Beylerbeyi Palace is a palace commissioned by Sultan Abdulaziz in 1861-1865 and built by architect Sarkis Balyan in the Beylerbeyi district of Istanbul. An Imperial Ottoman summer residence, meaning Lord of Lords, Beylerbeyi Palace is now situated immediately north of Bosphorus Bridge.
The grounds of Beylerbeyi Palace and the area around it are a historical place that has been home to several different types of structures. Mahmud II built the first palace structure on the grounds. After a fire severely damaged this palace, Sultan Abdülaziz decided it was better to create a more sturdy structure. He ordered the complete demolition of the old palace and the rebuilding of Beylerbeyi Palace. After three years of construction between 1863-1865, Beylerbeyi Palace took on the form that we know today.
Beylerbeyi Palace looks like a western building from the outside, but inside its design is of classical Ottoman architecture. The palace was used as a summer residence for the sultan and his family and was also used for hosting important guests. That is why Beylerbeyi Palace is the place where Eugénie, Empress of France, and Kaiser Wilhelm II stayed during their visits.
Beylerbeyi Palace has witnessed many critical and historical moments as it was used by Sultans during the summer months and important guests all year round. Abdulhamit II lived here after he was forced to abdicate. Sultan Mehmet V. Reşad had a feast thrown in the gardens of the Beylerbeyi Palace for the parliament members. This occasion was a significant turning point because it was the start of a movement to reinclude parliament to the political scene.
The palace kept its importance during the Republic as well. One of the most famous guests is the Iranian Shah Pahlavi, who stayed in Beylerbeyi Palace in 1934.
Beylerbeyi Palace has historical significance for world communication as well. Here, Sultan Abdülmecid first tested the telegraph that was invented by Samuel Morse. He was so impressed that he gave Morse an Ottoman order, Order of Glory.
The graceful and stylish landscapes of Beylerbeyi Palace’s gardens are a real legacy of the Bosphorus and serve to enrich her already vibrant scenery. They compliment the palace’s elegant architecture with pools and stairs within an area of 70,000 square meters elevated in terraces. The structures in the garden are left from the era of Sultan Mahmud II, and they represent the renaissance style gardening.
Near the main building, Beylerbeyi Palace has smaller structures for different uses. These structures consist of Sea Mansions, Marble Mansion, Yellow Mansion, and Stable Mansion.
Sea Mansions, as the name suggests, are by the sea and are located on the two sides of the main palace. They are often given the nickname “Tent Mansions” due to their pointed domes. One of the Sea Mansions was for the use of the mother of the ruling sultan.
The Marble Mansion is plain-looking on the outside, and it’s completely made from marble. This keeps the interiors cool even on the hottest days of the summer. Initially built as Sultan Mahmud’s hunting villa, the Marble Mansion also has pools and fountains inside.
The Yellow Mansion takes its name from the light yellow color of the stone that was used on the outside of the mansion. The Yellow Mansion is at a more remote and calm location, and that is why it is believed this mansion was a place for relaxing and resting.
The Stable Mansion has parts for the horses, and the ceilings are covered with beautiful depictions of animals hunting their prey. Visitors are often surprised by the chandeliers, which are made in the shapes of horse heads and eyes.