When the fog lifted…

Aşıyan: the house of Tevfik Fikret

By Cornucopia Blog | July 9, 2013


With so much gloom around, it is good to remember that terrific things have also happened in the past year or so. And top of our list at the moment is the restoration of the poet Tevfik Fikret's house, Aşıyan, above the ancient cemetery of Rumeli Hisarı, halfway up the Bosphorus. It is a bit of a climb (though you can get a taxi most of the way), but a very, very pretty one, and once there you won't want to leave. The view across the Bosphorus to Anadolu Hisarı is simply jaw-dropping. Take a book and a sandwich.

The museum is also full of information, beautifully and lovingly presented, and it is the perfect place to reflect on a century of change. Note the famous painting Sis (Fog) by the last Caliph, which inspired a famous poem by Tivfik Fikret.

Tevfik Fikret (1867-1915) taught for a time at the American missionary school, Robert College. He would spend the last ten years of his life here –  just below the campus of what is now Boğazici University, where he worked.

The house was entirely his creation. Particularly fascinating is the studio – painter, architect, poet, essayist, many of his works are on show. The first floor also has portraits and personal belongings of two other contemporary poets, Nigar Hanim and Abdülhak Hamit. Readings are available at the press of a button in Turkish and English as you walk round the museum.

This has become a model for literary museums.

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