Yıldız Palace – Chalet

Yıldız, a grove that occupies an area of 500,000 square meters between Beşiktaş, Ortaköy and Balmumcu overlooking the Bosphorus, dates back to Byzantium as a settlement. After the Turkish takeover, the grove was renamed as “Kazancıoğlu Garden” was probably included among the private gardens of the sultan during the reign of Sultan Ahmed the First (1603-1617)

Sultan Murad the Fourth and Selim the Third  also loved this neighborhood. The area started to become known as Yıldız, because of a mansion built by the Queen Mother – Mihrişah Valide Sultan under that name Yıldız (Star).

The area was developed with the mansions and palaces built by Sultan Mahmud the Second (1808-1839), Sultan Abdülmecid (1839-1861) and Sultan Abdülaziz (1861-1876), and finally with the buildings constructed during Sultan Abdülhamid the Second (1876-1909) it was named as the Yıldız Palace, and became the fourth administrative center of the Empire, after the Old Palace, which is now replaced by the University of Istanbul, the Topkapı Palace and Dolmabahçe Palace.

The Şale Mansion, which is a part of the Yıldız Palace complex and named after the word “chalet” meaning a “mountain pavilion”, is a charming example of 19th century Ottoman architecture. The first section of the mansion consisting of three main adjacent buildings surrounded with high walls was built in 1880, the second section by Sarkis Balyan in 1889, and the third section, known as the Ceremonial Mansion, was built by D’Aranco and completed in 1898.  The last two sections were built to accommodate the German Emperor Wilhelm the Second during his visit to Istanbul. This royal welcoming distinguishes Şale as a “state guest house” among other Yıldız Palace buildings.

The mansion was built as a three-story wood and masonry structure including the basement. In accordance with Ottoman traditions, there are sections that can be used separately for women (Harem) and men (Selamlık) in the Chalet that connects to the outer world by seven doors and wooden louvered windows. The floors are linked via three elegant sets of stairs, one made of marble and the other two of wood.  The magnificent interior of this extra large mansion of sixty rooms and four halls lined up on corridors, are decorated with pen work, geometric ornaments and scenic panels reflecting the Baroque, Rococo and Islamic influences.

The magnificent Ceremony Hall has its floor covered with a single piece of wall-to-wall Hereke carpet of about 406 square meters, its ceiling is adorned with gilt plates with large mirrors on its walls; the Mother of Pearl Hall with mother of pearl inlaid decorations carrying distinct oriental influences; the Yellow Hall famous for its scenic drawings on its ceilings, as well as many halls and rooms decorated with valuable furniture imported from various countries in Europe, elegant glazed tile stoves, vases, magnificently engraved bedroom furniture witness the fine taste of the last years of the Empire.