We were thinking about our trip to Istanbul again and we decided to give you more details about what we saw and experienced! As you may know, Istanbul is historically known as Constantinople and Byzantium. It is culturally rich in history and rather marked with its heritage—and you do know that we’re nuts for anything that’s dripping with history.
The focus of our discussion today is the Ibrahim Pasha Hotel. It’s a lovely boutique hotel located in a rather quiet street in Sultanahmet, Istanbul. The furnishings speak of a nod to Ottoman architecture which is warm to the eyes. The rooms are homey and comfortable in size (something that is often overlooked in boutique hotels). You can request double beds or a queen sized bed.
Who is Ibrahim Pasha?
Born in March 15, 1495, this is a man with several achievements under his belt. Depending on the stage of his life, his name changes quite a bit. He could be known as Pargali Ibrahim Pasha (Ibrahim Pasha of Parga), Frenk Ibrahim Pasha (the Westener), Makbul Ibrahim Pasha (the Favorite), and finallyMaktul Ibrahim Pasha (the Executed). His titles varied because of his very special friendship with Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and the changes that occurred therein.
Ibrahim was born a Christian and was enslaved during his youth. He had met the young Suleiman at this time and became rather close with him. One of the more striking points about their friendship was that the Sultan had vowed that he would never take Ibrahim’s life.
The two were so close in fact that when Suleiman came into the throne, he appointed Ibrahim as Grand Vizier that replaced Piri Mehemed Pasha—the man the previous Sultan had appointed. Ibrahim was rather good at his post brokering deals that strengthened trade and military accomplishments in the 13 years he held his position. One of his more notable achievements is convincing Charles V to turn Hungary into an Ottoman vassal state.
Ibrahim’s fell from grace occurred when he awarded himself a title that included the word ‘Sultan’ in it. This, according to word of mouth from the locals, was an opportunity that Hurrem Sultan (Sultan’s wife) used to her advantage. The Sultan, who had a vow to never take Ibrahim’s life, had to acquire a fetva. Suleiman built a mosque and this allowed him to take back his oath. After acquiring the fetva, the Sultan announced Ibrahim’s intended execution.
In the latter years, Suleiman greatly regretted having Ibrahim’s execution. Some say that the drastic change in the demeanor of the Sultan was a reflection of this. The Sultan gradually withdrew from governing and wrote several poems that emphasized the topics of friendship and of love and trust between friends.
What to See
Now that you have a better idea of the person the establishment is named after, let’s delve into the historically rich surroundings that you can find not even a stone’s throw away. The 6th century Hagia Sophia Museum, which is closed on Mondays, is nearby. Opposite the Hagia Sophia is the Byzantine Basilica Cistern. Across the hotel is the 17th century Blue Mosque—one of the more famous landmarks in the area.
If you’re looking to shop, the Covered Bazaar is ten minutes away on foot. If you want to really feel the Turkish history, visit Hurrem Sultan or Cembelitas for a traditional Turkish bath experience.
One of a Kind Stay
The Ibrahim Pasha Hotel is surrounded by walls and streets that just ooze with history. Oh if only these walls could talk, I wonder what stories they’d tell! If you ever find yourself in the area, staying at The Ibrahim Pasha Hotel is something you should try!