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[Ottoman Architecture] [Ottoman Architecture] [Late period]


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The most important amendment during the reign of Abdulmecit concerning law was achievement of equal rights for the non-Muslims as the Muslims. This enabled the non-Muslim population, who could not possess real estate around the Bosporus though having outstanding economical power, to construct buildings on the two coasts of the Bosporus. Parallel to the fact, the Balyan family engaged in many constructions as architects during the 19th century in Istanbul, such as in palaces of Dolmabahce, Beylerbeyi and Cıragan. Furthermore, foreign architects such as Alexander Vallaury, Raimondo D'Aronco and Gulio Mongeri designed many buildings.

It was a novelty in architecture in 19th century to arrange streets in a was to prevent grave results of fires, to reform the laws of real estate property and building and to construct building out of stone instead of wood.

The palaces of the 19th century were in general well established investments and the number of the palaces, mansions and kiosks built during this period outnumbered the previous centuries. Religious architecture was replaced by civilian architecture. Mostly built on the coast of the Bosporus, these palaces include Cemile and Munire Sultan Palaces, Goksu Mansion, Beylerbeyi Palace, Cıragan Palace, Kalender Mansion, Caglayan Mansion, Ihlamur Mansion and Alemdag Kiosk. The greatest work of the period was yet the Dolmabahce Palace, which was built during the reign of Sultan Abdulmecit. Costing a sum of five million golden liras, the palace was built rapidly and the community of Topkapi Palace was moved to here. Dolmabahce Palace, built with a similar understanding as the palaces of the west, includes elements of decoration and furnishing of the western style. It also reflects the change of life style in the Ottoman palace in terms of architecture. The eclectic style, which prevails in the Dolmabahce Palace, began during the reign of Abdulmecit and was frequently applied in the Ottoman architecture of the late period.

Soon after Sultan Abdulmecit took the throne, he decided to construct a new palace resembling the royal palaces in the west and suitable for dwelling both in summer and in winter. He chose the area where the former Besiktas Palace was located and this palace was destroyed. The plan of the palace was designed by the architect Garabet Balyan and the construction activities were supervised by him. Two main gates and decoration of several halls were realized by his son Nikogos Balyan.

It is not exactly known when the construction began. However, the construction of the palace was completed in 1856 and on June 7th in the same year, Abdulmecit moved to his new palace with a great ceremony. Topkapi Palace was completely abandoned. Dolmabahce Palace has an eclectic style and spreads to an area of approximately 250,000 m2. It consists of a cellar and two floors. The palace was planned together with the spacious women’s hall, glass kiosk viewing the avenue and the adjacent kiosk for the troops; however, the theatre and the dock were destroyed during the latest period of the Ottoman Empire. The palace has 285 rooms, 43 halls and 6 bathrooms.

The palace stretches 600 meters along the sea on the coast. There is a quay stretching along the palace on the sea side, and two monumental doors, one of which is elaborated, on the land side, surrounded by high walls. Surrounded by a beautiful garden, the coastal palace consists of three sections: the Official Room, Ceremony Hall and the Women’s Hall.

Each hall is designed to have a sofa at the centre and rooms in the corners. There are the stairs in a baroque style in the entrance. The Ceremony Hall, which is wider than the other rooms, is located in the middle. The crystal luster, suspending down the 36 meter dome of the great (45x37 m) reception hall with 56 columns, was presented by the Queen Victoria of United Kingdom, and has 750 lamps and weighs 4,5 tons. The Ball Hall of the palace is the largest of its kind around the world. Used at important political meeting, celebration and balls, this hall used to be heated by an oven-like device beneath. The central heating and electricity systems were installed later.

The Ceremony Hall is followed by the Special Office, consisting of the Sultan’s Room and the Women’s Hall, in blue and pink colors. The Women’s Hall, led through long corridors, includes the sultan’s bedrooms, his mother’s residence and rooms for other women and servants. The northern part of the palace, which was added later, was reserved for the sons of the sultan. Rooms located around five great central sofas are arranged in a complex way. The internal decoration, furniture, silk carpets and curtains and other household have been preserved in authentic situation until today.

The Men’s Hall, which has a Turkish bath beneath, is decorated with unmatched alabaster marbles with elaborated carving. The upper galleries of the grand hall were reserved for the orchestra and diplomats.

Dolmabahce Palace has a richness and glory which is unmatched in no other palace. The walls and ceiling are decorated with paintings by European artists of the time and golden ornaments of tons of weight. In important rooms and halls everything is the same color. The floor is covered with different and elaborated wooden parquet. Hereke's famous silk and wool carpets, which are the most beautiful crafts of Turkish art, are laid everywhere. Rare and decorative handcrafts from Europe and Far East adorn the whole palace. Glistening crystal luster, candlesticks and fireplaces are exhibited with all their glory.

Today the building is used as the Museum of Painting and Sculpture and the entrance is in the town of Besiktas. During the Republican period, the palace was used as a residence by Ataturk during his visits to Istanbul. He died here in 1938.

Ihlamur Mansion

The Ihlamur Valley, which is located between Besiktas, Yildiz and Nisantası, used to be a place of resort in the 18th century and was later turned into a garden for the sultans. During the reign of Abdulmecit, the architect Nikogos Balyan built here a kiosk for hunting and resting and the kiosk was built between 1849 and 1855. The building ascends on a base with 3 meters of height from the ground. Two rows of U-shaped, baroque stairs lead to the entrance. The facade has elaborated relief decoration in baroque and rococo style. On the other two faces there are two balconies standing on columns

Kucuksu Mansion

The mansion was built by Nikogos Balyan during the reign of Abdulmecit, on the Asian coast of the Bosporus, between Anatolian Fort and Kandilli, near the point where the Goksu River flows to the sea. The building, standing on a base that is 3 meters high from the ground, consists of 2 floors. The U-shaped stairs lead to the entrance. There is a water-jet pool by the stairs. The outer face is elaborated with decorations in baroque and rococo style, as well as internal decoration of the mansion.

Mecidiye Kiosk

It is the latest building of the Topkapi Palace and was built in 1859. It was built by Sarkis Balyan in neo-classical style.

Dolmabahce Mosque

It was built by Nikogos Balyan between 1853 and 1854 on the coast which called the Dolmabahce coast today. It was requested by Bezmi Alem Valide Sultan, the mother of Abdulmecit. In front of the building, which ascends with a single dome on a square plan, is the sultan’s room. The additional towers in the corners are in baroque style. The lower parts of the balconies of the ribbed minarets are decorated with figures of akant leaves. The inner part of the mosque is also deeply elaborated and baroque style prevails here as well.

Hırka-i Serif Mosque

Located in Fatih in the town of Atikali, the mosque was built in 1850 at the time of Abdulmecit. The domed part in front of the mihrab preserves the garment presented by Mohammad the Prophet to Veysel Karani.

Ortakoy (Buyuk Mecidiye) Mosque

Located by the Bosporus in Ortakoy, the mosque was built by Nikogos Balyan in 1854-1855. Requested by Sultan Abdulmecit, the building ascends on a harbor surrounded by the sea on three sides. The vertical and elaborate body of the mosque has an active facade arrangement with concave fluctuations. Windows with round arches on two floors are separated with monumental columns. The figures of akant leaves below the balconies of the minarets were painted with golden gilding. It is an ostentatious building in general. The additional building in front of the mosque contrasts with the mosque with its plain construction. The mosque is situated in an active social environment today.

Kucuk Mecidiye Mosque: It was built in Yildiz Park in Besiktas in 1848. The single domed and square shaped mosque was built by Nikogos Balyan. The towers on the corners are shaped with a C-shaped and wavy profile. There are round arches, horizontal molding and vertical plaster and cornices. The balconies of the minarets, resembling the muqarnas elements in neo-classical style, have sets of columns that remind the Egyptian architecture. Merging different styles in one, the mosque is an example of the eclectic style. On the two sides of the mosque there is the sultan’s meeting room, shaped like a hemisphere and protruding towards outside.

Fuat Pasa Mosque was built is Sultanahmet in 1848. Bezmi Alem Valide Sultan Fountain is dated to 1842 and located in Topkapi.

Pertevniyal Kadın Efendi Fountain was built in 1856 in Eyup. The arrangement of its facade in neo-classical style reminds the Roman triumphal arches. The facade is established with classical meter and harmony with the triple of column-joist-arch.