Commissioned in the mid-19th century by Sultan Abdulmecit, Kucuksu Palace, aka Kucuksu Pavilion (Küçüksu Sarayı), was designed to be a summer palace for Ottoman sultans. The Istanbul palace’s design blends European and Ottoman styles, with an intricate carved exterior, sweeping staircases, and an interior with gilded accents and chandeliers.
Though smaller than other imperial summer palaces in Istanbul, Kucuksu Palace makes it up in its design details. Perched on the water’s edge and surrounded by a large garden, Kucuksu represents royal leisure. The rooms of Kucuksu Palace are decorated with elaborate carpets, light fixtures, and paintings—and interestingly, there are no bedrooms, as it was intended only for daytime use.
Some small-group and private tours, including Bosphorus hop-on hop-off boats, visit Kucuksu Palace as part of a Bosphorus cruise experience. Tours of the palace often also include visits to Rumeli Fortress, Anadolu Kavagi, Dolmabahce Palace, and the Ortakoy neighborhood.Things to Know Before You Go
- Kucuksu Palace is a must-visit for architecture and history buffs.
- To protect the carpets, slips are provided to cover your shoes when you enter the palace.
- Photography is not allowed inside Kucuksu Palace.
- Due to stairs, the palace is not accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
Kucuksu Palace is in Istanbul’s Beykoz district, on the Asian side of the Bosphorus. It is most easily reached by ferry boat; choose a tour that includes a ferry ride for the most scenic and convenient option. The palace is also accessible by bus or taxi from the Uskudar neighborhood.
When to Get There
Kucuksu Palace is open from 9am to 5pm Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday through Sunday. Some Turkish and religious holidays can affect opening hours, so check before visiting. Kucuksu Palace is rarely crowded, so any time of day affords a quiet experience.Istanbul’s Other Imperial Palaces
While Kucuksu Pavilion served as a summer daytime palace for the Ottoman sultans, the other palaces that dot the Bosphorus shores were residences. Dolmabahce Palace became the empire’s seat in the 19th century, and continued to serve as an official residence after the fall of the empire and founding of the republic. Meanwhile, Beylerbeyi Palace was a summer residence.