Florya Ataturk Marine Mansion

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The boardwalk leading to the Florya Ataturk Marine Mansion
The gorgeous Florya Ataturk Marine Mansion

At 9.05am on the 10th day of the 11th month of the year, everywhere in cities across Turkey people stop, some getting out of their cars to stand in silence for a minute, while others honk their horns in time with buses and ferry sirens, in remembrance of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk who died on this day in 1938, aged only 57. He’s known for many different things but the one that most strikes a cord with me was his desire to make changes that improved the daily lives of many.

Which is why I decided to dedicate this year’s post on Atatürk to my visit to the Florya Atatürk Deniz Köşkü. It’s just over 30km from where I live by land and sea, and when I first lived in Istanbul in 2000, getting anywhere in the city took a very long time. The internet was in its infancy then so finding out how to get anywhere meant asking friends or looking in guide books, some better than others. I don’t remember seeing any information on the Florya Atatürk Sea Pavilion at the time. Public transport on the land consisted of slow, clanking trains, old buses imported from Bulgaria if memory serves me correctly and small shared transport vans called dolmuş. All of them were always packed to the hilt and forever stuck in traffic. Of course there were the majestic and elegant ferries and I spent a lot of time on them, sipping tea and daydreaming, as I crossed from my side of Istanbul in Asia, over to Europe. I didn’t know at the time I could have caught an IDO Sea Bus to Bakirkoy and then a bus from there, and now the Bakirkoy line doesn’t run anymore.

The entire journey (consisting of a bus, ferry and another bus) would have taken around two hours, far longer than on the 21st century Marmaray. The Marmaray is a 76 kilometre long below water, underground and land train line that runs from Gebze on the Sea of Marmara to Halkalı over on the European side of Istanbul. The entire trip, from my front door in Göztepe to the entrance of the pavilion, now a museum, including the five minute walk from Florya station, was a total of 50 minutes.

History of the Florya Ataturk Marine Mansion

That’s pretty impressive, as was what I’d come to see. The Florya Atatürk Deniz Köşkü sits 70 metres out to sea above the Sea of Marmara and was designed by architect Seyfi Arkan in 1935. The building was completed on August 14 and given to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk by the then mayor of Istanbul. A long wooden boardwalk leads to the pavilion, itself built on steel columns driven into the sea bed. Once a private summer residence, it’s now a museum full of Atatürk’s personal memorabilia (giving me more of an insight into the man at ease rather than the man of action as evident in other Ataturk museums I’ve visitedand some truly wonderful examples of furnishings in the Bauhaus style.

Here are some photos to give you an idea of what you can expect.

Have you seen the marvellous Art Deco furniture in the Florya Ataturk Marine Mansion?

Bauhaus furniture in the Florya Ataturk Marine Museum

Want to visit Florya Ataturk Marine Mansion?

To learn how to get there by public transport from wherever you are in Istanbul, and visit 49 other marvellous sites in the city, buy a copy of my new guidebook Istanbul 50 Unsung Places. It’s packed with relatable history, backstories and personal anecdotes as well as a comprehensive guide to the Istanbul public transport system, detailed instructions to get where you want to go and other useful information throughout. 

It’s available direct from me in Istanbul, at Mephisto, Minoa and Homer bookshops also in Istanbul, as well as K’ai & Vrosi in Suadiye on the Asian side of town, or online here.

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