Golden Horn

Istanbul’s Golden Horn, a waterway that sheltered Roman, Greek and Byzantine ships over thousands of years, is set to attract five hotel projects costing about $500 million.

One of the hotels, slated to open next year, will be operated by Switzerland’s Moevenpick Holding AG, while another will be run by Turkish furniture maker Lazzoni Mobilya Insaat Turizm Sanayi & Ticaret Ltd. Sti, said Alaeddin Babaoglu, who provided consulting work on the projects as chairman of Istanbul-based Amplio Real Estate Investments. Together, the five hotels will add 1,500 beds along the waterway, he said.

The Golden Horn is attracting more investment as it competes with the Bosporus Strait for restorations, home building and hospitality. Hilton Worldwide Inc., the chain owned by Blackstone Group LP (BX), has operated a hotel built by Amplio on the waterway since 2011, Babaoglu said.

“The Golden Horn will be a new attraction for Istanbul as more tourism investments are under way,” Babaoglu said.

The three other hotel projects to start next year are by Turkish construction groups that may sign operating agreements with international hoteliers, Babaoglu said.

Lazzoni’s hotel will cost about $25 million and will open in the summer of 2014, Chairman Yasar Kababulut said in a phone interview today. The company will operate the hotel itself under the Lazzoni brand after failing to reach a deal with international chains, he said. Movenpick’s existing Turkish hotels are in Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir, according to its website.
Housing Project

Amplio is two-thirds owned by German entrepreneur Erwin Walter Graebner, with the rest held by Babaoglu. The company plans to build a housing project on 25,000 square meters (270,000 square feet) of land on the Golden Horn, according to its website.

The partners at Amplio Real Estate Investments plan to turn the company into a real estate investment trust next year, Babaoglu said. Turkey’s capital markets regulator requires REITs to sell shares through an initial public offering within three months after being founded, he said.

Amplio plans to more than double its sales this year to more than 30 million liras ($15.4 million), Babaoglu said.

Marion Schumacher, a spokeswoman for Moevenpick, didn’t immediately return an e-mail and a call seeking comment on the sale.

The biggest entertainment park in Istanbul, Vialand, has opened its doors with a ceremony attended by the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Vialand Istanbul close to thpe city’s Golden Horn region, claims to be the biggest shopping center with its park, aquapark, themepark and shopping center lying on a million-square meter area in Eyüp district.

The project was launched in September 2011 and has employed nearly 1,000 people in the construction stage and 4,000 people upon completion.

The 600,000-square meters project area, located within the Eyüp and Gaziosmanpasa Municipality borders, has the Transit European Motorway (TEM) to the North and the E5 Highway to the South.

Prime Minister Erdoğan said at the ceremony that the area used to be a stone pit when he was the Mayor of Istanbul between 1994 and 1998. Haliç, known as the Golden Horn, which connects to Istanbul’s Boshporus, had lost its habitat feature for sea animals but efforts were being made for it to re-gain its natural existence, Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan said it was a “love business” for him. “My people know that the AK Party [the ruling Justice and Development Party] holds its promises. We never cheated and we did not let anyone cheat us. Who would believe there was going to be a fun center in this area 10 years ago? Look now we have it. … These are all about love. This is a business of love,” Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan also said his party could not stand idle by poverty and asked Vialand managers to set some free entrance days as well.

Vialand features main attractions such as the Rapid Ride, offering a fast-water rafting experience; Splash Coaster, combining natural waterfalls with the fun of a rollercoaster; and Family Coaster, an attraction for anyone who enjoys or might enjoy a rollercoaster.

The guests of the Park will find themselves swept away to a world inhabited by the legendary creature King Kong, and where they can wander the lively streets and squares where the old, mystical way of living in Istanbul is revived, its different cuisine and culture is presented with staff happy to be meeting guests’ needs, and full of many other surprises, wonders and smiles.

The Fatih Dark Ride entertainment unit will allow guests to take an exciting and educational trip through the Ottoman Empire period and witness Fatih the Conqueror take over Istanbul.

Including educational and informative activities particularly for kids of elementary or secondary school age along with all the fun, Vialand will also be undertaking many social responsibility projects.

Vialand also has shops in the old Istanbul style and Ottoman-style houses and buildings, a waterpark and kids fun center.

Nazperver Kalfa’s decision to build her school and public fountain in 1792 precisely on the “Butchers’ Road” was no coincidence. A few years ago, the area had greatly suffered as a result of a catastrophic fire, one of the most destructive that ever hit Istanbul, and there were plenty of vacant plots of land along that road.
Ottoman—and wooden—Istanbul has been the theater of hundreds, if not of thousands of fires. Many of them were strictly local affairs that left no permanent scars on the city’s texture and ended up by destroying just a few houses and shops, or sometimes a whole neighborhood. The city, however, did not suffer in its structure. But some others, such as the fire of 1660 or that of 1782, were a real cataclysm. Due to the strong northerly winds, the absence of any effective preventive action, and the nonexistence of fire brigades worthy of that name, everything that they met with turned to ashes.
These fires could last for days on end (those of 1660 and 1782 lasted for three days each) and spared no public building, be they mosque, church, palace, or school. Many were killed in those large fires, tens of thousands were left homeless, and thousands were often forced to migrate elsewhere.68
The probability that any new fire would quickly spread to the neighboring houses and shops was perhaps less likely in such sparsely populated areas as Davudpaœa and Kasap ƒlyas, as compared to the more densely settled central districts. Indeed, all of the fires that devastated big chunks of the city
started either in the commercial areas bordering on the southern shores of the Golden Horn, or right in the residential center (in Fatih, Aksaray, Saint Sophia, etc.) and quickly spread to the neighboring districts. It is hardly surprising that the name of the Davudpaœa District and that of the Kasap ƒlyas mahalle do not frequently occur in the numerous accounts of the fires in Istanbul. The sparsely distributed population and distant houses, as well as the many gardens and orchards and the small number of shops might have been a protective factor. So were presumably the presence of the city walls and the proximity of the sea. These proved to be insufficient “protection,” however, whenever the fires were violent. The fact remains, however, that no fire that started in the Davudpaœa District and then spread to other parts of the city has ever been recorded in Istanbul.

Istanbul is preparing to host the two-day 13th Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit next Thursday and Friday. According to a statement from the president's...


Istanbul is preparing to host the two-day 13th Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit next Thursday and Friday. According to a statement from the president's...