Over time, Süreyya Beach became the largest and the most modern beach of Istanbul’s Anatolian coast. Built by Süreyya İlmen with the support of local administrators, replacing a stretch of old vegetable gardens between İdealtepe and Maltepe, the Süreyya beach opened on the 8th of June, 1946. The beach turned the area into a sought-after neighborhood and its surroundings quickly became some of most popular residential districts of Maltepe. The hotel, and its private rooms, served not only daily guests; but also families who arrived for an entire season of vacations and entertainment. The State Railways, seeing public interest in the beach, built a boarding station by the Süreyya Beach. In summers, the suburban train began to make stops here. The boarding station soon developed into a permanent train station, and found its place on the suburban rail schedule.
Alongside its clean and warm sea, and its hot and fine sand, the Süreyya Beach had every sort of entertainment. It offered sand as well as sea baths. Moon-lit festivals were held on some nights, hosting select artists. Public buses also ran late, helping guests get back home after long nights.
Curated by Zafer Toprak Istanbul’s Seaside Leisure: Nostalgia from Sea Baths to Beaches exhibition can be visited at Pera Museum and İstanbul Research Institute until August 26th!