ANKARA: Ataturk’s Favorite Hotel Still Doomed

ATATURK’S FAVORITE HOTEL STILL DOOMED

Hurriyet Daily News
Nov 9 2011
Turkey

Once home to the most elegants ball of the times, Ataturk’s favorite
Hotel, Tokatl├Żyan, is now facing an unknown future. Considered as
a great piece of architecture, the hotel has been waiting for a
restoration for the last 30 years.

The 117-year old Tokatl├Żyan Hotel stands in the middle of Istanbul’s
most crowded Istiklal Street, in Beyo├░lu district. DAILY NEWS photo,
Hasan ALTINI├×IK

Once a favorite haunt of modern Turkey’s founder, Istanbul’s legendary
Tokatl├Żyan-Pera Hotel continues to face an uncertain future due to
a lack of plans to renovate the severely dilapidated building.

“[Mustafa Kemal] Ataturk not only organized balls but also hosted
his guests at a rich table during tea hours. It is so unfortunate
that the hotel is now in a ruined state,” Professor Afife Batur, a
scholar on architectural history at Istanbul Technical University,
recently told the Hurriyet Daily News. “The hotel was a pioneer as
a building in many ways. The first known hotel posters in Turkey
belonged to the Tokatl├Żyan-Pera.”

Considered by scholars to be a significant architectural achievement,
the Tokatl├Żyan-Pera is one of the best examples of fin-de-si├Ęcle
architecture in Turkey.

The hotel belongs to the Uc Horan Armenian Church Foundation, one of
the richest foundations of Turkey’s Armenian community.

The foundation’s administration, which has remained unchanged for
30 years, has chosen not to adopt any of the numerous renovation
proposals that have been submitted over the years.

The hotel was built by M├Żg├Żrdic Tokatl├Żyan, an Ottoman citizen of
Armenian origin who migrated from the northern province of Tokat
and adopted the last name Tokatl├Żyan. The hotel was opened in 1897
with 160 rooms and hosted a number of celebrities, later becoming a
favorite of Ataturk.

Emphasizing the significance of the Tokatl├Żyan-Pera in regard to
architecture, Batur said: “It was such a popular building that the
Orient Express would transport all of Europe’s high society and the
elite to this hotel and elegant balls were held there. These balls
would generate several stories for the world tabloid press as well
as the Turkish press.”

Another branch of the Tokatl├Żyan-Pera called the Tokatl├Żyan-Therabia
was situated on the Bosphorus at the exact location of the present-day
Tarabya Hotel, Batur said.

Architectural history specialist Dr. Fatma Sedes said the
Tokatl├Żyan-Pera was the apple of the eye of Istanbul and European
elites, as well as other political figures. “It was a unique building
that left its mark on Istanbul’s architecture,” she added.