Beylerbeyi Palace

Beylerbeyi Palace was built with a blend of Western and Eastern styles, however it bears the features of a Turkish house plan with its Harem and Mabeyn (Chamberlain’s) sections. The roof of the building is hidden with a railing at the top.

The plan of the palace is based on a central hall with a recessed vaulted space. Beylerbeyi Palace is composed of three sections. These sections are Mabeyn-i Hümâyûn (Imperial Chamberlain’s Quarters), Bed Apartment (Sultan’s Office) and the Queen Mother (Valide Sultan) Apartment. The main Harem section which belonged to the wives and the Sultan’s favorites was built parallel to the sea, following the Queen Mother’s Apartment and was separate from the main structure. This building has not survived. The entrance facade of Mabeyn-i Hümâyûn (Chamberlain’s Quarters) shows an arrangement in which the Neo-Baroque accent is more prominent. The interior of the palace, such as the body and facades, have been shaped by a selective approach.

Sultan Abdulaziz, adorned some of the frames and borders on ceilings of the Beylerbeyi Palace with sea and ship themes, for his passion for the sea. He even sketched designs of marine and ship themes in order to pass his ideas on to the painters. Beylerbeyi Palace, was used as a summer palace by its founder Sultan Abdulaziz (1861-1876) The Palace, became a state guest-house to host foreign leaders and sovereigns while on a state visit, during the reigns of Sultans Abdulaziz and Abdulhamid the Second. The first major guest at the Beylerbeyi Palace was the Empress of France, Eugénie. This trip of the Empress was in return for Sultan Abdülaziz’s 1867 visit to France.

Other foreign guests hosted at the Beylerbeyi Palace during the reign of Sultan Abdülaziz were the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Joseph (1869); Prussian Crown Prince Frederic Guillaume Nicola Charles (1869) Crown Prince of Italy (1869), Shah of Iran Naseeruddin (August 18, 1873). During the 33 year reign of Abdülhamid (1876-1909) the Second, the Beylerbeyi Palace served as a museum especially visited by the foreign state protocol. In this period, Dolmabahçe Palace and Topkapı Palace Imperial Treasury together with Beylerbeyi Palace were used as sultanate museums and could be visited when permitted by the Sultan.

After Sultan Abdülhamid the Second was dethroned, he was initially forced to live in the Alatini Mansion in Salonika, but was transferred to Istanbul because of the outbreak of the Balkan War about three years later. The new compulsory residence for Abdülhamid II. was chosen to be the Beylerbeyi Palace. The deposed sultan spent his last 6 years in this palace and closed his eyes for the last time here on February 10, 1918.