TURKEY – Istanbul, Küçüksu Palace // The World Is Not Enough (1999)
As one of Ian Flemings favorite cities, Istanbul was already host to three Bond movies. While most action happened within the city centre, the picturesque Küçüksu Palace is up the Bosphorus – and worth the ride.
Why Bond was here
Bond has to guard Elektra King, inheritrix of an oil empire, after her father had been assassinated. Though the girl turns out to be a baddie, 007 plays nice with her for the time being. He flies to Azerbaijani capital Baku, where she is overseeing the construction of a new oil pipeline – the Turkish based Küçüksu Palace is used as a backdrop for Elektra’s Baku estate.
Küçüksu Palace (or Küçüksu Kasrı) is easily missed by visitors of Turkeys vibrant metropolis Istanbul: Based on the upper Asian shores of the Bosphorus, the once Ottoman weekend “cabin” is too far out for most Istanbul travelers.
However, there are two good ways, to approach Küçüksu: by boat or by bus. A local boat from ferry runner Şehir Hatları goes north the Bosphorus every evening, starting at the European dock Kabataş and making a stop at Küçüksu some 30 minutes later. Unfortunately, there is only one tour back – and it’s in the morning.
Faster and more frequently would be to go from either Kabataş or the more centered ferry dock Eminönü – just next to the same-named Skyfall filming area around Yeni Camii – with a ferry to Asian ship hubs Üsküdar or Haydarpaşa Gari. Especially from Eminönü to Üsküdar, ferries are running almost every 15 minutes. The price for one ride, paid with a token, is four Turkish Lira.
Once on the Asian side, board the 14R bus “Rasathane – Kadıköy”. It runs north the Bosphorus side in around an hour and has a stop called Küçüksu Kasrı – since it’s the last station, it’s hard to miss. The 14R starts at Haydarpaşa Gari. From Üsküdar it’s a bit harder to reach: Best way is to walk south on Hakimiyet-i Milliye Cd. and then board the bus at the junction of Dr. Fahri Atabey Cd. and Nuh Kuyusu Cd. – the bus stop there is named Askerlik Şubesi.
Good to know
The palace was once built by Sultan Abd-ul-Mejid I (1823–1861) during the Ottoman empire. He named the place “Little Water Place” after is idyllic location directly at the riverside of the Bosphorus. It was used as a summer get-a-way, but only for solemnities, picknicks or hunting trips, never for overnighters. That’s why until today no bed can be found in the palace. So the interior scenes in The World Is Not Enough were filmed at the Luton Hoo in Bedfordshire. But everyone who is interested can visit the castle from 9 am to 4 pm in the winter and to 5 pm in summer. It’s closed on Mondays and Thursdays.
Connected to the palace is a small café, but for a less touristic spot just walk down the street to the main road. On the left hand, across an armlet, are some little Turkish cafés and restaurants. Just walk over the bridge at the end of the street and down the stairs. As these little hideouts are mainly frequented by Turks, be aware that most of the hosts speak little or no English.
Though Istanbul is one of the most vibrant cities and definitely the best place to start with the Middle East, the ride to Küçüksu Kasrı is long and goes through some industrial and less bright quarters. Our recommendation: bring a book, maybe one of the big Turkish writers like Orhan Pamuk, Elif Şafak or Feridun Zaimoğlu.
© HuntingBond (1,3), © 1999 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation (2)