Sait Halim Pasha Yali

Sait Halim Pasha Yali

It was only in the early 19th century, during the empire period, that the Ottoman fascination with Europe began to affect the facades and layouts of yalis. From 1808 to 1867, yalis began adopting an, almost neoclassical look. Unlike the early yalis with their bay windows over hanging the water, the empire-style yalis were fronted by a quay. Instead of solid window covers hinged at top or bottom, lattice shutters and sliding "jalousie" screens (far right) were adopted to shade the interiors and provide privacy.

The Sait Halim Pasha Yali, on the upper European shore at Yenikoy, is one of the best-preserved of the empire-style yalis. It is named for the Egyptiian prince and aristocrat who held important positions in the Ottoman administration, and who rose to serve a, grand vizier during World War I. From the yali’s quay, two stone lions, brought from Egypt in the 1860's, keep a silent and distinctive watch to the east.

Sait Halim Pasha YaliUnlike earlier yalis, the Sait Halim Pasha Yalis traditional sofa, the original heart of the Ottoman home, was replaced by several reception rooms. Today, guests are often led into the haremlik through a porch glazed in colored glass, which throws pools of red and, yellow light on the marble floor. Beyond lies the entrance hall of the women's side and a grand, split staircase with ornate iron balusters.

The columned hallway, with its Corinthian capitals and paneled walls embellished with egg-and- dart cornice moldings, is pure empire style. But in the small ground-floor study and reception room fronting the quay, the atmosphere changes: Rich gold-brown colors and doors sparkling with mother-of-pearl inlay combine Egyptian and Ottoman themes.

The yali's substantial collection of European paintings reflects the increasingly western orientation of upper-class Ottoman taste and culture.

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The Yalis of Istanbul