Cruel fate

Shipping nightmare for an historic yalı

By John Scott | April 8, 2018


Of all the houses on the Bosphorus that had to be struck by the Vitaspirit, a 74,000-ton, 225 metre cargo ship yesterday afternoon, did it have to be the Hekimbaşı Yalı? And not only that but the most historic part of the house. Every creaking floorboard, every inch of its plasterwork walls, every drop of its aşıboya paintwork was imbued with history. It still belongs to the family who had built the house, who have struggled bravely to make the place live on. And now this. Miraculously no one was in at the time. But what a nightmare for them. We wish them a speedy recovery.

(Freya Stark used to stay in the Hekimbaş Salih Efendi Yalı. Her description of the house in her Sketch of Turkish History (1965) appears in Cornucopia 10.)

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