Access

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 are expected or have registered with the secretary in before.

Daytime visitors are given a badge by the guards at the entrance in exchange for their passport or ID. This badge should be carried visibly whenever outdoors within the compound and handed back to the guard upon leaving, when they will get their passport or ID back.

Guests accommodated at the institute only need to show their ID or passport once and in return they will receive two items from the guard:
1. The key to their guest room in the Annex or Dragoman house
2. A key card that gives them access, at all times of the day, to the office spaces and library in the Dragoman house. This key card should be carried visibly whenever they are on the compound.

The main building within the compound is the Palais de Suède or Consulate general. The institute’s library, office spaces and auditorium are located in the Dragoman house to the left of it, down the slope to the garden. Most of the guest rooms are located in the Annex building next to it, which is built on a slope, meaning that they may be located below as well as above the floor where one enters from the garden.

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

A printable guide for new arrivals in Istanbul can be found here.

The Istiklal Caddesi, where the Swedish compound is located, is a pedestrian zone and thus not normally accessible by car, but it has good access to various forms of public transport:

Metro. The uppermost entrance to the Şişhane metro station lies right next to the compound. It is one of the stops on the Green Metro line M2 that commutes between Yenikapı in the southern part of the Old City and Osmanbey in the north.

Funicular. The Tünel is a subterranean funicular which connects the Istiklal Caddesi with the Karaköy harbour. Its upper station is located on the Tünel Meydan about 50 meters from the compound.

Tramway. There is a “nostalgic tramway” that commutes along the Istiklal Caddesi between Tünel Meydan and Taksim. The modern tramway net can be accessed in Karaköy, after the lower station of the Tünel.

Bus. Taksim square, which can be accessed by means of metro, “nostalgic tramway”, or a 20-minute walk along the Istiklal Caddesi, is a main hub of public transport and many buses pass by it.

Boat. From the Karaköy and Eminönü harbor areas, boats commute both within and to outside of the larger city areas.

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

Guests staying at the Annex have access to a common kitchen on the ground floor and a laundry room in the basement. 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.

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

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 except as an occasional atelier or gallery for the cultural section of the consulate. 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 a habit of feeding them.

The two 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.