Atatürk’s room at the Pera Palace: the mystery of the “clock”

The Pera Palace, a historic and emblematic hotel, has welcomed many personalities, some of whom traveled on board the legendary Orient-Express. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk also stayed several times, in the famous room 101. It is in this one that today is exposed a carpet which was offered to him several years before his death, and on which is embroidered a ” clock”… showing the time of his death…

The facade of the Pera Palace hotel

For all lovers of architecture, culture and history, Pera Palace, located in the district of Beyoğlu, is a must-see place to visit in Istanbul. This is the historic hotel of the metropolis, which for decades has hosted famous guests such as Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, George V of the United Kingdom, Mata Hari, Josephine Baker, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, Jacqueline Kennedy, and so many others… The Pera Palace, built to European standards between 1892 and 1895, is a mixture of neo-classical art, art nouveau and oriental style; it is the first hotel and the first building in Turkey to have electricity, running hot water, but above all, an electric lift.

Istanbul Pera Palace elevator
The mythical elevator of the Pera Palace

Among the 115 rooms, including 16 suites that make up the Pera Palace hotel, it is now possible to visit the famous room 411, in which Agatha Christie stayed, and where she is said to have written her famous novel: The crime of the Orient Express. But it is especially room 101, in which Mustafa Kemal Atatürk has put down his suitcases several times (from 1917), which is the most requested. Mustafa Kemal conducted several private meetings in the living room of this chamber.

The carpet, Indian gift to Atatürk, continues to question

Now a “museum”, the bedroom and the private lounge are open to visitors every day from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. There are personal effects of the founder of the Republic of Turkey: hat, clothes, documents etc. The hotel has kept everything as it is, but it is above all two prayer rugs that arouse the visitor’s curiosity… One of them was offered to Atatürk in 1929 by an Indian Maharaja. A coming that had surprised the Turkish president, his country being at odds with India. On this first carpet, peace and wealth seem to be represented, through swallows, elephants and a candlestick, all adorned with gold. Chrysanthemums (called kasımpatı In turkish, Kasim meaning “November”), flowers often associated with sadness, also feature on the rug. According to some sources, in Indian mythology, elephants could mean mourning.

Ataturk Pera Palace Room Ataturk Pera Palace room

Nine years later, on the death of Atatürk, this carpet, considered “ordinary” until then, raises questions. On the latter is indeed also represented a clock, embroidered by hand, indicating the almost exact time (9:07/9:08) of the death (9:05, November 10, 1938) of the founder of the Republic of Turkey. The identity of the offeror remains unknown. Was it a prophecy on the part of the Indian, a premonition or just a coincidence? The mystery around this rug still persists today.

The other carpet represents reincarnation. A hotel employee smiles: “We can never know if, like the other carpet, it is a truth…”

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Atatürk’s room at the Pera Palace: the mystery of the “clock”

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