology Museum, Vallaury studied at Ecoles des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where the best architectural education was given.


Classical Simplicity of Neoclassical Understanding


Neoclassical architectural understanding is applied in the monumental structures of the Roman and Ancient Greek structures, which are breathtaking but also stand out with their simplicity. Pera Palace Hotel, which looks like a monumental structure from the outside, is also dominated by a neoclassical architectural approach in its main plan and exterior. According to this approach, the plan of the hotel and its four facades, all designed differently from one another, were designed with a symmetrical understanding. This neoclassical style contributes to the eclectic architecture of the hotel in general.


Original Motifs of the Art Nouveau Style

The secondary spaces of Vallaury Pera Palace Hotel, which use Eastern and Western architectural ornaments in its buildings, reflect the Art Nouveau architectural style in regions such as stair railings and elevators. The most distinctive features of Art Nouveau, which have an important place in the architectural features of Pera Palace Hotel, can be counted as stylized asymmetric and curved shapes, animal, and plant figures, floating hair, and feathers. Glass, tin & lead mixture, iron, and silver materials were used.

The wooden cabin of Istanbul’s first electric elevator, which contains the most original details of the hotel, was made in Art Nouveau style. This famous elevator, which survived in its original form in the first years of the hotel’s construction, is almost the symbol of the hotel. The vegetal figures seen in the elevator and on the stair railings are prominent examples of the Art Nouveau style.

The steps of three-armed and wooden handrail stairs on the left side of the elevator, which has wood carvings and two telephone cabins on the right side, are made of solid marble. Floral motifs in Art Nouveau style used in the elevator cabin, elevator entrance and stair railings create aesthetic integrity. Various plant decorations and affluent gilded plaster ornaments used on the walls of Pera Hall are among the architectural features of the hotel.


The Astonishing Splendor of Orientalist Architecture


Pera Palace Hotel can be considered a junction point where different architectural trends are synthesized. An orientalist approach is adopted in the primary spaces and interior decoration of the hotel. The Kubbeli Lounge, where orientalist architectural features are most intensely observed, is arranged as a broad and large hall on the ground floor. The plan of the entire building is determined by this hall, which is the heart of the hotel.

This hall, which reflects the grandeur of the hotel in a striking way, is rigorously designed to make those who have entered it feel like they are stepping into the orientalist world of the East. Marbles called Carrara, yellow and red colored patterned glass and solid wood material used in the architecture and interiors of the hotel dominate the orientalist architectural elements.

Elegant wooden latticed twin windows glazed wooden domes and two-colored low marble arches stand out as the orientalist architectural elements used in the Kubbeli Lounge. In addition, the Murano chandeliers and hand-woven Uşak carpets, which have been preserved since the hotel’s opening, are among the most important features of the hotel’s enchanting atmosphere.

With the restoration works carried out in 2008, the traditional texture of the hotel was preserved,

and renovations were made. Thanks to the arrangements made to revive the cultural climate of the hotel, the originality of the lobby and interior spaces is preserved and integrity with the old architectural texture is ensured. Witnessing history and becoming one of the symbols of Istanbul, Pera Palace Hotel with its unmatched architectural features, continues to be a center of attention today as it was the first day it was opened.

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