Beautiful Places: Pera Palace Istanbul

I’m back! Only after months of sailing through the adventures of life is it that I have time to share some of my findings.  🙂

This past christmas I went to Istanbul and finally visited a place I’ve wanted to go to for years: Pera Palace Jumeirah Istanbul.

Despite the fascinating architecture and details, which I’ll go into in a bit,  the hotel is mostly made famous by Agatha Christie, the author of Murder on the Orient Express.  She found inspiration for the story from her travels on the orient express, and wrote the book in Istanbul, which was the last stop on the route.  Other than that, actresses like Greta Garbo and political figures such as Ataturk have also stayed at the hotel.  Pera Palace remains one of the most luxurious places to stay in Istanbul, especially for those who love history and opulence.

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The building was built mostly in the neoclassical style, by French-Turkish architect Alexander Vallaury in the 1890’s, specifically to host passengers arriving in the orient express.  Back in the day, some of the most distinctive guests, especially ladies, would be brougt to the hotel by means of a sedan chair which was lifted and carried all the way from the train station to the front door of the hotel.  Pera Palace also boasted one of the first elevators in Turkey, which was sparingly used at the time, reserved for only the wealthiest or notable guests at the time.

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The beauty of the building is beyond what words can describe. I just wish I had taken more pictures! As with many buildings that was built in the classical style, it still endures the changes of the modern age and continues to be a source of pride and beauty for us to admire.

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Here is the grand elevator and the once ballroom which now serves as a venue for weddings and events.  When I was there, several models gracing a section of the ball room for a photoshoot, which made the place all themore lively and exciting, to say the least.

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I hope you enjoyed the few pictures I had taken on that trip! This is one place I’d definetaly want to return one day.

Take care, everyone! 🙂

 

Abandoned Beauty: Chateau de Singes

Nothing sparks the imagination like architecture frozen in time.

I have a fascination with abandoned chateaus. While growing up, I was lucky enough to see a number of beautiful, abandoned manor houses near my neighborhood. One particular chateau I wish I could have seen in person is Chateau de Singes.

Chateau de Singes, or Castle of Monkeys, gets its name from a room with monkey murals painted on the walls.  Apparently, this was a brief artistic trend as a number of palace interiors also share the same monkeys-in-action murals on their walls.

Not much is known about the history of the chateau. From what I once read (and cannot find again), the chateau was built in the 17th century for a wealthy aristocrat who wanted a place to throw parties and entertain guests.  However, due to war, the aristocrat would never get to move in to his chateau, and the castle would later be host to a number of other wealthy families through time.

The chateau was last inherited by a man who would dedicate his life to restoring the castle. Despite his desire, money was short, and the upkeep of the place proved too costly.  He would spend his last years in a small room in the attic of his chateau, with no electricity or heating, spending his days looking through horse racing magazines with the hopes of wining a fortune to restore his home back to its former glory.  He would eventually be collected by French officials and placed in a nursing home where he was never heard from again. 

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The architecture is unique; the whole castle, built in the baroque style, is only one room deep.  Though on first impression the structure appears grand in size, it’s only an illusion attributed to its disproportional width. The castle is fairly small. This also means that each room receives ample sunlight and open views.  Starting from the left of the floor plan, you have the dining room, anti-chamber, library/music room, salon, and entrance hall were the beautiful staircase is located.  The right hand sides opens up to the blue monkey room, while the rest is unknown due to internal collapse. The bedrooms are located on the second floor, while the attic, which was never completed, would be used as a servants quarter.

The exciting twist, however, is still ambiguous.  Sightseers and explorers who recently visited the castle have taken pictures showing that parts of the chateau have been mysteriously restored!  They would walk in to find that new custom panels were put up, but no one could explain who was responsible for the kind gesture. According to hearsay from people living nearby, the man once had a family and children, and apparently his granddaughter is currently running a gradual renovation of the castle.  True or not, nothing can be proven. But the wall panels? They’ve somehow made it there.

I hope you guys also share my fascination with abandoned architecture and the stories behind them.  Please feel free to share for others to see! 🙂

Stuck in My Head: Duran Duran – Come Undone

Oldies but goldies.  I have never watched the music video till I discovered it recently on YouTube.  In fact, I was unaware that many songs deeply ingrained in the back of my mind belonged to Duran Duran.  This was one of those experiences where just 10 seconds into the song I went ‘this is THAT song – I REMEMBER!’  I wish these experiences happened more often.

Anyways, hope you guys have a fun trip down memory lane.  You can thank me later. 🙂

Stuck in My Head: Blackstar – David Bowie

Decided to share one of the songs that have been stuck in my head for a while now.  Granted, most of Bowie’s songs easily get stuck in my head.

I think it’s interesting to point that I only recently discovered Bowie’s music over the holidays, and since then, have frequently been listening to him; trying to compensate for what I’ve been missing out on.  Browsing YouTube, I found an active comments thread where many people confessed they either just discovered or recently revisited Bowie’s music, just weeks before his passing.  Somehow he entered many people’s lives before the release of his last album, Blackstar.  Needless to say, the song is eerily haunting, yet somehow refreshing.

The video is open to interpretation, but I can’t help but wonder; what is it that one would want to share in a song, knowing that this is going to be their final piece of work?