[picture of the front garden]
The SRII is located within the compound of the Swedish Consulate General and underlies its security regulations. Access to the compound is only granted to people who have registered with the secretary in before. Short-time visitors are given a badge by the guards at the entrance, which should be carried visibly whenever outdoors within the compound and handed back to the guard upon leaving. Guests accommodated at the institute will receive the key with their room number from the guard.
The main building within the compound is the Palais de Suède or Consulate general. The institute is located in the Dragoman house to the left of it, down the slope to the garden. The auditorium can be found within the entrance on the ground floor to the far left; the guest house lies at the far back. Since the SRII shares the compound with the Consulate General, its guests are politely reminded to stay within the boundaries of the Annex and Dragoman house and not stray off to the consulate building and its garden.
Getting there and around
[picture of the Istiklal]
The Istiklal Caddesi, where the Swedish compound is located, is a pedestrian zone and thus not normally accessible by car. Taxis mostly stop at the Tünel meydanı at the end of it; the fare there from Atatürk Airport should lie around 60-70 TL. The taxis do not accept credit cards.
Airport buses commute to Taksim square, from which there is a 20-minute walk along the Istiklal Caddesi.
The green metro line (M2) from Yenikapı to Hacıosman stops at the Şişhane station; it has four exists, the uppermost to Istiklal Caddesi of which lies exactly next to the Swedish compound.
The Tünel is a subterranean funicular which takes about 5 minutes and connects the Istiklal Caddesi with the Karaköy harbour.
All public transports in Istanbul, including boats, can be easily accessed with the Istanbul kart. The card costs 6 TL and can be bought and loaded at most major points of commuting. Fares for different rides vary between 2-4 TL.
Staying at the SRII
[picture from inside the institute]
Guests staying at the Annex have access to a common kitchen on the ground floor and a laundry room in the basement. Boxes / shelves for storing food and comestibles in the cupboard and refrigerator are marked with room numbers for each guest. Washing powder can be borrowed for short-time stays but should be bought individually if staying for a longer period. Towels, bedsheets, hand soap and toilet paper are provided for by the institute through the house staff, but can also be found in the basement if needed at times when no one is at hand.
The Istiklal Caddesi is the main street of the Beyoğlu area and one of the major tourist attractions of Istanbul. Due to this there is an abundance of cafés and restaurants that are open throughout the whole week and from early morning until late in the evening. Smaller shops and grocers (Turkish bakkal) are found in the side streets to the Istiklal Caddesi, like the Asmalı Mescit Sokak. The closest larger supermarket is the Şok near Galata tower. ATM machines can be found along the wall of the Swedish compound and around the Tünel square.
Both temporary and longer-staying guests at the SRII are cordially welcome to coffee in the Dragoman house on every Friday at 15:30.
About the area and the compound
[picture from the back garden]
The Beyoğlu area is located on the European side of Istanbul, but north of the Golden Horn, which separates it from the Old City proper. It has been a mercantile area since Byzantine times, when it was known as Galata, and was the most prosperous part of the city in the Late Ottoman period, when it was mainly known as Pera. The Istiklal Caddesi testifies to the wealth of the cosmopolitan bourgeoisie at the time, and is still lined by foreign legations, various churches and mosques, and the famous Galatasaray school.
The Swedish Consulate General is one of the oldest foreign legations in Istanbul and has existed on this location since the mid-18th century. The current Palais de Suède dates from 1870, the Dragoman house from 1886. The small Swedish chapel in the backyard is not in use anymore. On the terrace wall is a bronze sculpture depicting the Swedish poet Gunnar Ekelöf (1907–1968), who drew much inspiration for his famous Diwan trilogy (1965–67) from a visit to Turkey, and especially the Blachernai church at Ayvansaray in Istanbul.
There are a few non-human inhabitants of the area that SRII visitors are likely to encounter:
Stray cats are common in Istanbul and there is always a varying number of them within the Swedish compound. Guests staying at the SRII are welcome to pet them but should avoid letting them into the buildings, and not make it a habit to feed them.
Theodora controls the territory in front of the Annex and Dragoman house, where she replaced her predecessor Zoë in 2015. She is very attention-seeking and loudly craves for human contact whenever she gets, but she can also scratch and bite when she feels like it, so beware.
The tortoises mostly spend their days in slow pursuit of the robotic lawn mower, but occasionally also attack people wearing glossy shoes.
Green parrots can sometimes be in the pomegranate tree.
[pictures of cats, tortoises and parrots]