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

AHMET III PERIOD (1703-1730)      

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Early in the 18th century, the palace community who spent their time around the Golden Horn and Bosporus, outside the Topkapi Palace, shaped a new life style in Istanbul where Ahmet III the sultan and Nevsehirli Damat ibrahim Pasa the grand vizier reigned. This period called as the Tulip Era in the Ottoman history witnessed a great attempt to get to know the western civilization by Celebi Mehmet Efendi, who was sent to France with a crowded commission. They were hosted by Louis XV in France between 1720 and 1721, and were influenced by the life style and the glorious architecture of palaces and gardens. They reported almost every detail in written documents and brought several architectural plans.

The Sadabad Mansion and many kiosks were built after 1722 in Kagıthane, which was already a popular resort. Again here, the riverbed of the Kagıthane River was changed into a channel (cetvel-i sim) and the water was gathered in a pool through two sets, which reflect the influence of the French palaces and gardens. The Sadabad Palace could not be preserved until today. This building demonstrated the effects of the architectural drawings brought from the west. In this period, kiosks were built out of wood under the western influence. The Ottomans adapted the western construction type to themselves.

Fruit Room of Ahmet III, inside the Women’s Section in Topkapi Palace, and the fountains in squares bear the examples of elaborations, where compositions such as flowers in vase of fruit in bowl were applied in reverse perspective, which is the naturalist style of the Tulip Era.

Fruit Room of Ahmet III: In the Women’s Section in the Topkapi Palace, a high terrace was built in front of the windows viewing the Golden Horn with a roof and a fringe on the right hand side of the terrace with elaborated bars. In 1705, Ahmet III, who spent winters here, requested a small dining room which is led through a secret door in the Sultan’s Sofa. There are elaborations with figures of flowers and fruits on lacquered on wood all around the room. Called the Fruit Room hence many figures of fruits on the walls, the room is elaborate with bouquets in vases, bowls of fruit and belts on epigraphs. However, figures of flowers and fruits were not applied together. Cells with shells and cupboards are installed between the elaborations. There is not a single empty space in the room, where the ceiling and the higher parts of the walls are also decorated. Pink roses, carnations and tulips are dominant among the elaborations as well as figures of fruits. The Fruit Room is one of the earliest examples of the style of the Tulip Era. Search for some new styles other than the traditional Turkish elaboration helped to develop of this practice.

Uskudar Yeni Valide Mosque and Kulliyah: Built in 1708-1710 during the reign of Ahmet III, the mosque and kulliyah are important works of Ottoman period in Uskudar. Notwithstanding the style of the Tulip Era, which was common at the time, the mosque bears the features of a traditional style with its classical elements. The open tomb of Valide Sultan near the outer yard and the geometrical bronze network on the adjacent marble fountain are interesting.

Ahmet III Fountain:The most important works that preserve the style of the Tulip Era until today are water buildings. The western influence is not strongly felt in the fountains of this period. This monumental building, built in 1728, is located in front of the first gate of the Topkapi Palace. It was built by the architect Mehmet Aga. On each side of the square shaped plan are a fountain and a water-tank in each corner. All of the four faces are deeply elaborate with figures of plants, especially with figures of flowers in a vase and branches spreading to the surface, rumi (Anatolian) and hatai (Chinese motifs) figures, as well as china epigraphs and geometrical elaborations. There are five small domes on the upper cover intended for elaborated. The fluctuating shape of the roof fringe is considered a baroque element; however, it is merged within the clear style of the Tulip Era.

Fountains, symbolizing the urbanization in the Ottoman Empire, also demonstrate the development of the Turkish square monuments. The gravures of the western artists of the time depict the life style of the Ottoman people around these fountains. It was an Ottoman tradition to supply honey or sherbet in these fountains instead of water on holidays and religious festivals. Library of Ahmet III, located on the third yard of the Topkapi Palace, Uskudar Iskele Square Fountain, Fatih Damat Ibrahim Pasa Fountain, Tophane Mahmut I Fountain and Azapkapı Saliha Sultan Fountain are examples of the fountains of the Tulip Era.

Ahmet III Square Fountain:located in front of the Iskele Mosque (1728) in Uskudar has an octagonal shape, which is chamfered in the corners of the cubic body. There are small fountains in the chamfered corners and each is limited with small twisting columns. The facade of the fountain views the sea side. There are figures of flowers in a vase on both sides of the mirror stone with elaborations around them. The fountain is covered with a wide and fringed roof.

Tophane Mahmut I Fountain(1730) bears similar features. It has relieved elaborations in naturalist style.Although the Rebellion of Patrona Halil erased most of the traces of the life style in Kagithane and Sadabad, the westernization period accelerated and went on during the 18th century.