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The cast of Ishq-e-Mamnu (L-R): Hazal Kaya, Selçuk Yontem, Beren Saat and Kivanç Tatlitug

The cast of Ishq-e-Mamnu (L-R): Hazal Kaya, Selçuk Yontem, Beren Saat and Kivanç Tatlitug

With the airing of the dubbed Turkish soap opera Ishq-e-Mamnu (Forbidden Love), Pakistanis discovered that nothing tastes quite as sweet as forbidden fruit. Based on a 19th century Turkish classic novel, Ishq-e-Mamnu charts the tempestuous and ill-fated affair between the beautiful Bihter (played by Beren Saat) with Behlul, played by Turkish heartthrob Kivanç Tatlitug her husband’s (Adnan Ziyagil) gorgeous nephew.

Controversial love… In true soap opera tradition, Ishq-e-Mamnu muddied up morality, and managed to upset a few apple carts, due entirely to its unexpected and unprecedented popularity in Pakistan.  The local entertainment industry, for one got drawn into an unrestrained televised debate that circled around the right to primetime programming, local versus foreign software, and of course, the supposed imminent demise of the local drama industry. Meanwhile Ishq-e-Mamnu continued to draw audiences with its cast of scantily-clad, impossibly beautiful people, each hopelessly in love with ‘one who loves another’.

The famed Ziyagil House

The famed Ziyagil House

The sophisticated Ziyagil House… Romance, beauty, scandal and immorality all stewed in the pot that frequently boiled over and threatened the very foundations of the sophisticated Ziyagil House, which was the setting for the intrigues of its memorably flawed inhabitants.  Indeed in many respects Ziyagil House, with its exquisite divans, sumptuous bed linen, old-world candelabras and gorgeous view of the Bosphorus lent as much to the soap as the scheming Mrs Firdaus, the gullible Nihal, the upright Adnan, and that the irresistible Behlul.

On the shores of the Bosphorus… Belonging to Turkish billionaire Rahmi Koç, the glamorous mansion is located on the shores of the Strait in the Sariyer District of Istanbul. The mansion was built in 1895 and has three floors and 10 rooms. The area, which was once a fishing village, is well known for the seafood served in its restaurants, and is home to some of Istanbul’s wealthiest residents.

Restaurants by the sea

Restaurants by the sea

Of restaurants and a museum… If you are a hopeless Ishq-e-Mamnu addict who is planning a pilgrimage to Ziyagil House on your next visit to Istanbul, you might want to partake of the delights offered by Sariyer’s famous fish restaurants or traipse down to Emek Manti, the ritzy restaurant nearby that serves delicious manti (Turkish dumplings in yoghurt). Located on the waterfront, you will recognise Emek Manti as the backdrop for many of the restaurant scenes where Bihter and Behlul snatched clandestine moments. Next door is the Sadberk Hanim Museum, which also belongs to the Koç family and features a delightful array of archaeological and artistic treasures.

In a nutshell… Ziyagil House is an essential stop on the itinerary of all Ishq-e-Mamnu addicts who wish to pay homage to the soap opera that caught Pakistan’s imagination.

– Shahrezad Samiuddin
Send your feedback to realestate.review@dawn.com

First published in the Real Estate Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on February 10, 2013.

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