In a city which wasn’t quite ready for tourism during the 1840ish years, people who came here stayed at relatives first, Then the pensions, the Kuledibi, Tepebaşı, and Grande Rue de Pera opened in the heart of Istanbul. But still, it wasn’t still good enough for Levantine and elite people of Istanbul. The tycoons from West wished for a Grand Hotel just like in their hometowns but they had to wait for 1890 for this wish.
Even though the railway from the West arrived in Istanbul during 1870, the famous Orient Express made it to Istanbul in 1889. And it is the sole reason behind the famous Pera Palace. Because of the attraction for the Orient Express, three Armenian entrepreneurs made a decision to build a grand hotel just like in Europe. The architect of the hotel is famous Henry Duray. And the local architect is the Istanbul-born Levantine architect Alexandre Vallaury.
The chosen place is one of the best places in that area, famous the Golden Horn of Istanbul. The construction completed quickly and in 1893 the hotel gets its first visitors. Luxury types of furniture, elevator, hot streaming water and everything. Among all, the most significant things about Pera are its entrance door which was made by Vallaury and the visitors it had till now.
Among its famous guests, there is Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, famous statesmen, kings, queens, special spies of the war days Mata Hari and Cicero and there is the unforgettable author of the ”Murder on the Orient Express”, Agathe Christie. Ataturk’s special room, number 101 is still reserved and it will be reserved until eternity thanks to the hotel management.
Pera Palace has many secrets and tales between its walls and some parts of it is using as a museum today. It should be a good idea to visit it this Summer!