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The gates at Dolmabahçe Palace, photographed by Neil Farris/Getty Images

The Architect, Interior Designer and Founder of ZF Design details her design favorites around her home city.

Best restaurant design…
Pandeli, on the second floor of the Spice Bazaar — visiting is like stepping back into old Istanbul. And Fenix, which is located in an exceptional garden, with a wall created by Peter Beard.

And hotel design…
Les Ottomans. It’s a waterfront mansion (“yali”) turned luxurious boutique hotel that preserves the grandeur of the Ottomans in its decoration and high level of traditional craftsmanship.


Can’t-miss museums…
Sakip Sabanci Museum, a villa built in 1927 and known as the “Horse Mansion” — it’s named after the statue of a horse placed in the garden. And Istanbul Modern, an 8,000-square-meter dry cargo warehouse, full of contemporary art, on the shores of the Bosphorus.

And mosques…
One of the best examples of the traditional Ottoman imperial mosque — and of the architectural genius of Mimar Sinan — is the Süleymaniye Mosque. It’s the largest mosque in the city, and one of the best-known sights of Istanbul. And then there’s the Şakirin Mosque I designed, the first mosque in Turkey to be designed by a woman. It combines traditional and new and impresses you with its openness, elegance and lightness. It’s become a must-see of the city.

Last but not least, make sure to see…
The works by the famous dynasty of Ottoman imperial architects, the Balyan family: the Dolmabahçe (above), Çırağan and Beylerbeyi palaces; Yildiz and Esma Sultan mansions; Küçüksu Pavilion, and Dolmabahçe and Ortaköy mosques.

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