Beylerbeyi Palace

One of the most important Istanbul palaces is the Palace of Beylerbeyi. It is situated at the foot of the Bosphorus Bridge on the Asian shore and was built between 1861 - 1864 by Sultan Abdulaziz in place of a wooden palace which was previously on the site.

The sultan, who was a keen sportsman and a known artist, is believed to have prepared sketches for the decoration of the palace, which were later used in the decoration of the ceilings. The palace is a three-story structure and is set in terraced grounds planted with trees brought from all corners of the globe. On the uppermost terrace of the grounds is to be found a marble pool, surrounded by three pavilions, the Sari Pavilion, The Marble Pavilion, and the Ahir Pavilion, each of which is important in its own right. The harem and selamlik quarters of the palace are situated on the shore of the Bosphorus. The palace is decorated in the style typical of 19th century Europe, and the original furnishings are preserved there, giving the palace the distinction of being a fully furnished museum. The building, in the French baroque style, is constructed of stone and marble. The harem and selamlik sections are in two separate buildings. The lowest story is subterranean, and above it are two other stories containing six main rooms and 23 side rooms. Entrance is via a curved marble staircase into the Harem hall, the largest chamber on the lower floor is known as the pool room, as it contains a large pool in the center. Rooms on the lower floor are reached via a door on the shore facade. In one corner of the shore facade is the Captain Pasha room, and in the other two corners are reception rooms. Rooms allocated to the harem as dining halls on this floor were also used by Abdulhamit II as his privy apartments on his return from Salonika. The most interesting chambers on the upper story are the inlay room and the magnificent blue room, decorated with blue stucco columns, painted ceiling, inscriptions, chandeliers, and vases. On the garden facade of this chamber are the apartments used by Empress Eugene during her stay in Beylerbeyi, and on the shore, the facade is to be seen in the mahogany revetted reception room of Abdulaziz. From here one may enter the inlay room, which gives onto the paneled, mukarnas niched ambassadorial reception room and the conference room of the palace.