MERİT HALKİ PALACE
POINTS OF ATTRACTION
Hüseyin Rahmi Gürpınar, a Republic-era Turkish author, lived in a house on the island from 1912 to 1944. That house was restored by the Ministry of Culture and converted into a museum. Located on a hill in Heybeliada overlooking the sea, the museum has displays of objects—including handicrafts made by Gürpınar himself—and books.
It is located on pine-covered Ümit Hill on the northwest side of Heybeliada. The pines and sea add a rare sort of beauty to this monastery.
Because of the tall cliff along the road to the sanatorium on the side of Heybeliada that faces Büyükada (across the Nizam neighborhood), this church is also known as Panagia Krimniotissa—“monastery by the precipice.” According to S. Vizandios, the monastery stands atop a rather fragile rock. A monk had a wall built over the Hagia Euphemia Holy Well in 1862 to prevent landslides.
The Church of St. Nicholas sits on top of the grave of Patriarch Samuel I (Byzantius), who spent the last for years of his life in the church before being buried under it after his death on May 10, 1775. After being damaged considerably during the great earthquake that occurred in the reign of Abdul Hamid II (in 1894), it received a major repair.
The school that constitutes the core of today’s Naval War School was established after the Ottoman defeat at Çeşme (Kysos), on November 18, 1776, upon the initiative of Hasan Pasha of Algiers, then the Ottoman grand admiral, and the sultan’s decree, in a shipyard in mainland Kasımpaşa as the Engineering School of the Imperial Navy.
In 1859, a poor 19-year-old young man arrived in Heybeliada. After being tutored by a monk who took him in for a while, he built a small cabin on the southeast end of Çam Harbor on the island. He was a charitable, ascetic man of religion. His prayers were answered. He was known as being very handsome. Expanded some help from the locals, not only Orthodox Christians but also Muslims (especially women) started flocking to this place of religious dispensation. Later, a church and monastery were built there. The monastery is known by the name of that monk, Hagia Spyridon, and the church has the name “Abandonment of the World.” The monk Spyridon was buried here after he died.
This is an extremely beautiful, original tomb near the road in front of St. George’s Monastery. There is a tall pedestal inside it topped by a sculpture of an angel. It belonged to the wife of Britain’s Consul General for Gemlik, Kangelidis. The sculptures were brought from Italy. It was built in 1868. Kangelidis himself is buried in the courtyard as well.
İsmet İnönü—a Turkish army general, prime minister, and president—was also an islander. One of the most famous buildings on Heybeliada is Mavromatik Kiosk, a three-story gardened kiosk on Refah Şehitleri Avenue. It came into İnönü’s possession in 1934. This house is known to have used the first generator on the island. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk also stayed at the house for a short period. Currently, it belongs to the İnönü Foundation and is open for visitation as a museum.
It used to be that there was no way to treat tuberculosis except by taking to rest in places with high-quality air. The air of Heybeliada, too, was historically known to be beneficial to treating tuberculosis. People who contracted the disease would come to the island and find healing. Heybeliada Sanatorium was Turkey’s first hospital for treating tuberculosis. It was opened upon the order of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on June 12, 1924.
The mosque on Ümit Street was built by the Waqf Administration to compensate for the Kadı Asker Abdülkadir Efendi Mosque (also known as Meydancık Mosque), which occupied a plot of land across a new post office in Istanbul where the Sultana lived, bearing the same name as its predecessor. Its plans were redrafted in 1935 and 1936.