Beylerbeyi Palace was thought to serve as a summer residence of Ottoman sultans and a state guest house to entertain the foreign heads of state and sovereigns and it was constructed on demand of the sultan of the period, Sultan Abdülaziz (1861 – 1876). Construction of the palace was commenced on 6 August 1863 and it was formally opened to usage on 21 April 1865, Friday. Serkiz Bey (Balyan), the Ebniye-i Şahane Serkalfa (head master builder of the Palace), carried out the construction organization. Mehmed Efendi, Mahmud Efendi and Rıfat Efendi performed the duty of construction official, which can also be thought as supervision of the financial and administrative affairs, of Beylerbeyi Palace. It is estimated that the palace costed about 500 thousands Ottoman liras. Beylerbeyi Palace, which is the main building of the building complex is a two-storey construction, made of stone, on a high basement. The building was constructed on a land of about 2,500 square meters sits on a rectangular floor area. The South side of the Palace was organized as Imperial Mabeyn and The North side as Valide Sultan’s Apartment. There are total 6 halls, 24 rooms, 1 hamam and 1 bathroom at two storeys. Beylerbeyi Palace, which was constructed as a mixture of Western and Eastern styles, has the layout characteristics of traditional Turkish House with Harem and Mabeyn Sections. The roof of the construction was surrounded with a blaustrade hiding all edges. The palace has a plan composition based on a central sofa (hall) design with iwans. The schema of Beylerbeyi Palace consists of three parts: Imperial Mabeyn, Bedroom Apartment (Sultan’s Apartment) and Valide Sultan’s Apartment. The main Harem section, next to the Valide Sultan’s (sultan’s mother) Apartment and constructed in parallel with the sea, which belongs to kadinefendi (sultan’s wives) and the favourites, was constructed apart from the main building and it was not be able to survive until today. The facade of Imperial Mabeyn exhibits a design in which Neo-baroque style is more evident. Indoor arrangements of the Palace, like its mass and faces, are shaped with an eclectic understanding. Owing to the sea passion of Sultan Abdulaziz, who constructed Beylerbeyi Palace, sea and ship themes were drawn in some frames and cartridges on the ceiling of the Palace; moreover, Sultan Abdulaziz drew some patterns including sea and ship themes in order to give an idea to the painters.
BEYLERBEYİ PALACE IN THE HISTORY
Beylerbeyi Palace was used as a summer palace by Sultan Abdulaziz (1861-1876). During the reign of Sultan Abdülaziz ve Abdülhamid II, the palace acquired the characteristics of a state guest house beginning with its allocation to the foreign states’ sovereigns and presidents during their official visits. The first important guest, who was entertained at Beylerbeyi Palace, was Empress Eugenie of France. This visit of the Empress was a return visit of Sultan Abdulaziz’s visit to France in 1867. Other foreign guests who were entertained at Beylerbeyi Palace during the reign of Sultan Abdulaziz were Joseph, the Emperor of Austria-Hungary (1869), Frédéric Guillaume Nicola Charles, the Crown Prince of Prussia (1869), The Crown Prince of Italia (1869) and Nasıreddin, the Sah of Iran (18 August 1873). During 33 years of reign of Sultan Abdulhamid II (1876-1909), Beylerbeyi Palace served as a museum which was especially visited by foreign state protocol. During that period, also Dolmabahçe Palace and Imperial Treasury of Topkapı Palace were used as Imperial museums which would have been visited with prior permission of the Sultan. Sultan Abdulhamit II, soon after his dethronement, was subjected to compulsory residence at Salonica Alatini Kiosk. However about 3 years later, due to eruption of Balkan War, he was taken to Istanbul. New compulsory residence, chosen for Abduljamid II, was Beylerbeyi Palace. Former Sultan spent his last six years there and departed from life on 10 February 1918 at this palace.
The Palace in Turkish Republic Period
Foreign state guests were entertained at Beylerbeyi Palace during the Period of Republic. Pehlevi, the Sah of Iran who visited Turkey in 1934, was entertained at this palace by Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Balkan Games Festival was organized at Beylerbeyi Palace in 1936. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk spent that night at the historical bedroom of Beylerbeyi Palace.
ANNEXES AND TERRACE GARDENS
Two Sea Kiosks were built as double, one belonging to Mabeyn and the other to Valide Sultan (Harem); the kiosks have the appearance of a garden pergola. The kiosks, which are one of the most interesting design examples of the new palace were identified in the archives by the names, pointing out the originality of the design, as Çadır Köşkleri (Tent Kiosks), Nevresm (new design, new model). Octagonal covers of the kiosks are decorated with different animal figures.
Beylerbeyi Palace is also an important artifact in terms of its location within the landscape and is one of the most distinguished examples of coast palaces. Beylerbeyi Palace, which is located at the Anatolian side of Bosphorus at Üsküdar district is in a large garden. The garden of Beylerbeyi Palace has the appearance of a rich coppice forest with terrace gardens at the back
Marble (Serdáb) Kiosk
Marble Kiosk is one of the buildings from the period of Sultan Mahmud II, which survived until today. It was given this name due to its marble covered surfaces. As we learn from the references of the period another names of the kiosk are Serdab and Mahmud Kiosk. It was given the name Serdáb since it is buried into the fourth terrace behind the pool.
Yellow Kiosk, which is located on the fourth terrace garden of Beylerbeyi Palace, considering with the area it is located on, may be thought to be used for resting purposes. It is on the northeast of the land of the palace, on the fourth terrace.
Ahır (Stable) Kiosk
It is located on the last terrace of the Palace’s garden, slightly farther from the Marble Kiosk. It has some characteristics reflecting the attitude of Ottoman towards horse culture. In its entrance, there are figures of horses and other animals on the ceiling. Stable section consists of total 20 divisions on both sides. There are reliefs with horse head and eye figures on the chandeliers and other elements.