SARAI – The palace of Hadji Khalil Efendi
Apart from a main residence or for holidays, the Sarai could be turned into a luxury hotel with themed rooms and activities.
Perfect location of the Consulate or Embassy for hosting high-ranking persons during the summer months.
The same could be for large investment institutions and a cultural center with a wide variety of activities,
Conference Center or Museum.
THE SARAI IN SQUARE METERS
The building has following square meters:
1. basement: an area of 86 square meters (located on the west side of the building and has 4 locations)
2. ground floor: an area of 285 sq.m (elevated On the west side and has 4 settings, while the eastern side there are 4 other sites)
3. A’Floor: an area of 286 sq.m. (Covers the whole horizontal axis of the building and has 13 spaces)
4. Second floor: an area of 49 m
5. Stable 20 m (Located in the garden on the east side)
6. two terraces (located on First floor)
7. a windmill (located on the west side and connected to
two tanks (west and east side in the garden area)
8. Two yards and two gardens
total area of 3142 sq.m. (They share both sides)
The historical story of SARAI
Hadji Khalil was one of the most famous merchant of Rhodes during the Ottoman occupation of the island from 1895 – 1920.
He had the monopoly and traded one kind of wood called “Katrani” The “Katrani” wood has excellent properties such as high durability of humidity and different weather conditions. All the wood witch used to build the house (Sarai) are made from this kind of wood.
After 106 years we find the evidence that the wooden construction of the palace are made from “Katrani”, all parts seem to be been made yesterday. The community that was traveling from Turkey to Rhodes and from there to Egypt and possible in other parts of the Mediterranean like Marseilles,along with Katrani, Hajji Khalil goods and acorns. The fruits of oak used in paints and for coloring leather and fabrics. This product was also in great demand in Egypt for the purpose of extensive craft.
Taking into account that the tiles used to construct the roof of his house are from Marseilles and the information ,that we think this is a material often found on rooftops in France ,seems to be true.
The ability to trade and in particular its ability to ensure a monopoly on certain products of high market demands in the Mediterranean made him one of the richest and most powerful people of Rhodes.
The property is considered the greatest of his time on the island,Makri in Turkey and elsewhere. It was logical, therefore, when he decided to build his house to accommodate his family, to make the moves dictated by the wealth and power.
He chooses the path of Pythagoras to build a spectacular house, or rather a palace. It was also reasonable to seek and award the construction of the most famous artist, wood sculptor, manufacturer and experienced architect George N. Tsimeta.
Interest are the notes of G. Tsimeta’s son, Sotiris, about the relationship that developed between Hadji Khalil and G. Tsimeta.
Hadji Khalil was so pleased with the outcome and assessed to the work of G. Tsimeta
that the assessment of Hadji Khalil to Tsimeta was not only about building and artistic skills, but also a friendship.
Hadji Khalil was married to Makpoule and had eight children with her: Ihsan, Osman, Muhsin, Hussein, Sadrettin, Saadettin, Selahettin, and Nefisse Faragliali. The last of his sons, Hussein died in 2003 at the age of 100 years.
his life and work
George N. Tsimetas, Rhodes empirical Architect, born in the lower St. George in 1853 and were in business on architectural sculpture.
He knew well the woodwork and had the reputation of the first architect. Great works in wood carving is in the temple of the Church of Upper St. George and the temple of St. Nicholas in Vilanova.On the island of Leros he made wooden screens of the churches of Agia Paraskevi and Christ. Large architectural and engineering projects are: The Dock on the top Gialos (Achrianika), the Turkish-stone houses in the lower (district of Crete), the old town hall in Koumpourno (now the area at the Aquarium)
It means the excavation works in the area, which at that time was a shallow lake.Tsimetas died aged 65 in 1918.
The ancient city was built in 408 BC under Hippodamostreet system, with roads perpendicular to each other and subways, excellent engineering, drainage and water supply facilities. Two vertical routes, called P31 and P10, are larger in width than the other, crossing the town from one end to the other and leads into the small port and large port .The ancient city was covering roughly the area of the old and the new city together. The ancient city was fortified, but the walls were reinforced after the siege of Demetrios (302 BC).
With excellent planning, its impressive walls, the flourishing of art and wealth of the Hellenistic Rhodes was one of the most splendid cities of the ancient Greek world and an important cultural center.
The building, in today’s complex, which was the main house,has got a ground floor, two floors and spans two lots, which are left and right channels of Pythagoras and part of the property. The middle section of the building above the street connects the two parts on opposite sites. This creates an arch beneath which passes, today’s paved and asphalted road that now goes to the red door and is one of the entrances to the castle. The solution was necessary because the building is located in the heart of the medieval city and onto a main road and connects the main commercial part of it,Socrates and Ermou streets was mostly residential and had a craft sector ( there are mills in this region who were then in operation).The way and the vault was the best solution at the same time as a connection between the two buildings to ensure internal stability and simultaneously imposed the area.
The horizontal axis of the building is oriented from east to west, allowing sunlight throughout the day, while many large windows facilitate the passage of the inside of the house.
From architectural point of view the building externally and internally got a strict axial symmetry which corresponds to the horizontal direction.
The interior floor is masonry decorated with imitation marble revetment that has engraved words. The only external element which refers to the east is “sahnisi, an enclosed balcony, located on the west side of the building, facing the same garden and allowed the women of the house to enjoy the view without being exposed to the gaze of passers by.All the roofs are tiled.
The main entrance
On the west side is an entrance, which seems to be the main entrance of the building. It’s a big heavy wooden door with carved decoration and two iron handles elaborately framed by a striking pillar. The doorframe borrows from neoclassical architecture of the building. Two columns of iron pattern complement the overall picture of the entrance.
Entering this door you see a pebbled floor forming a large T that separates the area around the entrance of the house from the rest of the garden and a low wall with stone pillars and iron railings between them. In the middle distance and opposite the entrance that leads inside the house, this wall creates a P and got a small outdoor sitting area with two benches. A wooden structure, based on 4 stone pillars, has vertical and horizontal moldings and plants, creating the necessary shade for the living room.
The ground floor of West Wing
A double side staircase with 6 steps, iron railings and wide rails leads to the ground floor, below there is an cellar witch we enter from the door into the yard. The cellar consists 4 storage rooms of 86 sq.m.
The entrance to the house is in three parts, four vertical stone pillars similar to those on the front door, down the three parts, with a horizontal beam separates the stone bottom of the door and windows of three arched openings respectively at the top. Right and left the door are two large windows with arched doorways and wood on the inside for better protection leads us inside. The decor is elaborate, while the frame is topped with a decorative plaster rosette, like an artist’s need to add a finishing touch to a favorite table. Above the entrance rises impressively to “sahnisi” which relies on 4 decorated wooden corbels.An enclosed wooden structure supports a glass partition and the wood is crafted in a way that includes mimics stone architectural elements of the building.
Entering the ground floor of the west side was a square hall right and left of which there are 4 rooms (about 3.5 m), two in each side. The floor of the hall is covered with tiles and the ceiling are wooden. A very nice wooden staircase with wooden banisters and railing, all handmade, leads us to the first floor. All rooms have wooden floors and ceilings and large windows . The first two left and right of entry seems used as bedrooms, while in one of these (northern) there is a closet covered the entire wall. The room opposite the stairs is smaller and has a large wall safe, which leads us to believe that it was the office of the owner. Perhaps not the whole wing was probably used to accept the Faragliali customers and employees, so that buisiness meetings does not involve the rest of the family and keep the women away. The fourth room, behind the stairs is very small and recently formed into a small kitchen and toilet. Internal are only used Katrani, timber which the Faragliali brought from Turkey and marketed in Rhodes, Egypt, Marseilles, and perhaps elsewhere.
Climbing the stairs to reach the first floor of the building we face a very long and wide runway,witch is the greater part of the horizontal axis of the building and it’s directed from west to the east. The height of the floor is at least 4 meters. The corridor leads west to east of the “sahnisi” and a smaller vertical apartment house.The floor and ceiling are made of wood but the ceiling is painted in shades of blue, yellow and tampa. Two large square frames covering the roof . Geometric shapes and romantic garlands patterns give a casual sophisticated sense of nobility without excesses. The woodcut rosettes at the centers of the squares cause our attention. At the time it was built in Sarai there was no electricity in homes, so we assume that they are put there, probably to support lights, which rise and fall with a device brought by oil lamps.
Right and left of the runway there are six rooms facing each other at three on each side. Handmade wooden doors skylights leading to them. All rooms facing the street, three in the north and the other three in
south. So when the sun rises literally it bathes the northern side. During the day the sunlight moves almost throughout the building and in the afternoon the south side benefit. The fanlights above the doors of the rooms in the hallway allow such huge interior space illuminated identification even when they are closed. Finally, it should be noted that the lack of marble on the island of Rhodes has not stopped Tsimeta integral to the aesthetics of the space that his taste dictated. Since it did not have the marbles he believed that filled the lobby decorated the walls with imitation marble revetment with engraved words. The color of the marble is broken by vertical and horizontal lines that define the panels and other free water to mimic the gray-blue. The same paint used to paint the molding around the doors is the same color as the wall painting on the top. Finally, over each door is a simple but ornate oriental curtain ,so heavy that it can ensure our guests the room can be with discretion for strictly private moments. Once again we notice with admiration that nothing was left beside even in the smallest detail.
Of the six rooms, five seems destined to sleep and for the daily activities of the Wives of the home or for informal meetings,several of them have huge wardrobes.
The most important of the first floor is down the corridor beside the entrance to the vertical corridor in the northeast corner. This room i would say is the living room and was used for the reception of foreign visitors and has three large windows facing the street. The ceiling is painted with more lavish decoration of the runway it’s also equipped with framework and rosettes. It is striking that after so many years, the colors retain their original brilliance, as is the woodwork. This means that they painted onto wood, but properly prepared, perhaps as like the Byzantine icons. This explains the brightness of colors and maintain over the time.
For heating the house using large bronze brazier. The existence of our underfloor ducts suspects for a patent Tsimeta who know that many guarded trade secrets. Perhaps it served
both for insulation during the summer months as well as underfloor heating in winter.
As already mentioned the large corridor leads to a second, smaller runway, perpendicular to the first. With the building facing us in the East, we leave our front door to to the right and we will be at the top of a very high stone stairs leading to the courtyard to the other side of the road. So walking into the house we moved from the west side of the road into the eastern side to the long corridor above the street. Back to the hallway having turned our backs to the entrance that leads to the external staircase has been the floor direction from north to south, but retains the symmetrical layout of the building. So to our right hand is the group that i have already described, and left, next to one another a couple of rooms with doors that overlook the runway.
So in our left hand side of the entrance, is a square room with three doors, which serves as a passage from this point of the building, which is the main house, with a secondary smaller building where a crossing pass a small terrace . The third door leads to the next room of the ramp to a second door to the hallway. After this followed by a third smaller room where there is a loft. The next and last room this side of the ramp leading to a slight arch at the bottom of which there is a modernized toilet. In this area is a double door, witch brings us to the bath house.
A private Hamam
This is a private Hamam that meets all the requirements. It has two marble bowls to run hot water ,a dome with glazed openings to let in light and caught the vapors, the double door to avoid leaving the vapors in the next room and of course the opening in the wall behind which is the basin for boiling water and vapor to find the opening to vent steam. The area of burning wood is behind the wall on the small terrace ,it’s separates the main house from the adjacent building.
We reached the end of this small corridor and a door leads to another terrace, bigger this time. Party wall on this terrace is another building that was once part of the complex. At this point the of corridor and to our right hand is a door. On opening with a wooden tall stairway leads to the second floor.
The 2nd Floor
The second floor consists a spacious room with windows on all four sides, where you can look around the whole city. To see the harbor, Castel, castles gardens and when the sky is clear Rhodes scenic view in the distance until the Koumpourno (now Aquarium) and the coast of Turkey .
In mid-height of the stairs, right and left, two lower doors allow us to stroll comfortably under the roof. Restoration of tile roof, at each point of the building is possible without a ladder.
A special door
This hidden door connects the two parts of the building
The small terrace
and dining first floor
Back to the vertical corridor, passing through the first room we find ourselves in a small terrace.
From the small terrace to enter the last room of the first floor. This area was a traditional dining room. A large fireplace dominates the wall opposite the entrance. There are also lockers for storage of kitchen, shelves everywhere to put the trays and copper utensils, etc. Also here the staff prepared the dishes to serve food to the family. A hatch in the corner leads to a wooden staircase to first floor and the kitchen where were all the basic tasks of meal preparation . So it seems that the main house was isolated from the floor at night and the staff of the house did not have to access the first floor.
The ground floor of the East Wing
In this region, which lies on the east side of the property we can move from the street. From a wooden door on the street, entering the two-yards it bring us to the ground floor of the house. An external, high stone staircase leads to the first floor. At each step edge,supported by a wooden railing , are installed marble cube-shaped pieces that fit the dimensions of the great stone stairs . From the upper platform we can get to the vertical corridor of the first floor and go left on a wooden ramp to a small terrace and the dining room.
The ground floor rooms entrances on this side are in the yard, but we can also go by the way, since one of the two domes are on the ground and finding the arch with an entrance to the dome witch is located in the courtyard and under the outer staircase. Entering the first dome, which is tall and large we see on our right hand a door leading to the road, which there is a window for better light and ventilation. Opposite is another door witch leads to the second dome , also high but without a door to the street,only four windows of which are two on the wall corresponding to the side of the road and two on the opposite wall that looks back to the garden. Both domes were used as storage areas for wood, chests, etc..
The first vault communicates with the kitchen with all the facilities needed to prepare meals, etc. In this kitchen, using a wooden ladder we can move on to the dining room in the first floor.
Next to the kitchen there are two toilets with doors to garden and it was probably used for the needs of staff. Going even further, into the garden there is the large pool and beside it the stable. We know from stories that had the crib for horses, room for the trolley and a loft for hay and horse trappings.
The courtyards and gardens
The courtyards and gardens covering an area of 3142 square feet and share both sides of the road. The courtyards are decorated with pebble as we have already said. The pebbles or stones are gathered from the beaches . Black and white pebbles rotate and spiral patterns that create the black pebbles in white background indicate a trend for romance. The gardens bounded by low walls with iron railings surrounding the house and clearly separating their yards from the gardens. At the same time it prevents the earth to reach the interior of the house.
In the gardens are planted fruit trees and vegetables, as he had chickens, and perhaps other poultry.
In the garden located on the west side of the street there is a windmill with eight antennas, which gives it a great strength. It is located in a direction from north to south, to exploit the direction of winds on the island. The stone building that is the whole structure with openings in the main body in order to decrease the resistance and the whole force of the wind should benefit the rotational movement of the mill.
From the well, with a well thought-out provision of pipes, provide the home with water , while other quantities shipped in appropriate containers and from there to stone ditches for watering the plants. It is important that the water passes across the garden and supplies water to a larger tank, which was filled.
Inside the large garden on the east side there were small houses which served as places for residence of the staff.
The whole complex is very well protected from the sight of passersby, as towering walls more than five meters surrounding buildings and gardens.
copyright of the translation by Rhodes4vacation 2010
greek Έρευνα, κείμενα, επιμέλεια:Ειρήνη Μοράβα
a tribute to Melina Mercuri
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